Latest Casino Offers
The goal of any casino bonus is to allow you to try out an online casino, see if you like it and if you do you may carry on playing. With so many online casinos available however it helps to narrow the field down first into the casinos that are most likely to suit you, whether that be the sign up bonus type or amount, software available, rewards for existing customers or even if the casino is stand alone or has other features such as a sportsbook attached.
In this section we discuss only decent UK licensed casinos with information about the casino bonus (including full terms and wagering requirements), the brand, the software and games, platforms available (desktop, mobile, download), regular promotions, loyalty schemes and more. We know players have different requirements from a casino site, therefore on this page you will find a varied list of casino sites all with different things to offer.
Offers here are for New Customers, terms, conditions and eligibility criteria apply, 18+.
UK Online Casino Bonuses
|Casino||Bonus (T&Cs Apply)||Details||Claim|
|£500 Deposit Bonus||
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|Deposit £10 Get £50||
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|10 Spins & £100 Bonus||
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|£300 Bonus + 100 Spins||
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|£15-£888 & £100 Bonus||
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|15 Spins & £300 Bonus||
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|100% up to £300||
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|Up To £1600 Bonus||
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|£10 Free & 320% Bonus||
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|£200 (200%) + 200 Spins||
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|£1000 in Bonuses||
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|77 Spins + £200||
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|200% up to £400||
T&Cs apply 18+
|£100 (100%) & 50 Spins||
|200% up to £200||
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|£100 (100%) + 150 Spins||
Best Online Casinos For UK Customers
Looking for an all round gaming and betting colossus? Then there are few that could compete with Ladbrokes. From Britain's oldest bookmaker to a modern powerhouse, Ladbrokes have maintained themselves at the pinnacle for decades. They therefore must be doing something right to keep their millions of customers happy on a daily basis.
One way you can see the immense resources behind the Ladbrokes brand is through their sign up offer. They will match your first deposit from £20 up to a massive £500. This isn't a tiered offer, i.e. you don't need to make several deposits, this is available on your first deposit.
The bonus play through requirement is 20x the deposit and bonus amount within 30 days making this very good for terms compared to other operators. As with most bonuses game contributions vary with most slots counting 100%, other games less. Following the first bonus second and third deposit offers are available, see Ladbrokes for full terms.
Beyond the bonus there are a hell of a lot of reasons to play at Ladbrokes. They have a vast games catalogue, incredibly high value points and VIP scheme along with a glut of other products and features. Read our full review for more details.
Coral have one of the biggest introductory offers around, giving you 500% in free bonus funds for just at £10 initial deposit. This makes Coral the perfect casino for all types of player due to the low initial outlay needed to try them out.
The incredibly generous bonus also comes with the best wagering terms and conditions that you can find anywhere. To withdraw the bonus and any bonus winnings you need just rollover the bonus amount 24x, this is significantly lower than most comparable sign up offers. Slots count 100%, other games can count less, see Coral for full terms.
You certainly will not struggle to spend your deposit and bonus as there are around 1000 games available here from up to a dozen software providers. Regular promotions are some of the best around and the comp points scheme is coveted and pays out in real cash. Coral also have advantages that other casinos can't provide, such as the ability to deposit and withdraw from your online account in their shops using cash or card.
Royal Panda are very much a new breed of casino site. Dispensing with many of the clunky features that shackle older websites the independent online casino has created a product that is not only great to look at but fantastic to use. They are also exceptionally fair with their terms with an honest loyalty program and excellent rewards that doesn't just give back to high rollers.
To start with their welcome offer is exceptional value. Get 10 free spins for Starburst just for registering, no deposit needed, any winnings are added to your bonus balance. Then on your first funding of your account they will match the amount from £10 up to £100 as a bonus.
The bonus has a very low rollover of just 35x with all slots 100% and table games 10% (see full review for more game contributions). You also get a very long time in which to use your bonus of 90 days. Even better RP have a sportsbook and should you wish you can spend all or some of your bonus in there. Using your bonus for sports bets carries just a 10x rollover at odds of 4/5 (1.80) or more.
The games catalogue is quality, especially for slot lovers. Their real selling point however are their existing customer reload and loyalty promotions. Truly awesome and genuinely rewarding.
The Prospect Hall bonus is useful as it gives you a bonus on your first three deposits, starting at just £10. This means you could just claim on your first bonus, you could claim two bonuses, or all three, it is up to you. This allows you to take anywhere from £10 to £300 in introductory bonus funds, along with 100 free spins.
