Understanding the rules when accepting bonus money from deposit matching codes

One of the more controversial topics discussed in online gambling forums is whether or not you should use promotional deposit matching codes when you make a deposit.  A good portion of experienced players will tell you that the rules that come with the bonus money codes make them not worth it.   In my opinion that is not correct if you understand the rules and the rules don´t require you to do anything you wouldn´t want to do.   But if you do use a promotion bonus code and accept bonus money it is vital that you read the restrictions and completely understand them… and that is the purpose of this article.  Before we get into it, it is important to know that every casino has different rules, and even if they have the same rule, they might implement it differently than other casinos.  In this article we will try to show you all of the most common variations of each restriction.

To get things started, we will talk about the most devastating of all of the rules, the ´ restricted games´ rule.  The reason this rule is so devastating is that if you break it, you forfeit your winnings, end of story.  With the other restrictions, if you break a rule or don´t meet a requirement, it usually means you just have to play longer until you can cash-out.    When you accept bonus money, it almost always comes with some type of restrictions on what games you can play.   The most common example is that you can only use bonus money to play Slot Machines ( and sometimes a couple other games like Keno and Scratch Cards).   It is also important to know that almost always they will disallow progressive slot machines ( big jackpot slot machines).  If you accept a bonus code that only allows you to play Slot Machines and you play another game, when you go to cash-out they will nullify your winnings even if you didn´t win any money on the prohibited game.  Many Casinos also offer ´all games allowed´ bonus codes,  but make sure to read the fine print, because despite this label of ´all games allowed´  most of them still prohibit you from playing progressive slots.   It is not uncommon for casinos to offer you two promotion codes, a larger matching code that can only be used on slots, and then a much lower matching code that can be used on any game. Another piece of information is that the casino will NOT tell you that you are about to break your restrictions, in other words, prohibited games are just as available in the casino as allowed games.

The next restriction is the wagering requirement ( sometimes called play-through requirement).  You can identify this immediately because it will look like 35x  or 55x or some other number with an X behind it.   What this means is that before you can cash-out you must wager 35x´s the amount of your money.  There are two different ways casinos setup this rule, the most common method is that it would be  35x´s your deposit and bonus money.  So if you deposited $50 and were given a 100% match of $50 your account would have $100 in it, this means your total wagering would have to be $3500 before you could cash-out.  There are some casino that do it slightly different where only the bonus money gets multiplied by the wagering requirement.  So in some casinos, your wagering requirement would only be 35x the $50 (not the full $100) which of course is a better deal for you.  The majority of casinos use the first method where both your deposit and bonus money get multiplied but it is something to keep in mind when choosing between two casinos.

Now things are going to get a little difficult as we talk about getting credit towards the wagering requirement.  We talked about restricted games, and in the case where you are restricted to only slot machines, this paragraph doesn´t really apply since you will always be given full credit.  But for promotion bonuses that allow ´all games´ things are a bit tricky since each game will give you a different percentage of credit.  This is usually shown in a chart tucked away on some nearly hidden page.   Almost always, Slot Machines, Keno and Scratch cards will give you 100% credit, this means that every dollar you wager counts as a dollar towards your wagering requirement.  But from there the percentages fall and it is not uncommon to see games like Blackjack only giving 1% credit.  This means that for every dollar you wager in Blackjack, only $.01 of it gets counted towards your wagering requirement.  Obviously this chart and the percentages are based off of the house-advantage of that particular game.  It is important to know that this does not affect your actual gambling in any way, it only affects how fast you will meet your wagering requirement and be able to cash-out.  If you accept a promotion code for an ´all games´ bonus and you only play Blackjack, you will be there a long time before you meet the wagering requirement.

And now we get to the fun topic of cashing out, which often have their own casino restrictions and then on top of that some restrictions that come from accepting bonus money.  The most common cash-out restriction after accepting bonus money is a bonus specific max cash-out amount.  Many casinos do not have this at all, only their normal casino max cash-out applies.  When a casino does have an extra maximum cash-out restriction with bonus money, it is usually a set amount like $100 or $250, but at other times it is a multiplier of your deposit amount, like 10 x deposit amount.  Some casinos even do something funny like having their minimum cash-out amount be the same amount as their maximum cash-out amount…. so no matter what, you can only cash out $100 at a time.  The final issue concerning cash-outs after using bonus money is if the bonus money is removed.  I would say in the majority of cases the bonus money is removed from your account when you cash-out, but there are a handful of casinos where I have seen that once you meet the wagering requirement, the bonus money is all yours.

As you can see, there are a lot of moving parts which make it nearly impossible to compare one casino to another.  Is a 500% matching bonus that can only be used on slot machines, has a 50x wagering requirement and is removed when you cashout  better than a 100% matching bonus that can be used on any game and has a 35x wagering requirement and can be cashed out?   The answer is difficult, but it is important to do the research and understand the restrictions before using a deposit bonus code.