GUIDE TO UK ONLINE CASINOS
With so many online casinos available to UK players on the web, we understand that it can be difficult to make up your mind on which one to play at. There are so many great offers out there, and they all seem to have excellent marketing teams. This makes choosing a UK based online casino incredibly mind-boggling.
In this article, we will answer one of the most elusive questions out there for UK online casino players:
Which is the Best Online Casino in Britain for 2018?
OUR TOP RATED UK ONLINE CASINOS:
How Do We Do It?
Our team of experts have been busy testing out online casinos that have been licensed by the United Kingdom Gambling Commission (UKGC).
Here are the first 3 prerequisites that allow the casinos into our focused review list:
- We visited the UKGC website and listed all the online casinos listed as licensed on their website
- Our team then created accounts or used existing accounts to test the casino’s latest offerings
If an online casino is not listed on the UKGC, then you will not see it on our Best UK Online Casino shortlist. Furthermore, if the online casino is listed, but says that the license is expired, then we will also ignore it.
In fact, you need to be careful because there are some online casinos that were registered with the UKGC, but their license is not current, and they still have not gotten around to removing the UKGC license on their website – this is where we come in.
Online Casinos Holding a UKGC license is 100% Safe
This is a very bold claim to make. Nonetheless, we stand by this statement because the UKGC is governed by the UK government and because the UKGC makes it incredibly difficult for an online casino to obtain a license using 10 Steps to Cyber Security as an essential part of the licensing process.
Consequently, before you consider joining any online casino, we recommend that you head over to the UKGC website and check that that online casino still has an existing license. As a strict rule of thumb, you should ONLY consider UK casinos that are on this list if you are a UK player.
In general, only smaller casinos will lose their license, or decide to liquidate subsequently forfeiting their UKGC license; success is not guaranteed for all online casinos in the UK.
As for the casinos that we review, we are very familiar with all you see on our list and in our casino review section. In addition to this, we will not review an online casino if they have only held a license for a short period of time.
Rather we would prefer to keep on playing at the newer online casinos and wait until the casino has established itself on the UK online casino scene before suggesting it as an option to our readers.
UK Online Casino Player Guide
The UK online casinos we have recommended in our list have all been through rigorous tests using our own internal vetting system. It is a list of processes designed after years of experience playing and testing online casinos worldwide. We have tested US casinos, Canadian, Australian, German, Swedish, Finnish, and many other online casinos using our multi-lingual team of experts.
Our guarantee to you!
Our testing experts have no bias. They go in with an open mind testing games, customer services, deposits, withdrawals, as well as reading the FAQs and game information. For our testing experts, this is a dream job.
They love what they do and thrive on looking for all the positives and negatives of an online casino. As a result, you can be rest assured that when we recommend a casino, it is because that casino is awesome!
Here are some of the areas of testing that our experts focus on:
- Regulatory Body: We go directly to the UKGC to get a comprehensive list of online casinos. The UKGC guarantees safe playing environments with personal and financial security.
- Gaming Selection: If you have already read one of our online casino reviews, you will notice that they are quite detailed. Our gaming sections cover the entire suite of casino games available at the casino by breaking down the gaming menu into sections. Before you even open the casino, you will already know exactly which games to expect giving you the chance to choose a casino that suits your style of gameplay to the letter. (No other online casino site is as detailed as we are).
- Customer Service Experience: We have a hands-on attitude when comes to testing an online casino brand. We like to test their customer service department to make sure we get a personal response. Too many casinos use automated responses, and this is not good always satisfactory for you as an online casino player looking for answers. Response times, helpfulness, and most importantly the number of options to get in touch with the casino are all vetted.
- Deposit Options: Every UK online casino has its financial flexibility tested. Every deposit option must be a trusted company. Also, we test the cashier area for ease of use and secure
- Withdrawal Options: Most people do not want to hang around when they cash out. It is imperative that our testing team record withdrawal options available and the time it takes from a withdrawal request to the fund arriving in your financial account.
