What is a Pending Period at an Online Casino?
Ah yes, the word that fills lucky online casino players who are trying to withdraw their winnings with boiling rage – pending.
In a real casino, if you have a good night and win more than you lose you can cash in your chips before you go home and the deed is done. The money is in your pocket immediately.
When playing online though things are a little different; partly out of necessity it’s true, but partly by design.
Of course transferring money between two accounts electronically requires much more sophisticated security than handing over a cheque, so this is to be expected to some degree.
However, this necessary evil has been somewhat exploited in the past by certain casinos, although with changes to the law this is no longer so much of a problem.
Pending periods do still exist though, so what are they and more importantly, why do we have to put up with them?
Check Pending Periods At Recommended Casinos
You can find a list of pending periods for the casinos that we track on our main casino comparison table. Also included are minimum deposit and withdrawal amounts as well as details about flushing and VIP programs.
Pending Periods at Online Casinos
For the TLDR crowd: a pending period is the dead time before the casino begins to process your withdrawal.
The reason pending periods are a talking point among casino players, and also a consideration for anyone looking for a new casino to join, is because the pending period can be different depending on the casino in question – and by quite some margin too.
We have seen pending periods stated to last as long as 4 days before processing begins, while other casinos will get around to dealing with your withdrawal request within a matter of minutes.
The reason this matters is because the processing can take time too, so a long pending period could end up looking like this:
|4 Days||1 Day||1 Day|
This only applies to working days as well, so if you made the request on a Tuesday it might take a whole week before your money ended up in your account.
Part of the issue here is that bigger companies can afford to hire more staff, so when withdrawal requests come through there are plenty of people on hand to deal with them. This makes them much quicker and keeps the players happy.
Smaller companies might not be able to afford this, so perhaps withdrawals might be dealt with in bulk at the end of each day by someone in the finance department.
The frustrating thing about a pending period is that nothing is actually happening during it. The money you want to get your hands on is just sat there waiting for someone to deal with it – it’s just pointless extra waiting time from the customer’s point of view.
A short pending period feels reasonable if you are playing with a smaller casino – essentially their pending period is down to workload – but this wasn’t always the only reason they existed.
Pending Periods and Reverse Withdrawals
In the old days, pending periods were drawn out deliberately by some unscrupulous online casinos because withdrawals were reversible.
This meant that a player might request a withdrawal after a nice win, get bored of waiting for the withdrawal to be processed (4 days!), cancel the withdrawal, and gamble their winnings away again.
In this situation the casino wins on multiple levels, because not only do they keep the money they would have otherwise had to pay out, but they don’t actually have to deal with a large number of withdrawals at all, they can just wait for them to be cancelled.
This means they can employ fewer staff to deal with withdrawals since not as many end up going through. Another saving.
It was estimated that between 20%-35% of all withdrawals were cancelled when this practice was still allowed, saving the casinos thousands.
Happily, withdrawal reversals were banned officially in 2021 (although remote operators were told not to allow access to them in May 2020), so there is now real reason for pending periods to be as long as they once were, as there is no real benefit to the casino.
How do Withdrawals at Casinos Actually Work?
Pending periods are easier to accept if you have some idea of what is going on behind the scenes, so let us enlighten you.
All withdrawal requests have to be signed off before the money is moved from the casino’s account to yours.
To this end, all requests will be sent via the fund security team (which may be an actual team at bigger casinos and may be a single person at smaller casinos), who will do their checks before verifying the withdrawal.
The checks can be done and signed off in just a few minutes, so this isn’t really what takes the time, it’s more the availability of someone to deal with the request in the first place and how busy the team is when you request the withdrawal.
The checks are all done for good reasons, to monitor players behaviour and look out for illegal activity or problem gambling, and once the checks are passed the money is credited via the payment provider in question.
The payment method is something else that can affect how long it takes for a player to actually get hold of their money, but this has less to do with the casino and more to do with the payment provider.