We understand that it isn’t easy to pick out the best online casino for you- especially when there are so many popping up. To make your decision easier, Casino Genius has worked to create the best casino reviews possible, digging deep on everything you need to know before you sign up to a casino. It’s our mission to help you find the best online casino for you, which is why we share our genius casino knowledge and expertise to help you understand casino reviews.
Before we write our reviews
Unlicensed casinos are a no go; it’s as simple as that. We promote responsible gambling, and part of that is only playing at trusted casino sites. Licensed casinos are regulated by governing bodies, like the UK Gambling Commission (UKGC) and the Malta Gaming Authority (MGA), to check that they’re playing by the rules and that everything is above-board. Regulatory authorities make sure that these casinos take steps to protect vulnerable players and use random number generator (RNG) technology to control the outcomes of games.
Some view the UK gambling industry as being ‘over regulated’ or ‘too heavily regulated’, but Casino Genius is not one of them. We are strong advocates of the Gambling Commission (UKGC) and its work to protect casino players and other gamblers. The UKGC has a robust set of requirements for operators in the UK to follow – this is known as its ‘licence conditions and code of practice (LCCP)’.
The conditions stipulate that all gambling software must be supplied by a manufacturer that holds a software operator’s licence. This ensures fair gaming across the board at every UK online casino. Additionally, the UKGC makes certain that customers’ funds are protected by segregating them from the operator’s money. Further measures include requiring casinos to promote responsible gambling and allow players to set limits on their casino account for deposits, losses, and so on. Our reviews of the best online casinos only promote UKGC-licenced sites, so you know you’re in safe hands.
We don’t review just any online casino, we set some level of standards to make sure it’s worth your time reading the review. There are a couple of factors we see as fundamental to online casinos, and we check that a site has these before we review it:
Terms and conditions will vary between sites, and it’s important to familiarise yourself with the ins and outs of these before you sign up. However, we make things a little easier by checking that a casino has player-friendly terms. What are the minimum deposit requirements and maximum withdrawal limits? How long does it take to process deposits and withdrawals? These are just a few factors we consider when we think about terms and conditions.
Customer support options
All online casinos have at least one way to get in touch, but the best make it easy, no matter your preferred contact method. You can contact most online casinos via email within specified opening hours, but the best offer round-the-clock support via live chat and UK telephone, too. You can often contact casinos via Twitter and Facebook too, for those smaller queries that don’t need solving straight away.
How we approach casino reviews
Here’s an insight into how we create the best online casino reviews.
Check out the games library
The variety of games is different from one casino to the next, primarily because they have partnerships with different software providers. As a player, you want to ensure that the site offers the type of online casino games you want to play.
For example, many players like to spin the reels on progressive jackpot video slots. Therefore, choosing a site that offers a strong collection of these games is essential. Others prefer live casino games, so a casino with dozens of live dealer tables is the answer. Furthermore, you want to think about your budget. Many recreational players only want to spend 10p or 20p on a game, so they’ll want to look for sites with a diverse range of titles that tick this box. Then, there are high stakes players searching for the thrills of playing blackjack for £1,000 a hand. Of course, it would take days for you to sift through all the casinos yourself; that’s why Casino Genius has done the legwork for you. This makes it quick and easy to find the UK’s best online casino sites through our reviews.
Understand the bonuses
That free spins welcome bonus might look like a good deal, but have you checked how much you’ll need to deposit to qualify? What about the wagering requirements on the matched deposit bonus? There’s usually a catch when it comes to casino bonuses, be that wagering requirements or time limits, and it’s important that they suit you. You might be better choosing a smaller bonus with lower wagering requirements or more generous time limit, if you’re just a casual player. We highlight this kind of information in our expert casino reviews so that you don’t have to trawl through the small print.
Check for mobile compatibility
Everyone’s busy in today’s world, but that doesn’t mean you have to miss out on your favourite games. Mobile casinos make it easy to squeeze in a quick slot game or round of roulette whenever you have a free moment or two. The best casino sites have a mobile-friendly websites or native mobile apps, but we’ll let you know if these are any good.
Look at the payment methods
You’ll be able to make deposits and withdrawals at every online casino, but what banking options do you have to do this? Whether you’d prefer traditional debit and credit cards, e-wallets like PayPal and Neteller or even bitcoin, there’s an online casino to suit you. We list the cashier options in our casino reviews to help you decide whether that casino’s for you.
Try it out for ourselves
The casino might tick all of the boxes on paper, but how easy is it to use? We give these casinos a trial run, testing how easy it is to sign up and get started, how freely you can browse and navigate the site, as well as how the quality of graphics and sound keeps up across the whole site.
Every online casino will have an array of bonuses and promotions for both new and existing players. Operators know that having valuable bonus offers go a long way in convincing players to sign up and stick around. Here are some of the most popular bonuses around at the moment.
