A person putting coins into a slot machine

What is wagering in gambling and does it have more than one meaning? If you don’t know the answers to these questions, it’s important that you do, regardless of whether you’re a player or if your intention is to launch an iGaming business.

Why? There is more to launching a successful casino site, bingo site, or betting site than having enough capital to fund the operation, having a business plan, a license, software, a great marketing strategy, etc. It is also vital to know all the real money rules that apply to your customers.

Knowing how to start an online casino business requires a lot of know-how and knowledge, and this includes understanding the wagering meaning in reference to gambling and promotions. Here, Casinnovate will provide you with everything you need to know about wagering, from providing the answer to the common “what is the definition of wagering” question to explaining wagering requirements in detail.

What is Wagering?

computer screen with a casino game on the screen and a large button that says “Bet”

What does wagering mean in gambling? The term “wager” quite simply means to place a bet. When a player enters your digital gambling establishment – be it a casino or sportsbook – and places a real money bet, of any amount, on any of the games you offer, the player has made a wager.

Wagering can also refer to the amount of money that a player bets overall, during a single session or a specific time period.

More specifically…

What is wagering in casinos?

For online casinos, wagering refers to any amount of money a player stakes (bets) with each bet they make on an available game. For instance:

  • Slots – A bet is placed before each spin of the reels
  • Card games (e.g., Blackjack, Poker, Baccarat) – A bet is placed before each hand and sometimes before each game round
  • Roulette – A bet is placed before each spin of the wheel
  • Craps – A bet is placed before each roll of the dice
  • Scratchcards – A ticket is purchased before each game is played

What is wagering in betting?

In regard to online sportsbooks, a wager is any amount of money a player stakes with each bet they make on sports, eSports, or other available events. Examples of common types of wagers can include:

  • Moneyline – A bet on which team will win the game
  • Point Spread – A bet on the margin of victory in a sporting event
  • Over/Under – A bet on whether or not the total combined points/goals/runs scored by both teams will go over or under the predetermined amount
  • Parlay/ Accumulator/ Combo Bet/ Multi – A bet that combines multiple wagers into a single bet

What are Wagering Requirements?

A person looking confused with question marks around them.

Wagering requirements – also known as playthrough requirements or rollover requirements – are bonus-related betting rules that apply to certain online gambling promotions.

In short, wagering requirements, refers to the total combined amount a player must bet to be eligible to withdraw a bonus and related winnings.

Usually, these requirements are attached to offers in which a player receives bonus funds that can be used on casino games, sports events, etc. for the chance to win real money.

To be able to convert the bonus funds and/or any winnings related to the use of these bonus funds into real withdrawable cash, players must fulfill the necessary wagering requirements associated with the specific offer’s terms and conditions (T&Cs). Usually, this involves betting the bonus amount a predetermined multiple number of times (e.g., 30x) before the active offer expires.

The most common bonus promotions that have wagering requirements include:

  • Welcome Bonus
  • Deposit Bonus
  • Free Spins Bonus

You can learn more about these and other types of bonus promotions here.

How do wagering requirements work?

To meet wagering requirements, it’s not only a matter of a player betting a certain number of times before the bonus expires. Depending on the rules, the requirements can apply to the players deposit amount, bonus amount awarded, or both, and may only be fulfilled by playing certain types of games.

Therefore, as an operator, it is important for you to be fully transparent with the promotions you offer, and provide customers with a crystal-clear understanding of how the bonus and associated wagering requirements work. There should be no surprises for players. They need to be able to accurately calculate how much they will need to wager to cash out the bonus and how much time they have to do it.

This means providing the following information:

  • Deposit amount – The minimum amount the player is required to deposit to be awarded the bonus.
  • Bonus amount – How much extra funds they will receive in addition to their real money deposit, in bonus cash
  • Deposit + Bonus or Deposit Only or Bonus Only – Will wagering requirements apply to only the amount the player deposits, only to the bonus amount they were awarded, or will it apply to their combined deposit amount and bonus amount.
  • Number of wagering times – To fulfill playthrough requirements, how many times will the player be required to wager the amount that applies to your rules – 30x? 40x? 50x? – an example of how this works should also be included in your T&Cs (we provide an example of this later on in the article).
  • Game contribution – Only select games apply to fulfilling wagering requirements. In some cases, only a certain percentage of wagering on these games apply to meeting the requirements. For instance, it is common for most (or all) online slots to count toward 100% of playthrough requirements. On the other hand, live casino games, card and table games, video poker, etc. may count only for 50% or far less, or not at all. All games that apply (and their percentages) should be clearly listed in your T&Cs.
  • Bet limit – Usually, players are permitted to bet up to only a certain amount (e.g., maximum $5 per bet) to ensure that they cannot bet all their bonus funds and complete wagering requirements in a single bet.
  • How long they have to fulfill requirements – Once the bonus is active, players have only a certain amount of time (e.g., 7 days or 30 days from activation) to fulfill the specified wagering requirements before the bonus expires. Typically, failure to meet these requirements in time, or withdrawing their real money funds before requirements are met, will forfeit any remaining bonus and bonus-related winnings*.