Bonus one is a 100% match up to £100 along with 50 free spins (for Starburst or similar). The bonus has a 30x deposit and bonus amount rollover (most slots 100%, table games 5%) within 30 days with a maximum winnings in cash limit of £1000 or ten times the bonus amount. The free spins are vlaid 7 days and come with a 40x wagering requirement on any winnings.
Should you choose to take a second bonus get 50% up to £100 and then if you want the third bonus this is identical to the first, 100% up to £100 and another 50 spins free.
This introductory offer is fairly middle of the road but then this should not be the reason you choose Prospect Hall. This is one of the best designed casino sites in the business, established by previous games developers they have created a site that looks fantastic but is exceptionally functional. Also being game makers they even have their own exclusive games. Read more in our full review
888 is to casino gaming what McDonald's is to fast food: there are lots of others out there that do it similar but in most cases the original is the best. 888 have been in the world of online casino for decades, they even have their own software and games (Dragonfish) alongside a vast range of games from other providers and products that eclipse pretty much all competitors. If you are only looking for one site to play with then there are few that can provide as much depth than you can find at the 888 casino.
When you join 888 you will be offered the chance to spin the wheel. Where the wheel lands defines the size of the no deposit bonus you can claim. All new customers are guaranteed to win at least £15, but lucky players could get £20, £50, £88 or even £888. The bonus as a 30x rollover with a long lead time of 90 days. You can win a maximum equivalent to the no deposit bonus amount you receive.
If you then make a first deposit you can also get a 100% match up to £100 (£20 minimum). This also comes with a 30x rollover in 90 days, slots counting 100%, roulette 20%, blackjack 10% and craps 5%. There is a maximum winnings limit of £500 from the bonus.
Energy Casino have a special deal with us that means new customers can claim 15 spins free for a range of slots, including Starburst and Mega Fortune, just for registering. The free spins are active for 7 days following sign up and once used winnings are awarded as bonus cash that expires in 3 days with a 35x wagering requirement. Most games count, all table games are excluded from roll-overs. Max of £5/spin when playing with free spin winnings.
If you decide you want to continue playing there is then a 100% up to £150 bonus on your first deposit along with 5 super spins. The minimum is £10. This bonus has a longer validity time of 30 days and a play through requirement of 25x deposit and bonus amount (or to think of it another way 50x the bonus). It can be used on pretty much all slots at 100% weighting, table games, video poker and some specialist games do not count however. The super spins are worth £1 each, can be used for starburst, and have a 25x wagering requirement.
A similar deal is available again on your second deposit, a 50% matched bonus up to £150 (30x D+B roll-over, or 60x the bonus) along with a further 50 free spins. As with the registration freebie all spins are valid for one week from award with winnings as bonus funds with a 15x roll-over this time in 3 days. There is no obligation to take the second bonus, this is entirely up to you and does not effect the first offer.
Why continue playing in this casino after the introductory bonus? This is a very modern casino site with an awesome loyalty points program and some honest cash back rewards that give actual value to normal players. The site looks great and is structured perfectly for navigation. The site provides games from a range of software including NetEnt, Microgaming and Novomatic and are quickly becoming a player favourite. Read more about Energy Casino in our full review.
There is no need to introduce William Hill, you would quite literally have to live on another planet to not have heard of them. In fact if you did live on another planet and visited Earth you would think William Hill offer some sort of service critical to humanity, the brand is that widely know.
What you won't get with this casino therefore is the personal touch, but the flip side to this is they have every product and feature that a casino player could want. This is a massive brand with 1000's of games, 10's of software providers and more resources than most casinos listed here put together. Regular promos, comp points and reloads are exceptional value and can add up over time for regualr players.
The welcome offer is hardly the best around, but then Hill's know what they have is expansive and players will join for many reasons other than a bonus. Saying that it is not worth turning your nose up to, get 100% bonus matched to your first deposit from £10 up to £300. This carries a 30x (deposit+bonus amount) rollover in 7 days (some games count different amounts to the wagering, see WH full terms for more). In addition to this you can also claim a 150% up to £200 bonus the first time you use the playtech powered download casino.
The absolute best mobile casino in existence, in fact the best around for adjusting perfectly to any screen size. It isn't just me saying that, they have won countless awards to prove it.