Matched deposit offers are by far the most common type of casino bonus. As the name suggests, the value of your deposit will be matched by a specific percentage up to a certain value. For example, if there’s an offer of 100% up to £100, and you deposit £60, the casino will give you £60 in bonus funds. That leaves you with £120 to play with. Several of the casinos on our lists have matched welcome offers, but you can also get matched deposit reload bonuses as an existing player. Of course, the casino will enforce a few terms and conditions that you need to be aware of. We cover these further down the page.
Slots are easily the most popular type of casino game, which is why free spins promotions are so sought after. Free spins offers come in many forms. You can get them as a standalone sign up bonus, part of a matched deposit welcome offer, or as an independent deposit bonus after joining a site. The fundamentals of these offers are simple – the casino will give you a certain number of free spins for you to use on preselected slots. Once again, there will be terms and conditions attached, which may include wagering demands.
No deposit bonuses
The best way to think of a no deposit bonus is as a ‘try before you buy’ deal. These tend to be offered to new customers simply for registering an account. The casino will award players either some no deposit free spins or no deposit bonus cash. This allows you to play real money games in the casino, on the house. Understandably, no deposit bonuses are typically rather small – you may get 20 free spins or £10 in bonus cash, and there will be conditions that you have to meet before being able to withdraw any winnings. Still, these offers are great for you to try out a new site without dipping your hand in your pocket.
As mentioned, reload bonuses are a form of matched deposit, but for existing players who have previously made a deposit. The only difference between a reload offer and a welcome bonus is the bonus’ value. A typical reload bonus could be something like 25% up to £50, which is less than you get as a brand new customer. On the bright side, most casinos offer these on a weekly basis, so you can keep your balance topped up with some bonus cash nearly all the time.
Terms and conditions to look out for
You’re browsing through the best online casino reviews UK, and you see 200% up to £1,000 and below that, another offer of 100% up to £50. It’s natural to be drawn to the top offer as the percentage match is higher, and you can get more bonus cash. However, it may not present better value overall. To find out, you need to read the terms and conditions carefully, and then you can compare the offers to find their true worth.
While exact T&Cs vary from site to site, we’ve listed some of the main points you need to look out for. Once you have a grip on these, selecting the best casino bonuses will only take a few minutes.
Most bonuses come with wagering requirements. These are among the most important terms and conditions because they reveal how much you must wager before you can withdraw your winnings.
An example would be a matched deposit bonus of 100% up to £100 with 35x wagering on the bonus amount. You deposit £100, which means you receive £100 in bonus funds. This £100 can’t be withdrawn until you have completed the wagering (35x). Therefore, you must wager £100 x 35 = £3,500. If you achieve this, your remaining winnings can be cashed out as real money, or used to play other games without any restrictions.
Say your total wagering requirement is £3,500. That’s not the full picture, as casinos will enforce game weighting rules. In a nutshell, the casino puts its games into categories, such as video slots, baccarat, video poker, roulette, and so on. Each category is weighted with a percentage value, which is how much they contribute towards clearing the wagering. For example:
- All slots (excluding progressive jackpots) 100%
- Keno 100%
- Roulette 50%
- Blackjack 20%
- Video poker 10%
This means if you wager £10 on regular video slots, £10 will be cleared from the total wagering requirement. However, if you choose to play video poker, for every £10 bet, only £1 (10%) is cleared from the wagering. A general rule is the higher the RTP of a game, the smaller contribution it offers.
Some UK casinos exclude selected payment methods, such as Neteller, Skrill and Paysafecard, from certain bonus offers. It’s important to find this out before depositing to avoid disappointment later. This information is clearly stated in the terms and conditions. You can then use an alternative payment method to claim your desired offer.
Nothing lasts forever, including casino bonus offers. There are a few time limits to be aware of. The first is how long you have to claim the initial offer. Some sites may state that you have seven or 14 days from the time of registering an account to grab the promoted bonus. Another time constraint is how long you have to clear the wagering requirements. This can be up to a month or more, depending on the type of bonus and the casino.
Maximum win caps
Several casino bonuses, in particular no deposit offers and no wagering bonuses, have a maximum win cap. We have seen some offers with the max win as low as £10. However, the average is £50 to £100. Understandably, the amount you can win has a direct correlation with the overall value of the offer, so it’s vital you check before you claim.
Why trust Casino Genius
We’d go as far as saying we have the best casino reviews on the market, but what makes us any better than your run of the mill casino review site?
We’re completely independant which means we can say it exactly how it is. All of our casino reviews are completely honest and unbiased. A casino might have an impressive games collection but misses the market when it comes to payment methods- you can count on us to give you the facts without any sugar coating.
We look out for you
You’re our number one priority, so we’ve got your back when it comes to these casino reviews. Our aim is simple: to help you find the best place to play your favourite games. Whether you’re a slot fanatic, a roulette enthusiast or a blackjack whizz, we want you to enjoy a top-notch casino experience and make sure you know exactly what you’re signing up for before you pick a casino.
We’re casino geniuses
As industry experts, we know pretty much everything there is to know online casinos. We know exactly what to look out for when it comes to what makes a good casino, and casinos must follow a pretty comprehensive checklist to pass the casino genius test.
