It’s no secret that the government is reviewing the suitability of the 2005 Gambling Act as an intense spotlight was shone on the industry after two turbulent years in which COVID-19 rocked the United Kingdom and the rest of the world.
The 2005 Act was introduced by Tony Blair’s Labour government as a way to liberalize gambling, allowing for outdated regulations from the 1960s to be replaced. However, 16 years is a very long time in terms of technological advancements, and the 2005 Act is already horribly out of date and due for modernization.
With big changes inevitably on the way, we’re asking, should the Gambling Commission or the UK government take this opportunity to impose a maximum limit on wagering requirements?
But before we can ask that question, we’d like to explain exactly what wagering requirements are and why they were ever introduced in the first place.
What exactly are wagering requirements?
Wagering requirements are a restriction that operators can place upon a casino bonus that forces players to play through their bonus funds a certain number of times before they can make a withdrawal and enjoy their winnings.
So, if you were to receive a £50 bonus from a generous casino that stipulated within the small print of their offer that it had a 20x wagering requirement then you’d be tasked with placing a total of £1,000 (20 x 50) in bets before you could withdraw any money made from the bonus.
Wagering requirements essentially add an additional element of risk for players, however, it’s a risk they must swallow if they have any ambition of reaping the rewards. Unfortunately, like most things in life, (almost) nothing is truly free, even if the offer says free spins or free bonus cash.
Whilst wagering requirements were introduced for a good reason (which we’ll explain shortly), the issue at hand is that more often than not they’re massively inflated by operators as a way to essentially stop players from ever profiting at their expense, which is wholly wrong.
Why were wagering requirements introduced in the first place?
Wagering requirements were first introduced in the early days of iGaming when casinos were beginning to take a foothold in the public consciousness.
Ultimately, they came about due to the fact that players were banding together in shady forums sharing welcome bonuses that could be abused for profit thanks to low-risk betting strategies.
Tired of the constant cycle of abuse, operators hit back by introducing wagering requirements, these new restrictions stopped bonus hunters in their tracks as they were no longer able to sign up to new casinos, win cash from their welcome bonus, withdraw only to never be seen again.
Whilst wagering requirements solved one problem, it created a whole new problem, this time for consumers. Operators realized that wagering requirements were not only stopping players from walking away with wads of cash, but they were actually helping the casino profit.
Most welcome offers require players to make an initial deposit upon signing up, usually something small like £10, sometimes it’s multiple deposits over a set amount of time, but ultimately it’s this deposit that unlocks the bonus itself.
Because wagering requirements were causing players to run out of money long before they could win and withdraw any money operators were making more and more money by offering attractive bonuses that were essentially unobtainable (in 99% of cases) due to high wagering requirements, and at the time, most players didn’t realize this, blindly depositing their cash.
When was the last time wagering requirements were investigated and why?
As time went on complaints to the regulator (the Gambling Commission) began flooding in from angry customers that felt aggrieved their deposits were being swallowed up as a result of bonuses that had wagering requirements as high as 100x, which quite frankly, is absurd.
There were two issues, firstly, the fact that the wagering requirements were disgustingly high, secondly the fact that these wagering requirements weren’t being communicated properly. Players were signing up to casinos not knowing that they were even in place.
Eventually, enough was enough and changes had to be made. The Gambling (Licensing and Advertising) Act 2014 was introduced and operators were forced to be more transparent with regards to their wagering requirements, this meant that they either had to display their ludicrously high figures, or they had to drive them down to a level that would appease players.
For the first few years this proved to be a roaring success. The transparency forced competition amongst operators who were fighting to be named the fairest, and so, the no wagering casino was born. Leading operators including PlayOJO, Paddy Power and BGO all began offering players welcome bonuses and other promotions and rewards with no wagering requirements whatsoever – a truly rare and very welcome sight.
Frustratingly, whilst a handful of these casinos have remained steadfast in their wager-free approach over the years, many operators have slowly begun returning to old ways, and those that never implemented no wagering bonuses are raising requirements to even nastier highs.
Should there be a maximum limit on wagering requirements?
With wagering requirements creeping back in and operators cementing them as the norm in this day and age, we’re asking should there be a maximum limit on wagering requirements?
The answer to this is a resounding yes! No wagering casino bonuses have long proved to be successful in not only increasing customer confidence (and satisfaction) but also making casino brands more profitable in the long term.
No wagering casino, PlayOJO, who have always prided themselves on having “no wagering, ever” reported that they have been consistently outperforming its 39 sister brands, all of which have welcome bonuses that have wagering requirements imposed upon them.
In addition to this, other no wagering operators such as PlayOJO, Paddy Power and Betfair have also continued to flourish thanks to their generous wager-free approach.
There are absolutely no negative repercussions that could possibly occur as a result of lowering wagering requirements, players are happier, operators pick up a whole host of new players enticed by the lower (or non-existent) wagering requirements and regulators are happy that there are no unfair or unscrupulous practices going on.
If there was ever a time for the Government or Gambling Commission to put an end to ridiculous limit on wagering requirements, now is the time with a new Gambling Act looming on the horizon.