Bonus Abuse - How to Avoid Your Winnings being Forfeited

No deposit bonuses are some of the best bonuses you could get from online casinos. Essentially, the casino is offering you free funds or free play for no money upfront--and what's not to like about that? However, such bonuses, as well as many other first deposit and free spin bonuses, usually come with a long list of terms and conditions. Violate one of those terms, and the online casino has the right to take away not only your bonus, but all associated winnings as well. Obviously, we'd like to avoid this so that we can enjoy our bonuses as much as possible. In this article, we'll go over some of the most important things you should be aware of in order to avoid having your bonuses and associated winnings forfeited.

Keeping Winnings

Understand The Terms Through And Through

It can be extremely tempting to see a juicy bonus and want to capitalize on it immediately. However, before committing yourself to any bonus, you absolutely have to go over all the relevant terms and conditions that apply. Normally, online casinos will have a general page which will list out their terms and conditions for all bonuses that they offer. However, specific bonuses may have their own terms and conditions in addition to the general ones. Finally, things like withdrawal limits and game rules may also have a relevant effect on your bonuses.

As you read through the terms and conditions, pay close attention to the following common terms that will affect your bonuses:

  • Wagering Requirements
  • Game Weighting and Max Bets
  • Deposit and Withdrawal Requirements

We'll take a look at each category in the following sections here at, and then devise a final strategy for you to apply to any bonus you come across in the future.

Keeping Bonus Winnings

Meet the Wagering Requirements to Keep Your Winnings

Nowadays, just about every bonus will come with wagering requirements. Simply put, this is an amount you need to wager if you want to be able to withdraw the bonus and all associated earnings. Wagering requirements come in many forms.

Playthrough Requirements

A playthrough requirement is the amount that you must wager before being eligible to withdraw any bonus funds. At most online casinos, these are commonly expressed as a multiple of the bonus amount. For example, let's say that an online casino offered you a very generous no deposit bonus of $50 for creating a player account. However, in the terms and conditions, they mention a wagering requirement of 20x the bonus amount. This means that you would have to make the equivalent of $1,000 in wagers at the casino before you're allowed to withdraw any portion of the original bonus $50. This would actually be very generous as even the no deposit bonus at 888 Casino has a 30x wagering requirement.

Playthrough requirements are there to skew the odds back in favor of the house. It generally doesn't make sense for casinos to offer free funds to new customers, but by enforcing high playthrough requirements, it's more likely than not for the casino to get their money back. As we saw in the evolutuon of no deposit bonuses this is still okay because there's no upfront risk, but be wary of this if you choose to accept a bonus that involves a deposit. If the playthrough requirement is extremely high (i.e. 20x or greater), it may not make sense for you to pursue the bonus.

Time Requirements

In addition to the playthrough requirement, many bonuses also have a time requirement that forces players to make these wagers within a certain amount of time. For example, an online casino may offer 10 free spins a day, every day, for 10 days after you make your first initial deposit. However, the terms may also stipulate that you must use your 10 free spins each day, otherwise they will be forfeited.

Other casinos may put a time requirement on their weekly bonuses as well. For example, say that a casino offers a 100% deposit match up to $50 every single Wednesday. However, you must wager the bonus 10x within 3 days, otherwise you'll forfeit the bonus. This means that if you deposit $50, you'll get a bonus $50, but you must wager $500 within 3 days to be able to make a withdrawal. If you find a time requirement on your bonus that's difficult to achieve, you may choose to pass on it.

Game Requirements

Finally, a bonus may have restrictions on what games you're allowed to wager it on. For example, an online casino may offer a $100 deposit match when you deposit at least $300. However, the terms say that only specific slot machines will count towards fulfilling the playthrough requirement. This is often a technique that casinos will use to direct players towards new games, or perhaps games with lower RTPs (Return to Player). In such cases, it's good to do some research on the allowed games and their RTPs. If they are too low, we'd recommend avoiding those bonuses.

Keep Your Winnings

Game Weighting and Max Bets

Whereas wagering requirements will usually show up in a general bonus terms and conditions page, game weighting and max bets may not be explicitly listed there. Instead, you might find them in specific terms about a particular bonus. Game weighting and max bets further complicate the bonus landscape, but we'll explain what each of them are.

Game Weighting

Game weighting simply refers to how much playing a particular game will count towards the playthrough requirement for a bonus. Typically, online casinos will have a 100% weighting on all slots, meaning that $1 wagered on a slots game will count $1 towards the requirement. However, they may also have a 10% on live blackjack games, meaning that the same $1 wager would only contribute $0.10 towards the requirement. It's no secret that casinos prefer you play slots - those often have the lowest RTPs. Assigning game weights is their way of steering you there, or forcing you to wager more than you'd like on a game of your choice. Be sure to check if your bonus has additional restrictions in the form of game weighting, as this can affect your betting strategy and whether you can keep your winnngs.

Max Betting

In addition to game weighting, you should note down the max bets that each game will allow. One aspect of this is the game itself: the games that you play may have a maximum wager amount. However, the more important aspect of this is related to the bonus: for example, the bonus terms may state that the max amount you can bet on any slots game is $100. This is to prevent players from wagering a huge amount on just a few games in order to quickly satisfy a wagering requirement. Be very careful with max bets - the bonus may list this as a requirement, but the game itself will not warn you if you violate this term. Luckily, most of the best sites like Jackpot City Casino will be very clear with their terms.

