What is Wagering and How Does it Work?
Wagering may seem like a simple and straightforward process, but there is more than meets the eye with this activity. So, if you want to learn more about wagering in an online casino in the US – stick with this comprehensive guide.
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Wagering at a Glance – A Quick Overview of Wagering in an Online Casino
Before we go any further, let’s get back to the basics first. For instance, it is important to understand that wagering is a synonym for ‘betting’.
Also, we should remember that betting can be formal and informal. For example, you can dare your friends and bet that they can’t jump over the fence, having an informal bet. Yet, our article will focus more on the formal side of the wagering process, which takes place in US online casinos.
When it comes to wagering in an online gambling venue, players can bet against the house, against other players, or both. It all depends on the type of game you choose. Every wager comprises three essential elements:
- The item staked (your ‘investment’ or the wagering amount)
- The risk factor (chance)
- The reward (either monetary or material)
When you win a bet, you will receive a reward. Also, if you win – you’ll get your wagered amount back. The rewards can be immediate (after every spin or after every hand played) or they can be prolonged (until the end of the tournament or a seasonal event). Once you collect the reward, you can either withdraw the money or continue playing.
The Role of Odds and Probabilities in the Wagering Process
So far so good, huh? In essence, the basics of wagering are simple and easy to understand. Yet, all the fun stuff is hidden in the nooks and crannies of the wagering process. Thus, we need to dive deeper into the world of online gambling.
To be precise, we need to explain the role of odds in betting. In short, the odds present a numerical expression of the probability that ‘something’ will happen. Or, we could say that the odds are the likelihood of a certain outcome, expressed in the form of a ratio.
The odds in an online casino can be ‘against’ the player, which happens when there is a low probability of a certain outcome. On the other hand, the odds are ‘on’ if there is a high probability. Last but not least, the odds can be ‘even’, which gives you a 50-50 chance of winning (think of a toss of a coin).
To illustrate, every roll of the dice will offer a 1/6 probability (the dice will land on 1 of the 6 possible sides). Consequently, the odds against the player are ‘5 to 1’, because the house has five sides of the dice that ‘work of them’. As a result, if you win such a bet – you will end up with 5x your wager! On top of that, online casinos often give out bonuses and promotions, which means you can collect even more cash!
Sounds too good to be true? That’s because it is. The next chapter will show why we say this.
What Are Wagering Requirements and Why Do US Online Casinos Use Them?
These days, casino bonuses come in all shapes and sizes. From free spins on slot machines to free dinners at exclusive restaurants – you name it! Online casinos will do everything it takes to entice the players and lure them to their website.
Yet, there’s a catch that prevents players from abusing the bonus offers. In the past, players were able to take the money and leave without a trace. Or, a group of players could organize and create multiple accounts to cash out the bonuses. As a result, casinos would incur massive losses.
So, to prevent these things – modern casinos apply wagering requirements to their bonus offers. Known as Playthrough Requirements or Rollover Amount, these conditions are an integral element of today’s gambling industry. Basically, these requirements present the number of times you need to wager the money before you can claim the bonus.
To clarify, you can imagine the wagering requirements as the number of hurdles you need to skip before crossing the finish line. Thus, before you get your hands on the money – you need to play a certain number of times. On average, wagering requirements range from 20x to 50x. In other words, you need to play 20x the bonus money before you can claim the gift.
The most popular categories of bonuses in the US online casinos are the Match Bonus and the No Deposit Bonus. In the case of Match Bonus, the casino will match your initial deposit up to a certain level. (Ex. 100% Match Bonus up to $200). On the other hand, No Deposit Bonus provides you with free cash to play after you sign up with the casino.
So, wagering requirements can prevent you from withdrawing any of the winnings collected with the bonus money until you clear out the WR. Needless to say, wagering requirements are a perfectly legal way of protecting casinos’ interests. These conditions are not a scam, and they allow the wheels of the casino business to keep turning.
Yet, it is imperative that players check the Terms and Conditions before accepting any kind of bonuses. Reading the fine print is the best course of action! We recommend taking the time to study the small letters before putting your name on the dotted line. To better understand the mechanics of wagering requirements, here’s a quick explanation of how they work.
How Do Wagering Requirements Work?
To recap – bonuses are there to lure in the players, wagering requirements are there to keep them playing. In a way, these two elements are in a symbiotic connection.
In general, wagering requirements come in two types:
- WR is the X amount of the bonus you receive
- WR is the X amount of the bonus + the initial deposit you make
Clearly, the second type will require that you wager double the amount than the with the first type.
For instance, if you receive a 100% Match Bonus on $100 with 20x WR on the bonus amount only – you will have to play through $2.000 before activating the bonus. On the other hand, if the WR is attached to the bonus and the initial deposit together – the playthrough requirement will be twice as large.
