Bonuses are one of the best parts of online gaming. In some cases, you can earn bonuses worth up to $500 or more!
Of course, gaming sites don’t gleefully hand you the money with no strings attached. They want you to earn bonus funds by meeting terms and conditions.
Playthrough is one of the most important aspects of satisfying terms and conditions. You want the lowest playthrough (a.k.a. rollover) possible when chasing bonuses.
But what exactly constitutes low playthrough? The following guide answers this question while also covering the intricacies of rollover.
What Is Playthrough?
While every term behind an online casino bonus deal is important, rollover takes center stage. It determines how much you’ll need to gamble before withdrawing a bonus.
Casinos express playthrough as a multiple of the bonus. In some cases, they also list it as a multiple of the bonus plus deposit.
Here are examples on how this concept works:
- Example #1: Multiple of the bonus
- Playthrough is 20x the bonus
- You qualify for a $100 bonus
- 100 x 20 = $2,000 must be wagered
- Example #2: Multiple of the bonus plus deposit
- Playthrough is 20x the bonus + deposit
- You deposit $100 and qualify for a $100 bonus
- ([100 + 100] x 20 = $4,000 must be wagered
You should definitely know which model is used before depositing. After all, you don’t want to fund your account and suddenly be surprised when rollover is double what you expected.
Example #1 applies to most casino offers. However, some gaming sites throw a curveball and base rollover on a multiple of the deposit and bonus.
Casino Bonuses That Feature Playthrough
Online casinos attach rollover to a wide variety of offers. Below, you can see the main bonuses at online casinos along with how playthrough applies.
No-deposit bonuses are highly coveted among online gamblers. As the name implies, they don’t require you to place deposits.
Instead, you simply register for an account and receive a bonus. The only cost to you is the time it takes to finish registration.
After you’ve registered and received a bonus, you need to satisfy rollover and other terms and conditions. You keep what’s left over from the bonus, and any winnings, after meeting playthrough.
- You sign up at an online casino.
- The casino gives you a $10 no-deposit bonus.
- Playthrough is 30x.
- 30 x 10 = $300 must be wagered.
- You have $7 left over after completing rollover.
At most casinos, $7 isn’t enough to meet the minimum withdrawal. The point, though, is that the $7 is now yours to gamble with or cash out (if possible). Basically, you’ve earned free money.
With a match bonus, casinos match your deposit by a certain percentage. In many cases, they offer you a 100% match on a deposit.
After depositing, you must meet rollover and other terms just like with the other bonuses covered here. The difference, though, is that you get to cash out the bonus in a lump sum—not just winnings or what’s left over.
Here’s an example on how a match bonus works:
- A gaming site offers a 100% match bonus worth up to $1,000.
- You deposit $600 and qualify for a $600 bonus.
- Playthrough is 30x.
- 600 x 30 = $18,000 must be wagered.
- You can withdraw the bonus after wagering $18k.
Casinos give out free spins through no-deposit bonuses or even as part of match bonuses. Free spins let you play real money slots without spending any of your own money.
You’ll accumulate winnings through these spins, which can be withdrawn after satisfying terms and conditions. You keep what’s left of the winnings afterward.
Here’s an example:
- You receive 30 free spins.
- You generate $35 through these free games.
- Playthrough is 20x.
- 35 x 20 = $700 must be wagered.
Rather than offering match bonuses, some casinos reward your deposits with cashback. The latter refers to when gaming sites give back a percentage of your losses up to a certain amount.
For example, they might offer you 10% cashback over your first seven days of play. You still need to meet rollover, though, before receiving the cashback.
Here’s an example:
- A casino offers you 10% cashback up to $100.
- This deal lasts for the first three days after you deposit.
- You lose $75 within the first three days.
- Playthrough is 10x.
- 75 x 10 = $750 must be wagered.
- You’ll receive the $75 back after wagering another $750.
