- How to find the best online casinos
- What makes a top online casino
- Reputation and trustworthiness (licenses, complaints)
- Banking policy (deposits and withdrawals, fees, cashout time)
- Games and software (game types, developers, live dealers)
- Design and UX (lobby, navigation, interface)
- Bonuses and promotions (welcome package, wagering requirements, tricky bonus terms)
- Customer support (working hours, channels, competency)
- Get ready to play
Imagine you’re from the UK and you want to find the best UK online casino. How would you do it? Well, you may simply search for something like “top casino UK” or “best casino UK”. This would probably be the first idea that comes to your mind, and it is… let’s say, not the optimal one. The point is - you may find not the top casinos in terms of player experience, but rather those with the largest SEO teams.
There’s a better way:
That is - to look for specialized portals that review casino websites. Congratulations, you’ve found the best one! (Oh, we’re so modest.) To give you the most enjoyable experience, we turn every casino inside out, thoroughly examine it, dig up all its dirty secrets, and present it to you on a platter, with a rating plate attached.
With SO much to bear in mind, there’s no short and quick answer. Besides, it depends on your location, meaning that top UK casino sites with several awards may not necessarily be the best for a guy from Sweden, and vice-versa. Okay, let’s explain why we may praise one site and throw metaphorical mud at another.
When we review gambling sites, we pay attention to numerous details, starting from obvious ones, such as licenses, to subtle ones, like the clearness of the Terms and Conditions. These details are combined into the average “Our Opinion” score you see under each review. Then we check how other reputable gambling portals rated the site and show you an even more average score called Global Rating.
Our rating is based on several criteria. We evaluate the reputation and trustworthiness of a casino, its banking policy, game library, website design and navigation, bonuses and promos, and customer service.
We evaluate the reputation and trustworthiness of a casino, its banking policy, software, website design and navigation, bonuses and promos, and customer service.
This is a crucial factor which contributes the most to the overall rating. Why wouldn’t it be? The best online casino has to be fair and safe, period. First of all, we consider the licenses. If you’re from the UK, remember: a casino can only legally accept UK players if it has a license from the UK Gambling Commission. If you don’t see the UKGC badge at the bottom of the website - find another place to play at. Even if it’s there, it may be prudent to click on it and make sure the site’s address is indeed on the list and that the license is active.
If you’re from any other country, the UKGC badge is still a good sign, because this organization is the most strict when it comes to auditing gambling businesses.
Another reliable license is the one from MGA (Malta Gaming Authority). While not as strict as the UKGC, it still provides decent protection to players if anything goes south.
Here’s the short list of other licenses that are considered to be “okay”:
- Isle of Man
The Curacao license deserves a separate paragraph. It’s common, it’s cheap, and it’s not that bad. It’s just that it doesn’t guarantee safety to players. Don’t get us wrong, we don’t mean that you should run away only because a casino holds a license from Curacao. We just say that you’d better be a bit more careful, that’s all.
Speaking of running away. If you ever see a casino licensed by Costa Rica, Panama, or Montenegro - run like hell! These don’t even deserve to be called licenses, as the authorities that issue them have no means (and, probably, desire) to protect players.
Another metric that contributes to the reputation score is the number of complaints that pop up on the internet. We search the web and look for any issues that the players had with the casino. Then we look at how they were resolved, if at all.
Wouldn’t it suck if you won a €4 million jackpot and had to wait for 40 years to get the money in full? Wouldn’t you feel annoyed if you could only make one free withdrawal per month? Isn’t it lame to wait for the winnings via bank wire for two weeks? These are but a few examples of lousy terms that may be hidden in the banking section of the T&C’s.
We check the list of available deposit and withdrawal methods. The more ways to pay you the winnings the casino has - the better. On the other hand, maybe it has the method that is best for you, be it Bitcoin wallet, Neteller, Paypal, or credit cards.
Fees are not fun. We don’t like them. That’s why we tell you about any fees associated with deposits or withdrawals. We also scan the web for any outstanding issues with payouts. Are there numerous players complaining that it takes weeks to receive the money? Well, rest assured that we’d mention that too.
Ultimately, that’s why you’re here, right? To play casino games! There are so many software platforms, developers, game types, and slots, that you may find yourself bedazzled. That’s where our software rating comes in. We scan the lobby, check how many developers there are, how many titles in total, and whether or not they are diverse enough.
If you already know your way around casinos, you may have your favorites among software providers. In this case, simply select them in our filters and choose the best casino from those available.
If you’re a newcomer, however, you may have to trust us on this one. We think that the more games and developers the casino has - the more likely it is to satisfy your needs. If a casino gets a 10 for software, it means it has an impressive collection of over 500 titles from different providers. At least two of those are top ones, and there should be all the most played types of games - slots, video poker, roulette, baccarat, progressive jackpots, and blackjack.
