Slot machines are games of chance. That means that there are uncertain outcomes. In order to win money, players must risk money. There are only two possible outcomes on every single spin – a win or a loss. With slot machine games, the long-term advantage rests with the house a.k.a. the casino. Why is this? The outcomes of slot machine games are preprogrammed with a specific RTP. The RTP is the return to player percentage. This figure indicates the expected payback over the long-term. This is more outcomes oriented than it is time oriented. In other words, it's the number of spins that is associated with the RTP figure, not the length of time you spend playing the slot machine game.
RTPs are always less than 100%. If the long-term return was greater than 100%, the casino would lose money with slots. We know that slots rank among the best cash cows for casinos and online casinos alike. The RTPs of slot machine games are significantly less than they are with games where a skill-based element is at play. Blackjack, poker, video poker, even specific baccarat and craps bets have higher RTPs than slots. This all comes full circle with an important concept which is pronounced in slot machine games – wagering. According to Cambridge Dictionary, wagering is defined as follows:
‘The present participle of wager… To risk money by betting on the result of something.’
This rather vague definition provides just enough scope to understand precisely what it means to place a bet on the outcome of a slot machine game. But, it doesn't tell the full story. In our discussion of wagering on slots, we will tackle this topic from two perspectives. The first is the rudimentary definition of wagering whereby players simply place a bet on a slot machine game. The second will tackle the more complex topic of wagering requirements for bonuses on slots. This is more detailed, and requires an in-depth analysis. We begin with the simple act of wagering on slots in the next section.
Wagering on Slots
Every real money slot machine game gives players the option to bet a certain number of pennies or pounds on every single spin of the reels. It's interesting how slot machines set up their wagering systems. The coin denomination typically begins at £0.01, and goes up in increments to £0.50, £1.00, or more per coin. Note that the coin value is not the total bet value. That's why wagering on slots requires more than a cursory read through. It's important to understand how your budget must align with your betting preferences to ensure that you are optimising every real-money spin in your slots games.
Consider a 5 reel, 20 payline slot machine game. Such options are common with video slots games. If a player decides to wager £0.50 per coin, then the total wager per spin depends upon a host of factors, namely:
- The number of bet levels in play (from 1 – 10) if applicable
- The number of coins wagered per payline
- The number of paylines in play (fixed or variable)
- The required number of coins to win a progressive jackpot
Each of these components can affect the total wager per spin. The more coins bet per line, and the greater the number of lines in play, the bigger the wagers.
Wagering Requirements for Bonuses and Promotional Offers
Wagering requirements on bonuses are an entirely different animal. For many of us, bonuses seem to be a neat freebie offered by the casino to enjoy our favourite slots games. Think again. As they say in accounting parlance, TANSTAAFL (There ain’t no such thing as a free lunch). That much is true with bonuses as well. Online casinos routinely offer bonuses to slots players. These come in many different shapes and sizes, including the following:
- Free Spins Bonuses
- Re-deposit Bonuses
- No Deposit Bonuses
- Match Deposit Bonuses
Naturally, there are many other types of bonuses that players are privy to at online casinos. Here's the thing: Every bonus offer comes with specific fine print. The T&C detail the rules of play regarding wagering requirements for winnings generated off the bonus. First off, there are no wagering requirements if you don't opt in for a bonus. You can simply deposit your own money, play with your own money, and any winnings you generate will be yours to keep. The vast majority of players actually benefit immensely from bonuses at online casinos.
IMPORTANT: Always read the fine print associated with any bonus or promotional offer you are interested in. This details all aspects of the wagering requirements. If you win a substantial prize with an online casino bonus, but you fail to meet the wagering requirements – you will forfeit your winnings. It's that simple. Too many slots players have found this out the hard way.
With any online casino bonus, you cannot simply withdraw the bonus cash from your account. That would certainly bankrupt casinos, and render all bonuses and promotional offers null and void. To counter this problem, T&Cs are put in place to ensure that players don't and can't withdraw bonus cash without using it for its intended purpose – slots play. If you're given 20 Free Spins on a slot, or group of slots, they will be granted to you at a set value per spin. There is invariably a maximum win value associated with free spins offers too. These are never open-ended.
You may read something along these lines: Players must wager their bonuses X 20, X 30, or X 40 before any winnings can be withdrawn. It's certainly not easy understanding the wagering rules with bonuses and promotional offers, but it's essential if you want to cash out your winnings. Once you have satisfied the wagering requirements, you will be able to cash out your winnings. Your bonus cash will be converted into real money which can be withdrawn at your leisure.
Can You Just Ignore Wagering Requirements?
Not if you want to withdraw your bonus winnings. Think of an online casino bonus as extra cash in your bankroll – it's basically free money to gamble with (T&C apply). With slots games, you actually benefit from bonuses since the more money you have to gamble with the higher your chances of winning. Since every outcome of slots games offers the possibility of a win, you are probably better off taking the bonus. Fortunately, not every type of bonus comes with wagering requirements. You may be lucky enough to claim wager-free spins or a cashback bonus.
In the rare event that your chosen online casino offers wagering-free spins bonuses, any winnings that you generate from this bonus are yours to keep. There are several types of wager-free bonuses available to players, notably wager-free deposit bonuses, wager-free spins, and cashback offers. As their namesake suggests, there are no wagering requirements associated with these bonuses. If you want to, you can easily withdraw your winnings on the spot.
