Have you ever asked yourself, "Why does anyone need to read a review about an online casino?" The answer often comes back, "To find out if it's any good!" For this reason and a few more besides, I have decided to add this section to the site in order to review online casinos properly and bring you my findings. Online casino reviews.
Naturally, no player wants to waste time signing up for a duff casino any more than they want to end up playing in a shady rip-off site that is capable of taking all their money and not paying any winnings. It's only fair that you should have plenty of warning about the sites to avoid as well as having lots of information on the sites that are worthy of your time and money.
Best Casinos Online
Have you ever tried to accurately define exactly what makes the very best sites to play at? It's harder than you think, because there are so many variables involved. There are objective facts that define a casino's viability and credibility in an established way, but there are also several subjective factors that are personal and will differ from person to person, reviewer to reviewer.
Almost all review sites are also biased in reviewing favourably those casino sites that they are affiliated to, or will receive recompense from any players that sign up after being referred from their site. This is the norm and in fact doesn't cost players anything.
But it does earn the review site's owner some income. Which is fair enough as a lot of work, time and effort goes into creating a big review website.
Let's talk about affiliated reviewers for a moment, so that aspect of reviewing casinos can be better understood without raising issues from myths that seem to float about everywhere.
First off, I freely admit I am affiliated to certain casino operators and as such I am compensated for my time and work in creating factual and honest reviews of the sites I target. I (and anyone else for that matter) wouldn't do it otherwise!
It's a job and like all jobs, you do it to get paid unless you're one of the truly lucky people of this world. They're the ones that get paid for doing something they truly love and don't see what they're doing as a job at all.
But I'm getting off track a little. Suffice it to say, even though I do receive a small commission for sending players to certain casinos and sports books sites, I still maintain that I have the right to write an honest and factual review.
So when you do go and read any of my appraisals (listed at the foot of this page) you'll see for yourself they are not just sales pitches. I really do get into the casino, check out its games, its security features, its software, its payment and accounts systems and its customer support.
That's why my reviews are generally pretty long reads. Which is often a lot different to many that are little better than a couple of hundred words scratched together that say how great it is!
Just remember, if a review you just read told you what you needed to know about a casino before you decided to visit, download, sign up and deposit money to start playing, then I did my job well and you went away satisfied. If not, I don't mind if you want to let me know what I missed out so I can add it in and provide a complete and comprehensive guide to the next person that reads it.
You can contact me via the contact page using the link near the top of this page.
What Makes a Great Online Casino?
As I started to explain earlier, what makes a really great place to visit, become a member of and play at, is a number of things. I'll summarise them below then expand on them later:
Highly trusted, established and well known brand
Great games and lots of them
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Great bonus offers that are irresistable
An atmosphere that both makes you feel welcome and excited to be playing there
A great user experience from ease of sign up to simple
A wide selection of payment options
Top security and good reputation for fair play and honesty
So those are the main points that go toward making a really great casino that you would feel perfectly happy playing at. Let me expand on those points now.
What Have the Best Online Casinos Got?
Apart from the obviously personal preferences that will differ from player to player, I want to expand on the aspects summarised above that go toward defining greatness in an online casino.
Trusted, Established Brand
If there were only one major factor that you could draw upon to make up your mind which online casino you would choose to sign up with and play at, it would probably be the most trusted, established and best known name in the business. Big name brands are always at the top of people's list when it comes to choosing which to accept.
Take soft drinks for instance. You go into a store and you're thirsty and want a cold, refreshing soft drink. What's the first brand to come to mind? Coca-Cola of course!
You're hungry and ahead of you are three fast food restaurants. They might all look pretty similar and offer great deals on price, fast service, varied meals etc. So let's say that one is a Burger King, another is called, say "Fred's Brilliant Burger Joint" and the other is called, say "Big Belly Burgers."
Come on, you're going to walk right past the other two and go into Burger King, right?
Brand recognition creates trust especially when that brand has been around a long time and the company has a big reputation to uphold. While it's a fair bet that an unknown casino might rip you off, it's pretty fair to suppose a trusted casino with a huge reputation is going to treat you well.
So you chose a well known name in the gambling business and then you checked over their selection of games. You already know that most online gaming sites carry much the same games across the most popular genres.
They'll all have some pretty highly developed software driving them. They'll all have variations of American and European roulette, blackjack and 21/pontoon, craps, baccarat, slots and video poker slots. Your choice of casino is no different and will provide you with several variations of each game plus a nice selection of "arcade" games that you might fancy having a stab at every now and then.
So expect to see keno, sic bo, Caribbean poker, red dog and a few other table poker variants, bingo, scratch cards, maybe video horse racing and a few others. You might find some more unusual games too like certain Asian games and one or two that you might not have been expecting, such as backgammon.
You can usually tell if your choice of casino has amazing games from the software company that they are powered by. Top names are Microgaming, Playtech, RealTime Gaming, NetEnt and several others.