*Note: An important part of fair and responsible gambling is ensuring that players always have access to the funds that they have deposited into their account. While an operator may be able to prevent a player from cashing out a bonus or bonus-related wins until rules have been satisfied, an operator cannot – and should not – withhold money that belongs to the player.

Different types of wagering requirements

Brainstorming bubbles image, with the word “Wagering Requirements” in the main middle bubble and other words like “Welcome Bonus”, “Deposit Bonus”, “VIP Bonus”, “Free Spins”, etc. in the offshoot bubbles.

Wagering requirements differ depending on the type of bonus. For instance:

  • Welcome Bonus wagering requirements – This bonus is awarded exclusively to new players and is a form of acquisition casino marketing. It is often a bonus awarded with a successful, first real money deposit that matches the player’s deposit up to a certain amount (e.g. Deposit a minimum of $20 and get a 100% Match Bonus up to $200).
    Though this bonus is often one of the biggest offered by a casino, it also tends to have the highest wagering requirements. Depending on the welcome bonus T&Cs, wagering requirements may apply to only the awarded bonus amount or may apply to both the player’s deposit amount and the bonus amount.
  • Deposit Bonus wagering requirements – This bonus offer is for existing players and is used for retention marketing strategy purposes. It may be awarded in the form of a 100% match deposit bonus, as a smaller deposit bonus, a VIP bonus, etc. Depending on the amount awarded, it may also have steep wagering requirements. That being said, its wagering requirements work in a similar way to a welcome bonus.
  • Free Spins wagering requirements – Free Spins with wagering requirements are awarded as a bonus with a player’s successful real money deposit (e.g., Deposit $10 and get 50 Free Spins). A Free Spins bonus may also be attached to a welcome offer and awarded in addition to the bonus funds, without the player needing to make an additional deposit to claim the spins.
    Wagering requirements for free spins applies to the total number of winnings that are accumulated from the spins. A player will be required to bet the total bonus money they’ve won from their free spins the specified number of times as stipulated by the wagering requirements. Depending on the operator, the playthrough requirements may also apply to the player’s deposit amount.

Mixed Wagering Requirements

There are also casinos that offer a Mixed Wagering bonus system. An example of how this works is that two balances are created for the player: their cash balance where their deposited money and wins resulting from this money are held, and a bonus balance where the bonus and bonus-related winnings are held.

While the player’s bonus is active, bets are placed from both the player’s cash balance and bonus balance. Winnings from the portion of a player’s bets placed from their cash balance will be credited to their cash balance and winnings from bets placed from their bonus balance will be credited to their bonus balance. The mixed wagering amount is calculated by the cash/bonus balance split at the time the player places their bet.

For instance, if a player’s bonus balance is 25% of their total balance, 75% of their bet will come from their cash balance and 25% from their bonus balance, meaning that 75% of any winnings will be added to the cash balance and 25% will be added to the bonus balance.

Though mixed wagering requirements tend to be high (50x or greater), there is a benefit to the player. The reason is that should the player not fulfill the playthrough requirements before the bonus expires or if they choose to withdraw their cash funds before meeting the requirements, although they will lose the funds within their bonus balance, all the wins that were added to their cash balance while the bonus was in play, is theirs to withdraw.

How many times does a player have to wager?

Wagering requirements can range anywhere from 20x or lower up to 100x. It all depends on the bonus and the iGaming operator’s policy.

That being said, to remain competitive (and fair to players), on average, wagering requirement rules associated with some of the biggest brands in the industry tend to range between 30x – 50x.

After all, while it is important to protect your iGaming operation from criminal activity, at the same time, you still want to attract players and not turn them off with high playthrough requirements.

What is an example of wagering requirements?

A person looking at wagering requirements as if it were a math equation

To give you an idea of how wagering requirements work, consider this following match deposit bonus example:

Deposit a minimum of $20 and get a 100% Match Bonus up to $200
35x wagering requirements apply

Let’s say in our example that the player has deposited $40. This would result in a matched bonus of $40, which gives the player a total of $80 to play with. In our example, 35x wagering requirements apply.

