First of all: Those who generally play without a casino bonus do not need to give this any thought when staking real money in an online casino. However, the following information is intended for those players who want to participate with a slots bonus.
What is a slots bonus?
Strictly speaking, there is no typical slots bonus. The reason: unless a bonus is specifically designed for another category of casino games (e.g. table games), it can generally be used with online slots. At the same time, every real money stake on slots is offset against the wagering requirement (100% playthrough). This is explained below.
What does 100% playthrough mean?
Real money staked in an online casino counts towards bonus wagering requirements. Depending on the terms of the bonus conditions, the bonus received (and often also the actual deposit) must be wagered several times over on casino games in order to achieve the minimum wagering requirements – further information can be found here.
However, stakes do NOT generally qualify with all games or groups of games, such as table games or video poker. This is due to the low house edge for the casino, for example, with games such as blackjack. The reason: Players potentially have better odds of releasing a bonus with table games. For this reason, real money stakes on table games often do not or only partially count towards the playthrough requirement.
Slot machines and other games such as Keno, on the other hand, are games with a high house edge for the casino. The odds of winning on these games are purely a matter of luck and are therefore more profitable for the casino. For this reason, wagers on slots, Keno and lottery games etc. generally count in full (100% playthrough). Example: a $10 wager (or currency equivalent) will also contribute this value, unlike in table games where often only a maximum of 25% is offset: 25% of $10 = $2.50.
What to look out for with a slots bonus
As already pointed out, releasing a bonus on slot games is a straightforward task. However, various online casinos differ even in this sector. The following points should be noted:
- Some slot machines may not be amongst the games that are eligible.
- Sometimes various progressive jackpot slots are excluded.
- There are stake limits in most cases.
Please note: The points stated above should be considered as guidelines. Not every online casino automatically uses the limits that have been mentioned on their slots.
Many online casinos exclude various slots from their bonus conditions. In the majority of cases these are progressive slot machines or jackpot games. In rare cases, slots belonging to a specific software provider are also given different weightings. However, most casinos accept the majority of slots when it comes to playing through a bonus – but a glance at the casino’s terms and conditions is never a bad idea. The exclusion of individual titles also equally applies to table games, as can be read here.
Stake limits on online slots
Several providers set a maximum wager per spin/turn on their casino games, if a welcome bonus has been claimed. Either the limit is a set wager value or it is calculated as a percentage, see the example from an extract of rules below:
What is not permitted: Placing individual or several wagers with a value of more than 20% (example) of the claimed bonus amount in a single game, on a single hand or spin, in order to build up an account balance and to noticeably change the pattern of play (wager levels, selected games, wager structure, etc.) in order to meet the wagering requirements of the bonus.
Furthermore, wagers on games of chance are often also not offset, see the example set out in another extract of rules below:
The double-up (risk/gamble) function on any game does not count towards the wagering conditions.
Playing an ineligible slot machine
What happens when playing an ineligible game? That largely depends on the goodwill of the online casino and the bonus conditions. Various providers do not allow much leeway (for arguments) and consider stakes on non-qualified games as a misuse of the bonus (irregular play). In a worst-case scenario, bonus earnings gained by that time are annulled. In other cases, the casino simply does not count the real money stakes on ineligible games towards the playthrough requirements.
Note: It is generally inadvisable to play games that are not eligible / do not qualify – these are always listed in the casino’s terms and conditions. Those who still wish to play these games should contact the customer support team first to find out how casino wagers on these games are handled – see the above examples.