Since online gaming took off more than two decades ago, hundreds of online casinos have been launched. Many lasted only a couple of years, others passed the test of time. Numerous new casinos appear on a monthly, even weekly basis. Signing up at an online casino is very easy, it can be done in less than a minute, and since most of them accept payment methods that allow instant payments, it won’t be longer than few minutes before you can start playing real money online casino games.
What seems to be most difficult is picking an online casino that’s reliable, trustworthy, offers high-quality games, fast and secure payments. It is also essential for an online casino to be licensed by the relevant authorities, a casino’s reliability and trustworthiness depend heavily on that. The bonuses and promotions that are offered by online casinos are of no lesser significance, whenever a casino offers an attractive welcome bonus, it can be a huge incentive for players to register an account.
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How We Rate Online Casinos
In order to make things easier for player when it comes to choosing US online casino sites and making sure whether it is reliable, we’ve developed a set of criteria that allows us to rate and rank online casinos. We’ve chosen objective criteria, so that the danger of being arbitrary or subjective is eliminated.
It is important to note that there are criteria which every casino has to meet just to be considered a viable option. Also, there are stuff which are not necessary, but are highly recommended, i.e. casinos that offer them are generally rated better than ones that don’t. For example, a welcome bonus isn’t a must, but it would be pretty cool if one is offered. Lastly, there are things that are a matter of personal preference. Some players prefer slot games, whereas other are more into Blackjack. Some players prefer games by particular providers, whereas others choose their favourite games based on their theme, features, maximum pay-outs, etc.
The more you know about each casino, the easier it will be for you to decide which casino is the best choice for you. Trying to find the relevant information on every online casino operator isn’t always easy, as all casinos tend to accent the positives and hide the negatives. That’s why we’re here to help. With our casino reviews, you will get all the right information and know which casinos offer exactly what you’re looking for.
Online Casino Legality and Licencing
One thing that is a must for every online casino is an online operating licensed. There are several licensing jurisdiction in the worlds. Some countries require every online casino that wants to offer its services to the citizens of that country to be licensed by their national authorities. Other countries accept licences issued by other jurisdictions.
Online casinos usually display the logo or logos of the licensing jurisdiction that have issued them a licence, especially if the licensing organisation is prominent, like the UK Gambling Commission, Malta Gaming Authority, the Kahnawake Gaming Commission and few other. The licence guarantees that the particular casino operates in accordance with the laws, complies with the set standards. Customers who play at licenced casinos can be sure that their rights are protected.
Is online casino Safe?
Licensing is just one piece of the puzzle, it indicates that a casino qualifies to be an option. But security and safety are not guaranteed by merely obtaining a licence. All casinos are in possession of valuable information on their customers, such as their name, address, age and phone number. Moreover, players make transactions, deposit money to and withdraw winnings from their casino accounts, which means that at some point they have to provide even more sensitive information, like bank account details, credit card number, etc.
In order to keep sensitive data safe, casinos have to employ advanced technology. An anti-malware protection ensures that the casino will not be attacked by any internet viruses or be prone to attacks that can result in data theft, or disable the website as a whole. Payment security is an even more serious matter. That is why casinos utilise encryption technology which encodes the information so it won’t be obtainable by third parties.
If you can be sure that your information, especially financial details, is protected, you also need to know that you have a fair chance of winning. Casinos uses software called random number generator (RNG) which guarantees that the outcome of all software-based games (which are all games except live dealer games) is entirely random.
Software companies develop their games using RNG, but casinos also hire independent testing companies that perform regular checks and publish then publish their findings. When the software is tested by an independent body, it is a testament that all game outcomes are fair and completely random and there’s no possibility of interference or meddling.
Web-Based vs. Download and Mobile Casinos
Nowadays most online casinos are websites. You gain access simply by visiting the website, then you can log in and start playing. There are also casinos that offer download versions, where you download the software client, install it and then log in and play through the program. Some casinos offer both options.