- Overall Experience: Software functionality, how well the casino functions on multiple devices, game speeds, lag time, security, VIP programs, bonuses, and promotions, third-party RNG testing, as well as the overall look and feel of the online casino are all important factors our testing team take into consideration before approving a UK online casino.
What are the Key Benefits of Gambling at a Regulated UK casino?
- The UKGC guarantees casinos they license are financially sound, they adhere to rules to ensure they are crime free.
- UK online casinos must keep player finances separate from the casino’s regular accounts. Player balances are 100% safe as the casino does not have ownership of player account balances.
- All UKGC licensed casinos are bound by strict codes of conduct that include responsibly handling player complaints to the letter of the law.
- All UKGC licensed online casinos are bound by UK laws. Consumerism acts and data protection acts guarantee player privacy. No player information can be shared with any 3rd
An Overview of The Best UK Online Casinos for 2018
In the past online casinos were able to run riot in the UK. There were plenty of horror stories along the way including jackpot winners not being paid. Today, UK citizens are lucky to be in a country where UK law now fully regulates online casinos.
If you have gotten this far after reading the above sections, then you are probably already aware that a UK casino is only deemed as a UK casino if it is under the wing of the licensing laws set out by the UKGC, which is governed by the UK government.
Licensing is the single most important factor in deciding which UK casinos are legible for our list. After this, it all comes down to the casino brand and how they treat their customers, how well their games lists are presented, and how they handle financial transaction under UK laws.
Every casino we review not only has a UKGC license, it has passed all the tests that we have set out to determine whether it is worthy of a mention on our website.
- How do we review UK online casino gaming sections?
Of course, we have been adamant about mentioning safety for UK players. However, we have not mentioned too much about how we test games. For many, once the licensing and safety fundamentals have been covered, they want to get stuck in into the games. After all, that is why you are here!
Every game is tested in each gaming section of an online casino. We tend to break this up into 3 main sections in our casino reviews.
- Virtual Casino Games
- Mobile Casino Games
- LIVE Dealer Suite Games
In the past, many of our reviews covered games in a one size fits all casino review. However, with the introduction and ever-growing popularity of LIVE Dealer Suites and Mobile gaming, it makes sense to extend the information we provide in our casino reviews by separating each of these elements.
What do we look out for?
When we review an online casino’s gaming list regardless of whether it falls into the category of desktop, mobile or LIVE casino game, we look for a variety of each game available. Next, we look for variations of each game available.
- Table Games
Tables games should include Blackjack, Roulette, and Baccarat at the very least. These are the most popular tables games online. In addition to this, a variety of Poker table games is also a bonus. We also check to see if games such as Craps, Pai Gow, and Sic Bo are included.
Once we have found a good variety of table game options, the next step is to list whether the casino offers variations of each of these games. For example, Blackjack can come in several variants on mobile, desktop, as well as in the LIVE dealer suites.
Examples of Blackjack Variations:
- Single Deck Blackjack
- Multi-deck Blackjack
- Bonus Pairs Blackjack
Examples of Roulette Variations:
- US Roulette
- European Roulette
- Double Ball Roulette
For some UK casino players, they are not interested in Roulette or Baccarat. They could be purely Blackjack orientated players. The same for players that predominantly play Roulette. This is why we recognise that it is vitally important to break down every aspect of an online casino’s gaming list.
- Video Slots
Breaking down video slots is a little more straightforward. Most UK players are familiar with slots because we have grown up with the good old ‘Fruity’. Nonetheless, slots still come with their own variants, and we try to break this down as best we can in all our online casino reviews.
Here are some examples of how we would break it down for you:
- Progressive Slots
- Classic Slots
- Video Slots
These are the 3 main categories. Under each section, we will also give you a rough estimate of how many online slots the casino has and which software providers the slots were designed by.
Example of software providers popular with UK casinos:
- Quick Spin
- Real Time Gaming
- ELK Gaming
Lastly, if the online casino has an interactive option that allows you to filter the slots into further categories, then we will also list this information in our UK online casino review.
