Best Casino Sites
Compare casino sites and see which are the best for UK players? We list the best online casinos that have a UK licence.
Casino Sites Guide
If you’re a slots and casino games player, the news just keeps getting better and better! With new casinos piling in hoping to get a slice of your playing time, sign-on deposits have never been higher, and casino sites are pulling out all the stops to keep you on their site once you’ve signed up.
The choice is dazzling - so much so, that it’s difficult to know where to start. So use our guide to help figure out which casinos have the right offer for you.
Let’s start with those Welcome offers. Is it just a matter of the biggest headline amount? Does a no deposit bonus really mean what it says? And how can you tell whether one free spins offer is better than another?
Welcome Bonuses - Look beyond the headlines
Welcome bonuses come in all shapes and sizes. Sometimes a high amount in the headline - like £300 - turns out to have some strings attached, and nearly all bonuses have terms and conditions. The trick is to be aware of which of these conditions is a dealbreaker for you, and which doesn’t matter all that much.
Most bonuses are matched bonuses - you put in say, £100 and the casino matches that with £100. But bear in mind that the offer may not be available all in one go. You may need to make three deposits, for example, on three consecutive days, to get to the full matched total.
What’s more, when you start playing you’re considered to be playing with the bonus funds - and you can’t draw any winnings until you’ve played through the wagering requirement - more about that later.
If the offer also has free spins, the game choices are usually restricted. Some casinos are really quite generous with their free spin wagers, allowing you 25p per spin. With others it’s more like 10p.
Casinos are pretty open about the Terms and Conditions (T&Cs) on any offer. If you look at the Welcome advert, you’ll always see a link to the T&Cs.
So, before you commit yourself, it’s a good idea to check that you’re happy with the offer. And remember, many casinos allow you to decline the welcome bonus if accepting it means that you can’t use a regular promo offered by the site, that you’d prefer.
Lastly, those no deposit bonuses - are they for real. Well yes, they are, but because of the wagering requirement, you’re going to have to deposit money and play with it before you can withdraw any winnings. So, free money - kind of.
These are pretty much universal across the online casino industry, but there are a few inside tips you need to know to get yourself a good deal. The wagering requirement is the amount you have to wager before you can draw your winnings. 30 to 35 times is average, 40, 45 or 50 is high. Below 30 is pretty rare. But what gets multiplied by what?
Canny players know that some casinos levy the wagering requirement on both the deposit and the matching bonus, and others on the bonus only. So when you’re looking at wagering requirements, take into account both the level and whether it applies to both bonus and deposit, or just the bonus.
Many players who are using the same site every day like to see frequent promos, to keep a sense of variety. Some sites are great for this - they have promotions running on certain days of the week, or tied into holidays such as Halloween. Other bonuses can include free spins or cash refunds, for example, if the first roulette spin of the day is a loser.
VIP players are much sought after by casinos, who usually go to some lengths to keep them happy. There may be a VIP scheme that offers progression through various levels, with rewards such as bonuses, cashbacks and free spins. The top echelon of players can expect to have a personal manager and to receive individually customised offers, not available to most players.
Choice of games
Smaller sites may have a more restricted games selection but they’re often quirkier, with unusual and different slots. The biggest sites will have up to 1,000 games, including vintage three reelers, high tech video games, immersive roulette and poker and possibly also real dealer games, delivered by online streaming services such as NetEnt.
You may want a site that has plenty of TV and film tie-in titles, or one that has the Mega Moolah style progressive jackpots. There again, if you’re a fan of games like Sic Bo, Keno, Craps or some of the more unusual poker variants, which are harder to find, you’ll sign up with a casino simply because it offers these. The number of casino table games can vary hugely.
Some casinos concentrate on slots and only have a small selection of say, roulette, baccarat and poker. Others have a full slate of table games, including European and American roulette and lots of different versions of the top games, including blackjack and pontoon.
Look out for new games that combine the traditional slot element with a “game within a game”, featuring a quest, or puzzle that needs to be solved and yields bonus wins. These are beginning to appear and add a whole extra level of enjoyment to playing.
