How Do We Review Casinos in the UK?
To make sure we cover every tiny bit of information our user may need to choose a casino, we developed an four-point checklist:
- We check out how popular they are
- We look at their Bonus Terms, Promotions & Offers
- We test Site Usability and User Experience
- We test their Customer Support tools
1. We Analyse their Popularity
How popular a casino is depends on a multitude of factors.
Reputable brands will not only have a long history behind them, but also thousands of satisfied and loyal customers that back up their reputation.
To figure out which brands satisfy all of their customers’ expectations, we look at things such as yearly financial turnovers, customer ratings and reviews.
Additionally, awards and media coverage also help paint a clear picture of who’s doing a great job at staying on top of upcoming trends and meeting players’ changing demands.
Last but not least, do they have a well thought of brand ambassador or spokesperson?
High-profile personalities tend to be very careful in choosing the brands they associate with, more so if we’re talking about an online casino.
2. We find out what bonuses and promotions they offer
If a welcome bonus could be a valid reason to join a casino, its promotions and regular offers are usually the reason you keep going back.
And in both situations, bigger doesn’t always mean better!
Read on to find out why!
Welcome bonus and wagering requirements
When it comes to bonuses, the first thing we check is their welcome bonus.
All casinos will present financial incentives for you to sign up, and we are here to make sure you get the best offer.
But are they all equal? Not at all.
Wagering requirements play a huge role in how useful (or not) a welcome bonus is.
The games you can use the bonus on is another crucial factor.
Depending on that, some casinos are a better choice.
Free spins are another enjoyable bonus incentive for signing up to an online casino site.
If you are a complete newcomer to online casinos, free or bonus spins are handy to help you learn the dynamics of slot gameplay.
Since a lot of casinos offer these kinds of bonuses, we check free spin terms very carefully to determine whether conditions are too restrictive.
Offers and promotions
The best online casinos not only reward their customers with initial welcome bonuses, but they also run promotions and regular offers too.
Reload offers motivate loyal existing customers to make additional real-money deposits and receive further matched bonus funds to play with.
We know it’s hard to keep an eye on all of them, but don’t worry!
Our casino reviews receive regular updates so you’ll never miss out on an offer from your favorite operator.
VIP Programmes and Loyalty Schemes
The top-rated online casinos also go further with rewarding loyal players by operating tiered VIP programmes or loyalty schemes.
Long-time players can work their way up the tiered system and receive increasing benefits such as increased deposit limits, speedier withdrawals, exclusive gifts, and access to VIP account managers to personally handle queries 24/7.
By reading our reviews, you’ll find out about those programmes for every casino you might be inclined to join.
3. We Test Site Usability and User Experience
Online casinos that offer the safest and most enjoyable experience for you are top-of-the-list in our books. There are many essential elements that we look out for, to ensure that you can easily find your favourite games while depositing and withdrawing easily and securely.
First of all, we make sure they have a license
It’s common knowledge that the UK Gambling Commission (UKGC) is one of the most stringent regulatory authorities.
Those online casinos licensed by the UKGC are required to uphold their exacting standards on player protection, responsible gambling and transparency.
Any online casino regulated and licensed by the UKGC should be a safe environment where to play and deposit your hard-earned money. Be careful of casinos licensed by other igaming jurisdictions. These are not supposed to accept British players.
For example, the Curacao e-Gaming Licensing Authority (CGLA) adopts a notoriously hands-off approach regarding player disputes with their licensed casinos. There’s no regulatory complaints framework and licenses are easily obtained from the CGLA.
We try out their games and providers
Next, we have a look at what’s really on offer when it comes to a casino’s main attraction: its selection of games!
One of the easiest and most popular forms of land-based casino gaming, slot machines have gravitated online seamlessly.
Thanks to the innovation of slot developers, high-definition slots offer pick-up-and-play appeal, as well as multiple bonus features and prizes.
Slots are inspired by hundreds of themes, and today there is a range of slot games with different setups, features and mechanics. In our reviews, we take a look at these factors to let you know just how diverse the slot selection at a casino really is.
Live dealer tables
Live casino tables are the newest innovation in the online industry.
With live streamed table games managed by professionally trained dealers, it’s the closest thing you can get to sitting at a land-based casino table – from the comfort of your own home.
Live dealer casinos cover a host of table games including Blackjack, Roulette, Baccarat, Casino Hold’em, and many more.
Game providers available
This is a golden era for iGaming software. There are quite literally dozens of award-winning studios around the world designing and building immersive slot and table game experiences.
If your chosen casino offers slots and table games from the acclaimed studios you can find in our reviews, you can expect the most authentic gameplay.
Exclusive games and branded tables
Finally, some online casinos offer games that others don’t.
This is because they make special deals with providers to offer some of their titles exclusively on their platform.
In our casino reviews, we check out whether or not a casino offers exclusive games in order to be able to inform our visitors.
What’s more, when it comes to live casino tables, some of the best casino sites also offer their own branded live tables.
This means that the live dealer games are given a distinct makeover based on the operator’s brand.
While the games play out by the same rules, their look and feel will be different if you take a seat at a branded table.
We test their mobile optimisation
Ideally, your chosen online casino will have a fully responsive mobile-friendly site.
But sometimes, that is not the case. So we make sure to test them all.
