Feature Article
Clara Madeira06th Jul 2023

Game Weighting For Casino Bonuses

When you are trying to unlock a casino bonus and turn it into real cash, note that games don’t contribute equally to the wagering requirements. Still with us? If not, this guide will explain how ‘game weighting’ affects your chances of successfully converting the bonus into real money and when you can use it to your advantage. 

Why is Game Weighting Applied?

To explain game weighting, we must first look at wagering requirements and understand how they work. This is a clause imposed on pretty much every casino bonus on the market – especially no deposit bonuses – and refers to the amount you must wager before a withdrawal is possible.

Expressed as a multiplier, it is linked to either the bonus value claimed or free spin winnings you have achieved. For example, a $20 bonus with a 20x wagering requirement would require $400 in total bets before you can withdraw it as cash.

Due to the more ‘player-friendly’ payout mechanic of certain games, some casinos will block them entirely from contributing towards the wagering requirement. This is signified by their return-to-player (RTP) rating, expressed as a percentage. 

However, to attract new players, other casinos will allow them to be counted yet weigh them down as a form of protection. In other words, the games that are more likely to provide wins are nullified – either by being blocked completely or by having this weighting applied.

Expert Advice
Clara Madeira
Clara Madeira

Time For Some Extra Learning

 If you’re not familiar with the terms wagering requirements and RTP, don’t worry! You can swot up on these important casino terms in our separate wagering requirements guide and article about RTP. Happy reading!

 Factors Affecting Game Weighting Percentages 

If you’re wondering why casino may choose to lower the contribution games make toward bonus wagering, here are four standout reasons:

  1. House Edge – Games with a relatively low house edge, i.e. more chance of the player winning over the long term, typically come with heavy weighting percentages.
  2. Game Volatility – Slots with high volatility ratings, offering larger payouts (albeit at an infrequent ratio), will be weighted down to prevent disproportionate wins.
  3. Game Mechanics – Games where you can use clever playing strategies, i.e. covering multiple numbers in roulette, will likely be heavily weighted to stop shrewd players taking advantage.
  4. Game Popularity – The casino’s most popular games can have their weighting percentage reduced to encourage new players to give them a go.

The Basics of Game Weighting

To help you visualise how game weighting works, here’s what you may expect to find in a typical set of bonus terms and conditions.

Every $1 wagered on Slots, Real-Series Video Slots and Scratch Cards will count as $1 towards the wagering requirements of the bonus. Every $1 on any other game (except games excluded below) will count as $0.25 towards the wagering of the bonus.

Allowed games: All Games, except Baccarat, Bingo, Craps, Roulette, Pai-Gow Poker, Sic Bo and War. Non-Slot games: $1 wager counts as $0.25 for playthrough.

Bets placed on Baccarat, Bingo, Craps, Roulette, Pai-Gow Poker, Sic Bo, War and ANY progressive variant of table games or slot games will not count towards the wagering requirements of the bonus and will void all winnings won on this promotion.

Expert Advice
Clara Madeira
Clara Madeira

Beware Ineligible Games!

In the example above, the casino has been pretty harsh in relation to excluded games. Playing any amount on them (win or lose) would see any withdrawal attempt blocked should you go on to convert the bonus successfully.

Other casinos may simply count these bets as 0% and let you continue wagering on eligible games elsewhere. Even so, it’s always best to check carefully before you start playing to avoid any nasty surprises. 

How Weighting Applies to Game Categories

A player’s chances of winning with a casino bonus are influenced by which type of games you decide to play. This is because they each come with a different weighting proportion.

Slots
Because slots are a game of pure chance, they typically carry the full 100% weighting percentage. However, this may vary for progressive jackpot slots or those with a high RTP/ volatility.

Live Casino
Live dealer games offer the highest potential win ratio of all casino games. Therefore, expect to see any wagering on classic live tables or gameshows prohibited completely or weighted down heavily at something like 5% – 10%.

Table Games
You can play classic table games such as blackjack, roulette and baccarat in animated 2D mode. Because a skilled player can level out the house-edge, they can also be weighted down somewhere between 0-25%.

Video Poker
Being knowledgeable of poker hands will help greatly when playing video poker. Therefore, game weighting percentages fall between 10-30% depending on the casino in question.

Other Games
Casinos impose unpredictable weighting percentages on speciality games like keno, scratchcards and bingo. Whilst some have them excluded completely, others weigh them down heavily around 5-10% or by nothing at all!

Expert Advice
Clara Madeira
Clara Madeira

Which Games Should You Play?

Personally speaking, because slot games typically contribute your full stake of each spin, this is probably your best bet of hitting the wagering requirements. You’d need to win a considerably higher ratio of bets on table games to achieve the same amount!

Converting Your Casino Bonus – Weighting Considerations

Whilst wagering requirements are the main element of converting your bonus into real money, game weighting is a key aspect when it comes to placing your bets. 

When doing so, most players will typically look to 100%-contributing slots in order to place a lower ratio of bets. However, some players go for an alternative approach by mixing and matching which games they choose to play.

For example, although blackjack may only contribute 10% of your stake, it also gives you a better chance of winning if the cards fall your way. Now, with an increased balance to call upon, you can switch back to slots with more money to play with. 

Welcome Bonus Wagering Example

Here’s an example of how playing either slots or blackjack can play out upon claiming a typical casino welcome bonus. Here we’ll look at return-to-player ratings, which you can learn more about later on in the article. 