With a diverse mix of over 800 games form top providers such as NetEnt and Microgaming, this is a favourite for slots players. However with over 50 table game available this is also a site that pretty much suits any player whatever their fancy. The live casino is especially revered with over 50 titles, of which around 50% are exclusive in house games.
To try out LeoVegas they will give you 20 spins free on registration. All spins have a 35x wagering requirement on winnings within 3 days. On a first deposit you can then claim 200% up to £100 if depositing £50 (100% if depositing £10 to £49.99) along with 25 additional spins. All bonuses have a simple and fair 35x wagering requirement with slots counting 100% and table games 10%, there is no time limit to reach this rollover criteria either. If you choose to (but you don't have to) you can claim 50% up to £500 on your second and third deposits and 50% up to £400 on your fourth, each coming with 25 more spins.
You can't be an online casino gamer if you haven't tried 32Red. The brand are one of the oldest and most trusted online and have winning a staggering amount of awards from both players and within the industry, including casino of the decade (kind of says it all).
The Microgaming focused casino has all a typical player needs with a very nice balance. As you would expect from a decades old site it works seamlessly on any device you choose. There is an honesty about this brand that has persevered, where others have grown and become corporate, 32Red have maintained a player perspective. This is reflected in their welcome offer.
New customers can claim £10 free on registration, no deposit required. The free bonus needs to be wagered 50x in 7 days (see 32Red for game percentages, most slots 100%), after that whatever is left you can keep, up to £100 maximum.
Fund your account for the first time and get a massive 320% free for every £10 deposited up to £160 (deposit £50 to claim full amount, £10 minimum deposit would give £32 free). This bonus has a very reasonable 40x rollover and there is no time limit to do this. The bonus is restricted to a maximum individual bet size of £6.25.
If you are the kind of person that dislikes the new range of modern casino sites full of flashing promos, stupid narratives and ridiculous characters, then BetVictor casino is the home for you. Purely professional, BetVictor run one of the most stylish casino sites available online, yet they still provide over 700 games from leading software companies. Entirely focuses on the games and the customer experience, there are no distractions here, just good titles, honest bonuses and seamless gameplay.
There are more reasons to try them out other than their reputation for class. BetVictor will match any first deposit amount 200% up to £200 (deposit £100 to claim in full). The minimum deposit to claim is just £10 (giving a £20 bonus). The wagering requirements are fair at 35x the bonus amount within 7 days (see review for game contributions).
On your first deposit you will also be awarded with 200 spins that can be used on selected NetEnt slots. These spins remain active for 5 days, winnings need to be rolled over 30x, there is no maximum win amount.
The main welcome bonus from Betway is a 100% match on your first deposit up to £250 (deposit £250 to claim in full). For those that want to, but you don't have to, you can also claim 25% up to £250 on your second deposit (deposit £1000 to claim fully) and 50% up to £500 on your third deposit (deposit £2000 for max bonus). Each of these bonuses must be claimed within 7 days of joining, the minimum deposit for each is £20. It is up to you how many you claim.
Each bonus comes with a 50x play-through requirement although there is no time limit on this. As with most bonuses slots will contribute 100%, table games 8% and some other games nothing, see the Betway site for full details. There is no maximum winnings limit.
Betway's introductory offer is very flexible allowing you to claim anywhere from a £20 100% bonus right up to £1000. Powered mainly by Microgaming with games from NetEnt and others, this is a very good looking casino site. In fact my personal favourite. There is a class about this brand that makes you think you are a VIP. Betway also have a fantastic rewards points system known as Plus Points, this is by far one of the best of its type and lets you earn points on everything, even bets on their exceptional sportbook.
777 are part of the 888 group. Under the bonnet everything is the same, including the ability to play games from their own proprietary software, Dragonfish, and earn rewards in their fantastic comp point program. The similarities pretty much end there however. Whereas 888 is very high on graphics and colours 777 is very much the opposite. Here you are presented with a very serene 1950's Las Vegas style that is very welcoming for players. This is also a casino-only site, therfore not distracting sports, bingo, etc. Perfect for people who just want to play games.
On sign up you can claim 77 spins without needing to deposit. These are worth 25p each and are valid for a good amount of time, 14 days. Winnings need to be rolled over 30x in 90 days (see 777 for game contributions, slots 100%, roulette 20%, etc) and you can win a maximum of £20.
Make a first deposit and you can also claim a matched bonus from £20 up to £200. This comes with the same wagering terms as the spins, except now you can win up to a maximum of £500.