Furthermore, when speaking about mobile optimisation, it’s handy to have a native casino app to call upon if you don’t fancy playing within your web browser.
Leading operators have invested heavily in developing native apps suitable for iOS, Android and Windows smartphones, and tablets and we’re here to tell you all about them.
We check and review their payment methods
Ideally, you’ll choose an online casino that offers a broad spectrum of deposit and withdrawal methods.
Within our reviews of online casino 2021 newcomers, we outline all available casino payment methods at each casino, to put you in the picture.
Not only that, we have prepared separate casino payment method reviews of all the options you can choose from as a UK player.
We figure out what their overall casino RTP is
A Return to Player Percentage, or RTP, refers to the percentage that a casino pays back to customers in the long run.
This is the very opposite of the house edge.
While the house edge refers to the percentage that a casino keeps (thanks to the fact that the odds of the games are in its favour) the RTP is the percentage of players’ bets that is paid back in the form of winnings.
The best payout casinos in the UK will have a higher RTP rate than average, mainly because of two factors:
1. They have a great selection of games with high RTP; AND
2. They give away great bonuses, cashback and rewards that increase the casino RTP rate.
Of course, when we review an online casino, we take into account what kind of games and bonuses are available, and also check the official RTP rate of the casino if this has been published.
We learn about their Responsible Gambling program
As much as online gambling can be entertaining, it’s always important to play responsibly.
The most reputable online casinos operate prominent Responsible Gambling initiatives that include player protection mechanisms such as self-exclusion.
All licensed UK casinos should also link to online support organisations including GamCare.
4. We make sure they offer good customer support
It’s important to play at an online casino that cares about delivering a good service. The number of customer support channels is often a good indicator of a reputable site.
When testing their customer service, here are the main elements we’re taking into account:
Top-rated casinos invest in 24/7 live chat facilities, and are ready to support customers day and night.
Speed of Support
Nobody likes to wait for hours, listening to “elevator music” while on hold.
That’s why we test the speed at which a casino’s customer support answers and helps.
We look for Variety of channels
At a bare minimum, operators should provide an email or telephone helpline.
Reputable casinos should also offer some sort of live chat and social media channels, where you can reach them even quicker.
We find out if they actually help
We are always aiming to stay objective, and with that in mind, we take everything the user may experience into consideration.
After checking previously mentioned elements, we make sure to test if customer support is actually supporting.
And, of course, we’re definitely informing you about our findings!
Another important factor that may affect your decision whether or not to join a casino is the payment methods supported.
Every player would like to be able to deposit and withdraw using his or her preferred method, so in our casino reviews, we make sure we list which options are available for each casino.
Types of Casinos We Review
The kind of games you like to play will of course be the first thing that determines your choice of casino.
As online casinos are starting to diversify themselves from their competitors, some are focusing on offering certain types of games over others.
Let’s look into what types of casinos we review and what they offer.
Classic Online Casino
This is the jack-of-all trades, and would offer a variety of slots, table games, Keno, Bingo, Video Poker as well as live casino games.
Most of the casinos we recommend on our website fall into this category, although the collection of online slots at these casinos is typically the largest.
In fact, such casinos may categorize their slots into classic slot machines and video slots, while having separate categories for their Video Poker, Table Games, and Bingo titles.
A lof of casinos in the UK have a strong focus on online slots, and offer hundreds of titles by dozens of providers.
At the best slot sites, you’ll find different kinds of online slot machines, such as three-reel slots, megaways slots, jackpot slots, video slots and various branded slots.
Players can enjoy all the latest releases by the big names in the industry.
What’s more, slot casinos will also typically offer bonuses tailored to slot players, such as free spins bonuses or welcome packages involving both free spins and deposit matches.
Purely Live Casinos
Some casinos focus more strongly on table games, especially live dealer games, which are growing in popularity as we speak!
The best live casinos would offer different variants of live Roulette, Blackjack, and Baccarat, as well as live Poker and other games.
You will also find a selection of VIP tables with different betting limits, giving you the option to take a seat at a table that’s best suited to your budget.
Of particular interest lately are the live game shows by Evolution Gaming, such as the Dream Catcher Wheel, Deal or No Deal Live and Monopoly Live.
These entertaining games of chance give you the impression that you’re playing at a real TV show, thanks to the professional host and presenter that runs the game, as well as the visual and auditory effects of the studio they are streamed from.
We’re starting to see the majority of the top rated casinos in the UK optimise their platforms for mobile first.
That’s an acknowledgement of the growing mobile traffic to online casinos, and the increasing technological capabilities offered by HTML5 technology.
Using HTML5, online casino developers can build fully responsive, cross-platform casino games that are guaranteed to work on any device or screen size.
That’s because the game designs are made to be fluid and capable of removing superfluous on-screen features for those playing on smaller screens.
Our Casino Reviews help you play with the very best!
In summary, finding a good online casino doesn’t have to be rocket science. So long as it is licensed by the UKGC, offers a fair and exciting welcome bonus, and a solid library of casino games, you can’t go too far wrong!
Check out our UK casino reviews to get to know which are those fully-licensed casino sites that keep rewarding British players with bonuses and other treats, and visit CasinoHawks from time to time to discover new casinos that have entered the market.
We’ll help you avoid dodgy casinos and introduce you to those that will provide real value, security, and entertainment!