Example

Bonus Amount: $50

Wagering Requirements: 25x

Total Wagering Required: $1,250

Game Weighting Percentages: Slots (100%), Blackjack (10%)

#1. Slot Game – RTP: 95%.

  • With a full 100% game weighting, you will need to bet a total of $1,250 to meet the wagering requirements.
  • Playing a consistent stake of $1 per spin, this will require 1,250 spins exactly.
  • Considering the house-edge (5%), you’ll theoretically lose $62.50 if completing the wagering requirements.

#2. Blackjack – RTP 99.8%

  • With only 10% game weighting, you will need to bet a total of $12,500.
  • Playing a consistent stake of $10 per hand, this would require 1,250 hands of blackjack.
  • Considering the house-edge (2%), you’ll theoretically lose $25 if completing the wagering requirements.

Using the above example, we see that the slot player would be expected to lose a total of $62.50 across 1,250 spins. However, the blackjack player would only experience an average loss of just $25 across 1,250 hands. 

Therefore, you should always consider wagering requirements in conjunction with weighting percentages. Although playing 100% contributing slots is typically the way to go, there may be a case for playing a more skilled table game depending on the terms.  

Expert Tips For Completing Wagering Requirements

When it comes to online gaming, certain strategies can make a significant difference in your overall success.

Our full wagering requirements guide explains more, whilst here’s a few tips that can guide your decision-making:

  • Selecting Games with Higher Weighting Percentages – Choosing games that contribute more towards the wagering requirements can boost your chances of success. In cases where two games contribute equally, opt for the one with the highest Return to Player (RTP).
  • Balancing High and Low Weighting Percentage Games – Striking a balance between high and low weighting games can help you maintain your bonus balance. For example, switching to a game with better odds when your balance runs low can help you build it back up.
  • Understanding Game Volatility and Risk – Consider game volatility before making a decision. High-volatility games offer the potential for larger wins but at an infrequent ratio. In contrast, low-variance games provide smaller but more consistent wins.

Return-to-Player (RTP) and Game Weighting

Return-to-player percentages are an important aspect that will affect your chances of completing the wagering requirements. Here we list some common questions often asked about RTP, whilst you can learn more in our full RTP guide which also explains how slot volatility works. 

What is RTP?
RTP is a metric that developers use to determine the odds of a casino game, notably slots. Expressed as a percentage, typically somewhere between 90% and 98%, the remainder is considered as the house edge.

How RTP works?
To give a fair reflection of a game’s payout potential, RTP is only tested over vast long-term sessions. By dividing the turnover by the overall win/loss figure, this presents a percentage which is then advertised for each game.   

Why RTP is important?
It’s essential to understand RTP as it gives players an indication of the odds of winning on a particular game. It’s especially useful if you’ve claimed a substantial bonus and expect to be converting it over a prolonged period. 

Expert Advice
Clara Madeira
Clara Madeira

Is RTP Really Accurate For Slots? 

It’s important to note that RTP is calculated based on the long-term average payout of a slot and it does not guarantee any sort of win – even if it was set at 100%! Therefore, your individual experience may differ greatly from its advertised RTP, especially upon playing only a handful of spins.

Impact of Game Weighting Percentages on RTP

Casinos are usually aware of how an individual game’s RTP can affect the likelihood of players converting their bonus into real cash.

These games will be weighted down appropriately as a countermeasure, which translates into the pattern as shown in the following graph:

Impact of Game Weighting Percentages on RTP

Therefore, here’s some further ways to maximise RTP with game weighting in mind:

Balance RTP with game weighting
Look for a game that combines a high RTP with a decent game weighting percentage. This will increase your overall chances of meeting the wagering requirements without losing too much.

Research specific games
Keep in mind that game weighting percentages can differ not only by game type, but also by game variant. For example, regular video slots usually have a weighting percentage of 100%, whereas a progressive jackpot slot may only contribute 50%.

Consider your experience
For games where player skill can influence the odds, it’s important to factor in your own skill level. Remember that games like blackjack and roulette offer better odds but only if you implement optimal strategy.

Conclusion

Game weighting is imposed by casinos to stop players wagering on favourable games when trying to unlock a bonus. For example, roulette provides a much better chance of maintaining your balance compared with slots, so is weighted down in response.

They’re vital to familiarise yourself with – especially in conjunction with RTP and volatility – as doing so will improve your chances of completing the bonus wagering requirements and winning real cash. 

FAQ

Casinos tend to have a blanket term for all bonus wagering, meaning game weighting will stay the same no matter which type of offer you claim – be it a no deposit bonus or match deposit bonus

Casinos have game weighting to prevent players from exploiting bonus offers by only playing games with a low house edge, i.e. blackjack or baccarat. It’s put in place as a countermeasure against numerous players converting the bonus.

No. Casinos will impose their own individual game weighting percentages depending on a number of factors. For example, some brands block whole game categories completely from bonus wagering whilst others are more lenient in this respect. 

Look in the terms and conditions for mention of game weighting. They will either be in the specific bonus terms or company’s main terms and conditions. If you can’t locate them, contact customer support.

This comes down to your preferred type of game. If you’re a blackjack expert, it may be wise to build up your balance here (despite the heavy weighting) before heading to a 100% contributing slot to complete the wagering requirements.

Whilst most slot games don’t incur any game weighting (i.e. contributing 100% of your stake), some are restricted in this sense. They’re usually highly volatile games where lopsided wins can come from relatively few spins, putting the weighting down to something like 50%.