Casinos don't come much more famous than Genting. The massive Malaysian leisure and gambling company have been going since the 1960's and are now a multi-billion corporation with resorts, cruise ships and a vast range of investments. Despite the size of this company they specialise in hospitality and have decades of experience in delivering waht custoemrs want. Combined with the vast resources of this brand you really cannot go far wrong playing casino here.
Powered mainly by Playtech along with games from other providers, including their own exclusive live casino package, Genting have a balanced selection of around 300 titles. As an welcome incetnive the casino will give new customers a very generous 200% bonus on first deposits from £10 (giving a £20 bonus) up to £200 (giving a £400 bonus). The bonus needs to be wagered 50x in 30 days (some games count less than 100%, see Genting for full terms).
To claim use the code GENT400 when you register. The bonus has a maximum individual bet of £25 and an overall maximum withdrawal limit of £1000.
Thrills is a great casino site for those that want to get away form the norm. This brand is different to every other online casino, with a vibrancy and style that means you certainly couldn't get it confused with any other brand. The heavily loyalty based company have huge incentives for existing customers along with one of the best balanced game catalogues out there, >600 games from eight leading providers.
For new customers there is a fairly simple introductory bonus, although remember here it is more about the longer term rewards than big welcome offers. Get a matched bonus on any first deposit from £20 up to £100. The minimum deposit is in fact £10 but you need to deposit £20 to get the promotion. The bonus comes with a 40x wagering of the bonus + deposit amount in 30 days. Slots account 100% toward the rollover, table and some other games less (see Thrills for full details).
50 Extra spins are also awarded on first deposit, these are given out at ten a day over 5 days. Each set are valid for 24 hours each for a specific slot game. Winnings from spins need to be rolled over 20x in 30 days.
Virgin as a brand need no introduction. The Virgin Games casino is actually licensed to and run by software developer and casino operator Gamesys. They have kept all of the stylish look you would expect from a Virgin product with the great games and interface of Gamesys. This is a great overall games site and not just focuses around casino. With a goo number of games (around 200) there is enough choice without the whole site being too crowded.
New users can claim a generous 200% bonus on their first deposit. This starts on deposits of just £10 (giving a £20 bonus) and goes right up to £200 (deposit £100 to claim in full). The bonus has a decent expiry of 30 days.
This bonus is interesting in that for slots it has a standard wagering requirement of 40x, if however you choose to play bingo games the rollover is just 4x. For poker it is 20x and for most casino table games it is 80x or higher. See the Virgin site for full terms and contributions.
With a tag line of 'Deer to be different' you can guarantee this isn't your run of the mill casino site. The brand, origianlly from Sweden, can best be described as 'quirky' you will either love them or hate them. They have a large number of games (>800) from over ten leading software providers (including NetEnt and Micrograming) and are well known for their BUX loyalty reward scheme. If you are sick of the 'same old' then give SuperLenny a go.
You can claim a bonus on your first deposit up to £100 (100%, £20 minimum) which is then vlaid for 30 days with a 40x deposit and bonus rollover (see SuperLenny for full game weighting terms). Max bet per spin is £5 when betting with the bonus. With this you also get 50 free spins and then 10 free spins each day for ten days. Each set of spins is valid 24 hours. Winnings have a 20x wagering requirement.
Beginners Guide To Online Casinos
If you’re normally more of a sports punter who fancies a few spins of the roulette wheel but not sure where to start, then we’ve got the basics to help get you started.
How are Casino Odds Different to Sports Odds?
Casinos work differently to sports in how the odds and house edge works. In a sportsbook odds are generated primarily by trained odds traders who price up a market in which the aim is to incorporate a house edge (commission the bookie takes on any given market) while also balancing the book (taking an equal proportion of bets on each outcome so the bookie always wins).
Casinos are a little easier to run from this perspective as games and slots have a fixed structure with in built margins. This means there is generally less uncertainty compared with sports and so many online casinos can afford to run a lower edge.
Some games like roulette have a very high payout rate, European roulette has an edge of just 2.7% (or 1 in 37) and this is solely down to the 37th number (zero) on the roulette board. As zero doesn’t have a colour (it’s not red or black), it’s not odd or even and doesn’t fit into any of the columns or thirds it means when the ball does land on zero (which it will on average 2.7% of the time) the casino wins (as most bets will go down except those directly placed on zero).
