The South African online casino market has been growing dramatically in recent years, and as more and more operators go online, the fight to attract new customers and to retain regular players has become intense. Online casinos use many different incentives to attract customers, and one of the most popular is the bonus. These bonuses, usually offered to new players, but sometimes available to existing players, come in different forms, but they also come with terms and conditions attached. These are known as wagering requirements.
Welcome and No Deposit Bonuses
There are two main types of bonus offered by South African online casinos. A welcome bonus is a bonus provided to draw in new customers, and is usually awarded to the player after they have signed up and deposited money in their account. A no-deposit bonus is rarer and is given to players who sign up with an online casino, but does not require them to make a deposit before receiving the bonus. No-deposit bonuses tend to be smaller than welcome bonuses, but both types of bonus come with wagering requirements.
The most obvious wagering requirement associated with bonuses is that you are not allowed to withdraw the bonus amount straight away. This makes sense when you think about it, as casinos want you to play their games, and if players could withdraw their bonuses immediately, this would amount to a free money giveaway. That sounds good for players, but it isn’t realistic to expect casinos to operate in that way. They are businesses, after all.
So when can you withdraw the bonus? In most cases, you will be required to ‘play through’ the bonus a certain number of times. To put it simply, you will need to wager a set level of money while playing the casino’s games in order to be able to cash out any funds, including your bonus. This play-through level is not usually expressed as an amount of money, but as a multiplier. For example, let’s say that the terms and conditions of your bonus offer say that the play-through figure is x15. That means that you will have to wager the amount of your bonus multiplied by 15 before you can cash it out.
One thing to bear in mind when considering the play-through multiplier is that you are not required to lose this amount, you are only required to stake it. To take an example, let’s say you make a deposit at a new casino of R200 and the casino gives you a welcome bonus of R200 with a play-through requirement of x15. That means you will not be able to cash your bonus out until you have staked R200 x 15 = R3000 while playing the casinos games, but it does not mean that you have to lose R3000!
It is also worth noting that the size of the typical multiplier has been steadily increasing in recent years. At one time, play-through requirements of x25 were standard, but that figure is now more likely to be around x30 or even x40.
When considering wagering requirements attached to any bonus offer, it is important not just to look at the play-through multiplier, but also to consider something called the percentage contribution. This refers to the extent that any money wagered on a particular casino game will count towards the required play-through figure. Most casinos will add some restrictions that mean playing some games will not count very much towards the play-through amount.
For example, slots games usually make a 100 percent contribution towards the play-through requirement, but table games like Roulette, Craps and Blackjack usually make a smaller contribution, which in some cases can be as low as 10 percent. This means that it will take a lot longer to reach the play-through requirement figure if you stick to table games. The reason for this imbalance is that the table games are less profitable for the casino, and they naturally want you to spend longer playing slots, which give them a greater edge.
While most online casinos will apply this percentage contribution rule to their bonus offers, the percentage level varies from site to site so it’s worth shopping around if you are considering which bonus offer to take advantage of.
No-one likes to have to deal with terms and conditions when taking up an offer, but providing you take the time to study the details of wagering requirements before taking up any bonus offers, you will avoid any unpleasant surprises. In South Africa’s competitive online casino market, casino operators are coming up with ever more generous bonus offers, and, as long as you do your homework, these bonuses can be turned to your advantage.