($100 deposit + $100 bonus = $200 x 20 times WR = $4.000)
The bottom line is that wagering conditions dictate the amount you have to spend before collecting the rewards. Admittedly, some bonuses in the top online casinos in the US can be wager-free. In short, this means that you can snatch the rewards right away. Yet, these bonuses are often small, mostly offering free spins on different types of slot machines.
Quick Tips for Separating the Good from The Bad Wagering Requirements
As a rule of thumb, every online casino in the US will have different wagering conditions. After all, this offers diversity and players can choose a venue that best suits their needs. At the same time, some features of wagering requirements can be found in almost all casinos. So, here’s a quick checklist of guidelines that can help you find out if the wagering conditions are good or bad.
As we said, the number of times you need to wager the bonus money determines the moment when you will release the reward. Therefore, the lower the WR – the better. It goes without saying that lower wagering requirements are easier to clear, which lets you collect the cash faster.
For example, wagering requirements that are 40+ are not a favorable option. We recommend accepting the bonuses that have WR in between 15x to 35x. Of course, if you find something even lower – don’t hesitate for a second!
When playing at an online casino, players often forget about the effects of the so-called house edge. Yet, the built-in casino advantage can have a powerful impact on longer sessions. Thus, if the wagering requirements ask you to play 50x times the bonus money, it is inevitable that the house edge will strip you off of your bankroll. In simple terms, the combination of high WR and the high house edge is a recipe for disaster!
We already mentioned the phenomenon known as the ‘bonus abuse’. Well, one of the ways in which players could abuse the casino generosity was to collect the cash and never meet the wagering requirements. Of course, casino operators are not willing to provide players with such an opportunity. The main reason for this is because casinos are in need of their operating funds as well.
In other words, gambling venues always set up an expiry date for their bonus offers. No matter if we are talking about free spins, prize draws or cash – a certain time limit will ‘force’ you towards meeting the conditions.
On average, online casinos in the US give a 30-day or 60-day period for meeting the wagering requirements. Of course, this limit depends on the type of bonus in question. Smaller-sized bonuses can have shorter limits, up to 7 days. On the other hand, seasonal promos and bigger offers can allow you to play for 90 days with the bonus money.
Non-sticky or sticky bonuses
One of the most important characteristics of bonus offers in American casinos refers to their ‘stickiness’. Never heard of sticky or non-sticky bonuses? Allow us to explain.
As their name suggests, sticky bonuses are the ones where the deposit is attached to the bonus money instantly. In other words, as soon as you accept the bonus offer, the funds will be joined together. You can play with the enlarged bankroll and try to clear the requirements within the given timeframe. Yet, you will not be able to withdraw the deposit before the wagering requirements are met.
The term non-sticky bonus indicates that the deposit is free from the wagering requirements of the bonus money. To clarify, you can withdraw the deposit at any time. The wagering requirements ‘kick in’ once you lose the deposit money and start playing with the bonus. For that reason, some players call this type of bonuses the ‘lifeline bonus’.
Last but not least, you should consider the element of game weighting when accepting bonuses from an online casino. Yes, you read that right. Game ‘weighting’ has everything to do with the ‘weight’ of the game. Better yet, with the phenomenon known as ‘this game is so heavy/easy to play’.
To make a long story short, game weighting means that different casino games contribute different percentages to the WR. Since not all games are created equal, some contribute more than others.
As a rule of thumb, games of chance with a high RTP offer a lower percentage than the ones with a low RTP (Return to Player percentage). For instance, slots games contribute 100% to the WR. In translation, every dollar you wager goes into meeting the wagering requirement.
Meanwhile, games such as blackjack or roulette contribute only 10% or 20%. What’s more, some casino games may even be ineligible. In a way, this is another powerful reason why you should always study the Terms and Conditions before accepting any kind of bonus offers.
Without a doubt, bonuses are an important element when it comes to online gambling. They are a great incentive and lots of players would never play casino games if there weren’t for bonuses. Likewise, bonuses can prolong the playing session and provide you with extra cash to stay and have some more fun.
At the same time, online casinos have to protect themselves. As a result, wagering requirements may often seem too demanding. But this is not always the case. The magic word here is patience, and players should always take their time before signing up for a bonus. After all, the good-old saying says that only fools rush in.
Once you accept the bonus, there is no going back. So, read the fine print first! Do your homework and make sure you understand the rules stated in the Terms & Conditions.
If something is unclear, speak to Customer Support! The best New Jersey online casinos will provide you with all the information you need. By following these steps, you can make the most out of bonus offers and leave a casino with pockets full of cash.