Wagering Requirements & Slots Games – More Bets Please
First off, there are different types of bonuses and promotional offers, each with their own wagering requirements. If you get a match deposit bonus, that means that your deposit will be matched by a certain percentage up to a certain amount. You may or may not be required to wager the deposit and/or the bonus a certain number of times before you can cash out any winnings generated from that bonus. There are some distinctions to be drawn between wagering the bonus alone, or wagering the deposit + bonus. Naturally, you are better off meeting a wagering requirement that pertains to the bonus alone, or the deposit alone, rather than the deposit + bonus.
Consider the following examples:
- 100% match deposit bonus up to £200 with a 20 X wagering requirement on the bonus
In this first example, a £200 deposit will be matched with a £200 bonus. If you win anything from this bonus and wish to cash out your winnings, you will need to meet the 20 X wagering requirement on the bonus of £200. That means you will need to wager 20 X £200 = £4000. In this case, if you happen to win £500 from your bonus, you will need to wager £4000 from your winnings, or your own cash in order to cash out that amount of money.
Is the risk/reward ratio worth it? You will soon see while you are playing based on the volatility/variance, and RTP of the slot machine game. If the wagering requirements are too difficult to satisfy, you may simply wish to forego the winnings.
It is important to understand what amounts need to be wagered. If it's just the bonus or the deposit, that is markedly different from having to wager any winnings you generate by a set number of times. Weigh up the pros and cons of these offers to ensure compliance with the wagering requirements on slots.
- 100% match deposit bonus up to £200 with a 20 X wagering requirement on the bonus + deposit
This is the same welcome bonus package for players, but the wagering requirement now applies to the bonus + deposit. Is this worth it? Let's take a look. Here, a £200 deposit must be met with a 20 X wagering requirement on the bonus of £200 + the deposit of £200. You effectively need to wager 20 X £400 = £8000. This is a substantial sum of money and most small slots wins will not justify satisfying a match deposit bonus of this magnitude.
It often happens that the bonus + deposit amounts are different from one another. You may get a double match bonus, or a triple match bonus, or a quadruple match bonus. In these cases, you will have to wager substantially more as the multiple (20 X, 30 X, 40 X, or 50 X) increases. It's really important to focus on the minutia when it comes to bonuses and promotional offers. You will quickly learn how significant these numbers are vis-a-vis bonus satisfaction.
Where Are Bonus Wagering Requirements Listed?
All licensed and regulated online casinos make a point of providing detailed rules for satisfying bonuses and promotional offers. These are listed at the bottom of the bonus in brackets, with an asterisk, or in fine print. Don't ignore bonus terms and conditions. If you do, you won't be able to cash out the winnings that result. Many a player has been bitterly disappointed by failing to heed the wagering requirements of bonuses and promotional offers. You may have to do some clicking, but that's okay because you're getting a bonus on the house.
You can sift through different types of bonuses and promotional offers to ensure that you qualify for the best ones. Make it easier on yourself by picking a bonus that meets your needs. If it's difficult to source reliable information, don't hesitate to contact customer support. When wagering on slots involves bonuses, you are always better off knowing exactly what is required of you upfront.
Important Points When Considering A Slots Bonus
At this point, you are a well-informed slots player. You understand that bonuses are not free – they are conditional. But there is additional fine print that needs to be understood before you decide what bonus to pick:
Every single bonus offer has minimum and maximum amounts associated with it. Know what they are. You may be required to make a minimum deposit, and there may be a maximum bonus win known as a cap in place.
Not every online slot machine game qualifies for the prospective bonus in question. There may be a single slot, or a group of slots that are compatible with the bonus. If you have to choose between different types of slot machine games, always assess them on the basis of minimum/maximum bets, volatility/variance, and RTP. Position yourself for success by choosing the best possible slot.
Time is always a factor when you receive a bonus. Did you know that there is a limit on how long you can use free spins, match deposit bonuses, or meet the wagering requirements of slots bonuses? It's true. Online casinos, while generous, have very strict rules in place to encourage players to gamble as much as possible in as short a time as possible. With free spins offers released in increments daily, you cannot transfer unused free spins to the next day. It’s use it, or lose it. You may have 7 business days after you claim your match deposit bonus to satisfy the wagering requirements. The specific T&C will be listed in the fine print.
Summary of Wagering on Slots
- Wagering is the simple act of betting on an uncertain/risky outcome. Nobody knows what the result of a wager will be with any degree of certainty on slots, hence the risk that is involved. There are different types of wagers on slots, including a standard bet with no attendant wagering terms and conditions. You simply bet your money, claim your prize, and cash out your winnings.
- The other type of wagering requirement is that associated with bonuses and promotional offers. These are much more complicated, and a thorough reading of the terms and conditions of play is needed. You may be required to wager the bonus and/or deposit a certain number of times (and multiple) within a specified timeframe in order to cash out any winnings generated from the bonus. Failure to meet the wagering on slots requirements will result in forfeiture of the bonuses.
- Specific wagering T&C are applicable to deposit amounts, minimum/maximum bonuses, free spins offers, and timeframes within which bonuses and promotional offers must be satisfied. Always read as much as possible to ensure that there is no grey area when satisfying slots wagering requirements. If at any point you are uncertain what is required, simply contact customer support and they'll be glad to assist you.