Let's face it, if you were to visit your local hardware store looking for a new power drill and didn't see exactly the one you wanted, you'd head out to the nearest DIY superstore. All of a sudden, you'd not only be faced with a huge selection of power drills, you'd also find the prices lower and there would invariably be a special "deal" going on in the store to buy some accessories at half price if you buy this or that top rated drill.
This is something that established businesses know will attract customers from far and wide and is something the little guy in the local store simply cannot compete with. The huge superstores have massive budgets, part of which is earmarked for giving discounts in order to fuel more retail purchases.
Casinos do a similar thing by offering new customers deposit match bonus offers. Many will be happy to match your first deposit with a 100% bonus so that if you were to deposit, say £,200, they would give you a further £,200 for free to spend as you like on bets on any games in the casino.
Many also offer a no deposit bonus of a lower figure to entice you through their virtual doors. Just like many land based casinos in Las Vegas will give you a handful of free chips and a voucher for a free drink just for walking in the door.
There is a good reason for doing this and it's not purely out of the goodness of their hearts. It's to reward you for giving them your custom and the hope is that you will spend the money they gave you free and then feel fine about spending some of your own money in addition to that.
Many experienced players will change casino from time to time in order to take advantage of big first deposit match bonus offers. They are probably already in possession of a large bankroll and therefore can afford to deposit large amounts to get the maximum bonus to play with.
Just don't feel sorry for the casino, because they are not losing out! They know that players will most likely gamble all their bonus and even if they win, will be likely to recycle those winnings into future bets.
Along the way, they will also offer a range of periodic bonuses as well as regular comp points that you can trade for gifts. So the bonuses keep coming as a way to get you to keep playing of course!
For the player's perspective, that means they can play for longer without losing their own money. But they will spend it somewhere down the line and that's what the casino is counting on. They want you to be their customer, but the really want you to be their long time, loyal customer!
A Friendly Atmosphere
This is more subjective but a very real experience for players. If a site doesn't feel "right" then you should probably try another. It's not common to get that really "bad" feeling about a site unless it really is a shady dealer, as most of the top operators work very hard to create a welcoming environment for their players.
Remember, it's their business and like any retail store, they need your custom to stay in business!
Easy and Straight Forward
When a site makes things as easy as possible for you to sign up and become a valued member, they are doing everything they can to attract business. Those that make it seem like a real chore and present you with lengthy forms and tons of what may appear to be irrelevant questions, they are putting blocks up in your path and you may feel like it's not worth your trouble.
You'd be right. Choose a site that makes the sign up process as easy as possible so you can get stared playing quickly and seamlessly.
Again, simplicity is the name of this game. You want plenty of choices when it comes to making payments and withdrawals of your cash, so the more mainstream payment choices that a casino can offer you, the better.
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It also shows that a site that is partnered with more external business that are happy to have their name up there can do that because it is trusted by those companies.
Expect to see top name payment processors like Neteller, Skrill (Moneybookers), 2checkout etc along with all major credit and debit cards, bank transfers, e-checks, e-wallets and a cash wire option like Western Union. The more options that you have available to you, the easier it is to make your deposits and take out your winnings and have them transferred into a safe and familiar place that you use often.
No one in their right mind would go to a bank to deposit their hard earned cash if there were no visible security in place. A bank that looked like a corner shop with a little old lady behind the counter in place of a teller's window with security glass, an open front door, no security cameras, no massive vault but just an old wooden drawer under the counter to keep all the cash in...
Your first reaction would be to vacate the premises and run a mile, right?
Well, consider the same layout in a website and you are certainly not going to risk your money with one that had no visible security in place, would you? The best casinos will proudly display their badges of compliance and tell you all about their bullet-proof 128 bit SSL security systems that are as tough as an online bank.
These are the sites you will want to do business with, for sure!
Lastly, it would be a foolish business owner indeed that didn't have some form of customer support to help their valued customers get access to any help they might need in relation to your business. That's why all the top casinos are highly vocal in their provision of the best customer support they can give.
It will usually be 24/7 via email, online chat and toll free telephone from most places in the world that they are legally operating in. That says they care enough about their customers to make sure they're looked after properly.
Another aspect of Internet gambling sites I want to cover in this article is the way they are presented to first time visitors. A really highly developed casino site that is aesthetically pleasing while also projecting an air of excitement, attraction and professionalism is a site you're going to feel you can trust and will want to play at.
First impression really do count and nowhere more so than online. There are some truly incredible websites out there that have all the bells and whistles in the right places and in the right proportions to portray the fact that they really do mean business.
Remember that these sites want your business. They want you to be their customer and to that end they will offer you the moon to get you to join up. Just remember that your enjoyment comes from spending your money wisely and enjoying the long term experience of being a regular customer in a place you feel welcome, happy and entertained at.
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