💰 The Math Behind Casino Bonuses
Casino bonuses are a funny old thing.
On the one hand, they’re often advertised as the best thing since sliced bread with huge offers plastered over the homepage of online casinos. But dig a little deeper and players will often find that the bonus they signed up for isn’t exactly as it first seemed.
But players are often left disappointed when finding the deposits that they’re pumping into the sites are unlikely to be seen in their bank accounts again.
There are countless common tricks and truth bendings used by online casinos that players need to be vigilant of if they don’t want to part with their hard-earned cash for peanuts in return.
Welcome to the math behind casino bonuses – it’s time to learn what to look out for and how you can stop yourself signing up for a bogus deal.
Terms and conditions - what’s in the small print
Everything that players need to know about the bonuses can be found in the small print (the terms and conditions).
However, unless you’ve got a law degree, the jargon and incredible dull wording of these terms and conditions are enough to put anyone off reading more than three or four lines. It’s not exactly recommended, but we’re all guilty of it.
So what should we be looking for in the T&C’s to make sure the bonuses are exactly what’s being advertised?
First up are wagering requirements, arguably the most important of the terms used inside the conditions of any gaming bonus.
Wagering requirements will usually be quoted as a multiplied figure (e.g. 35x) and tells the player how many times their deposit much be wagered before they are able to withdraw their funds.
For example, If the wagering requirements are at 35x and a player deposits $10 they are then required to wager a total of $350 before any funds can be withdrawn.
However, depending on the casino and the bonus, these wagering requirements may be enforced on just the deposit ($10), just the bonus (say $20) or a combination of the two bonus + deposit ($10 + $20). If a player earns a 200% deposit bonus ($10), that’s $30 worth of funds with a 35x wagering requirement.
It quickly adds up and if you’re looking at a total wager of $1,500 before any funds can be cashed out, it’s not going to be easy.
A match percentage bonus offer gives players the chance to claim a percentage of their deposit rather than a fixed bonus.
Match percentages range from as little as 10% to as high as 1000% depending on the casino and bonus in question.
For example, if a casino offers a 250% match bonus, players depositing $10 will receive a further $25 in bonus funds. If they deposit $20, they’re able to claim $50 – it works on a sliding scale and is often the favorite method of bonus creation for online casinos.
For the majority of these bonuses, minimum and maximum deposits will hold true and players will tend to see larger wagering requirements with the bonuses offering the largest percentages.
Although wagering requirements are the most important part of the terms and conditions, they can’t always be trusted thanks to the game contribution table.
The game contribution will limit some games from counting to the overall wagering requirement necessary to cash out the bonus.
Table: An example game contribution table counting towards the wagering requirement
For example, in the table above, players can see that 100% of funds wagered on slots games will count towards the wagering requirements.
However, if the bonus funds are used in blackjack, only 10% of that wager will count towards the wagering requirement, meaning 10x the amount wagered in slots is required to cash out.
Min and max bet rules
Minimum and maximum bet rules are exactly what they say on the tin – they’re minimum and maximum bet guidelines enforced by the online casino for bonus fund use.
The minimum and maximum betting rules are often the responsibility of the player, not the casino and with minimal measures to prevent a player betting over the maximum, the bonus funds can be taken away just as quickly as they were given.
The minimum and maximum bet rules, just like everything, will vary from bonus to bonus and casino to casino so it’s always a good idea to check the small print to see where they land.
Min and max deposits
Almost every casino bonus will stem from a first deposit, simply to ensure that players have skin in the game and to prevent new players from abusing the bonus system.
A minimum deposit will tend to apply to qualify for the bonus, usually ranging between $5 and $20 but can be smaller or larger depending on the casino and bonus.
Similarly, a maximum deposit may also be enforced, preventing players from depositing large sums of money to claim large bonuses. Again, these vary from casino to casino and can be as small as $20 or as large as $1,000.
A case study - Spin Station
We’ve got the definitions all worked out, so let’s take our newly found knowledge into a real-world example with one of the latest bonuses from SpinStation.