Bonus Forfeit

Deposit and Withdrawal Requirements

Another thing to pay close attention to are specific deposit and withdrawal limits related to your bonus. Sometimes, these can be different from the regular listed limits.

Deposit Requirements

Sometimes, casinos will limit the deposit methods you're allowed to use for bonuses. Although this isn't too common, certain deposit methods, such as Neteller and Skrill, are occasionally ruled out for claiming bonuses. This is because those e-wallets are more commonly associated with bonus abuse; some people take advantage of specific loopholes to cash out bonuses despite violating some terms and conditions. If Neteller and Skrill are your primary deposit methods, you may have to resort to something else to be eligible for certain real money bonuses.

In addition, with cryptocurrency on the rise, many online casinos are encouraging crypto deposits. Casinos may structure new promotions centered around free bitcoin. In these cases, it makes sense that they would limit deposit methods to cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin or Ethereum.

Withdrawal Requirements

Withdrawals are where the most players get surprised. Imagine that you've finally satisfied those wagering requirements and are finally ready to cash out your winnings... but then, you notice that of the $2,000 in total bonuses and winnings, you're only allowed to cash out $1,000 per week. While this may not be a big deal in this scenario, this can significantly impact you if you end up winning a huge jackpot from bonus wagering. Having to slowly cash out $1,000 per week if you have $50,000, for example, would be a huge pain! Also, like deposit restrictions, there may be similar restrictions on methods used to make withdrawals. As a result, you should always take note of the withdrawal limits before you even accept a bonus.

Promo Winnings

General Strategy to Keep Your Bonus Winnings

In general, these three categories of requirements are going to be the ones that you'll come across most often. If this is the case, then we can devise our online gambling strategy around trying to get the most value out of each bonus, without falling victim to surprise terms and conditions. Here is a general strategy you can use to pick out the best bonuses, and avoid having them forfeited after accepting them.

Calculate Wagering Requirements

When wagering requirements are presented as multiples of a bonus amount, it can be harder to picture exactly how much it is you need to wager to keep your winnings. A much better way to visualize it is to simply calculate it out. Take the bonus amount, and multiply it by the wagering requirement. For example, if you're offered a $500 bonus with a 15x wagering requirement, 500 times 15 is $7,500 total.

If there is a time requirement, you can take this a step further by calculating exactly how much you need to wager per day or per week to stay on pace. Continuing off our previous example, if this bonus had a time requirement of 30 days, 7,500 divided by 30 is $250, meaning you'd need to average $250 per day in wagers to have this work out.

Finally, if there is additional game weighting involved, take those into consideration too. Suppose slots are weighted 100%, while live poker is weighted 25%. This means that you'd still need to wager $7,500 total if you only played slots, while you'd need $30,000 wagered in poker.

The point of all this is to open your eyes to the reality of how much you need to wager in order to satisfy all wagering requirements. Once you see all the numbers laid out in front of you, then you can decide whether it makes practical sense to take on a bonus or not.

Choose Low Volatility Slots

When trying to satisfy online casino bonus requirements, playing slots is often a good approach, since they're usually always weighted 100%. However, you don't want to just pick up on any slots game, even if they're the most popular as advertised by the casinos. Instead, go for low volatility slots.

In online slots, low volatility simply means that there are more chances of earning small wins, but also reduced chances of earning big wins. In other words, they offer more steady, reliable payouts. While the jackpots are much lower, this is still the optimal strategy for satisfying wagering requirements. That's because reliable payouts means smaller losses, longer playtime, and higher chances of having your bonus funds take you to the wagering requirement without it depleting. Also, due to possible withdrawal requirements, you may not be able to fully withdraw a high jackpot anyway.

For online games, you can determine the overall volatility of a slot machine by figuring out its RTP. A higher RTP will typically mean a lower volatility slot. Game manufacturers are required to disclose the RTP, so do your research.

Know When to Forfeit the Bonus

Unfortunately, there comes a time when you should know when to stop pursuing a bonus. Keep in mind that most bonus structures are still heavily favoring the house - you coming out on top is less likely than the house winning more of your money. Because of this, if you end up sustaining losses beyond your bonuses, it may be best to give up on pursuing the bonus and simply forfeit it.

This is essentially a risk-reward game depending on how far you've progressed with a particular bonus. For example, say that you need to wager 10x of a $500 bonus, meaning $5,000 total. Throughout your gambling, you lose all $500 of your bonus, and you've only wagered a total of $1,000. Is it worth going into your own deposits to try and wager $4,000 more (and possibly sustaining further losses), just to pursue the bonus? Probably not. On the other hand, if you've already wagered $4,800, perhaps gambling on the final $200 could mean a big payout.

You should never accept any casino bonus without knowing all the terms and conditions that come attached. As we've seen in this article, this can include a number of wagering requirements, betting restrictions, withdrawal limits, and possibly more. While bonuses are definitely exciting to collect and enjoy, be sure you're not getting caught off guard by any of these requirements. For the current best active no deposit bonuses in Canada, click here.