What goes into our Online Casino Reviews
When you’re looking for an online casino what do you do? If you’re like most casino players, you’ll probably have a quick nose around the site you’re interested in and read some reviews. With that in mind, we thought we’d give you an insight into what we consider important when we’re putting together an online casino review.
Online Casino License
Playing at a licensed online casino is a must – the operating license depends on which country/region you are in. If you are from the UK, an online casino must be licensed by the UK Gambling Commission. Head to the bottom of a casino’s website or page and look out for the Gambling Commission logo – there should be a link to the actual license number (it’s part of the UKGC’s rules). If you cannot locate it, contact the customer support team or perform a Google search. If a casino is not licensed in your jurisdiction, your money may not be safe – run a mile. We only recommend trusted online casinos here at CasinoManual.co.uk.
One of the most important factors when considering whether to play at an online casino is the level of customer support you can expect. We always like to try and work things out for ourselves first before contacting the casino directly. A good FAQs section, preferably with a searchable database is a big help.
Of course, things shouldn’t go wrong, but sometimes they do. When that happens can you rely on prompt and considerate customer service? There are few more frustrating things than trying to get in touch with the casino support team only to find out that they’ve already logged off for the day.
Important factors here are the methods available for contact. Is it just live chat or will you be given the chance to speak to a real person? If there is a phone service how much will it cost? Does the casino provide a callback service? More and more of us use Skype to communicate. Does the casino?
A detailed help section and courteous staff who operate 7 days a week and provide prompt and polite service are what we’re looking for. Even better if they do that using multiple, free methods including phone, live chat and Skype.
Most online casinos offer a similar range of options when it comes to making deposits and withdrawals. The range will usually include credit and debit cards, money wallets like Skrill and Neteller and prepay options like Paysafecard. An increasing number of online casinos now accept PayPal.
What we don’t want to see are fees levied either for deposits and withdrawals or slow payouts. Another important consideration here is how long it takes for withdrawals to be processed. It can be incredibly irksome to request a withdrawal only to see it sitting in limbo while it’s waiting to be processed. The quicker the withdrawals, the better as far as we’re concerned.
In a similar vein, does the casino process cashouts at weekends? If you want to make a withdrawal on a Saturday or Sunday then why shouldn’t you be able to? Casinos that provide this service get a nice tick.
Safety and security are of prime concern of course. We want UK regulated casinos who operate in a fair and transparent manner. We’ll consider the security technology of the casino as well as the verification processes which the casino uses to identify their players and keep their funds secure.
Of course, the number of casino games that an online casino can provide is important. A casino that offers 1,000 games is going to score more highly than one that offers just 50. The number of casino games isn’t the only criteria we consider though.
We also factor in the slot developers/providers whose games are offered. A casino with slots from a number of software providers is generally viewed more favourably than one that’s tied to just one. Finding your way to those games is important too. A site that is user friendly, well designed and easy to navigate scores better than one that’s not intuitive to use.
Another important feature is the ability to filter games by developer, theme or even feature. If you only want to see slots from NetEnt that come with a Chinese theme and free spins with multipliers, then it’s helpful to be able to do so.
Does the casino offer slots that you can’t find anywhere else? Exclusive content is definitely a positive. As is having all the top new titles as well as a good selection of old favourites. Finally, we’ll look at jackpot slots which are important for many players chasing megabucks payouts. If a casino offers a range of slots that can deliver seven-figure payouts, then so much the better.
Overall then, we want plenty of slots from a good range of developers like Play ‘N Go, IGT and Microgaming. Ideally, those slots should be easy to find and there should be a search facility which means you can find your favourites immediately.
Bonuses and Promotions
Most people like a freebie and online casino players are no exception, whether that be free spins or bonuses. Some freebies offer more than others though and it’s always important to dig into the small print when it comes to terms and conditions.
The headline figure from a bonus might look impressive but if there’s a massive wagering requirement to complete, then the offer really isn’t as good as it looks. Likewise, free spins. No deposit free spins are welcome if they come with restrictive conditions then they might not be worth the bother. We stipulate all wagering requirements, restrictions and terms when it comes to casino welcome bonuses/offers.
There’s been a move towards ‘fair spins’ from sites like bgo Casino which is welcome. These don’t come with any wagering requirements at all. You spin and if you win you get to keep what you’ve earned without having jump through any hoops. Simple and clear.
We like to see online casinos that provide plenty of offers and promotions to regular players and not just new sign ups. That can mean tournaments, points races, treasure hunts and the like. One casino that generally gets this spot on is Mr Green Casino which delivers a steady stream of contests that award cash, bonus prizes, holidays, experiences, gadgets and much else besides.
Tied in with this are VIP and regular player programmes. These can award cashback to regular players or award points which can then be spent in the online casino store. Overall then, we’re looking for an open and transparent welcome offer that doesn’t come with hidden penalties and a good variety of offers and giveaways that reward existing players as well as new sign ups.
The Perfect Online Casino?
What would our perfect online casino look like? Well it would be regulated by the UKGC for starters (in the UK of course) and use the best, most secure technology available.
The design would be simple and intuitive so finding what you’re looking for is simple and easy. There would be a good selection of casino games and slots from a wide range of developers including established names and rising industry stars. You’d find old classic as well as the freshest new releases. You’d be able to filter games by developer, genre and gameplay too.
A helpful customer support team would be available around the clock and withdrawals would be rapid and available at weekends – and with no fees either! There’d be a straightforward signup bonus with no hidden hoops to jump through as well as a steady stream of competitions and other giveaways for more experienced players. Mix all that together and we think you’d be on to a winner.