How We Approach Online Casino Reviews
When it comes to gambling, one size does not fit all, which is why our recommendations contain operators ranging from newly launched casinos to long-established brands. Our team at Casinostoplay.com includes experienced players, expert reviewers, and security specialists, and we apply the same high standards to every casino review. Here are typical questions we answer during the review process:
How attractive is the casino’s welcome bonus? Do they offer rewards and regular promotions to existing players? Are the bonus wagering requirements player-friendly?
How many withdrawal options does the casino offer? Are requests processed promptly? Does the operator offer player-friendly features, e.g., lock withdrawal?
Does the site partner with more than one software provider? How many games are being offered in total? Is there a healthy mix of table games and online slots?
How’s the design and functionality of the registration process? Is the casino’s interface easy to use? Does the website adapt to my mobile phone and tablet?
Safety & Security
Does the UK Gambling Commission regulate the casino? Are transactions encrypted with SSL? Do reputable financial institutions, e.g., PayPal, partner with the online casino?
What is the operator’s RTP (Return to Player)? Are there any existing partnerships with regulatory bodies such as eCogra? Do they cap cash-out of winnings from bonus money?
Facts & Figures
What Is the Total Number of UK Online Casino Sites?
Great Britain has the largest regulated online casino market in the world and online gambling, which includes sports betting, accounts for 33% of all gaming in Britain. As at 30 September 2017, there were a total of 2,794 licensed operators, both online and offline, and about 420 of the licensees offered remote games to UK customers.
Are All Those Casinos Legal?
Yes. All operators in possession of a valid license issued by the UK Gambling Commission are allowed to offer casino games to customers via a website, mobile phone, and TV. This includes online slot games, roulette, poker, blackjack, and other casino games such as craps baccarat.
However, not every online casino that holds a license offers the same range of games to customers, and there are also many other criteria, e.g., design and customer service, that can make or break a casino. It’s for that reason that we review and rate each operator in the UK.
What About Illegal Casinos?
There are other countries that offer online gambling licenses such as Gibraltar (Gibraltar Betting and Gaming Association ) and Alderney (Alderney Gambling Control Commission) and online casinos in possession of such license do not operate illegally per se. However, Great Britain has stringent guidelines when it comes to remote gambling operators and does not recognise permits from other territories. To gamble legally in the UK, you must play with a casino website that holds a valid license from UK’s Gambling Commission.
At Casinostoplay.com, we rigorously check each casino’s legal status, and we would never recommend a site that might cause harm to its customers by offering an illegal activity.
Why Choose Us as Your Single Source of Truth
There is a lot of information about online casinos out there, and you’ve probably come across a few other review sites, which can make it hard to pick your single source of truth. Let’s see what makes us different and why you can count on us!
- WE SAY HOW IT IS
We don’t beat around the bush. We review casino sites and give you the facts, good and bad, about each operator. Unfortunately, we also haven’t found the secret to guaranteed winning yet.
- WE’RE ON A MISSION
Our team has over a decade worth of experience working with online casinos, and we made it our mission to build the most comprehensive gambling resource for players in the UK. We work hard, so you don’t have to.
- WE’RE A UK BUSINESS
To succeed in business, you need to stay close to your customers, which is why we’re based here in the UK. We learn about any changes to online gambling first-hand and, as a side-effect, we actively support UK entrepreneurship.
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Now that we’ve learned more about online casinos and how we at Casinostoplay.com review and rate them, let’s take a look behind the scenes. Although casino websites often have entirely different looks they rarely develop the casino games themselves.
Instead, gambling operators partner with gaming software developers such as Microgaming, Netent, and the like, to gain access to a broader range of games and to focus their efforts on player support and promotions.
There is another very important benefit: Since casinos don’t actually control the software themselves, it also eliminates the risk that casino games are rigged. The large gaming software providers are all regulated by the UK Gambling Commission, which ensures fair, open, and transparent gameplay.
We’ve talked a lot about software providers to let’s have a more in-depth look into three of them, namely Microgaming, Playtech, and Netent. What have they been up to over the last few years?
Microgaming is probably the most famous software developer. The company launched in the early 1990s when they released what’s thought to be the first ever online casino. They’ve since gone on to become a leading provider and developer due to their focus on customer experience over anything else.
The firm creates exciting and fun games which are known to push boundaries. They also prioritise quality and design, making sure the game is fun to play and features jaw-dropping visuals and sound effects. They’re even responsible for creating the explosive Mega Moolah progressive jackpot slot game, which allows users to win large sums of money.
Today, Microgaming has won numerous awards including Gambling Online Magazine’s 2003 Top Casino Software award, the Best Casino iGaming Software award and an Editor’s Pick Award. While winning all of these awards, Microgaming worked to make itself available in over ten languages and to offer over 300 fun games.
Playtech is one of the industry’s pioneers. The company started in the early 1990s, just like Microgaming, and its founder Teddy Sagi showed a good instinct for how the online casino market would develop.
Between 1999 and 2006, Playtech and Microgaming pretty much split the global online casino market 50/50 and earned billions during that time. It helped that gambling online was still allowed in the territories of the United States.
Playtech developed games in high-quality fashion right from the start and quickly earned a competitive advantage, especially for card games and roulette, which made players love them. However, the company struggled to compete for online slots due to to a low number of games and a lack of creativity. This changed to the better ever since Playtech invested further resources and acquired Quickspin, a slot-focused games developer, back in 2016.
Today, many of UK’s Top 20 Online Casinos feature either Playtech or Quickspin games on their platforms.