- Pay Lines: 9, 15, 20, 25, 30, 40, 40, 50 or 100 pay lines
- No pay line slots: 243 ways to win or 1024 ways to win
- Features: Free Spins, Bonus Round, Progressive Jackpot, Stacked Wilds
Although there are so many ways to segment slots for our testing team, they are still by far the least complicated game type to break down into sections. In fact, the most difficult job for our testing team is deciding which titles to include in the casino review as examples of slots the casino has in its slots section!
- Other Games
Table games and slots are the most frequented online casino games. We pay particular attention to these sections in our casino reviews. After this, if there are any other styles of online casino games offered by the casino, then we will also include sections on these.
Examples of other casino games found in UK online casinos:
- Video Poker
- Scratch Cards
- Virtual Sports
- Poker Rooms
- Live Dealer Suites
For the most part, we break down the LIVE Dealer Suites in exactly the same we would break down the ‘Table Game’ section listed above. However, LIVE dealer suites also need some further clarification. Most people want to know which software provider the online casino is using, and how many tables the LIVE dealer Suite has available.
You will find that most of the online casinos we review have LIVE dealer suites from:
- Evolution Gaming
- Extreme LIVE Gaming
Aside from knowing which LIVE Dealer Suite software provider streams its games to the UK online casino, the number of tables or dealers is important information LIVE dealer players will want to know about. For this reason, our testing crew will play the LIVE Dealer Suite in peak hours.
Playing LIVE Dealer Games at their busiest times reveals:
- Whether or not there is a waiting time to play certain games
- How many dealers and/or croupiers the LIVE Dealer has at their disposal
- The performance of the servers in peak hours
- How quickly the casino opens new tables
LIVE Dealer Suites have evolved to cater for peak times. They use several techniques to make sure players can always sit down and wager on the LIVE tables. Our testing team also make sure that they play all the available table games looking for features that will help to avoid waiting times.
- Test Roulette tables can host multiple players
- Test Blackjack tables and Bet behind features allowing multiple players
- Test all table games such as poker, blackjack, and baccarat to see if new tables are opened
- We also try as much as we can to give you an idea of the MIN/MAX bets
Of course, our team always tests the software, ease of use, and prompt as well as accurate payment of bets.
- Mobile Game Play
We have all the latest touchpads, smartphones, and we have some great PCs. We also have a lot of Apple technology.
With all these devices available to our testing team, they are able to play at the casinos they test using different operating systems, smartphone and tablet brands, so we don’t miss a thing when it comes to reviewing mobile game lists.
Our team tests several mobile functionalities:
- Html5 and Flash Play via mobile web browsers
- Test the casino’s downloadable apps for Windows, iOS, Android, and BlackBerry
- Log on and test functionalities via tablets, smartphones, laptops, Macs, and desktop
- Use several different devices vary in screen sizes
- How do we review the casino’s software?
We have several different areas that we look out for when it comes to casino software. This is so our UK Casino Reviews will give you a comprehensive overview of what the casino offers by way of software, gaming developers, and downloadable or html5 functionalities.
The functionalities we test include:
- Web Browser
- Desktop app
- MAC app
- Mobile apps
We also give you the name of the casino platform providers such as Microgaming, Playtech, Progressive Play, and NetEnt; all of which are the main casino software platform providers for many of the UK casinos we have reviewed.
- Reviewing an online casinos finances
There are several areas that need to be noted down and reported to our readers. Deposits and withdrawals are the key to being able to play at an online casino, so naturally, we have to give you insights into the options any online casino offers.
Here are some of the points we report:
- Currencies: GB£, US$, JPY etc…
- Deposit Options: EWallets, Credit Cards, Debit Cards…
- Withdrawal Options: EWallets, Credit Cards, Debit Cards
Another area that we test is putting the casino under the gun. We try to have someone that is not the account holder try to gain access to the casino account. Only once have we ever succeeded doing this, and that casino is on our blacklist. All the casinos we recommend we have found to be impossible to penetrate because they have such great security measures in place.
