Sticky and Non-sticky Online Casino Bonuses Explained
Every seasoned online casino player knows that the wager is the most important parameter of an online casino bonus, which really defines how worthy it is. However, one more thing that you should keep a close eye on is whether a bonus is sticky or non-sticky.
Before moving to the point, I would like to add that the sticky bonus is also called non-cashable, whereas the non-sticky bonus is sometimes called cashable, forfeitable, parachute or lifeline.
What is a sticky (non-cashable) online casino bonus?
Sticky bonus means that you can’t withdraw the bonus money no matter what, even if you have managed to meet the wager requirement. On top of that, your deposit and sticky bonus money get mixed from the very beginning so that you can’t withdraw anything before the wager is fulfilled.
It may sound confusing even for experienced players so let’s go through these 2 examples.
Let’s imagine that some sticky bonus provides 300% up to 1,000 EUR. In case you have deposited 100 EUR your balance will be:
100 EUR (your deposit sum) + 300 EUR (the bonus sum) = 400 EUR in total
In the first scenario, after fulfilling the wager requirement, you have ended up with 500 EUR on your balance, and you would like to cash out. In this case you can only withdraw 200 EUR. How so?
500 EUR (your balance after wager) - 300 EUR (sticky bonus sum) = 200 EUR (cashable balance)
In the second scenario, you have ended up with 300 EUR on your balance. In this case you can only withdraw, well, zero..
300 EUR (your balance after wager) - 300 EUR (sticky bonus sum) = 0 EUR (cashable balance)
Even though you deposited 100 EUR, and 300 EUR is significantly more, you will experience the burden of sticky bonus.
Do I need to wager a sticky bonus? Yes, even though the wager of sticky bonuses tends to be significantly lower, it exists anyway.
Does sticky bonus mean that I can’t withdraw before wagering it through? Yes, you can’t do it before you have fulfilled the wager requirement, because deposit and sticky bonus money are not separated in your account.
Do bets using sticky bonus money count towards the wager requirement? Yes, the only rule is that you can’t withdraw the bonus money plus you can’t withdraw anything before you have wagered it through.
What is a non-sticky (cashable) online casino bonus?
Non-sticky bonus means that after fulfilling the wager requirement you can withdraw the bonus sum. Moreover, your deposit and bonus money get separated so that you will play using the deposit money first, and only after you will use the bonus money.
It also means that you can withdraw your deposit money (plus all winnings derived from it) at any point (very opposite to sticky bonus).
Let’s say some non-sticky bonus offers 100% up to 100 EUR. In case you have deposited 100 EUR your balance will be:
100 EUR (your deposit sum) + 100 EUR (the bonus sum) = 200 EUR in total
In the first scenario, after fulfilling the wager requirement, you have ended up with 300 EUR on your balance, and you would like to cash out. In case with a non-sticky bonus you are going to get all the money on your balance (300 EUR). If it were a sticky bonus, you would only get 200 EUR.
In the second scenario, you have ended up with 100 EUR on your balance. In this case you can also withdraw all the money. Remember that if it were a sticky bonus, you would be able to withdraw 0 EUR as the bonus sum gets deducted from the balance.
Can I withdraw deposit money before wagering it through? Yes, you absolutely can as in case with non-sticky bonuses your deposit money is separated from the bonus money, which means that you won’t experience any bonus restrictions until you play using the bonus sum.
What happens if I won something using the deposit money and would like to withdraw before wagering it through? If you play only using the deposit money, it means that your bonus is not active (basically does not exist). So to say, you won’t suffer any limitations applied to bonus sum and can withdraw your deposit money and all winnings derived from it without any wager.
What happens with the bonus money if I decide to cash out before wagering it through? All bonus money simply gets forfeited (along with all the winnings derived from the bonus money in case such took place).
The last thing to add here is that there are two types of sticky bonuses: Phantom and Expiring. Phantom sticky bonus stays attached to your account before you clear it out, whereas Expiring sticky bonus, as the name suggests, expires after some predetermined period of time.
Sticky vs Non-sticky bonus: pros and cons of both
Sticky bonus advantages:
much larger in size (something like 300% up to 2500 EUR is not unusual)
significantly lower wager (x20-x30 normally)
there are normally no restrictions which game you can play while the bonus is active
significantly higher maximum bet is allowed while the bonus is active (normally 10-20 EUR per spin)
Sticky bonus disadvantages:
you can’t withdraw anything (even your deposit money) before you have wagered it through
the bonus sum gets deducted from your balance even after you have wagered it through. Given that the bonus sum can reach thousands of EUR, it may become really crucial.
Non-ticky bonus advantages:
you can withdraw the deposit money anytime you want
the bonus sum can be cashed out along with the deposit money
Non-ticky bonus disadvantages:
you get significantly less money in comparison with sticky bonuses (100% up to 100 EUR at legit online casinos)
the wager tends to be higher (x40-x50 as a rule of thumb)
there are basically always some restrictions regarding which games you are allowed to play while the bonus is active (high RTP slots and other high RTP games such as Blackjack, Baccarat, Craps etc. are excluded). Called wagering weights.
the maximum bet while the bonus is active is often limited to 2-5 EUR per spin
Where (and how) to learn if a bonus is sticky or non-sticky?
Such sort of information is always provided either in the General Terms and Conditions or in the Bonus Terms and Conditions. Both can usually be accessed somewhere at the bottom (footer) of a casino’s website.
However, online casinos do not usually clearly state if a bonus is sticky or non-sticky. So do not expect to have something like “This bonus is sticky” (which would be much more convenient for players).
Instead, you will need to figure it out on your own whether a bonus is sticky or not by carefully reading the T&C.
Good signs that a bonus is non-sticky.
Something like this
“When a player places bets with an active bonus, real money will be spent first. The bet amounts will be taken from the player’s real balance. When the real balance is empty, the bet amounts will be deducted from the bonus balance.”
“Players can request a withdrawal of their deposited amount prior to meeting the wagering requirements.”
“Deposits may be withdrawn before a player’s wagering requirements have been fulfilled.”
Definitely means that a bonus is non-sticky.
Indicators that a bonus is sticky.
“All wagering requirements/restrictions of a particular promotion will remain attached to your account while the bonus is yet active” - basically means that this bonus is sticky.
If you are still wondering which bonus you should get, I would rather recommend you taking non-sticky bonuses. In my experience such bonuses provide a bit more value to online casino players long term even though it may seem counterintuitive at first glance (the wager of sticky bonuses is lower and the bonus sum is much larger).