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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.
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Best Online Casinos For UK Customers
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 1,500 games pf all types 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 in the region of 1,000 instant play slot games available on the site from lots of providers, including; NetEnt, Microgaming, IGT and more. The site is especially strong for table games too though, with a wide range of limits and features. Table games suit this site very much due to its sleek look and professional nature. What's more, the live casino is powered by both Evolution and Progress Play so there are loads of options here.
The other reason to play with BetVictor is loyalty, the brand boasts the highest retention levels in the industry and this is thanks largely to personalised bonuses designed to suit people on an individual level.
The worlds favourite online betting and gaming site, Bet365 are the safest bet for any online casino players. You may not get the biggest initial bonus from Bet365 but you will get looked after as an existing customer more than anywhere else, in our opinion.
Personally Bet365 are my go to casino site. They are honest, reliable and genuinely look after their customers with the fairest terms, good value offers and open language. They have a vast catalogue of good games along with every other product and feature a player could ever need, including a world leading sportsbook and a lauded bingo platform.
Bet365 host a large array of games from a suite of different software providers between the Casino, Games and Vegas sections. The main casino is powered by Playtech and is available as both a download and instant play.
All British Casino was established back in 2013 and that makes them a seasoned player in the online casino world. It also means they are stable and won't be going anywhere soon. The site is completely tailored for UK players, as you might guess from the name, and the longevity of the brand means it is well resourced with a range of banking options, 24/7 customer support and lots of features, promotions and tournaments. The site also now has a sportsbook for those that want to bet on sports too.
The All British brand boasts far better than average customer loyalty and that tells you everything in such a competitive landscape. This is partly down to their high value offers and good customer service but largely down to their games.
You can play nearly 1400 games at this site, again carefully selected to suit the British market best. Of those 1100 are slots and 45 are jackpots with the rest made up of table games, slingo, live games and others. What makes this site unique is it's choice of providers, which include big names and more bespoke studios: Netent, Microgaming, Blueprint, Bally, Barcrest, Evolution, Inspired, Novomatic, IGT, Big Time Gaming, Next Gen, Play n Go, high 5 games, Thunderkick, Elk, Slingo, WMS, Amatic, No limit City, just for the Win, Scientific, Red 7, Shuffle Master, Slingshot, Eyecon, All41studios. It is a catalogue you will not find copied elsewhere
Befred are one of the oldest brands in the business, operating since 1967 as a bookie and hitting the internet almost as soon as it became possible. They therefore understand very well how to run an online casino and ultimately what customers want from a top games site.
Primarily running Playtech games, they have one of the longest running partnerships with the development company. They also offer titles from the likes of Ash Gaming, IGT, Wager Works and others, with around 300 games in the casino section. Betfred also have separate 'Games', 'Live Casino' and 'Vegas' sections with further 1,000 or so titles to play.
Of course being an industry giant this is a complete cross-product brand with one of the biggest and best sportbooks out there, for football and racing especially (especially well known for pool betting), along with lotto and bingo on Virtue Fusion network.
MrQ are one of our recommended sites because they are genuinely different to the thousands of slots and gaming sites out there they are basically clones of each other. MrQ have been quite bold in today's age by building a site completely from scratch. The platform they use is all their own, which costs way more for them to do but has allowed them to create something that is unique.
The UK based site is noticeably different to the vast majority of other brands. They have a customer first approach, most notably by the fact they have no wagering on free spins or bonuses, ever. Anything you win from these promotions is always cash. They also have very quick processing times for withdrawals. This is a no fluff site with a focus on offering games to customers in a responsible way.
Being independent doesn't mean they are lacking in games either with over 1000 titles from the likes of Microgaming, NetEnt, Quickspin, Pariplay, Blueprint, Thunderkick and Eyecon. MrQ also have a platform jackpot that a proportion of every wager goes into, and unlike other progressive jackpots, anyone can win no matter what stakes they’re playing. They also make and run their own bingo games and network, if you like to play bingo alongside slots.
The Rialto casino online is run by The Rank Group, a company that operate some of the best casino and bingo sites available in the UK - such as Grosvenor Casino. The group make their own games as well as listing games from a host of leading providers such as Novomatic, Play n'Go, Microgaming and NetEnt. The menu structure for searching games is one of the best around, allowing you to search by game type (e.g. 40 lines, 50 lines, etc), and game features. The live casino is also one of the best with games from Evolution and Authentic Gaming, including live tables at real casinos via a stream.
The Rialto itself is branded around the real-world casino company of the same name. The Rialto Casino is one of the flagship land-based Grosvenor Casinos, situated in the heart of Leicester Square, Central London. The name itself is derived from the an area of Venice in Italy, a beautiful location next to the Grand Canal. There are rarely perfect matches in life but the combination of a high end name like Rialto with Rank's online know-how has created a superb casino site here.
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.
Prospect Hall, established in 2015, is owned and run by Betable, a London based company that develop gambling platforms regarded as having one of the best engines around. The site is clean and professional but yet packed with games and featues, that includes around 450 carefully selected games from top developers such as Play'N Go and NetEnt.
Dukes Casino is a well established brand, launched in 2012, that is operated by ProgressPlay and owned by Mangostorm Limited. It is one of those classier casinos with a regal theme to it, as you might guess from the name, aimed at those that want a sleek gaming experience without all of the funky graphics and cartoon characters you now get with many other brands.
The site provides over 400 games from 16 different providers, including NetEnt, Microgaming and other big names. They choose to list a smaller amount of games compared to others to focus on quality over quantity.
As you would expect from their age they have a wealth of deposit and withdrawal options all with £10 lower limits, including the ability to pay by phone from £10-£30.
