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  • Report
  • 11th Apr 2024

Should wagering requirements on gambling bonus offers be capped?

Imagine you’re scrolling through social media and spot an ad for a new online slot game with a £10 bonus offer. When redeeming the offer, you realise it has a “10x wagering requirement”. 

Wagering requirements are common conditions of bonus offers in gambling, which indicate how many times consumers have to bet their bonus funds before they can withdraw any winnings derived from the bonus. They can be applied to the bonus amount only, or on the combined total of the bonus + the deposit. In the scenario above, if the wagering requirement applied to bonus only, you would have to spend £100 before being able to withdraw your winnings (to “meet” the wagering requirement). If it applied to the bonus as well as the deposit, you would have to bet £200.

Wagering requirements have significant consequences on how much consumers spend on gambling, and when they can withdraw bonus funds.  However, in our earlier experiment testing the impact of slot game advert features, we found that despite their prevalence and consequences, wagering requirements are often hidden in footnotes of advertisements and a game’s full T&Cs, making them easy to miss before choosing to redeem an offer. Additionally, most consumers don’t understand them, even when exposed to them.

In this context, the Gambling Commission (the gambling regulator for Great Britain) is considering banning or capping wagering requirements and has recently consulted stakeholders on this issue

This study

In this report, BIT’s Gambling Policy & Research Unit presents the findings from an online randomised controlled trial (RCT) run on our Predictiv platform. In the RCT, 4,012 UK adults who gamble saw an advert for slot games (see picture), with different experimental arms seeing different levels.

Through this RCT, we sought to understand (1) whether wagering requirements lead to negative outcomes for consumers, for example because they lead to uninformed decision making about whether to play a game or because consumers regret their decision to play/ not to play later; (2) how they impact player behaviour; and (3) how this differs by level and type of wagering requirement.

Key findings included:

  1. 7 in 10 people could not calculate how much they would need to bet to meet a wagering requirement, rising to almost 9 in 10 when a wagering requirement applied to both the combined value of the bonus and the deposit amount (“bonus + deposit”). Most underestimated the amount they would need to bet.
  2. After seeing a realistic advert and sign-up page, 3 in 5 people did not realise a wagering requirement applied to an offer at the point of choice.
  3. There was no difference in rates of play for different wagering requirement levels, despite large differences in the generosity of the offer.
  4. Lower wagering requirement levels were found to cause slightly less decision regret overall, driven by less regret by those who played.

Based on these findings, we propose “bonus + deposit” wagering requirements should be banned, and “bonus only” wagering requirements should be capped at 1x. To potentially help improve consumer understanding of wagering requirements, we also propose banning the “wagering requirements” terminology, and making it compulsory to describe the requirements instead, e.g. “Deposit £10 and get a £10 bonus. The £10 bonus must be bet once before withdrawal”.