Online Casino Reviews
There are a huge range of reviews of real money casinos online. These range from cookie-cutter nonsense, through to detailed and trusted opinions from real players. While these reviews help narrow your choices and find casinos which have your preferred mix of games and the best bonuses – you need to be able to tell which are the real ones and which are ‘filler’.
This page covers what to look out for, and why doing a little extra research of your own is always advised.
Red Flags for Online Casino Reviews
If you start to read a review and the language sounds unnatural – for example ‘splendid bonus’ or similar – then the chances are you have come across a ‘review’ written in a developing world content mill. This is my first red flag. The chances of the writer even having seen the casino are slim, this will be a simple respin of a real review at best. Hit the back button.
Scanning a couple of paragraphs should be enough to see whether there is any real information on what makes a casino brand different. Many reviews are so bland that the site owner has changed the name and the bonus amount details – and almost repeated the same review over and over again. Even worse are those sites where every single casino is absolutely fantastic! If there is no balanced view, then the webmaster is more interested in sales than in sharing genuine information with readers. Again, hit the back button right away.
What to Look for in Casino Reviews?
Opinion is the missing ingredient from fake or generic reviews. Opinion about what is good, what is lacking and why you should consider playing at a certain casino. Good reviews will also acknowledge that different players have different needs. This can include game preferences and bankroll levels. As much as the average player would love to take advantage of that $5000 bonus offer, this is outside of the reach for 99% of us!
The key to a good review is to come away with an understanding of what makes a casino different from its competitors. What balance of games and software types you’ll find there, and whether players in your location are welcomed (and with what bonus terms?). Below are some more details of specific areas to consider when you read a casino review.
Game Selection Sections in Casino Reviews
Experienced players may already be familiar with the setup of the software houses that create the games (for example MicroGaming, PlayTech and RealTime Gaming) and the casino operators that host them. Unique games are a rarity (though bigger brands may have exclusives), so if a review suggests otherwise then you will know this is not factually based.
The information you are looking for is what choice of software and games are available, and whether there are multiple variations of the most popular types (Blackjack for example). Some casinos have a live dealer casino section, where you can enjoy the cards being dealt in real time from a remote studio. The range of games, betting limits and any special bonuses which go with certain games are all worth noting.
Reviewing Slots at Real Money Casinos
In the past, casinos would only use one type of software – which usually needed to be downloaded. With games mostly available in your browser window these days, casinos are able to collect and aggregate the slots from many different software houses.
When a casino has more than 600 slots to choose from, the reviewer needs to split up the options in such a way as to give the potential player a good idea of what to expect. The main software houses that created the slot games is a great starting point. You should also look out for information on the jackpots – particularly the big prize linked progressives. Slots which a particular casino highlights, or offers free spins or bonus deals on are also important.
Reviews – Location and Deposit Options
Many casinos are restrictive about the countries which they can welcome players from. The obvious example is the USA. Here only casinos based offshore, and not the big brands with European licenses, offer games. This is not the only restriction, there are brands which only accept UK players, some which are open to South Africans and others which are not – and so on.
Deposit options go with location. US players have to deal with the financial authorities actively trying to block gambling transactions. Fortunately, there are many casino deposit methods which are now working fine. You should look out for details, which should be available in any legitimate review.
Licensing, Testing and Location Information
All reputable casinos are licensed, and all reputable reviews should be happy to share the information on this. For US casinos, the licensing authorities will include Panama, Kahnawake (tribal lands inside of Canada), Antigua, Netherlands Antilles or Costa Rica. In addition to UK licenses, most major brands have licenses issues by Gibraltar, Malta, the Isle of Man or Alderney. This information is important – no player should risk real money casino gaming at an unlicensed casino.
Testing of the random number generators of online casinos is carried out by reputable 3rd parties such as TST (Technical Systems Testing) or iGaming Labs. Current certification of game fairness is important, and should be included in a reputable review.
Finally, if there are any major scandals or payment issues with a casino, you will quickly find these via the search engines. Not playing for real money at the casinos involved is a no-brainer. You should also consider the website where the review failed to note these issues. You will no longer be in a position to trust other reviews on that site.
Of course, no website review should be your only source of information. It is up to each player to do their own checks to make sure that a casino is trusted and legitimate before parting with any money.