Bonus amount only – If the wagering requirements apply only to the player’s bonus amount, which is $40, this would mean the player must place bets equal to $1,400 to fulfill wagering requirements: $40 Bonus x 35 = $1,400.

Deposit + Bonus amount – If the wagering requirements apply to the combined deposit and bonus amount, which would be $80 in this case, that would mean the player must place bets equal to $2,800 to fulfill wagering requirements: $80 (combined $40 deposit + $40 Bonus) x 35 = $2,800.

Do wagering requirements apply to all promotions?

One of the most common questions asked by players online is: “are there free spins no wagering?”

The answer to that common question is yes. Not all promotions – especially in the case of free spins – have wagering requirements. For instance, the sign up offer at PlayOJO, an online casino brand powered by SkillOnNet, offers players 50 Free Spins with no wagering requirements upon completion of a qualifying deposit. This means that a player’s winnings from their free spins are cash and are added to their real money balance and can be withdrawn, with no strings (wagering requirements) attached.

Sometimes gambling operators will have exclusive wager-free promotions available for new players in certain regions or will provide their affiliates with special wager-free offers for new players, to boost valuable traffic to their site.

Why Casinos and Betting Sites have Wagering Requirements

Display a “No Fraud” sign

What is the purpose of wagering requirements and why do most online gambling operations include them as part of some or all their promotions? Although many players believe that wagering requirements exist to take advantage of them, the reality is that they exist for a number of legitimate reasons. The most common of these are:

  • To ensure a profit – An online gambling site – first and foremost – is a business. The purpose of any business is to make money. Wagering requirements prevent players from just taking the free money they’ve been awarded and running off with it. Wagering requirements ensure that the player must actually gamble with the bonus cash so that the casino gets their cut.
  • To prevent bonus abuse – Legitimately licensed and operated casinos have wagering requirements in place for legal reasons, including preventing gambling fraud, such as bonus abuse. This occurs when a player creates multiple fake accounts to take advantage of only new customer offers and then cashes out, abandoning the account.
  • To prevent crime – In addition to preventing bonus abuse and fraud, wagering requirements also help to prevent criminal activity, such as online money laundering and organized crime. It helps to stop criminals from laundering dirty money by making it difficult or impossible for them to deposit and then easily withdraw the money as clean and legal cash.

Quick FAQ

What is wagering?

Wagering means to place a real money bet. Any amount of money a player uses to make a bet is a wager. Wagering can also refer to the total amount of money a player must bet overall before they can withdraw winnings.

What are wagering requirements?

They are bonus rules that require a player to bet the bonus amount (or combined deposit and bonus amount – depending on the rules) they received, a certain number of times to be eligible to cash out the bonus and associated winnings.

What are no wagering casino?

They are online casinos that offer promotions without wagering requirements. In other words, there are no strings attached to the offer. Whatever a player wins is treated as cash and is there’s instantly.

What are no wagering slots?

This refers to free spins promotions that do not have wagering requirements. Whatever a player wins from their free spins play is theirs to keep immediately.

What are no wagering bingo sites?

They are online bingo rooms that offer players free bingo game tickets and/or free spins for slots without any wagering requirements on winnings. Whatever might be won is theirs to keep immediately.

What is a 40x wagering requirement?

It means that a player must wager the amount of their bonus (or combined bonus + deposit amount – depending on the rules) 40x over in order to cash out the bonus and related winnings. For instance, for a $40 bonus, a player would need to wager $1,600 to meet the requirement.

What does no wagering mean?

It refers to a casino bonus that does not have wagering requirements. All winnings from the bonus are cash and can be collected as soon as they are won.

How do you beat wagering requirements?

Though a common question asked by players, there is no way to beat these requirements. Trying to sneak around them is a breach of terms and conditions. The fastest way for a player to fulfill wagering requirements is to bet the maximum allowable amount on a game or games where their bet counts 100% toward the fulfilment of requirements.


A person giving a thumbs up

Wagering and wagering requirements are a normal part of the online casino experience. Though players obviously prefer to play at gambling sites that offer wager-free promotions, these requirements help to deter bonus abuse and prevent other criminal activities, such as money laundering, while at the same time ensuring the operation makes some money.

Are you feeling confident that you have a greater understanding of gambling wagering and its meaning? Would you like to further expand on your iGaming business knowledge? Discover other important gambling related topics covered by Casinnovate or explore our betting and casino software provider reviews to find out how you can connect with the best partner to achieve your goals.