Do you remember the dawn of online gambling, when you could sign up for a casino and instantly grab a bonus in cash, as tangible as real winnings and crispy banknotes? Cherish those memories if you are lucky to have them because unfortunately, memories are the only thing left from those romantic times. Modern casinos will, of course, allow you to withdraw your hard-earned bonus, but only after you complete the so-called wagering requirements – a total amount of money that should be bet on specific casino games to unlock the bonus.

You may rightfully ask, why do casinos burden players with wagering requirements in the first place instead of continuing the lucrative practice of the predecessors? The answer is on the surface: for financial reasons. But let’s take a dive into the history of wagering and no-wagering concepts so that you get the lowdown.

The History Behind Wagering Requirements

Casinos introduced wagering requirements not because they wanted to mess with customers – it was just financially expedient. A long time ago, when no additional rules applied, bonus hunters abused casinos while having no intention to play for real money. No sooner than casinos started to lose money did they realize that something had to be done, and this is in short how wagering requirements spring into life. Yeah, as simple as that: even though not all online casinos offer wager-free bonuses, wagering requirements are quite understandable since they are a natural reaction to bonus abuse. Moreover, chances are these sometimes-overly-strict requirements would have never been invented it hadn’t been for ruthless bonus hunters that had abused the casinos’ generosity. Well, that is so not possible now, even though some casinos still offer no-wagering perks.

Why Hidden Wagering Requirement May Surprise You: the Overlooked Legal Aspects

The majority of respectable online casinos do not hesitate to point out to the bonus Terms & Conditions where you can find wagering requirements, but there are still gambling venues that state wagering requirements vaguely or hide them in some distant corner of the website. As a result, the player realizes he has to play through the bonus too late when the hard-earned money is already gone. Surprisingly, not everything is lost at this point: as long as you gamble at an accredited casino, you can file a complaint if you believe the wagering requirements were deliberately hidden from you or not clearly stated. However, that does depend on the jurisdiction.

Every jurisdiction plays by its own rules, but since most jurisdictions do share common sense and the UK Gambling Commission is the most reputable licensing entity in Europe, we are going to take the latter as an example. So, any online gambling operator willing to get a license from the UK Gambling Commission has to comply with the Gambling (Licensing and Advertising) Act 2014, which clearly states that all marketing incentives should be provided transparently and prominently to customers and at the point of sale. In other words, casinos are now allowed to use small prints or any other tricks to confuse players.

Wagering vs. No Wagering: What is Worth Playing?

Considering you haven’t fallen into the trap of hidden wagering requirements, the final question is, should you try to play through wagering requirements, or is it better to choose a rare yet existent no-wagering casino? To make the right choice, analyze what you need from the casino:

  • Interested in extracting bonuses and have no intention to spend real money? Then only no-wagering casinos suit you: even though no-wager free spins are an arguable casino offer, they are still free and can bring you real money that you can withdraw.
  • Interested in gambling for real money? Then you may have to look for bonuses with wagering requirements since they are more generous. Let’s compare: a no-wagering casino usually offers a welcome reward within a few dozen of dollars and/or the same number of free spins; a casino with a wagering system turned on may offer a 100%, 200%, or even 300% match bonus with, say, 10x, 20x, or 30x wagering, meaning you can instantly triple your deposit and then do your best at playing it through.
  • Peruse the T&Cs to make sure you are well-aware of the additional limitations imposed on wagering requirements (deadlines, included/excluded games, min/max bet limits, etc.).

Last but not least, steer clear of wagering requirements of 40x and worse since no matter the size of the bonus, there’s only a tiny chance for you to be lucky enough to play through 40x, 50x, or 60x.

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