The site offers a $1250 welcome bonus with an additional 100 spins for new players which sounds incredible off the bat, but let’s have a look at the fine print to see what’s actually required to the players to claim these funds.
#1 A bonus over three deposits
Straight away we see that instead of a single large bonus, this offer from Spinstation is split into three separate parts:
- First deposit – 100% Match Bonus up to $250 plus 20 spins on Starburst
- Second deposit – 50% Match Bonus up to $500 plus 50 spins on Gonzo’s Quest
- Third deposit – 75% Match Bonus up to $500 plus 30 spins on Twin Spin
It might seem a little deceiving at first, but this is a typical format for casino bonuses to follow.
#2 Match bonuses
If we take the maximum bonus for our first example and quickly do the math, players will find the following:
- First deposit – 100% up to $250 = $250 deposit
- Second deposit – 50% up to $500 = $1000 deposit
- Third deposit – 75% up to $500 = $665 deposit
That means players will have to deposit a grand total of $1917 ($250 + $1,000 + $667) in order to claim the full $1250 bonus – no longer sounding all that good is it?
Players looking to claim the bonus by depositing the bare minimum will find themselves required to deposit $20 for each of the three deposits, yielding the following bonuses:
- First deposit – 100% of a $20 deposit = $20 bonus
- Second deposit – 50% of a $20 deposit = $10 bonus
- Third deposit – 75% of a $20 deposit = $15 bonus
Totalling the bonus funds from a $60 deposit, players will receive a $45 ($20 + $10 + $15) bonus.
#3 Wagering requirements
Players will find a wagering requirement in terms and conditions of 35x across each of the first three deposits of the initial value of the bonus fund + the cash deposit.
So, if we take our maximum bonus as an example, players will find the following wagering requirements:
- First deposit – 35x ($250 + $250) = $17,500
- Second deposit – 35x ($500 + $1,000) = $52,500
- Third deposit – 35x ($500 + $667) = $40,845
That means players will have to wager a grand total of $110,845 ($17,500 + $52,500 + $40,845) before they’re able to even cash out any of their bonus funds.
If we take the same into account for the minimum deposits, we’ll see the following:
- First deposit – 35x ($20 + $20) = $1,400
- Second deposit – 35x ($20 + $10) = $1,050
- Third deposit – 35x ($20 + $15) = $1,225
Meaning that players are required to wager a total of $3675 ($1400 + $1050 + $1225) before they’re able to withdraw any of their bonus funds.
#4 Game contribution
Naturally, wagering a minimum of $3,675 (or a maximum of $110,845) isn’t quite enough security for casinos.
To look after their bonuses just that little bit more, a game contribution, limiting the available games that can be played with the bonus funds, is enforced, as shown below:
#5 Min and max bet with bonus
Players making wagers with their bonus funds must also be mindful of the maximum bets that they’re placing as these are also subject to specific T&C’s.
The wording of this clause is particularly important, highlighting that the maximum bet is the player’s responsibility and indicating that there are no systems in place to prevent players from making errors:
“The maximum bet for any of your bonus funds is limited to $5. Should you bet higher than this using your bonus funds, you revoke such bonus funds and they shall be removed from your account.”
If players don’t make a habit of reading through the terms and conditions, it can be easy to miss a detail such as this which can instantly result in the removal of funds from their account.
#6 Additional free spins
The bonus available at Spin Station doesn’t just let players claim a match bonus over their first three deposit, it also offers 100 free spins to compliment the offer split as followed:
- First deposit – 20 spins on Starburst
- Second deposit – 50 spins on Gonzo’s Quest
- Third deposit – 30 spins on Twin Spin
Although the free spins section of the terms and conditions is usually much smaller and less detailed than the requirements for the match bonus, they shouldn’t be overlooked as it just takes the one line for a bonus to be changed entirely.
In this case, players will find just one salient line letting players know that winnings from bonus spins are to be capped at $100.
With 100 free spins available, there is a chance to claim a small profit.
♥ Casino Bonus List
Below you’ll find a list of our favourite casinos that offer a reliable and safe playing experience, but also some valuable deposit bonuses.