Everybody loves finding and taking advantage of online casino bonuses. But while bonuses may appear simple at first glance (a 100% match on your first deposit, for example), they always come with lengthy terms and conditions that add contingencies and requirements to those “simple” bonuses.
Online casino terms and conditions are the fine-print stipulations for bonus offers and promotions. Players must follow the terms and conditions to turn bonus money into cash available for withdrawal. Once you understand how these stipulations work, you can confidently claim (or choose to skip) any online casino bonus you come across.
This online casino guide will highlight everything you need to know.
Most Common Online Casino Terms & Conditions
First and foremost, you should read the full bonus requirements, usually framed as “action required” or “qualifying requirements.” These tell you whether you need to manually opt-in and the specific action required (deposit, wager, etc.). In the example below, the casino says that you must manually opt in and make a minimum deposit of $10 to claim a deposit reload.
Example: “In order to receive the bonus match, players must Opt-in to the Thursday Casino Deposit Reload by going to their account and then bonus section, then navigate to the cashier to make a deposit of $10+.” – Unibet Casino
If the bonus requires a deposit or wagering, it’s important to find the minimum amount in the terms and conditions. In many cases, small deposit amounts or wager amounts will not be eligible to receive that bonus. In the example below, you can see that the minimum deposit is $50. In this case, any amount deposited less than $50 will not trigger the bonus. Check out our low minimum deposit casinos.
Example: “Once entering the Promo Code, patrons must make a single deposit of $50 or more within 30 days to receive the bonus.” – Caesars Casino
Wagering requirements, also known as playthrough requirements, represent the number of times you have to wager the bonus amount before winnings become available for withdrawal. In the example below, the wagering requirements are 10x on slots. If that applies to $100 in bonus money, you’d need to wager $1,000 in total. Whatever is left over is available for cash out.
Example: “Players must wager the bonus amount (the “Wagering Requirement”) 10x on casino games.” – BetMGM Casino
In most cases, slots, keno, and other non-table games contribute 100% to the wagering requirements. However, table games like blackjack and roulette may contribute only 10%, like in the example below. That means 10x playthrough can increase dramatically with a low contribution (up to 100x with 10% contribution), so be sure to play the games that contribute the most to more realistically complete the requirements.
Example: “10% of any stake wagered on table games, live dealer or video poker will contribute to the 10x wagering requirement.” – BetMGM Casino
Order of Play
In the common example below, the cash balance is used before the bonus balance. That means if you have an existing cash balance of $20 and a bonus balance of $20, your $20 cash balance will automatically be wagered first and will not contribute to wagering requirements, as it’s not part of your bonus balance.
Example: “For any wager placed while a bonus is active, funds are first deducted from the player’s cash balance. If no cash is available in the player’s balance, then the player wagers with their bonus funds.” – BetMGM Casino
Time limits are relatively self-explanatory. Often, the bonus funds that you receive after completing bonus requirements are tied to an expiration date. In the example above, those bonus funds must be used within 14 days of receipt. This time limit includes completing wagering requirements, as well as any other requirements needed to clear those bonus funds into cash.
Example: “Bonus funds must be used within 14 days of receipt.” – FanDuel Casino
While some games contribute a smaller percentage to the playthrough requirements, others may contribute 0%, making them completely ineligible for bonus play. In other cases, only very specific games apply to the bonus, and playing them may be required to release the bonus funds. The best example of this would be a “Game of the Week” promotion, where playing the select game triggers bonus money or a free spins bonus.
Example: “In order to participate, a Participant must log into their account during the Promotion Period and earn at least 1 Tier Credit on any of the following slot games: Double Ruby, She’s A Rich Girl, and Diamonds Sapphires & Rubies.” – Caesars Casino
Sometimes, you’ll find that a deposit match or other bonus that requires wagering is contingent on your “net losses” or your loss-to-wins ratio. A “net loss,” as shown in the example below, is calculated by your total wager minus your total win. In other words, if you’ve lost $100 but won $80 while wagering, your net loss would be $20, not $100.
Example: “You must wager a minimum combined total of $150 during the Promotional Period (“Minimum Wagering Requirements”), and have a Net Loss.” – Bally Casino
What If a Term or Condition Still Doesn’t Make Sense?
Contact Customer Support
Every online casino’s terms and conditions section is different, and new terms can appear without notice. If you run into something that confuses you, reach out to the casino’s support team. Do this before you deposit any money or create an account at a new online casino to ensure you know exactly what you’re signing up for.
Opt out of the Bonus
You have the option to forfeit a casino bonus at any point. You’ll lose the bonus money and any associated winnings, but you’ll be free of things like wagering requirements and eligible games.
Skip the Bonus Altogether
You can just sign up at an online casino and deposit funds. You don’t have to claim a welcome bonus if you’re uncomfortable with any terms but you like the casino itself. Many experienced players completely ignore the welcome offers and focus on the offers beyond that deal, like the variety of games, size of the progressive jackpots, and number of live dealer rooms.
Casino Bonus Calculator
Use the calculator to determine how much of your casino bonus you can expect to wager before cashout. Check the bonus terms to see the playthrough and game contribution. If no game contribution is specified, you can pretty safely assume that the contribution rate is 100%.
Pro Tips on Online Casino Terms & Conditions
We’ve played extensively at every legal online casino in the US and claimed every bonus they offer. Our experience has taught us a lot about the potential pitfalls of claiming a bonus and things to consider.