There are good, big, old, and popular developers (Net Entertainment, Microgaming, Playtech, NextGen, Novomatic), good, smaller, and slightly less popular developers (Play’N Go, Playson, Yggdrasil, Leander, Blueprint), old, but no-so-good-anymore-sorry developers (IGT, RTG, Aristocrat, WMS), and hundreds of other providers that are anywhere in-between.
Oh, and don’t forget about LIVE games. This is the closest you can get to the feel of a “brick and mortar” casino. There are multiple studios offering tables with live dealers. The top ones are NetEnt (these guys are everywhere), Playtech, Evolution Gaming, Ezugi, Vivo Gaming, Extreme Live Gaming, and others. If there’s no Live section, we don’t give the place the highest score for software.
Alright, this is probably the most subjective score of all. For example, we don’t like blazingly pink sites with fluffy clouds and colorful fruits. If you do like them - fine. We don’t judge.
Luckily, some aspects can be rated objectively. For example, is the lobby convenient? Can you get to your favorite slot in as few clicks as possible? Do they have the titles sorted out into categories so that you don’t have to look for roulette in the bingo section? Does the lobby have additional filters to help you find precisely the slot you want?
Now, not only the lobby but also the information has to be organized. The website should answer all the questions a potential player may have, including RTP rates, banking details, and promotional terms. It is also nice when the site works well, fast, and with no glitches.
All this is also applied to the mobile version of the casino if it has one at all. Ideally, there should be full functionality available on modern mobile devices. You should be able to sign up, deposit, play, and withdraw, without ever having to open the desktop version. This is the best practice today, but some sites still fail to deliver a smooth mobile experience.
Here’s another hugely complicated topic. The tricky thing about bonuses is that they are rarely as good as they look. They are essentially free chips, so it’s okay to set restrictions on the balance. Sometimes these restrictions go way too far though.
For example, how do you like 200% extra cash up to £1000, on your first deposit? Sounds cool, eh? Think twice, because such bonuses are often sticky, meaning that they can’t be cashed out.
Another typical example of such restrictions is the wagering requirement. In UK-licensed casinos, it is usually displayed as a part of significant terms, right on the promo banner. It’s a number that shows how many times you need to wager your bonus before you can withdraw it. Best online casinos in the UK usually try to make these terms very clear to avoid any confusion.
Imagine you signed up, deposited £50, and they gave you a 100% deposit match, which resulted in the total balance of £100. If the casino states it has “wager: 35x”, it means that you have to make £1750 (35 times 50) worth of bets to “play through” the bonus funds and transfer them to your withdrawable balance. Keep in mind that you only need to wager that much; every bet counts, regardless of whether you win or not. Once you’ve bet that much - everything that’s left is yours to withdraw. That’s how it works in the best casinos online.
What we described above is just a basic example. In reality, there may be more terms that can make your “gift” worthless. We’ll list a few of them here:
- Win cap
- Ridiculous max bet limit
- Vague “bonus abuse” terms
- Game restrictions
- Different wagering contribution rates
In our reviews, we study the promotional terms to make sure that only the fairest casinos make it to the top list. We also mention other promotions, such as free spins, daily offers, tournaments and races, VIP programs, and more.
If you play long enough, you’ll have to contact the customer support at some point. When we rate the support team, we first look at the ways to contact them. A live chat is pretty much a must these days. Even better if there are alternative options available - phone number, messengers, Facebook, etc.
The second most important factor is the working hours. Ideally, the operators should be available 24/7. Last but not least, we check how the operators respond. Are they competent enough to help you? Are they fast and polite?
Phew, that was a long-ass article. We’re sure you now better understand the approach we take to evaluate the best online casinos. Now it’s time to spin the reels! Select some filters if you know what you want, or choose one of the top casino sites available in the UK.
Below is a short FAQ, just as a recap.
How do I know that your “recommended casinos” are indeed the best?
We don’t just pick any casinos at random for our top list, you know. We carefully examine them, rate them, and give you our expert opinion based on dozens of subtle details. Even better - thanks to the Global Score, you can see and compare the ratings from different watchdog portals.
What is the best UK online casino?
As of now, the highest rated casino available in the UK is Trada Casino. It is licensed by the UKGC, has seals of approval from every reputable gambling portal, excellent reputation, fair welcome package, and fast payouts. Read the full review for more detailed info.
Is it legal for me to play?
That depends entirely on the laws of your country. For example, if you’re from the UK, the answer would be “absolutely,” provided that you’re of legal age. Just choose a reliable UKGC-licensed casino.
What is the best gambling software?
If we had to choose one, it would be NetEnt. No, really. These guys are top-notch. They have a convenient platform, live casino studio, and they develop slots that work both on desktops and mobile devices.