I made several futures bets before the beginning of the NBA season last year. I won one of them (#21081358097796), but it turned out that it was made with bonus funds. Because bonuses expire within six months, the season began on October 19 and the winner wasn’t announced until April 25 (Most Improved Player), it was impossible for me to win this bet. The bonus was always going to expire before the bet was settled.
I don’t think it’s Bovada’s intention to take bets that will never get paid. This seems like an edge case. But even though it doesn’t happen very often, discovering that what you thought was a winning bet is actually a loser, and was always going to be a loser, is such a gut punch that more should be done to prevent this from happening. At the very least, there should be something in the Help Center. Support pissed me off when they said this scenario is covered in the Terms of Service and “they have no control over how we use bonus funds.” This simply isn’t true.
The Terms (https://www.bovada.lv/terms-of-service) state:
4.9 Withdrawal of Bonus funds. Unless otherwise stated in the particular rules applicable to individual Activities, Games or Bonus promotions, any bonus funds that are credited to your Account (whether as a result of a prize, promotion, redemption or any other reason) shall be subject to rollover requirements before such bonus funds (and any associated winnings from such bonus funds) can be withdrawn.
This is the definition of rollover in the Help Center (https://www.bovada.lv/help/casino-faq/rollover):
Rollover, or playthrough, is the total monetary amount of bets (aka handle) you need to place in order to cash out your bonus along with any winnings attached to that bonus. When it comes to Rollover, your wins and losses don’t matter, each qualifying bet contributes to handle and the Rollover required.
Meeting Rollover in our Sportsbook is a tad different. For winning wagers we’ll credit the lesser of the risk amount or win amount. If your bet loses, your risk amount contributes toward Rollover no matter what.
The Bonus Terms and Conditions (https://www.bovada.lv/help/casino-faq/bonus-terms-and-conditions) state:
4. Bonuses are subject to wagering and rollover requirements and must be met by their specified timeline prior to any approved requested withdrawals.
The Wagering Requirement of a bonus is subject to the total amount of bets you must stake before the bonus and any accrued winnings are transferred into your Cash Balance and can be withdrawn.
This is the Help Center’s explanation of how bonuses expire (https://www.bovada.lv/help/bonuses-faq/do-my-bonuses-expire):
Yep. Most bonuses, unless we state otherwise, automatically expire in six months if you don’t use it or if the conditions aren’t met.
Any bonus funds and the winnings associated are considered forfeit if the bonus expires.
The bonus expiry date can be found under the Bonus name.
Does it say anywhere above that bets made with bonus funds must be settled before the bonus expires? First of all, Support told me that the order in which funds are used is Available to Withdraw → Locked Funds → Bonus Funds, but this information isn’t on the account balances page anywhere (https://www.bovada.lv/help/financial-faq/what-are-my-different-balances). So while you’re able to see what funds were used by clicking on a bet after you make it, there’s no way of knowing which ones will be used beforehand except through trial and error. Second, after I made this bet I was able to finish clearing the bonus. The Playthrough meter hit 100% and it said Bonus Completed. By every indication, I was “done” with this bonus and didn’t have to worry about anything being forfeited.
Support explained that your system doesn’t know how much to apply to rollover until a bet is settled. As your Help Center says, it’s the lesser of the amount risked or won. I can see how the bet would be in a pending state until it’s settled. But shouldn’t we be able to finish clearing a bonus while a bet (or more than one bet) is pending? I’ve always thought of rollover as a dollar amount. I bet a lot, so looking at it that way I cleared this particular bonus many times over. The requirement that a bet made with bonus funds must be settled before the bonus expires seems to be something on top of the standard rollover requirement. The closest your Help Center comes to articulating this additional requirement is, “Any bonus funds and the winnings associated are considered forfeit if the bonus expires,” but it should be clearer. Because it sure seems like I’d cleared the bonus. I clicked on all of my outstanding futures bets and discovered that my $100 on the Rangers to win the Stanley Cup was bet with bonus funds. There’s no way for me to check when the bonus expires because I’ve long since cleared it!
Does this seem like a good system?