Bingo Sites With No Wagering Requirements
No Wagering bingo sites are the latest thing in online bingo and almost all of the new bingo sites launched in 2018 and 2019 are No Wagering. But what exactly does No Wagering mean?
Wagering Requirement Gripes
If there’s one thing that bingo and slots players unanimously hate, it’s wagering requirements. It’s a toss up as to whether these are more annoying when attached to bonuses which expire, or when attached to bonuses that don’t. An expiry time puts pressure on the player to play through the bonus and complete the wagering requirement in the allotted time – but if there is no expiry time, the wagering requirement can hang around for quite literally years, especially if it is the kind that can only be filled by bonus play and bonus comes last in the play order.
Normally as long as there is a wagering requirement in effect, making a cash withdrawal causes any remaining bonus and its associated winnings to disappear, even if the cash represents winnings from a subsequent deposit or different type of bonus where the wagering requirement has been completed. For example, if you have only bingo bonus in your account and deposit again to get a slot bonus or free spins offer, win on slots and play through any slots related wagering requirement, you won’t be able to withdraw your winnings without losing the pending bingo bonus and you won’t be able to use the remaining bingo bonus as long as there is cash in your account – a most unsatisfactory state of affairs!
The CMA Investigation
It’s not only players that dislike wagering requirements. The Gambling Commission and the CMA (Competition and Markets Authority) have an ongoing investigation – with attendant enforcement action – into whether online gambling firms are treating their customers fairly.
The CMA view is that wagering requirements must relate to the bonus only and there must be no obstacle to withdrawing any remaining deposit or any winnings from the deposit. Many of the CMA changes had to be made by 1st March 2018 and others took effect that summer.
Welcome Offer Changes
Different operators have responded to this in different ways. Some have changed the wagering requirement so that it doesn’t include the deposit amount – e g 4 x bonus rather than 4 x (deposit + bonus) but done little else, retaining the stipulation that any remaining bonus is lost when a withdrawal is made. Other operators have made more radical changes and changed their welcome offer to one of the following:
- Bingo bonus that is non withdrawable, but the winnings are withdrawable (essentially, the 1 x playthrough requirement that is needed to comply with anti money laundering regulations). Clearly this is better than having a higher multiple wagering requirement, but it does make a difference
- What the play order is – cash first, bonus first or proportionally split (e.g with a £10 cash balance and £30 bonus, the stake and any winnings would be split 25% cash and 75% bonus
- Whether cash play counts towards the wagering requirement
- One to avoid is where the play order is cash first and only bonus play counts towards the wagering requirement – as then, the bonus will sit at the far end of the play order until all the cash is gone and only after that will the wagering requirement start to be filled
- Free bingo tickets for specific bingo rooms or specific bingo games, with any winnings paid in withdrawable cash – less flexible than a bingo bonus, but no worries about play order.
- “Free” slot spins. We use the quotation marks because many “free” spins offers come with so much small print.
- A “free spins” offer instead of a bingo bonus offer is of little benefit if the winnings from the spins are paid as a slot bonus with a huge wagering requirement – all that it has going for it is that the player only incurs the wagering requirement if they actually win anything.
- On the other hand, the sort of free spins offer where the winnings are paid in cash is much more attractive. Even amongst these, there is variation as many of these offers (at the Real Bingo Network, for instance) apply a cap to what can be won from free spins and there are only a few –Heart Bingo for instance – that don’t.
Arguably the best of the new style welcome offers are those which are no-strings free slot spins or bingo tickets (or, at the trailblazing Buzz Bingo, a bingo bonus) with winnings paid as withdrawable cash.
What About Existing Players?
Wagering requirements don’t just apply to welcome offers, of course – they can also apply in promotions for existing players and in some ways this can be even more annoying. If the prize in a free bingo, prize draw or bonus game promotion is a bonus with a time limit and the play order means that cash is played first, the prize becomes worthless as it can’t be accessed without substantial cash play first.
We expect this sort of promotion to be affected by the CMA enforcement action and become fairer for players, either by changing the play order so the bonus is used first or by removing the time limit, the wagering requirement or both and indeed, there are some indications that this is already happening. Best of all, of course, is for prizes to be cash.
A true No Wagering bingo site is one which has no wagering requirements ever – win cash and withdraw what you win.
No Wagering Bingo – The Future
During 2019 a number of Dragonfish slot sites which had previously been No Wagering reverted to a conventional bonus offer, and in the autumn Dragonfish bingo site launches started to be with a bonus offer rather than the No Wagering free bingo tickets offer. BGO also switched several of their sites back to a welcome offer with wagering requirements. Does this mean that No Wagering is on the way out and 2020 will be the end of No Wagering Bingo?
Our view is that it’s no longer enough for an offer just to be No Wagering. It has to be an otherwise attractive offer as well, and the problem with the Dragonfish offers as compared to the No Wagering offers at say Buzz Bingo or Heart Bingo is that they gave players no choice as to where to use their free tickets.