Only Claim Bonuses from Legal Sites
The worst online casino bonus you can claim is one from an illegal, offshore website. These have hidden terms and conditions that make completing them impossible, and some of the terms can even apply to money you add after using all of your bonus. The only safe way to enjoy an offer is to ensure you’re claiming it from a legal online casino.
If you’re not located in Michigan, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, or West Virginia, you’ll want to claim welcome bonuses from sweepstakes casinos, which offer slots and more for cash prizes. Do not join a sketchy offshore site instead.
Be Strategic About the Gameplay
The better the odds of a casino game, the more likely you are to win. All games give the house an advantage over the player. But that doesn’t throw strategy out the window. Table games like blackjack and baccarat are often not eligible for bonus money, but if they are, they’re a great option. The odds for slots, also known as Return to Player (RTP), can have paybacks that range from 90% to 99%. The bigger the payback percentage, the higher the chance of completing wagering requirements with winnings left over.
Use a Bonus to Test the Casino
Bonus money is meant to allow players to try out a casino. It’s an opportunity to give the games a try and see if they’re right for you. Playing at the same online casino for the long term has its advantages, including building loyalty rewards points, getting personalized offers, and making the terms and conditions second nature. Even if your only goal is to take advantage of every offer, you’ll run out of new deals eventually. It’s important to take note of the casinos that you enjoyed the most, so you know where to return.
A bonus is all about having fun, trying the games, and seeing if it’s a site worthy of your long-term play. Once your bonus money is gone, you’re no longer tied to wagering requirements, time limits, or other stipulations, and you’re more likely to lose more bonus money than you are to make money off a bonus. So despite the tip above, one of our best tips is to have fun.
Don't Claim a New Bonus Until You're Done with the First One
It can be tempting to claim all the no deposit bonus codes for fear that they won’t be available tomorrow. Don’t worry, you’ll still have plenty to choose from once you’ve completed the bonus you’re currently working through. If you spread out your gameplay too far, you risk letting the deals expire, getting the terms and conditions mixed up, and other pitfalls. Going one at a time gives you the best chance of completing all the requirements and cashing out.
Remember That Bonus Money Is Still Gambling
Gambling with your own money certainly carries the potential for more direct consequences. But gambling with bonus money is still gambling, which means players still need to be careful and protect themselves by sticking to responsible gaming best practices. This includes playing in the right state of mind, setting strict time limits, and knowing when to quit. Gambling problem? Call or text 1-800-GAMBLER or visit the National Helpline site, which offers a free anonymous chat.
Why It’s Important to Understand Online Casino Terms & Conditions
As you can see above, you need to study online casino bonuses before you can effectively take advantage of them. We’ve identified three points of emphasis for safely and successfully using a casino welcome bonus.
- Ensure your actions result in you actually earning the bonus.
- Learn how to convert your bonus funds into withdrawable cash.
- Verify that the requirements allow you to play within your comfort zone and never above your means (learn more about Responsible Gaming).
Without this context, you’ll never know for sure if you’re actually earning a bonus, how much that bonus will be, or if it’ll result in winnings at all.
More T&Cs to Consider
Bonus abuse can get your bonus money and winnings confiscated and result in your account getting banned. Bonus abuse is when you cheat the stipulations of an online casino offer to ensure a cashout. These days, this is nearly impossible to do. For example, a player could play European Roulette and place equal bets on black and red, essentially ensuring every spin wins except for when the ball lands in the green zero pocket. Modern online roulette won’t let you do that, so it’s not really a problem. But it’s still good to be aware of bonus abuse, so you don’t succumb to it if you somehow spot an opportunity.
Creating Multiple Accounts
Another form of bonus abuse is creating multiple accounts to claim a welcome bonus multiple times. This is also virtually impossible at legal online casinos because they verify your identity for safety and security, per state regulations. So the only way to do this would be to steal someone’s identity. This applies even if you’re using your spouse or friend’s information to gamble at a site. These casinos can note repeat IP addresses and may flag the account as a result. Not only is this bonus abuse, but it could constitute fraud as well, which could get the player in legal trouble. Avoid doing this altogether.
Taxes on Winnings
A term and condition of living in the United States is paying income tax on gambling winnings. Online casinos themselves are required to provide you with tax forms if you get a win on, for example, a slot machine that totals $1,200 or more. The only way to guarantee that your winnings stay your winnings is by following every legal requirement, including taxes. Once you’re paid up on your gambling income, you know that everything that remains is yours to keep. It’s sort of like winning the lottery – taxes come out of the win, and additional taxes may apply depending on what state you live in.
Bonuses with the Best Terms
Online Casino Terms & Conditions FAQ
Bonus conditions are requirements for earning, converting, and claiming an online casino bonus. Understanding bonus conditions is paramount to taking advantage of any online casino bonus.
In short, no. If you have met all of the requirements and conditions laid out in the online casino terms and conditions and have met all other withdrawal requirements (verification, payment processor requirements, etc.), a legal, regulated online casino can not refuse to pay out. However, if terms and conditions have not been met, you may not be able to request or receive a payout.
Legal online casinos are regulated by state agencies. These government bodies are responsible for regulating and monitoring all aspects of an online casino, including their terms and conditions.
Yes. If you have not met all requirements laid out in their terms and conditions, your winnings will be held until those requirements have been met.
Yes and no. You don’t have to bet any specific way at an online casino. You don’t have to claim any bonus.
However, if you don’t follow an offer’s terms and conditions, you will not qualify for earning, converting, or withdrawing the bonus in question. So really, if you’d like to take proper advantage of online casino bonuses, the answer is yes.