With some games having such low margins playing in an online casino on the face of it can seem better value for money compared to say a sportsbook. Be careful though whilst this is the case on a spin by spin or hand by hand basis there is also a tendency in casino to place more bets in a short period of time. This means even though the commission the house takes is lower, overall if you play enough hands/spins the casino chances of winning increases. As a general rule it is better to play more money over less hands/spins to take advantage of the low house edge but without giving the casino the opportunity to win any money back.
One of the biggest benefits of playing online casino are the huge sign up bonuses, regular offers and loyalty schemes associated with them that you simply can’t get at land based operations. Why? Well online casinos have so many less overheads: they don’t need to run a physical casino and this means less staff, facilities, buildings to maintain and run, physical money to handle and bank, maintenance, etc. This is why players in the online world get far higher rewards for playing.
This does not however mean that every bonus and loyalty scheme are equally valuable and some offers have stringent terms that makes withdrawing your money very difficult. Here we list some of the major things to look for in a casino bonus.
This doesn’t just mean how much money is the bonus worth it’s also about what percentage the bonus is of your initial deposit. A £500 matched bonus will give you more bonus funds than a deposit £20 get £100 bonus. The first option however requires you to deposit £500 to get £500 (100%) whereas the second option requires just a £20 deposit to get £100 (500% bonus). Which is better? Well that depends what you want, more overall funds or a higher percentage.
In the old days you could get a bonus for nothing, you could spank it on one game and if you won simply take your cash. Those days have long gone and now all bonuses come with wagering requirements, or rollovers. This means you have to play through the value of your bonus several times over to convert the bonus from promo cash to withdrawable real cash.
Casinos don’t do this to stop you from winning, they do it so you use the bonus for the purposes that they intend you to use it for. A bonus is designed to give you some free funds so that you can test out a casinos games and features before deciding whether you want to carry on playing or not. Rollovers ensure that players must play multiple hands/spins before they can walk away. This is good for the casino and good for players wanting to find the right casino. It is only really bad for bonus hunters, people who want free money and then move on. Bonus hunters ruin the game for everyone as it’s their antics that have steadily caused the industry to tighten bonus terms.
Wagering requirements are usually around 30x the bonus for decent operators. Look carefully at the terms as some list the rollover as ‘deposit and bonus’. Here are two examples of a 100% matched £100 bonus with a 30x rollover, the first is a 30x bonus rollover, this means you need to play through £1500 of bonus funds (30 x 50) and subsequent winnings to withdraw. In the second example its 30x deposit and bonus, now you need to play through £3000 (60 x 50), double the amount.
A bonus will generally have a period of validly, you need to meet the bonus wagering requirements within this time to withdraw the bonus winnings. Failure to do so and you will lose all of your bonus winnings even if you’ve completed 99% if the task.
It’s also important to check what games are or are not applicable to the bonus rollover terms. Not all games will contribute 100% to the rollover requirements. Some games, especially traditional table games with a low house edge such as roulette and blackjack, will often contribute less (say 20%) or may not contribute at all. If you want to play roulette and nothing else it makes no sense to take a bonus for which roulette is not applicable. Game restrictions should be clearly displayed in the bonus terms when you sign up.
Many bonuses are also not eligible for progressive jackpots, this doesn’t mean you can play the game with bonus funds but it may mean if you did hit the big prize you might not get paid out.
Some operators restrict bonuses for customers who deposit by some payment methods. This is more common in sports than casino but still something to be aware.
Skrill and Neteller deposits for example as the most common to be ineligible for casino bonuses. This is due to fraudulent account sign ups in the past and the fact that you can get one of these accounts (with low limits) with little verification.
Payout & Withdrawal Limits
On occasion bonuses are restricted to a maximum payout or maximum withdrawal, say you take a £100 bonus you may not be allowed to win more than £5000 for example. Again something to think about, there are enough operators out there with no limits so in general it’s worth avoiding those that do, in case you do have a big win.
No Deposit Bonuses
These bonuses give you free money in effect and by doing this the casino will want you to use it to try out the site as much as possible. If you like the site then you can generally go on to make deposit and take a regular bonus on top of this. Therefore, no deposit bonuses come with high wagering requirements and also tend to come with withdrawal limits. Then again they are giving you free funds so what do you expect.
Software and Games
The vast majority of online casinos don’t make their own games, instead they run various software programmes that come with their own game titles. You may be familiar with some of them such as Playtech, Microgaming, NetEnt, IGT, Play’n GO and others. There are around 20 major software providers for the various online games you will see, some specialise in just a few bespoke games whereas others host 100’s even 1000’s of titles.
