Online Betting Bonuses Explained

9 September 2020 |

You have opened your online betting account and you are ready to place your first bet. How can you differentiate your real balance from your bonus balance? What are wagering requirements? Is this bonus attractive? These are all valid questions. Let us help you get to grips with online betting bonuses and bonus terms and conditions.

Your free bet paid out, time to withdraw your winnings…or not.

For once lady luck was on my side. A few of my horse racing bets had paid out handsomely and my balance was up by 4-times than what I had deposited. I could not believe it! Time for me to withdraw my winnings before I lost it on questionable bets like a volleyball game in Brazil or a hotly anticipated Call of Duty match between the Toronto Ultra and the Dallas Empire Esports teams.

I go to the cashier and I am ready to request my withdrawal. But it says my withdrawable balance is R0.00. How is this possible? I need to contact the help desk. Sounds familiar?

What the help desk usually responds with in cases like this is enough jargon that confuses you as much as a chameleon on a Smarties box. Words like, in breach of, playthrough or wagering requirements, bonus balance and sticky bonus all come to mind. And to new players, trying to withdraw their winnings, this can be both a confusing and disheartening experience.

But it does not have to be. Read on and let us explain how online betting bonuses work so you don’t have to feel cheated or confused.

Online Betting Bonuses – Terms and Conditions

Before you use your next online betting bonus, take some time to read and understand its terms and conditions. All licensed bookies will clearly show these directly on the promotions page or link to them. Bookmakers, who try to hide them away, are not recommended.

Some of the key questions to ask yourself are:

  • What is the qualifying criteria for you to get the bonus?
  • When is the promotion running?
  • Are any bets excluded from using your bonus on?
  • What are the play through/wagering requirements?
  • Is the bonus withdrawable or only the winnings generated from the bonus?
  • Do additional terms and conditions apply to the bonus?

The Terms & Conditions (T&Cs) Explained:

What is the qualifying criteria for you to get the bonus?

Bookmakers will always have specific criteria for a player to receive or qualify for a bonus. These requirements can vary. They range from the bonuses being available only to new players, how many times a player can receive a specific promotion, minimum and maximum deposit amounts, and more.

So make sure before you deposit to claim a bonus or place a certain bet that you are eligible. If unsure, ask support.

When is the promotion running?

Check the dates of a promotion. These can be the dates you need to place a bet to receive your free bet or when you need to make your qualifying deposit to receive your bonus. In addition, ensure you know when your bonus will be credited. Some campaigns could run over the weekend and hence qualifying accounts might be credited on Monday morning.

Some bonuses might also carry a specific period in which you need to have used it. This can range from 24 hours to 7 days or more. Not complying could result in the bonus, and any winnings you might have generated from playing with it, being removed from your account.

Are any bets excluded from using your bonus on?

There might be some restrictions on what you can use your free bet or bonus on. It’s not uncommon to see conditions such as betting on Lucky Numbers (High/Low) or Powa Numba (one ball) being excluded. Sometimes a bonus cannot be wagered on both/all markets in the same event.

These exclusions aim to ensure fairness. Bets like these can be seen as “no-risk” bets, meaning you can meet requirements without losing. It’s understandable why bookies do this, especially if you are using their money for your gain.

What are the play through/wagering requirements?

Wagering requirements, sometimes also referred to as play through requirements, can be explained as the multiple of times you will need to play with the bonus amount before you can withdraw any winnings from that bonus.

What you need to remember is that a bonus is in theory the bookmaker’s own money. They are giving you some of their money to play with and they stand the risk of losing. To limit their losses, they will ask you to wager or play the bonus through, for example 2 times.

Once you have met the wagering conditions, you are in the clear. This leads us nicely into our next point.

Is the bonus withdrawable or only the winnings generated from the bonus?

Non-withdrawable bonuses or sometimes also called sticky bonuses can be confusing but are relatively self explanatory. The bookie gives you a bonus, a freebie to play with. You play, meet the wagering requirements and generate some winnings. But before you request a withdrawal, the bonus amount you have received will be removed from your balance. This leaves you with only the winnings generated from the bonus which you can withdraw or place further bets with.

Some bookmaker platforms cater for different balances such as bonus balance and real balance. This makes it easy for a punter to differentiate between the amounts they can withdraw.

Do additional terms and conditions apply to the bonus?

In some instances bookmakers have additional sets of terms and conditions or definitions that might apply to a bonus offer. As these can be rather extensive, they usually include a clause along the lines of “standard terms and conditions apply” or “Sign Up Bet terms and conditions apply”. Be sure to check these and any associated conditions. You might not be eligible to receive a bonus you originally thought you qualified for.

Enjoy your free bets and bonuses!

For a new player it might all sound like a lot. But trust us. Once you get into the habit of reading and understanding the online betting bonus terms and conditions, you’ll enjoy receiving and playing with bonuses a great deal more. And who knows, sometimes even win with them.

You might ask what happened to my horse racing winnings. Well, after speaking to a very helpful support agent I learned that I had not yet met the wagering requirements. Luckily I did not have a lot to go. Hence, after placing a few more small bets, I managed to walk away with a handsome amount.

As much as betting is fun, remember that when the fun stops, so should you. Gamble responsibly.

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