How to choose the best online casinos and begin play?
UK’s casino guide
British people and online casinos have enjoyed a loving relationship since a very long time! We love everything about gambling and can never pass up a good opportunity to place a nice punt on the events we love! Although we’re increasingly drifting towards online casino platforms nowadays, it is just not any UK online casino that we’d make do with! Over the years, we’ve understood the importance of quality and reputed casino websites, and prefer to settle with nothing but the best! However, if given a choice we’d any day go with a UK casino online than a brick and mortar establishment, as the internet casinos offer far more variety and much smoother access.
However, considering the fact that there are thousands of different casinos online, how does one go about selecting the ideal one?! Our intent here in this write-up is to solve that problem for you. We’ll take you over all essential features that make the most optimum online casino experience in the UK. Once you’ve gone through all these aspects, you’d know which all boxes must be ticked in order to pick the best casino. So, let’s get straight to these features without any further ado!
When you go out looking for the ideal UK casino online, you must ensure that it has all the following characteristics:
Appealing online casino bonus features
UK online casinos offer all kinds of bonuses to their first-time and repeat clients. These casino bonuses are generally offered at different times and stages. You’re free to avail them as cash, free play or even certain prizes. The basic idea is to ensure that such casino bonuses allow you to derive the maximum out of the casino games you play. Following are some of the most commonly offered online casino bonus types in the UK:
Welcome bonus – Commonly referred to by various names like signup bonus, first deposit bonus, welcome offer, free bonus, bonus without deposit, no deposit free spins, welcome package, free spins casino bonus or simply no deposit bonus, this type of Internet casino bonus is offered at the time of making your first deposit at a casino online. Most of the times it comes in a multiplier format, wherein you are rewarded with a certain percentage of the total bonus amount in phases, as you play regularly at the concerned online casino. To give you an example, if a casino online offers you a 100% welcome bonus, it implies that it would match your initial deposit amount by 100%, and then would release it gradually over a pre-specified period of time, as you meet its betting requirements. Such bonus is released incrementally into your casino account, normally in £ 10 or £ 5 multiples, each time.
Reload bonus – It’s quite like the signup or welcome bonus that we discussed above, but is targeted at the already-existing customers of an online casino, who already hold a certain balance in their casino account. Logistically this type of bonus works almost the same way as the first-time deposit, but the percentage amount may not be as high as the latter.
Occasional offers – UK online casinos never miss any opportunity to make the most of the major events every year! They theme their bonus offerings around such festive occasions/events and provide them as seasonal or occasional bonus offers. It could be something like a lucrative bonus offer on the online casino’s anniversary, a huge number of casino free spins or some special customised offer on a certain roulette winnings. The idea is to help you maximise your winnings. The best way to keep yourself informed about such offers is by signing up to casino promotions and regularly checking the relevant pages on its website.
Apart from the bonus types detailed above, a well-known online casino may also shower you with certain VIP loyalty awards if you fall in their loyal clients or high net worth clients’ category. As these VIP loyalty programs can be pretty comprehensive in nature, we’ve created a separate section for them.
VIP loyalty programs
Who doesn’t like special or exclusive treatment?! No matter which one is your most-preferred casino online, having a VIP icon against your name (on that platform) can distinguish you from the crowd, giving you the respect you so deserve! UK Internet casinos don’t leave any stone unturned in ensuring that their VIP clients get the best possible treatment.
What’s meant by VIP loyalty programs?
In most cases, it’s a special and customised bonus program run by the online casino, wherein it rewards its high net worth and elite players. The players are recognised and given special perks for being loyal to the platform. It’s an online casino’s way of expressing gratitude towards its players. Please note, there may be different levels even within these VIP casino programs, elevating you from one level to the next, as you play more and more at the online casino.
How to get the VIP player status?
The prerequisites for achieving such casino VIP status may be different in every casino. While some of the UK casinos automatically give the VIP status at the time of signup, others may make it mandatory for you to deposit certain minimum amount or play for a certain period of time to be deserving of this title. Some Internet casinos in UK take a personalised approach when offering such titles, doing away with the automated system. They send out personal invitations to people informing them of their eligibility to become VIPs on their platforms (obviously after having worked out their worthiness). However, a large majority of online casinos in UK take the automated approach and instantly upgrade a player to VIP once he/she deposits a certain amount of money and/or has played a certain number of games.