Most online casinos now run games from a variety of software providers. They usually have a main software in the casino section with other software running in “games”, “slots”, “vegas” and other similar named off shoots of the main casino.
If you want to play specific casino slots or games it helps to know what software provides the title, you can find this out by simply searching for the game name and software in google. In our reviews above we list all of the major software run by each online casino if you want to check if they have your favourites.
If you’ve found an online casino running the software with the games you want to play why would you bother signing up with another casino? Well there are lots of reasons:
- Introductory Bonus – All casinos have attractive sign up offers, it makes sense to take a few of these to get the most value from your play. Make sure the bonus applies to the games you want to play first though.
- Regular Offers – Many operators will run promotions such as play £20 on a specific game, get £10 free, therefore it makes huge sense to play with a casino like this.
- Loyalty – The best online casinos award loyalty points that can be exchanged for things like reload bonuses, free spins and even real cash. You may as well get rewarded for playing your favourite games
- Coverage – Just because an online casino runs a specific software doesn’t mean they have to host all the games on that network.
- Choice – The more software’s and games on offer the more choice you have as a player, it often makes sense to play with operators with multiple software packages running.
- Platform – Do they have the games and software available on mobile, desktop or by download? See the next section for more on this.
Platforms – Instant Play, Mobile and Download
Before playing online casino think about how you would like to play games most of the time. The most common option is instant play, this is where you play the game live within your browser, usually as a pop out window. These systems are usually powered by Flash or Html5 and offer the quickest way to play casino. On the other hand running these resource heavy plugins can cause your machine to slow and even crash on occasion and can be more unpredictable on slower or intermittent internet connections.
Many people therefore prefer to download an application from the casino and play through the bespoke program. This has the advantage in that the software is running directly on your machine not through browser plugins, this makes it less liable to crashing and errors. To run a download application, you do of course still need an active internet connection (otherwise how does the casino know when to credit or debit your account) but as you need to download less data as you are playing you can generally get away with slower and patchier internet connections this way. If downloading beware that you will be restricted usually to the games from one software type (e.g Playtech) and not all games that are available through instant play are available in the download application. This is common with progressive jackpot and multiplayer games.
The third option is the mobile application. Playing casino on mobile and tablet has exploded in popularity since the arrival of the smart phone and in the near future will surely take over as the primary way to play online casino. Most casinos now have mobile apps; in fact some are now mobile only or mobile specialists such as LeoVegas.
A mobile app is a kind a kind of quasi version of instant play and download, in that you need to download the app but they games within the app are instant play. Mobile games tend to be more fun, especially those designed primarily for mobile, in exactly the same way that it is often more fun to play games on your mobile or tablet than on your desktop computer.
If you want to play a specific game or software type on mobile then check not only that the online casino you want to gamble with has a mobile app but also that the game is mobile compatible first.
Live casino is a little bit different to normal virtual online casino. Here there is a real dealer and real game being played but instead of sitting at the table directly the live action is streamed to you.
Many people prefer live casinos as they feel more real, you can even chat to the dealer as you would in a land based casino. Place your bets on the virtual game board within the time limit (there is a time limit because the game is real so will not wait for you to be ready) and watch as the dealer deals a hand, spins the wheel or whatever.
Live casino has a couple of drawbacks. Firstly, it is restricted to games that have a dealer (blackjack, roulette, craps, baccarat and poker) and you can’t play slots or virtual games in a live casino. Secondly the sign up incentives, regular promotions and loyalty tend to be less compared to a virtual online casino.
Having live casino as an option is a great addition however, I like to play table games in the live casino and switch back to the main casino for slots, jackpots and special table games. Many of the big players in the industry run a live casino in parallel with other casino products these days and you can often get a small bonus for playing for the first time.
Players like to play progressive jackpots because of the colossal prizes that can be won. Most progressive jackpot games have both an individual and multi-player element where smaller prizes are won on an individual basis within the game whilst at the same time a proportion of your stake goes into a pool that grows over time until one lucky winner takes the whole lot. By linking multiple small games (or machines) together the jackpot grows far quicker than it would in an isolated game.
If you want an easy way to understand what a progressive jackpot is think of a lottery, such as the National Lottery or Euro Millions. Here people buy tickets, smaller prizes are paid out at fixed rates (£25 for 3 numbers for example) irrespective of the number of tickets in the game. The top prizes however are not fixed and are defined by the number of tickets bought, the more tickets in the system means the jackpot prize is higher, if no one wins the prize rolls over and the jackpot becomes progressively bigger each week.
