The demand for sports wagering seemingly grows by the day and with loosening laws on the practice, that demand could keep climbing. A number of betting sites have popped up to meet that growing demand, but in turn, created a highly-competitive online market.
Born out of this competition has been many type of bonuses or promotions. Most popular among them are sign-up offers, where sites hand out free money to first-time bettors of that platform upon depositing money into their account. Yes, you read that right — free money!
But as you'll find out, that free money does come with some caveats, mainly in the form of rollover requirements.
Deposit Rollover or Wagering Requirements
Ok so what exactly is this rollover requirement that we speak of?
It's a minimum amount of money you have to wager with that betting site before you're allowed to cash out any funds from your account.
Rollover requirements are typically expressed with multipliers like 3X, 5X, or 8X. These numbers mean the rollover that you have to meet will vary by player, and more specifically, by how much you initially deposited.
Perhaps a simple calculation will best help explain how rollovers work. We'll use a real-life requirement used by Bovada in its sportsbook. The site's rollover requirements sports betting is a modest 5X.
To help unpack that, it's important to also know what their match deposit bonus sports is. For Bovada, it's currently a 50% match with a max earnings of $250.
Say you're a new bettor and load $500 into your account off the bat, meaning you also earned the full match at $250. Therefore, you're starting pot of money on the betting site is $750. This final number — the initial deposit plus free money earned — is what needs to be multiplied with the rollover requirement to meet the minimum wagering requirement.
To continue our example, you start off with $750 in Bovada's sportsbook. With their rollover rate of 5X, that means money isn't withdrawable until you've wagered at least $3,750. Makes sense?
It's worth noting that rollover requirement means the same exact thing as playthrough or wagering requirements. All terms are interchangeable with one another and use depends on the specific betting site.
While sites readily advertise their match bonus, max free money possible, and rollover rates, that's only the tip of the spear. It's highly advised to read through their terms and conditions to understand the full scope of their welcome offer.
The terms and conditions will make you aware of any other red tape associated with the promotion. Spoiler alert: they're usually is more.
Some of these under-the-radar terms outline which games count toward meeting the rollover requirement and which don't. Moreover, free play also expires after a certain point. Thus, if the rollover requirement isn't met before that expiration, a player forfeits it entirely.
Sportsbooks require these rollovers mainly to minimize risk on their end. Without these rules in place, bettors could jump site to site, taking free money along the way, without the intention of ever sticking around. Obviously, from the perspective of online betting platforms, that's not good for business at all.
Plus, a sign-up offer is very much intended to be a "free trial" of sorts, not unlike a video streaming service or regular computer software. You try out the betting platform — with some free money, of course — and see if it's the right fit for you or not.
Before jumping into any betting site, you should brush up on the best sportsbook sign up bonus currently being offered. Not all offers are one and the same, thus you might be leaving money on the table without doing proper research.
Sportsbook Rollover Requirements
Like we said, welcome offers vary. Not only from site to site, but even within that same site. A platform will offer unique deals for its sportsbook, casino, poker room, etc.
Let's dig into the sportsbook first. Compared to the casino, sport-specific offers appear to be a lot less lucrative. The match percentage and max bonus for sports are typically below the one offered in the casino.
However, there's a tradeoff here. While the sportsbook welcome deal might not be worth as much, its rollover requirement is usually lower. Therefore, it's easier to cash out when using the sportsbook than the casino.
Just as an example, here are playthrough rates offered around the web currently that pertains to the sportsbook. Bovada, as mentioned, is 5X, BetNow is at 8X, and 10X by both Betonline and MyBookie. As you'll see in our next section, that's a very manageable wagering minimum to hit.
Casino Rollover Requirements
No offers throw out more free money than those coming from a casino, and it's not even close. Don't believe us? Take a look at the max amount allowed (if the highest possible initial deposit is met) at some top sites.
MyBookie is offering up to $750 in free play, before the trio of Bovada, BetOnline, and BetNow reach an eye-popping $3,000. That's only a few examples, but very much the norm in casino promos.
Some books have promos where they'll match not only the first deposit made by a bettor but the two following ones, as well. That's how Bovada, BetOnline, and BetNow do it, hence their steep $3,000 award (it's really $1,000, but can be redeemed three times).
But as we eluded to earlier, the rollover rates associated with casino bonuses are no small thing. The playthrough requirements are many times triple or quadruple of those seen in the sportsbook. For instance, Bovada's rate is 25X, while BetNow's hits 30X, and finally, MyBookie and BetOnline reaches all the way up to 40X.
Poker Room Rollover Requirements
Poker is usually another standalone platform on a sports betting site, though, sometimes it's lopped into the casino. If it's a separate entity, you can expect some sites to offer a welcome bonus just for it, too.