At Casino Genius, we pride ourselves on being real. Yes, it’s possible to win millions of pounds if you strike it lucky on a top progressive slot. On the flip side, it’s easy to lose more money than you can afford. This is why we promote responsible gambling at all times. Here are some Genius tips to keep your play healthy so that you get the maximum pleasure from your online casino gaming experience.
Only play while sober and level-headed
It may seem like a fun idea to log in and play some casino games after a few drinks, but it’s really not wise at all. The chances are your judgement will be impaired, which could lead to irrational choices that result in hefty losses.
Always read the terms and conditions
We advise all players to make this a feature of their gameplay. Spending a few minutes going through the T&Cs could make the difference between choosing a bonus that is right for you and one that essentially amounts to throwing your hard-won cash away.
Familiarise yourself with the casino’s responsible gambling tools
All UK-licensed casinos provide a range of tools to help players keep their gambling at a healthy level. These include tools to set weekly or monthly deposit limits, reality check timers to remind you how long you’ve been playing, and self-exclusion for taking a break. Instant play casino games are designed to be immersive, which makes it easy to lose track of how much you’ve spent and how many hours you’ve played for. These tools can help you find the right balance.
Only bet what you can afford to lose
Casino gambling stops being fun when you start wagering money that you cannot afford to lose. All players have their own amount of disposable income, so you should arrange your gambling budget accordingly. When playing, never chase your losses. Simply switch off the computer or whatever mobile devices you’re using, and leave it. There will always be another day, and hopefully, luck will then be on your side.
Recognise the signs of problem gambling
For some, gambling can become an addiction, which can affect not only the gambler but also their family and friends. Some of the early warning signs include cutting yourself off from social activities to spend time playing, thinking about gambling even when you aren’t playing, arguing with others about money, and lying to your family. Above all else, the gambler needs to be honest with themselves and not fall into the trap of making excuses for problematic behaviour.
NHS – The National Health Service runs the National Gambling Helpline (0800-8020-133) in addition to face-to-face counselling for those in need.
GamCare – UK-based charity providing free advice, information, help and support for people affected by problem gambling in Great Britain.
GAMSTOP – offers a free self-exclusion service with the aim of helping players avoid online gambling at UK-licensed sites for a period of time of the player’s choosing.
BeGambleAware.Org – provides free and confidential help and support to people concerned about their gambling or someone they know.
How to pick a top online casino
- Compare casinos. It’s not as simple as signing up to the first casino site you see. Use our expert casino reviews to compare bonuses, payment methods, games libraries— and much more— across casinos. You can rest assured that they’re all trustworthy- we only recommend casinos with a valid gambling licence and a good track record.
- Sign up. Once you’ve found the right casino for you the fun can begin. Follow the link on our reviews to go straight to the registration page where you can create your account. This will only take a couple of minutes, and you’ll just need to provide some basic personal information. Like look of the bonus and used our review to understand the terms and conditions? Don’t forget to opt in!
- Deposit. Before you can play real money casino games you’ll need to deposit real money into your account. Just head to the cashier, select your preferred payment method and amount and follow the on-screen instruction. Bear in mind that minimum deposits could vary, depending on the payment method you choose.
- Play. Most casinos process deposits instantly, so you can start playing right away. Browse through the games library to find a title that takes your fancy and start playing. Claimed the welcome bonus? Be sure to use your bonus cash or free spins before they expire!
Good to go?
You’re pretty much a casino genius now that we’ve shared our insight to online casino reviews, so what are you waiting for? Take a look at our list of the best UK casino sites and compare their features, using our expert reviews to help you pick out a favourite.
Frequently asked questions
Got a question? Someone might have asked it before!
Who writes Casino Genius casino reviews?
Our casino reviews are written by industry experts who know online casinos inside out. This means we can provide you with the best reviews on the market, as we leave no stone unturned when it comes to putting an online casino through its paces.
Do you review new casinos?
Of course. How would you know if a new casino site was worth your time without an expert review to give you the lowdown first? We approach new casino reviews in the same way we would big highstreet names- it’s important that they compare.
Are online casinos fair?
Yes, if you’re playing at a site licensed by a governing body, such as the UKGC. These sites are held to high standards when it comes to protecting vulnerable players and using random number generator (RNG) technology to determine the outcome of games. We’ll only ever review casinos that hold a valid licence, so you can count on fair play whichever you choose from our lists.
Do all your casino recommendations have free games?
Pretty much. Virtually every online casino has a selection of free games that are practically identical to their real money counterparts, aside from the fact you won’t be playing with real money stakes. Anyone can play these free games, whether you’re an online casino newbie, or just want to try a new game before you put real money on the line.
Can I play every casino game at all sites?
No. While some sites offer a huge selection of casino games, others specialise in one or two. Which you choose will come down to what you’re looking to get out of an online casino – do you want to play multiple casino games in one place, or would you prefer to play slots at a specialist slots site.