Unibet have been around since the very earliest days of online betting and over the following decades have established themselves as not only one of the biggest gambling brands around, but also as one of the most honest and open.
The company are based in Malta but have roots in the UK and are one of the very best at understanding what British players want. They offer in the region of 600 games from a variety of providers, including Relax Gaming, with Unibet being one of the very first to back the much loved developer. They also have games from at least 8 other top end providers.
Unibet are the main brand of the Kindred group, that also includes 32Red, this demonstrates the experience they have and the resources available to make this a top online casino.
Playing casino with Grosvenor is like choosing to buy a Heinz baked beans in a shop over another brand. We buy Heinz because they know what their customers want, they have been around for decades and they make a quality product that never fails to let you down. Grosvensor equally are Britain's biggest casino brand, established in 1966 they currently operate over 55 land based casinos in the UK with nearly 2 million annual visitors and they also have one of the most popular and best stocked online casinos available.
They are particularly known for having one of the best and longest running loyalty player points schemes around. This is a genuinely good program with very good rewards, and you can claim points online and in their real-world casinos, which not many brands can say. The online site features games form the top providers such as NetEnt, Microgaming, IGT, Novomatic and tons more, for balance and choice they are top notch. The site is also incredibly sleek and supremely easy to use.
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.
32Red are now part of the Kindred Group, that includes Unibet. This, however, has only served to improve the brand as it has maintained its independent identity but can now draw on the experience and resources of a much bigger company behind it.
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.
The brand is known for having very attractive welcome offers but 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, poker, bingo and other products along with a glut of other products and features.
In terms of games Playtech is probably the 'main' provider for the casino (if such a thing exists) but you can also play over 1600 slots form other providers, including around 80-100 exclusive games only available at Ladbrokes.
Mr Green started life in Sweden in 2007 but and like many of the Scandinavian brands they have seen great sucess driven by the fact they tend to do things differently. Mr Green himself is a fictional character designed to extol the values of a true gentleman and this is basically the theme of the site, sleek and professional but with an element of virtue.
The brand became big in the UK because they provided a clean and uncluttered casino gaming experience in a time when other brands were clunky and crowded. This, combined with exceptional existing customer rewards, allowed them to attract a loyal following of players. Eventually the brand was bought by William Hill, although maintains its independence, adding further resources and knowledge to the group.
Although there are just 400 games available they are from big providers such as Playtech, Microgaming and NetEnt, and what the brand have done is strip away anything that isn't a firm industry favourite. Thus, you have a casino where every game you try is sure to be one you will enjoy.
Even if you had never visited an online gaming site before you would recognise the Gala brand from their (now sold to Buzz) suite of bingo halls dotted around the country. The brand was launched in 1991 and became one of the first ever online bingo sites in the early 2000's. Loved by players with some of the highest retention in the industry they launched their casino in 2008.
Gala is now part of the incredibly big and powerful Entain group of companies, who also own Ladbrokes, Coral, Foxy, and more, and this is evident when you look at the quality of the site, features, payment options and customer support. The casino is powered by many big developers so is full of top tier games, and offers a downloadable casino app too if that is what you would prefer.
One of their strongest points is their Gala Rewards, with random rewards and bonuses given out, entry into VIP type slots race, or a spin of the rewards wheel which dishes out cash prizes or up to 50 free spins - and you can get access to it every day.
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 2500 games form top providers such as NetEnt and Microgaming, this is a real favourite for slots players. However with over 60 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 100 games, of which many are exclusive in house games.
The brand is part of the same group that owns Royal Panda. When that merger was completed Royal Panda was withdrawn from the UK to focus completely on LeoVegas. This shows this brand is serious about the UK and UK players.
Without Betfair online betting and gaming wouldn't be what it is today. They set up as the first sports betting exchange in 2000 and have never looked back, becoming the biggest online-only betting site in the process.
These days the brand is part of a larger group called Flutter Entertainment, along with Paddy Power, SkyBet, and others; and the resources they have are truly incredible. The primary casino software on the site is Playtech, with whom they have had a partnership going back many years. They also have other games sections, such as slots, live Casino, bingo, poker, etc., which between them offer 1000's of titles from different developers plus alternative game types. That is to say nothing of their unbeatable sportsbook and exchange; that in combination makes this a unique brand that few others could compete with.
When you join the casino there are various offers available to be claimed depending on the type of games or section you want to get a promotion for. Therefore rather than talk about one promotion here you would be better to visit the site below and choose your own welcome offer to suit you.
Coral are renowned for having the best welcome offers and you certainly will not struggle to find something fun to play as there are around 2000 games available here from up to a dozen software providers.
Regular promotions are some of the best around and the smart rewards scheme is great for anyone who plays regularly. 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.
The brand is now part of a super-group called Entain PLC, who also own Ladbrokes and Party Poker among others. This hasn't changed Coral itself those who have maintained their independence in the new set-up but at the same time now have access to much greater resources and experience. This is manifested in a site that is applicable to all types of player, from very low stakes to high rollers.
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.
The company were one of the first to launch online back in the late 1990's and they have been ahead of the curve ever since. Where the traditional old high street names floundered around to get a slice of online gaming 888 were already there and doing it. If you want to play with a brand on the cutting edge of digital gambling there are few you could recommend more highly.
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, with no distracting extras like sports betting or bingo, so it's perfect for anyone who is solely interested in gaming . It is clean and easy to use yet backed by one of the biggest groups in the world allowing them to maintain high quality and depth with both their content and their offers.
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 regular players.
This is one of the best sites there is for people who enjoy all forms of gambling and want access to these products all in one place, but still want each vertical to be high quality and well stocked.
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.
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
No Deposit Bonuses
No deposit bonuses are not as common but are fun to play with when you do find them, beware however they come with additional restrictions.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.