Top rated casinos
With thousands of casinos in existence, it can be difficult separating the wheat from the chaff. All the gambling giants – William Hill, Ladbrokes and Paddy Power to name but three – have online casinos, but does ‘big’ necessarily mean ‘great’?
Not always. There are several exceptional casinos that fly under the radar, either because they lack the huge corporate name, or refuse to plough millions into offline advertising.
Our experts are committed to assessing all brands, big and small. Below, you can find our top rated online casinos. Read on to learn more about our appraisal process.
How we rate online casinos
Bonuses and promotions
Every casino tempts beginners in with an enticing bonus. It’s usually in the form of a matched bonus where if you deposit, say, £100, the casino will give you an extra £100 of bonus chips to play with. Of course, you can’t just take this money and say ‘arrivederci’ – you have to wager a certain amount before you can cash in your virtual coins.
Some bonuses and promotions are much better than others, and we scrutinise each and every one, going through the Terms & Conditions in a way that puts Sherlock Holmes to shame. We then report back and tell you just how many magic beans your bonus is likely to get you. Things we look out for include rollover requirements, withdrawal limits, and the time frame available to wager your bonus.
We think that variety is the spice of life when it comes to the top rated casinos. How impressed would you be if you walked into a land-based casino and discovered only a dozen one-armed bandits and a shady-looking dealer offering to play blackjack as long as you used his deck?
A good casino should offer a healthy number of software-based games and live games, though we never forget that it’s about quality over quantity.
We rate each specific type of game as well – online slots, blackjack, roulette, video poker, etc. When you filter for a certain game, we display the casino’s game-weighted score. If you filter for roulette, for instance, the new scores will take into account your preference for the casino with the best roulette games.
Naturally, all these games are created by software providers. Some providers – NetEnt, Betsoft, Microgaming and Playtech to name but four – come with superb reputations for creating immersive 3D games.
We check to see where casinos source their software to make sure they are legitimate, fair and resilient. We love to see all our favourite games, such as Starburst, Gonzo’s Quest, Under The Bed and Jurassic Park. We regularly scrutinise software providers to make sure they honour the published payout percentages of their games.
Of course, you want to get as much cash as you can out of a casino, but you need to get some cash in there in the first place. We review the payment options available at each cashier, and again, we think the rule here is ‘the more the merrier’. We like to see credit and debit cards (Visa and MasterCard and more), eWallets (PayPal, Neteller and Skrill) and pre-paid options (Ukash and Paysafecard) covered at the very minimum. We also like to see payment options for worldwide solutions (Sofort Überweisung and Przelewy24 are always good to see) too.
If you do strike lucky, you’ll want to know how willing your potential best online casino is to stump up the cash. What withdrawal options are open to you? Can you have your cash with a snap of your fingers, or do you have to wait 28 days for a personal cheque to pop through your letterbox?
A casino will be awarded the highest cashier rating if it supports manual flushing – the ability to withdraw all funds in one go, no questions asked. Casinos listed on the London Stock Exchange such as 32Red and Ladbrokes support manual flushing.
Gambling on the go is soaring in popularity – annual wagers via mobile are expected to reach $62 billion by 2018. Top casinos implement a mobile-responsive design, which means that menus remain clear and easily-navigable when shrunk.
It’s not just mobile users that casinos should cater for: Mac and Linux players are also on the rise. We provide a frank verdict on the versatility of every casino.
Wrapping it all up
When reviewing an online casino we give every criteria a mark out of ten, add it all up and plug it into an algorithm that delivers a final percentage. We scrutinise a casino’s terms and conditions very closely, and test the response times of its customer support.