A progressive jackpot casino game is no different in principle. Each player can win small fixed prizes for various reel combination but the main jackpot prize is defined by the size of the pool. Each time you play a game a small amount of your bet goes into the progressive pool. The winner, if they are really lucky, will win the jackpot when it is very high, these jackpots can get into the multiple millions. Each time the jackpot is won the pool resets (although not to zero as no one would play, the operator usually starts the pool off with an injection cash). As jackpots get higher and higher the activity in that games increases as people are more tempted by the prize. Many players switch between progressive jackpot games to the ones that have the highest prizes at the time, this way when they do win they really win big.
It is always worth reading the terms carefully for a progressive jackpot game as just because you play doesn’t necessarily mean you qualify. Games tend to have a minimum stake to be eligible for concurrent entry to the progressive jackpot. If you play under this limit and hit the jackpot you would be paid out the fixed prize from the individual game rather than the big pooled prize.
Jackpots fall under two main categories. The most common is the contribution, where a proportion of your stake goes into the jackpot pool. Less common are pooled bets where all the bets go into one pool until someone wins the lot. The contribution games tend to take longer to reach the peak prize but pay out more little prizes along the way. Pooled jackpots grow quicker and tend to pay out faster but you get less in the way of little wins.
Video poker is a very popular progressive jackpot game. You get paid out at normal fixed odds for all the typical hands (pairs, three of a kind, full house, flush, etc) but if you hit a royal flush (odds of around 32000/1) then you will not only get the fixed odds payout but you also win the progressive jackpot which could be millions.
Casinos can afford to run these games by re-injecting a proportion of the house edge of the game back into the jackpot pool. Let’s say for example that a casino has a house edge of 5% on a game, they may decide to take 4% as profit and put 1% into the progressive pool.
Jackpots regularly get into the tens of millions for the biggest progressive games and you can read tons of stories online of big jackpot wins for normal players. Mega Moolah, for example, is a progressive jackpot game from Microgaming (you need to play with a casino with microgaming software to play) it has an average payout of around £4,500,000 with a highest win in the region of £13,000,000.
Remember the jackpots are software driven and so if you are playing a microgaming jackpot game then you are playing with players from multiple different online casinos that run microgaming.
What are Random Number Generators and How Do They work?
Casinos are effectively entirely automated, apart from the dealer, even when playing in a real casino or with a live dealer through an online live casino the games are still fixed in structure and so the odds of you winning online or in person compared to a virtual game should be identical. The dealer, as a human being prone to error, does have some influence however so real world games are in theory more variable than virtual games.
Outcomes for virtual games in online casinos, and in virtual games available in land based casinos, are dictated by Random Number Generators (RNG’s). RNG’s are not random by the definition of the word but are random in terms that the outcome cannot be predicted without insider knowledge.
Random numbers are generated based on mathematical algorithms (which are kept secret by the casinos and game providers). These algorithms use a series of ‘seed numbers’ (again kept a secret) and perform various mathematical functions on these numbers for each game/spin/hand by multiplication, division, addition and subtraction. Each time a new number is generated the RNG wipes the previous results and starts again. Without knowing the algorithm and seed numbers it is impossible to predict any outcome.
From a player’s perspective all the numbers generated in an online casino are ‘random’ in that no one can predict the outcome without hacking the system. They are not random by definition because ultimately the results are based on mathematical operations (which in themselves are not random) and algorithms (of which there is a theoretical limit).
Casinos and game operators RNG systems are tested by independent bodies to ensure RNG’s work correctly producing results with the correct probabilities. For example, an RNG used in a virtual roulette game is tested to ensure that the numbers are output in such a way that on average the house edge remains at 2.7%.
Taking a more complex example such as a four-reel slot with 15 different symbols. Here each symbol in the game is assigned a score (relative to the value of that symbol), the RNG then comes up with a value for each of the 15 symbols on each reel. The RNG then “randomly” outputs a symbol on each reel based on its algorithm, depending on the symbol result of all four reels the player is then paid out according to a chart. Over a very high number of spins the RNG should always return results that exactly match the probability of this occurring on a physical slot machine with the same parameters.
Can You Cheat a Random Number Generator?