If you’re keen, making a £ 10,000 deposit today is most likely to get the job done! It’s the quickest way to get categorized as one of the high roller casino players!
Special perks offered to VIP players
Please note, the benefits offered by online casinos may differ greatly, nevertheless, there are some basic minimums you can expect after having achieved the VIP status, no matter which platform you may be playing at. These are:
Quicker and easier withdrawals – While regular casino players need to wait for some time to be able to withdraw their winnings, there are no such restrictions on the VIP players. They are given the well-deserved VIP treatment and bypass this process, with no wait times!
Special gifts – It’s not unheard of for online casinos to shower their VIP clients with all kinds of special gifts every now and then, especially on their birthdays. Some even go to the extent of sending out high-end customised electronic gadgets!
Dedicated account managers – A good number of online casinos ensure that their VIP clients don’t have to worry about small day-to-day casino formalities. They provide them with dedicated account managers who are usually just a call, message or email away to resolve any issues or answer any queries.
Luxury holidays – Having made your way up the VIP ladder, you can even expect the reputed online casinos to surprise you with luxury holidays, so you can play even more while vacationing away on some remote island!
Special bonuses and promos – Your VIP status at an online casino can get you preferential treatment with regard to bonuses and promos. Online casinos often sweeten-up their bonus and promo offers for their VIP customers, giving them a far bigger bang for every buck they spend.
High deposit limits – Majority of the VIP players are high net worth individuals or high stakes casino players who prefer playing with big sums. Hence, if you are one such VIP client, you may be provided a comparatively bigger deposit limit than regular casino players. Furthermore, your bet limits may be higher too!
Absolute comfort and convenience
The online casinos of UK have made a big name for themselves owing to the kind of unique comfort and convenience they offer. The casino you finally decide to go with shouldn’t make you feel wanting in either of these departments. Let’s learn what all you can expect with regards to comfort and convenience when playing at these online casinos:
Anywhere anytime play – By far the biggest and most obvious benefit of playing at online casinos, this one’s often taken for granted by the players. As you can play your favourite casino games from a mobile device (such as iPad, iPhone, tablet, smartphone etc.), you don’t even need to step out of your home to play them! You could be sitting in a cab, resting on your armchair, wearing nothing but your favourite pyjamas (and not even that if you like!) while playing at a mobile casino of your choice. There is no limit on the mobile casino games (type and number) you can play including the likes of blackjack, slots, poker, craps, bingo and more! All with real money! Such mobile casino platforms are available for all kinds of operating systems including iOS, Android, Windows phone, Blackberry and others.
Zero smoking, eating or drinking restrictions – Unlike as in case of traditional casinos, many of which place restrictions on drinking, smoking and/or eating on the gaming floor, you need not be concerned about any such things when playing at online casinos. You play from wherever you like and it is you who decides the ground rules!
You’re the master of your ambience! – As you’d mostly be playing these games from home, you’d be the one who decides what kind of ambience you want to create. You’re free to switch off any music and play in complete silence if you wish to concentrate before making your next poker move, or you could have the music blasting out loud if you’re spinning your favourite slot reels and love the thrill of music as they come to a halt!
Fairly simple system requirements – A working and stable Internet connection along with a compatible device (mobile or desktop) is all you need if you wish to play at an online casino in UK. As also mentioned earlier, you can play these games from anywhere you like as long as these two requirements are met. Normally, there’s nothing else you’d need (of course apart from money to play)!
Convenience of doing other things as well – The fact that you can play online casino games from a place of your liking gives you the flexibility to indulge in any other activities simultaneously if you like (and can manage). You’re free to make a coffee for yourself, shop online or even chat with your friends if you’re good at multi-tasking and can do justice to all of them!
Round-the-clock customer service
Almost every good UK online casino worth its name provides 24/7 customer service to its clients. Majority of these establishments have well-qualified and well-trained people manning their customer service operations, always forthcoming to address your concerns or answer your queries at any hour. Efficient and effective customer support is a highly important criterion you cannot avoid while deciding on the online casinos you must play at in UK. In fact, the best online casinos have an active presence on social media platforms such as Twitter and Facebook too, enabling their clients to interact with them there as well.