Free Live Blackjack Bet
In an effort to get you to try live dealer blackjack, some casinos will give you a free bet. For instance, you might receive a $25 free wager that’s restricted to live dealer blackjack.
These “free” bets provide an opportunity to earn back losses (if you lose). You need to meet terms and conditions before getting the money back.
Here’s an example:
- A live-dealer casino offers you a $25 free wager.
- You bet $25 and lose.
- Playthrough is 20x.
- 25 x 20 = $500 must be wagered.
Why Do Online Casinos Attach Rollover to Bonuses?
Gaming sites offer bonuses for two main reasons:
- Tempt you into making a first-time deposit.
- Retain your loyalty.
Of course, online casinos can’t just offer deals with no strings attached. Otherwise, you or anybody else could deposit, get the bonus, and withdraw everything immediately.
Casinos use playthrough and other terms to force you into actually earning the funds. They may end up losing big to you when the bonus and winnings are accounted for. But as long as they make you play for the bonus funds, then they aren’t merely handing you the money.
Rollover Differs Greatly Among Regulated and Offshore Casinos
An offshore online casino is one that doesn’t obtain licensing in the jurisdiction(s) where it operates. For example, many gaming sites that serve the US and Canada are the offshore variety.
These casinos aren’t necessarily shady or untrustworthy from a player’s perspective. They just haven’t taken the steps become licensed.
A regulated gaming site, meanwhile, does obtain licensing in most or all of the jurisdictions where it operates. For example, casinos that obtain licensing from the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board are regulated.
The main reason for the discrepancy is that regulated casinos are in newer markets. They provide more generous bonuses because they’re in the customer acquisition phase.
Offshore sites try to acquire new customers too. However, the offshore gaming industry has existed for a quarter century and, thus, no longer feels the need to wow players with overly generous deals.
What’s Considered Low Bonus Playthrough?
The lowest available playthrough is 1x. If you qualify for a $100 bonus with 1x rollover, for example, then you’ll only need to wager $100.
Before regulated markets launched in the US, I thought that these sorts of deals were unheard of. They now exist at certain regulated casinos.
Of course, any casino that offers bonuses with 1x playthrough is losing money to the average player. Therefore, most gaming sites require rollover that’s at least 5x to 10x the bonus.
You can still benefit greatly from deals with 5x to 10x playthrough. You especially stand a good chance of profiting by playing slots with high RTP.
When dealing with offshore casinos (e.g. those licensed in Costa Rica, Belize, Antigua, etc.), you’ll normally deal with rollover ranging from 30x to 50x.
Obviously, you’ll want to go for the bonuses in regulated markets if you can. Assuming this isn’t possible though, then 30x to 40x playthrough in an offshore market is your next best bet.
Other Bonus Terms and Conditions to Consider
Rollover isn’t the only aspect that you need to consider when going after bonuses. Here are some other important terms and conditions that must be met:
- Claim bonus – You must visit your account and hit the claim button to activate the offer.
- Playthrough timeframe – Casinos usually give you 30 to 90 days to satisfy rollover.
- Bonus code – Some gaming sites require you to enter a specific bonus code to qualify.
- Maximum bet – You can’t bet over a certain amount (e.g. $150) with an active bonus.
- Game restrictions – Some games with high RTP are restricted, or feature higher playthrough.
- Minimum withdrawal – Most casinos require you to withdraw at least $10 at a time.
These are just general terms and conditions that you’ll deal with. I suggest you visit the terms and conditions section of whatever casino you’re playing at to find the exact terms.
Low rollover provides an easier path towards bonus funds. The quicker you can meet playthrough, the faster you’ll be able to cash out.
For the time being, regulated online casinos provide the lowest rollover. You can find some deals with just 1x playthrough in these markets!
Of course, not everybody lives in or near a regulated state. In this case, you should look for offshore casino bonuses with 30x, 35x, or 40x rollover. Anything above this isn’t a good deal.