Can you cheat a RNG? Well from a players perspective not really, not unless you’ve got serious insider knowledge. You would need to know not just the algorithm (which may change regularly) but also the seed numbers (which again may change regularly) and you would probably need a degree in computing to work it all out. It’s also illegal so there’s a non-starter right there.
The only guy I know of who managed anything close was Las Vegas resident Ronald Harris who actually worked as a computer programmer for the Nevada Gaming Board. His day job was to actually find errors and flaws in the software used to run virtual casino games. The lure of easy cash obviously proved too great as he decided to use this knowledge to cheat the system by taking the source code allowing him to access and modify some slot machines fooling them into paying out large prizes. He got away with this for years but then he got even more greedy. He moved onto cheating the game Keno and was discovered at Bally’s casino in Atlantic City, New Jersey.
Harris got away with this because of insider knowledge but what he did was illegal. It was also in the mid 1990’s when the technology was in its infancy, doing something similar these days would be almost impossible even for someone of his position. The way the software and security works now not even the people who create these things can hack the results (well so they say).
Cheating can occur the other way around where the casino rigs the RNG produce unfavourable results. There are a couple of examples of online casino software providers trying this in the early days when the market was far less regulated. A high profile case back in 2008 suggested a virtual game of craps run by BLR Technologies and hosted by the casino Wizard Of Odds, was rigged to produce a win rate on pass/don’t pass bets of around 25% instead of the expected 49%. The owner of the online casino did his own testing and confirmed the result. It turned out the game had been rigged.
The chances of this happening in a licenced online casino, especially in the UK, are astonishingly small. Not only are all games tested by 3rd party bodies to ensure their accuracy, the casinos and software operators themselves are required to have a gambling licence. This licence ensures, by law, that all games and slots are conducted in an open, honest and fair environment with clear terms and regular scrutiny. In many ways the world on online casino is far less open to fixing than real world casinos.
Of course if you decided to gamble with an unlicensed casino (all of our listed casinos are fully licenced) then it is possible that all sorts of unscrupulous activities could be occurring under the bonnet. Be safe and only play with licenced operators.
Withdrawals, Pending Payments and Flushing
Unlike with sports payout limits don’t really apply in online casino as such. Payout limits are really set by the maximum payout form the game you are playing, if this is a progressive jackpot then it could be in the millions of pounds. Instead you are more likely to see withdrawal limits, these may be set at say £50,000 a month with some smaller operators. This is something to consider, there is no point in winning a £1,000,000 if it takes you over three years to withdraw the funds.
Some casino sites also have automatic pending periods for withdrawals. This is separate to the usually administrative processing time and is a system by which the casino puts your withdrawal on hold for a period of time (3 days, 4 days, even a week). They do this in the hope that you will change your mind, reverse the withdrawal and carry on playing. This is quite sneaky and you should look at the T&C’s to see if casinos have pending periods.
If a casino site does have a pending period, then they may also have a feature known as manual flushing. This allows you to bypass the pending period and flush the funds straight out back into your account.
Only Play With Licenced Online Casinos
This may be last in the list but in many ways it is by far the most important consideration of all. To operate in the United Kingdom all online casinos, no matter where they are based in the real world, are required to possess a UK Gambling Commission Licence. To obtain a licence an operator must meet strict legislation that includes things like having open terms and conditions, not using misleading language, preventing crime and fraud, protecting minors and vulnerable people and promoting responsible gambling. All of this is in place to protect you as a player and with so many great licenced casinos you would be stupid to go gamble with an unlicensed casino.
The Gambling Commission was set up as an independent body to enforce the Gambling Act 2005 and 2014. This means they can revoke licences and take legal action against any unscrupulous operators. It also forces casinos advertise responsibly and to handle complaints appropriately by using intermediaries such as IBAS. The gambling commission are not there however to check every website that accepts UK customers and there are plenty that do so illegally. If you decide to gamble with an unlicensed casino then you are in effect throwing out all of your legal protections. If that operator decides to not pay you out, cheat the games or even worse commit fraud using you payment details then there is little that UK law can do. This is especially true as most unlicenced casinos are based in off shore havens where they cannot be touched.
Gambling licence information should be displayed at the bottom of the casino site home page, if it is not then this should be a giant warning sign not to play with them. If you are unsure if an operator is licenced then visit the commission website and search for the website name, if it doesn’t appear again don’t play. Many sites can appear under a single licence, you may not even recognise the name of the licenced body but so long as the site you are playing with appears under that licence then you are covered.