What you need to know about Bonus Scams

Transforming the industry: From generous offers to casino bonus scams

Casino bonuses have been around since the early days of the online casino industry. Back in the day, players could actually get a lot of value from these bonuses, as the industry was still young, and they were eager to bring in as many players as possible. However, things started to change over time, and today we are faced with a serious number of casino bonus scams.

It all started with casinos looking to limit their exposure. They started to enact wagering requirements that are really hard to meet, and filled their terms and conditions with so many stipulations that it’s often almost impossible to know what you are and aren’t allowed to do with your bonus cash.

Recognizing offers that belong to the category of casino bonus scams isn’t always easy, but it is important for all players, big and small. This article will try to underline some common tactics and patterns found in most casino bonus scams to help you make better choices about where to play.

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Wagering Requirements and Underhanded Scam Tactics

All online casino bonuses come with what’s known as wagering (or playthrough) requirements. In simplest terms, this is the amount you have to wager before your bonus cash becomes actual money and you are free to withdraw it.

There is nothing wrong with wagering requirements as such, as they serve to protect casinos from people who’d otherwise claim the money and just cashed out. However, there is a line where these requirements turn into a possible casino scam, as they make sure you’ll never see an actual penny of the advertised “huge bonus.”


To meet the wagering requirements at most casinos, you’ll probably have to play slots. Wagers you make on slots usually count for the full amount, so that’ll help you clear the bonus faster. However, when faced with impossible wagering requirements, it doesn’t really matter what you choose to play. You are destined to fail.

Online casinos not trying to scam their players will set up a reasonable wagering, something around 30-40 times the bonus amount. So, if you were given $100 in bonus money, you need to wager around $4,000. This takes some time, but it gives you a realistic shot at winning.

However, there are many venues out there that’ll tie you up with 60x+ playthrough conditions. Everything in excess of 60x is usually unattainable and could be listed as a casino bonus scam. The amount of play required to meet this kind of playthrough is such that you’re almost guaranteed to lose the entire bonus and some of your own cash in the process.

Unless you don’t care about making money with your bonus, you should definitely stay clear of the 60x bonus + deposit bonuses. While some people may be reluctant to call them scams, that’s what they are in essence. High wagering requirements should be only on the bonus amount .

Table games

If you are a player who enjoys playing table games, the bad news is that most online casinos will make it almost impossible to clear the bonus wagering playing games like blackjack and roulette. However, here, too, there is a difference.

It is normal for a casino to reduce the percentage for what counts towards wagering at the table games. If you play blackjack at $100 per hand, only $10 or $20 might count towards the bonus playthrough, and this is fairly standard due to lower house edge.

However, some casinos will not let you play table games at all, or will only count your bets as 1% or 2%. This is something to be very careful about. There are many players who enjoy playing games like roulette and blackjack, but if you can’t clear the bonus while playing them, what’s the point in playing at such a casino at all?


Terrifying casino scam stories

There are many stories of casino bonus scams floating out there. Sadly, players have been tricked more than once, and these scams often ended up costing them the bonus and their own money. Here are a couple of such stories.

Probably the most famous casino bonus scam story is that of Betfair’s Happy Hour promo. Funnily enough, Betfair is a reputable casino with a long tradition, but they got themselves in a bad situation by offering players a chance to claim as many bonuses as they liked during a three-hour period back in November of 2010. As expected, this drew out many big time players, and Betfair ended up having to pay much more than they expected.

Instead of eating up the loss and adopting the policy of thinking before acting, the casino started closing down the accounts and confiscating players’ funds. They came up with many bogus excuses for doing this, but the fact of the matter is, in most cases they did it simply because they didn’t want to pay. Betfair survived the scandal and restored its reputation in the years to come, but many players were, in fact, ripped off.

Unlike Betfair, which made one mistake and failed to handle it properly, many casinos belonging to AffGroup (like Magik Casino and Osiris) became notorious for extremely complicated Terms & Conditions, which they would invoke regularly, whenever a player actually managed to meet the wagering requirements. Their T&Cs were so convoluted and unclear that the casinos would always find a reason not to pay, which led to most of casinos from this group becoming blacklisted by many reputable online gambling communities.

Final Word: Don’t Fall for the Scams

Hopefully, this article will help you stay alert and aware of any casinos out there trying to sell too-good-to-be-true bonuses. If you do happen to become a victim of a casino bonus scam, do report it here. We’re here to help you and we’ll do our best to at least prevent the casino from taking advantage of other players.

If you want to play at a safe and reliable online casino NZ, check out our list of preapproved casinos. All of these operators have undergone serious scrutiny and you can rest assured that you’ll be treated fairly in every possible regard.


Why do casinos scam with their bonuses?
When the online casino industry was still in its early stages, bonuses used to be valued very much, but when casinos started limiting their exposure, they started to enact wagering requirements which often make it impossible to cash out the bonuses you receive when you sign up or deposit. The bonus cash you sign up for comes with so many conditions and stipulations that players don’t know if they can actually use it to their own benefit.
What do casinos use to scam in casino bonuses?
Wagering requirements are a sure way for casinos to make sure almost nobody can withdraw the entire bonus amount they received. Players usually have to wager a certain amount before they can use the bonus amount as money and withdraw it. Wagering requirements are not all bad, per se. They protect casinos from players who would simply take the bonus money and then just cash it out. The difference between casinos trying to protect themselves from fraudulent players and casinos trying to make your experience a living hell is the amount of wagering and the games you can spend it on.
Why doesn’t roulette count towards clearing wagering requirements?
Roulette has a very low house edge and thus counts as an “easy wager” game, which would make it fairly easy for players to do the entire wager on roulette and make lots of money doing so. Roulette is a low risk game and often works in the favor of players instead of the casino.
How do I make sure a casino bonus is safe?
If you want to make sure that a particular casino isn’t offering you a bonus in order to scam you, pay attention to these details. The casinos should include exact information on the games and wagering requirements in their terms and conditions. Players should make sure they know how much time they have to meet the requirements. If slots don’t count for 100% of the wagering requirement, it is definitely a scam, because the best casinos offer this without question. Also, make sure to know what the cashout restrictions are for the bonus.
Should I avoid casino bonuses?
Sometimes it is best to avoid bonuses altogether. You should do this before depositing any funds. If you already received a bonus for your deposit or sign up, make sure not to use it to make bets. Some people have complained they have lost money on bonuses, which is not what bonuses are for.

Last Updated: December 30, 2022