Player Beware! Tricky Terms in Casino Bonus Offers

Your Casino Bonus Deal Might Not be as Good as it Seems

Online casinos advertise enticing bonuses to attract new players. Often, when you examine the details (the terms and conditions or ‘small print’), you’ll find that these bonuses are not as good as they seem.

This page covers some of the common tricky terms that casinos use. Once you know what to look out for, you’ll be in a much better position to find genuinely good bonus offers. There are a lot of different traps to watch out for. These involve excessive play-through (wagering) requirements, non-cashable bonuses, caps on what you can win, weightings and even banned games.

You should also make sure you have enough time to take full advantage of an offer. Many casino bonuses expire before you have a chance to complete them.

Below you’ll find more details on the traps to avoid, and how to spot the best casino bonuses!

#1 Excessive Play-Through Requirements

Wagering or play-through requirements are put in place to prevent ‘hit and run’ play from bonus hunters. You will see 20x to 50x play-through required before you can withdraw any bonus money. When these numbers are low, it makes sense for both the player and the casino. Some casinos make these so high, that it is almost impossible to complete them.

You should look out for whether play-through is based on the bonus amount only, or the deposit + bonus amount together. The very best bonuses are in the 20x (combined) or 35x (bonus only) range. Anything at 50x or more (especially ‘combined’) is too high. I’d recommend looking elsewhere unless there are other incentives involved.

#2 – Non-Cashable Bonuses

Some bonus money can’t be withdrawn. Terms like ‘bonus money for play only’, or ‘uncashable’ will alert you to these. You can play with the bonus money, though only up until you make your first withdrawal, at which point that bonus money disappears.

#3 – Restricted Winnings

This term applies to free spin bonus offers more than it does to cash bonuses. For example, you might find an offer for 50 free spins on an online slot. When you examine the small print you’ll often find a combination of restricted winnings and play-through requirements. $100 is common, though anything less than this seriously reduces the value of these offers. When you add a 50x play-through, then you need to get very lucky to withdraw any benefits.

#4 – Weightings and Banned Games

Some casinos have a list of games that you can’t play while clearing a bonus. If you so much as spin that roulette wheel (for example), your bonus will disappear. Worse still, you’ll only find out about it when you go to make a withdrawal…

More common are weightings, which apply to wagering requirements. These can include zero weighted games, where your play does not count at all towards bonus clearing. Many casinos put low-edge table games at 10% to 25%.

#5 – Withdrawal Minimums / Costs

Cashier issues are not only associated with your welcome bonuses, though it is worth checking them out before you play. I am referring to casinos with high minimum withdrawals, often £100 or more. Even worse are casinos with high charges for withdrawing your money. Some casinos charge for bank wires. Withdrawal restrictions can often strike at the top end too. Many smaller online casinos have $2000 / week maximums. If you are a high-stakes player, this could quickly become a problem.

I’ll finish up on a positive.

Once you know what kind of tricks and traps to look out for, you’ll be able to spot a bad bonus a mile away. By focusing on the deals with decent terms, there is nothing to stop you growing a big casino bankroll.


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Updated: March 23, 2018 — 4:44 pm is for 18+ only - Read ALL offers terms and Conditions - Gambling Problems? visit

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