We have reviewed our fair share of online casinos, covering the best and the worst of the industry. We have a good idea of what a top online casino needs and what kind of pitfalls it must avoid.
So, let’s take a closer look at those features and highlight some of the best online casinos in the UK right now.
What Makes a Good Online Casino?
It has been estimated that over 40 million UK residents have gambled online at some point, taking advantage of the hundreds of licensed operators.
All legitimate casinos are safe and secure. They also work with top iGaming providers and many of them offer bonuses, but there are obviously some differentiating factors, otherwise, all those players would just stick with one or two casinos and new operators wouldn’t stand a chance.
So, what are the features that separate these casinos, and what should you be on the lookout for as a player?
A welcome bonus is literally a casino bonus designed to welcome you to an online casino. If online casinos were high-street shops, the welcome bonus would be the huge red “sale” poster plastered to the front window.
It’s the thing that most new players look for and it’s also the main thing that separates one casino from another. More importantly, welcome bonuses are often the main reason that players skip from one site to another, spending anywhere from a few hours to a few months on the site before moving on.
Welcome bonuses come in a variety of shapes and sizes.
On one end of the scale, you have no deposit bonuses, which give you credits or spins as soon as you sign up and verify your account, even if you don’t make a deposit.
At the other extreme, there are massive matched deposit bonuses, where the site will “match” your deposit to a specific percentage.
Although welcome bonuses are great, they are not the be-all and end-all. In fact, if you’re the sort of player who likes to stay put and you don’t like signing up for multiple casino accounts, loyalty bonuses are much more important.
These bonuses reward you for your loyalty. At the most basic level, they offer reload bonuses and free spin giveaways, incentivising you to keep making deposits long after your welcome bonus has finished.
The best loyalty programs are loyalty schemes that give you points every time you place a bet. The rate at which you earn points will depend on your level, which is determined by how many points you have. You’ll also get bigger and better perks and rewards as you accumulate those points.
All of this means that loyalty schemes tend to heavily favour higher spenders, but you can still collect some interesting prizes as a low-stakes player. It’s all relative. The prizes you collect won’t be as big or as impressive, but you don’t have to wager as much to get them.
Variety and Speed of Banking Options
A casino isn’t much good to you if it doesn’t accept your chosen payment method.
All casinos accept debit cards and most of them accept web wallets, but that’s where the similarities end. While PayPal is very common in the UK gambling industry, there are still many major sites that don’t accept it.
It’s a similar story with Skrill, Neteller, and Paysafecard. If you insist on making deposits/withdrawals using bank transfers, you’ll be hard-pressed to find a site that caters to you these days.
There are also services that let you pay using your mobile phone (Pay By Mobile), as well as voucher and cash-based services similar to Paysafecard. If you use a casino that has a major offline presence, such as William Hill, you can even walk into a high-street betting shop/casino, hand over some cash, and have that money transferred to your online casino account
Do you like Microgaming or Playtech? Do you insist on playing NetEnt games or just want to play a few jackpot slots?
What about live casino games? Most casinos gave them, but the quality and variety can differ based on whether the casino works with developers like Playtech, Pragmatic Play Live, and Evolution Gaming, or opt instead to work with a few smaller providers.
All casinos have a good selection of slots and a variety of table games and live casino games. But the quality of those games can vary greatly.
For instance, in the early days of online casino gambling, many UK casinos worked solely with Microgaming. Microgaming is one of the oldest and highest-rated developers, but if those games are all you have played for several years, they can get a little boring.
As a result, many old-school gamblers either don’t like Microgaming or have a nostalgic attraction to the developer’s games.
By the same token, if you’re not a fan of Age of the Gods, you might not like Playtech, and if you prefer simple video slots to 3D bonus slots, you’ll have to rule out many developers.
Of course, this is mostly down to preference. In our reviews, we can tell you how many games a site has and which developers it works with, but it’s up to you whether those games make it a good site or not.
It’s rare that you’ll need to contact a customer support team at an online casino, but when you do, you’ll realise why it’s so important to work with a casino that actually cares about its customers and is willing to listen to what they have to say.
It’s not just about having a variety of contact options (phone, email, live chat). It’s about responding quickly and helpfully, and not just brushing everyone off with a copy-and-paste response.
As some of you will know, there’s nothing more frustrating than trying to make a complaint against a genuine grievance and being met with a wall of copy-paste responses referring to terms and conditions.
What Promotions and Bonuses Do Online Casinos Offer?
- Matched Deposit Bonuses: A bonus that matches your deposit with a number of credits. Wagering requirements must be met before these can be withdrawn.
- No Deposit Bonus: A free bonus given without the need for a deposit. Players are still required to sign up, verify their accounts, and add a valid debit card.
- Free Spins: A bundle of free spins for use on specific slot machines at a fixed value.
- Loyalty Schemes: Loyalty clubs give players points as they play and let them swap those points for perks, prizes, and cashback.
- VIP Programs: A variation of the loyalty club that is only available to VIP players, often by invite-only. Confusingly, some casinos label their standard loyalty schemes as VIP schemes and then make the final tier invite-only.
- Tournaments: Slot and table game tournaments that give players points when they wager or win on specific games. These points determine a player’s position on a leaderboard and the highest-placed finishers are given prizes.
- Giveaways: Players qualify for a giveaway by meeting deposit, wagering, or gaming requirements. They are then awarded prizes at random.
Where Can I Find the Best Online Casinos?
If you’re looking for the best online casinos in the UK, you’re in the right place. We have reviewed scores of top casinos, and we’re constantly vetting, reviewing, and posting to ensure you stay up to date with the best sites in this sector.
Check our online casino reviews to learn more.
FAQs about Online Casinos
An online casino is only legal in the UK if it is registered by the UK Gambling Commission. We only review fully licensed and legal online casinos, so if a casino is listed on our site, you can be sure that it is legal.
Yes, you are free to play regulated online casinos on your mobile device. Casino software is usually adapted to work on both iOS and Android devices, so you should be able to play on most tablets and smartphones.
Casinos aren’t the only ones that need to be licensed. The gaming providers that they work with must also carry gaming licenses. If those gaming providers don’t have a license from the UK Gambling Commission, they can’t offer their games here.
That’s why you might see developers on Curacao and Malta-licensed casinos that can’t be found on UK casinos.
Despite a growing number of web wallets, mobile payments, and instant payment solutions, debit cards like Visa and Mastercard are still the most popular options in the UK.
No. Credit card gambling is banned in the UK as of April 2020. The ban was implemented due to fears that problem gamblers were gambling money that they didn’t have and getting themselves into serious debt.