Typically, these bonuses are similar to the casino counterpart. Take BetOnline as a prime example. The poker room matches an initial deposit dollar-for-dollar up to $1,000 — the same as its casino. Though, it can only be redeemed once, not three times like the casino.
But here's the big difference between casino and the poker room: there are no rollovers with poker (well, sort of). That's because free money is typically redeemed in $5 or $10 spurts in poker, not all at once like with the sportsbook or casino. Receiving free money in intervals effectively acts as a rollover, but just in a roundabout way.
As you've probably now realized, playthrough requirements are nothing to scoff at. They take some commitment to overcome, then smart decision-making to actually retain some of that free play earned. No deposit bonus doesn't mean the sportsbooks are simply giving away money.
But we're here to help. Below are a few must-do rollover betting tips.
Fully Understand The Terms & Conditions
We mentioned this one before, but it bears repeating. If you don't read through the T&C — every word, not just skim through it — then you're rollover betting is doomed before it even gets started.
To drive this point home, let's look into Bovada's conditions for its casino offer. Some games in its casino library don't count toward meeting the rollover amount, including craps and live dealer. Therefore, you're better off skipping those games, at least for now.
Outside those two games, the rest of Bovada's casino selection will help you reach the rollover bonus, but some will get you there quicker than others. Under its guidelines, Bovada breaks down how each casino game contributes to the playthrough amount.
The contributions are not even across the board whatsoever. Only five percent of contributions — meaning how much you wagered — in blackjack and baccarat games goes toward the rollover. So if you risked $100 in a single bet, only $5 of it ould be accounted for.
That's practically nothing. Hardly better, video poker counts at 10 percent and table games are 20 percent of money bet.
On the flip side, 100 percent of money gambled on slots counts toward meeting the requirement. So if we're trying to earn the deposit rollover, we're loading up big time on slots and skipping out on everything else.
That's only one example, but it's the norm across many betting sites. The learning lesson here? Know what you're getting into first before signing up for any bonus and read carefully through the terms and conditions.
Play Early and Often
In what's become common practice across the market, sign-up bonuses typically expire 30 days after you first sign up and make an initial deposit. After this point, if the rollover hasn't been met, all free money is forfeited.
Therefore, you have one month to reach the sports betting rollover or casino one. That may seem like a lot, but when you take into account the amount you need to wager, it might not be. That's why you need to consistently play (on games that count most toward the playthrough, of course).
Don't Take Any Shortcuts
Bettors are a strategic bunch. Strategic in how they select a sportsbook bonus to jump on or in the sense of just handicapping games.
However, those strategic ways can sometimes lead them astray, particularly when it comes to meeting rollover rates. Realistically, a bettor could just wager both sides of a game, come out close to even afterward, but double up on their playthrough amount.
Bettors have done it, but sportsbooks have caught on. That practice, or any other that attempts to defraud the betting site, is strictly prohibited. Ultimately, betting sites have the right to withhold any money if they believe fraud is the case.
Our word of advice is just not to resort to such tactics. Period. As we've pointed out, there are other ways of meeting the rollover that are completely legal.
Do All Bonuses Have Rollover Requirements?
Not exactly. There are a few notable exceptions.
One, we've already briefly outlined, poker rooms. Many bonuses revolving the poker room don't have a hard rollover limit. We use the word "hard" loosely here because you still have to play to unlock winnings, but instead of hard money, it's accounted for in "points." Explaining this can get tricky, that's why we advise reading terms and conditions closely.
Two, VIP players — meaning the big-money players — can find themselves the beneficiaries of no-string-attached free money. Perhaps not a huge sum of free money, but still real money regardless. Becoming a VIP requires a lot of time and money, but it's not out of the realm of possibility.
Aside from those two instances, you should expect rollover requirements in most other places. For now, that's how betting sites insure themselves against fraud.
Is It Possible To Beat Rollover Requirements?
It is absolutely possible to overcome rollover requirements and keep free play as winnings.
Though, it's far from a guarantee. With steep playthrough rates, especially in the casino, you're going to have to play an extended time to hit the wagering minimum. Generally, the more you play, the more the odds favor the house.
However, just having free money to start with is an advantage in itself — in gambling terms, it's EV+ or positive expected value. Therefore, you can think of it as each advantage, yours and the houses, canceling each other out.
From there, you just have to play smart. That starts with picking the right bonus offer. If you fancy yourself as a high roller, then go ahead and chase that high bonus. Or vice-versa, a conversive player should gravitate toward a promotion with low playthrough requirements.
Once you've done your adequate research and picked an appropriate promotion, follow our rollover strategy advice that we previously outlined.
Play your cards right — pun fully intended — and reaching the rollover limit is more than possible.