- Welcome Bonuses, Regular Bonuses, and VIP Loyalty Programs
Now we have left this aspect of online casinos quite late in our online casino review. Welcome Bonuses, regular bonuses, and VIP loyalty programs are straightforward to use. We briefly cover the main points that you should know about online casino bonus offerings.
More than anything, we do not have an opinion on the bonuses as such. Rather we just report them as they are, so you can read through and decide for yourself.
When it comes to bonuses we cover:
- A breakdown of the Welcome Bonus the casino is offering
- No Deposit Bonuses such as cash, free spins, free credits
- How the casino operates its regular bonus program
- Loyalty Reward points offered by the casino
- How the Loyalty or VIP Program works covering each level
Casino bonuses are great for keeping your balance topped up, but we do not place a huge emphasis on them simply because the most important aspects to choosing an online casino to play at are that the casino is UKGC licensed, there is a decent gaming list, and good customer services.
There would be little point in choosing the best Welcome Bonus only to never be able to contact customers services, only have a small number of games to choose from, and never be able to withdraw your winnings.
Obviously, none of the UK online casinos we recommend have any of these problems, but we like to let our readers have the correct mindset by setting their properties in the correct order when it comes to choosing an online casino to play at.
Frequently Asked Questions
Am I able to legally play at a UK online casino?
As long as you are in the UK and have a financial account that allows deposits and withdrawals, then it is perfectly legal to play at an online casino licensed by the UKGC. Thanks to the 2005 Gambling Act, if a casino has a UKGC license, then it can legally offer games and you are able to become a member. The UKGC, therefore, makes it 100% safe and legal to play online in the UK.
Is it safe to download casino software to my desktop, MAC, or mobile?
Thanks to the UKGC’s 10 steps to cybersecurity, you can rest assured that any online casino in the UK offering application downloads has a safe and secure app.
Is it necessary for me to download the casino app?
Absolutely not. Many of the best online casinos don’t require an app on any of your devices. You can access your finances, games, and all other areas of the online casino via your Web Browser from any device.
Do I have to always play for real money?
No. You can play at any of the online casinos we review for free. This is probably the best thing about online casinos. If you enjoy playing casino games, and you are looking for high-quality games, but you do not want to risk any of your own money on the game, then you do not need to make a deposit. Just sign up and play the games for free. Note that you cannot play LIVE Dealer Games for free.
What are the best Welcome Bonuses?
This is down to you and your own personal preferences. Welcome Bonuses come in all shapes and sizes. Some will be specific to a game you like you playing; for example, it could offer you free spins with your bonuses – this is great for slot players, but nothing special if you are a Blackjack player. Some Welcome Bonuses come in 3 parts. These are great if you plan to make several deposits over the first few weeks of your membership. For the most part, it is down to you to figure out what you feel works best for you.
Are UK online casino payout percentages trustworthy?
UK online casinos have a reputation for being very accurate. The UKGC also guarantees this by using 3rd party companies authorised by the British government to test Random Number Generators (RNGs) as well as LIVE dealer suites. Game percentages are also made public, so if there are any irregularities, the casino will be immediately investigated. There are also other entities like eCOGRA that also help players and licensing authorities keep a check on the randomness of results produced by online casinos.
What happens if I feel like I may have a gambling problem?
By law, any online casino licensed by the UKGC must help its clientele recognise, or determine whether they have a gambling problem. There are also software tools provided by the casino to help you control your gambling if you think you have a problem. You exclude yourself from play, set deposit limits, table limits, and more. However, if that is not enough then the online casinos also share information where you can get help.
Here are some places that offer help for UK players with a gambling problem:
- NHS Gambling Addiction Commission
- Gamble Aware
- Gambler Anonymous
These charities and government-funded organisations will be listed on UKGC licensed casinos. You can also visit the UKGC website for more information on how to get help if you feel you or a loved one may have a gambling addiction.