Unfortunately, all that glitters is not gold. The company’s reputation took a beating when a player only received a partial payment for her jackpot win due to a ‘maximum cashout clause’ in the casino’s T&Cs. Although it wasn’t Playtech but the casino that denied the payout, many blamed Playtech for giving out licenses to casinos that show a lack of integrity.
Founder Teddy Sagi started to sell most of his ownership in Playtech in the early 2000s, which turned out to be a smart decision. Since 2010, the market for casino games have become incredibly competitive, and Playtech’s share price fell by 50 percent.
Fun Fact: Teddy Sagi invested some of his returns into London’s Camden Town area and is its largest landowner, e.g., Camden Market.
Playtech is still having a hard time keeping up with today’s creative masterminds Big Time Gaming, Thunderkick, and Pragmatic Play. However, the company remains to be one of the industry’s leaders and their games are available at many large online casinos such as Bet365 and Betfred as well as Quickspin slots at Casumo or Dream Vegas.
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NetEntertainment is another popular provider to online casinos. They’ve been creating fun games for over 20 years and are primarily known for a series of well-designed online slot evergreens such as Gonzo’s Quest. NetEnt is so popular that they held the official Guinness World Record for paying out the largest jackpot worth €17.8 million through their popular progressive slot Mega Fortune.
In 2017, NetEnt’s gaming servers handled over 41.2 billion transactions. In addition to that, they serve over 200 of the world’s most prominent online casino sites and offer more than 200 games to their dedicated players.
Many of the casinos that made our Top 20 Online Casinos UK feature an expansive list of popular games. While most resemble the games you would expect at a brick-and-mortar establishment, you will often have access to unique variations that you wouldn’t be able to play anywhere else.
Some of the traditional table games offered at online casinos include roulette, blackjack, poker, and baccarat with variations such as European and American roulette, pontoon blackjack, punto banco baccarat. If you’re lucky, you might stumble upon mahjong, craps, and pai gow.
Most casino games are also available on mobile devices, and some casino sites even offer mobile-only versions. For instance, Blackjack Touch is a mobile blackjack game that only works on smartphones and tablet computers.
Wide Range of Online Slots
Where online casinos excel is at the range of slot games. This might sound cheesy, but on the Internet, the only limit seems to be your imagination. It’s especially true for new slot sites that launch nearly every month. When it comes to online slots, you can play pretty much anything from the traditional three-reel fruit slots to video slots featuring fantasy or animal themes. You can even find slot games which are based on recent movies and television shows such as Game of Thrones, Jurassic World and Spiderman. If you want to learn more about slot sites, head over to Superslots.de, a website dedicated to everything Spielautomaten, the German word for slots.
Live Dealer Games for Experienced Players
If that isn’t enough then live casinos are the natural progression. At live games, you virtually sit down at your favourite table game, and a real-life dealer is being streamed over the Internet. You can directly interact with the dealer through a message system or chat room get even closer to a real-life casino experience. Please note that live dealer games are usually not available as a free version and are more tailored to experienced players.
What Is the Secret to Winning
We get this question a lot, and firstly it’s important to remember that online casinos are supposed to be fun. We recommend always to set yourself a limit and only wager what you can afford to lose. Long story short; there is no guarantee to win, whether it’s the lotto or at the casino, and anyone who tells you differently is selling something.
If the lotto jackpot were won every single time, there would be no jackpot, and if there were a secret way to win at a casino game, the casino would go bankrupt and close its doors.
However, if you’re looking to maximise your chance of winning, you might want to consider online slot games with a high RTP (Return to Player) or pick an online casino that offers a generous welcome bonus with low wagering requirements and ideally no cash out limit.
Having access to help when things don’t go according to plan is important for you as a customer and essential criteria in our review process. If you ever run into technical difficulties or issues with your payments, whether deposits or withdrawals, you want to have access to someone who can help you out as quickly as possible. Most casinos offer a range of support options including a 24/7 live chat feature, which works great for resolving non-critical issues promptly.
Other casinos, however, aren’t so great at customer service. They might not have a live chat feature, or maybe they lack a phone number, and the only way to contact them is through a form on their website. We take customer support extremely serious and run extensive checks on the accurateness, friendliness, and ease of use of their service. Have a look at our live chat protocol to get an idea of how our checks work.
We only highlight and recommend online casinos that offer excellent customer support, but if you decide to find a casino on your own, we recommend only to pick those that offer various support options available to you 24/7 and ideally in your native language.
Questions & Answers
Can I try a casino game for free?
Yes. Most online casinos let you try their games for free, sometimes even without registration. However, you have to remember that any winnings generated during a free play session will not be available for payout.
What is a no deposit bonus?
A no deposit is an incentive offered by the casino to allow players to enjoy real-money casino games without having to deposit their own money. These bonuses often come in the form of free spins on particular slot machines. Please be aware that no deposit bonuses have additional requirements, such as wagering requirements, which make them less attractive than they might seem at first glance.
What is a wager requirement?
Casinos implement wager requirements on their promotions to prevent fraud. If an operator offers a 100% deposit match bonus up to £100 with a 50x wager requirements, you must wager 50*100 = £5000 before you can cash out the bonus money.
What are payout percentages?
In general terms, payout percentage refers to the figure the casino pays out for every £1 deposit. Let’s say the operator pays out £95 for every £100 received; their payout % would be 95%. You might have heard of a similar concept called RTP (Return to Player). RTP is commonly linked to specific online slot games and refers to the amount the slot machine returns for each £1 deposit.
What is a progressive jackpot slot?
Just like playing the lottery, progressive slots are those with a jackpot that grows over time. Each time a player loses the shared prize pool gets bigger until one gambler hits the jackpot. The most popular of such slots is probably Microgaming’s Mega Moolah.