With the increased use and improved functionality of mobile phones and tablets many casinos offer their customers the option to play casino games on their smartphones and tablets. Mobile casinos feature full capabilities, and in most cases you’ll be able to make deposits and even withdrawals using your mobile device. When it comes to mobile casinos they can be developed either as apps or HTML5 websites.
Apps can be downloaded either from the relevant store, or directly for them website, whereas HTML5 casinos are simply a mobile version of the standard online casino website. Many casinos offer both options, so that players can choose what they prefer.
Players visit online casinos because they want to play casino games, that’s pretty obvious and self-explanatory. That is why the selection of games is one of the top, and arguably the most important criteria when rating an online casino.
Generally, it can be said that the more games a casino offers, the better. And the number of games that are offered may vary from as little as few dozen to over a thousand. In general, most casinos, especially the best ones feature at least few hundred games. Game libraries include different types of games including video slots, classic slots, table and card games such as Blackjack and Roulette, video poker, scratch cards, specialty games and more.
The number of games isn’t the most important thing though, it can be said that game quality is perhaps even more vital. A casino that features games from the leading and most renowned casino software providers will probably score better than a one that offers games by more obscure and less known companies. Many casinos provide useful information on each game (or at least most of them) and that is very helpful.
Live casino games are a special type of games which allow players to experience an authentic casino atmosphere. Live games are played against dealers, not against a software program. The dealers are filmed in a casino environment and then the recordings are broadcast live via stream. Players can directly communicate with the dealers and in some cases with other players. A good selection of live games with flexible wagering limits and multiple options is definitely a sign of good reputation.
Bonuses and Promotions
The best way to start your gaming experience at a casino is with a welcome bonus. Almost every casino offers some kind of a bonus for new players. In some cases it is a no deposit bonus, which as the name suggests is awarded right after the player registers and before even the first deposit is made, whereas in other cases the bonus is awarded after the first deposit is made. Some casinos offer both a no deposit and a first deposit bonus.
Also, the deposit bonus may be awarded on the first few deposits, not just the first. The deposit bonus most often is a match bonus, and it is either in the same amount as the deposit (100% match) or in part (50%, 25%), but there are also bonuses where the match percentage exceeds 100%. There is usually a limit on the maximum bonus amount and there is also a minimum qualifying amount.
It is important to note that the bonus amount and the match percentage are not always the most important information regarding a bonus offer, even though they are most often displayed prominently. The wagering requirement (the amount that you have to wager before you can withdraw any bonus winnings), as well as the period during which you have to complete it and the period during which the bonus is valid are also very important. When claiming a bonus, you should always read the small print, just to make sure that there is no hidden catch that would make the bonus less favourable than it seems.
In addition to bonuses for new players, casinos also offer all sorts of other different bonuses, such as free spins (may also be included in the new player bonus package), as well as reload bonuses, special daily or weekly bonuses, leader board tournaments, refer a friend bonuses and many more. Multiple online casinos run loyalty programs, which allow customers that play often and wager significant amounts of money to receive certain perks and benefits.
You will need to choose a payment method before you can make your first deposit. Most online casinos offer at least few payment methods, most notably Paypal, credit and debit cards (especially Visa and MasterCard), but also numerous e-Wallets like Skrill, Neteller and several others. Other payment methods including prepaid cards, online banking platforms, wire transfer may also be included. Some of the methods are available internationally, others only in certain countries.
Again, how many methods are offered is one of the important aspects, but definitely not the only one. Payment safety is always guaranteed, but the waiting period before transactions are processed may vary. Casinos that enable payments to be processed faster score better than the ones where the payments take longer. Fees and charges are another issues. When a casino charges extra fees, which incurs extra costs, which makes your overall gaming experience more expensive.
Customer Support and User-Friendliness
One thing that is often neglected, yet is very important is customer support. Players often need assistance and help, either if they can’t register, can’t make a payment, or they simply need additional information. It is best if an online casino could offer 24/7 customer support, via more than one communication channel (email, phone and live chat are most commonly offered). The website/software client functionality and user-friendliness are important as well.