Platform and software
Many platforms are provided by industry leaders such as Playtech and MicroGaming, although very large casino sites will have their own platform. The bigger the site, the more facilities it needs for helping you find the games you want to play.
Some of the best sites allow you to search for games not only by name, but also by game maker, theme, jackpot type, recently added, and so on.
Some will list slots that are “Hot” - that is, they’re paying out and others that are “Cold” - possibly due for a run of payouts. Even better are those sites that allow you to run a Favourites list or view your playing history.
If you play a lot of sites, you may find that some of them start to have a “samey” feel after a while - this may be that they’re all using the same platform and have only made limited customisations.
Casino sites are well ahead of the game when it comes to mobile play. They have to be, because that is now how vast numbers of customers play. Previously, mobile casino offerings involved apps and had rather more limited selections of games.
However, straight browser play on a mobile with games optimised for mobile touchscreens is now becoming the norm. (See the Payments section for information on deposits and withdrawals via mobiles).
Safety and security
Always look for the Gambling Commission logo or a link at the bottom of the home page. If it’s not there, be warned! If you click on the logo, you’ll be taken to the Gambling Commision website and can look up the casino to see if it is authorised.
However, always look for https// and the padlock symbol before the site’s URL. That tells you that they are using a security layer that protects your data as it moves between your device and the casino’s servers.
Most casinos are signed up to one or more of the dispute arbitration services, such as the Independent Betting Adjudication Service (IBAS). You’ll need to try and resolve the problem yourself first, but if you can’t, it’s good to know that you can take it to mediation.
To demonstrate that the games are fair, that the random numbers really are random, and that the percentage payouts are in line with those stated, sites should show the logo of an organisation such as eCOGRA.
This is a trust organisation which reviews the fairness of all games offered by an operator who is signed up with them. Some sites will quote one of the labs that also certificates games as fair.
This can vary markedly from one site to another. Some run 24/7 support with online chat, email and phone support. Others just quote a fax number and an email address; others limit the times support is available - it may be unavailable from midnight to 8am, for example.
It’s the same with the Help sections on the sites. Some are great - easy to use and packed with all the information you could need. Others are harder to navigate and you may have to search for a specific piece of information that you want. Some sites offer tutorials in various aspects of gaming, as well as blogs, news features and even some social interaction. Others provide the bare minimum.
Any site authorised by the Gambling Commission should be signed up to one of the organisations that can help problem gamblers. If you feel that your gaming is becoming too frequent, or that you are spending too much, check the self-exclusion and control features on the site.
Many have prompts you can set, to tell you how long you’ve playing or limits you can set on your deposits per day, week or month. Self-exclusion can be for a limited time, or in serious cases, indefinitely.
A new GamStop scheme is soon going to be operating nationally in the UK. It will mean that if you self-exclude from one site, you’ll be self-excluded from all. This should help people who find that their gaming is getting out of control.
Deposit methods and withdrawal times
Delayed withdrawal times probably cause more disputes than any other area in online gaming. It is frustrating to have a payout delayed.
However, to be fair to the casinos, this can be caused by something outside of their control, such as an anomaly in the identification documentation or a glitch at one of the banks sending and receiving the payment.
All casinos have a processing period before they send the payment out. This is to allow them to check that you are who you say you are and that the payout is valid. It’s usually a day but can be two days.
You then have to allow 3-5 days for the payment to reach a bank or credit card account. E-wallets are quicker - payments to these usually complete within a day.
It’s surprising that more casino sites don’t allow deposits via mobile payment methods, given that they know how many of their customers are playing on mobiles.
If you want to pay like this, you’ll need to look for a casino that features Boku, or a similar system, that allows even those who don’t have a bank account to deposit funds. But check that you can withdraw onto Boku if you need to, because this facility may not be available.
When it comes to deposits, casinos want to make it as easy as possible for you to spend money with them, so they generally have a wide range of ways to fund your account.
Casino sites are great fun to explore - use our site, with its impartial and detailed reviews and our selection tools, to decide which ones to sign up to, ensuring that you get the best, most profitable and most enjoyable gaming experience you can.