Is This the Beginning of the End for Wagering Requirements?
Ah, wagering requirements. The scourge of many an online mobile casinos, or at least those who appreciate a bonus or two. They’ve been around as long as the bonuses that they leech onto, denying players access to winnings until they fulfil the necessary playthrough requirements. Times are changing though. Casinos are become more competitive and some are seeking out new ways of luring players away from competitors. Abandoning wagering requirements is one way that they can do that. And now, it looks like regulatory bodies are starting to join the fight too.
UK Gambling Commission
The first regulator to bare its teeth in the direction of wagering requirements is the UK Gambling Commission. As one of the most esteemed voices in the industry, they hold some weight – as well as the keys to the lucrative British market. Over the last few months, they’ve launched a series of concerted attacks on various marketing practices, with particular reference to bonuses. That’s brought wagering requirements into focus.
The Commission has argued, for examples, that ‘free spins’ aren’t really free at all unless they behave exactly like actual spins which a player buys him or herself. That means no maximum win ceilings, no minimum stake levels and, most obviously, no wagering requirements. They’ve paired with the Advertising Standards Agency for their latest investigation. The results were clear. Casinos shouldn’t impose wagering requirements unless they clearly state them, and they’ll enforce their recommendations if they must.
Competition Causes Change
The Commission’s recommendations aren’t that surprising giving their reputation. Some might even argue that intervention is overdue. However, online gaming can, like any other industry, be self-policing. Especially when it’s enjoying seemingly limitless growth and success. That all creates much more in the way of competition, with new online casinos appearing weekly looking for a piece of the pie.
It’s hard for the new casinos to compete without either a) a shed load of cash, b) a unique selling point or c) both. As a) and c) are unavailable to many, most are left with b). While there may not be anything unique about a casino bonus, sites can play around with the terms attached to them. That might just create the battleground that will kill off wagering requirements for good.
Free Spins Without Wagering Requirements
The signs of a developing trend are there already. It started when some pioneering online casinos started dropping wagering requirements from free spins offers. That’s the most obvious starting point in many ways, because the concept of wagering requirements doesn’t fit free spins as well as it fits a cash bonus.
If wagering requirements are attached to free spins, they effect a player’s winnings. So, for example, if a player has 10 free spins and wins £10 using them, but the spins are subject to x40 wagering requirements, he or she will need to stake £400 worth of bets (40x£10) before withdrawing any winnings that remain. Casinos can remove the requirement without exposing themselves to much risk if they impose other conditions such as minimum win amounts.
Cash Bonuses Without Wagering Requirements
The principle of free spins with no wagering requirements is gathering pace, and now it’s spreading to wider bonuses too. Some new online casinos have appeared promising no wagering requirements on any bonuses. Others have just rid themselves of traditional bonuses altogether to avoid any controversy.
It shows that the sites are willing to innovate, and they know only too well just how widely unpopular wagering requirements are with players. It’s not difficult to envisage a dominoes effect now that some sites are turning away from the more onerous terms and conditions of casino bonuses. Others are always likely to follow.
End of Wagering Requirements
Whether this spells the beginning of the end remains to be seen. It’s definitely progress though. The Gambling Commission’s focus on bonus terms and conditions is a potential game changer, at least in the UK market. Some online casinos have already changed the name of their free spins to satisfy the commission’s demands (extra spins and bonus spins are new terms in vogue). Others have just removed the demands they attach to the bonuses. Times are changing, and it’s good news for players.