Any good UK online casino would normally offer you the following contact options:
Live chat – Even though not all online casinos offer round-the-clock live chat service to their clients, the reputed ones make sure they do. A good online casino would understand the importance of such service and would have at least a handful of individuals manning its live chat operations at all hours. If not live chat, the online casino would at least allow you to call them any time.
Telephonic support – The online casino you have in mind must clearly specify its customer service numbers on all of its webpages as well as in its mobile application/s. Furthermore, such telephonic customer support should be accessible 24/7.
Email – Apart from its customer service phone numbers, the concerned UK online casino should also clearly mention its customer service email address on its contact page. You should be able to either directly write an email to its customer service department or submit your request/concern through a form. The turnaround times for these emails should be less than 24 hours. The best ones actually respond almost instantly!
Facebook and Twitter – Considering the kind of penetration these two platforms enjoy today it makes all the more sense for any good online casino to be reachable on both these social media websites.
Good old snail mail – Although obsolete, the not-so-tech-savvy casino players must be provided the option to communicate the old-fashioned way, by writing a letter to the concerned UK online casino.
Majority of the top-end online casinos in UK offer all these customer service options to their players. Last but not least, the online casino should also feature a comprehensive section for FAQs on its website, where as expected, the most frequent queries are addressed to the players’ satisfaction.
Mobile play option
As more and more new-age technologies find their way into every UK online casino, it’s normal for you to expect majority of them to offer mobile play option. The best ones (as well as the new online casinos) are constantly engaged in improving their platforms and making their games readily available on the mobile devices such as iPhones, Android-based devices, Windows-based devices and the ones that run on iOS. They ensure that all their popular offerings are available on both desktop as well as mobile devices, providing you with the flexibility to play your favourite online casino games no matter where you may be. All such mobile games can be played either inside a web browser or through a downloaded mobile application.
Please note, even though you may not be able to play all the games of a casino on its mobile platform, you’d at least get access to the most popular ones, for instance, roulette, baccarat, slots, blackjack, lotteries, scratch cards, bingo, video poker, video slots, classic slot machine types, keno and more. As expected, of all such casino games, it’s the online slots that are the most popular and offer maximum variety.
Simply put, you must make sure that the online casino you have in mind offers an equally good (or even better) experience on its mobile platform as it does on its desktop version.
A good number of withdrawal and deposit options
Ideally every reputed UK online casino offers its customers highly secure and safe online banking facility, incorporating 128-bit SSL encryption. It’s the same encryption technology that’s used by the top financial and banking establishments. Apart from that, the casino must also offer you a good range of withdrawal and deposit options including the following:
Credit cards – The UK online casino must accept all commonly used credit cards such as Visa and MasterCard. If you’re someone who regularly uses the Diners Club, ensure that the casino does have an option for that as well.
Switch, Solo, Delta and other popular debit cards – The internet casino must allow you to withdraw and deposit money using all popular debit cards. In almost all the UK casinos online, winnings are instantly credited to the used card and any remaining amount is paid out through a different withdrawal method (chosen by you).
Cheque – Despite being very traditional, a good number of online casinos in UK continue to offer players their winnings through cheques. In case this is your preferred withdrawal/deposit option, you must make sure that the casino you have in mind offers it to you.
Wire transfer – These days any major winnings are transferred directly into your bank account via wire transfer facility. This type of transfer works quicker than the cheque method.
uKash – Counted amongst the newest online withdrawal and deposit options at online casinos, uKash can be purchased at around 12,500 PayPoint outlets all over the United Kingdom. You’re provided a unique 19-digit number, to be used while making deposits into your casino account.
NETeller – Another highly popular e-wallet that’s accepted at all major internet casinos in UK, especially at all the new casinos, NETeller enables you to instantly transfer your available balance to any online casino of your liking. Withdrawals are equally simple.
Paypal – Easily the most commonly used withdrawal and deposit option by the online casino players in UK, PayPal provides fairly reasonable limits too, in the range of £ 10 - £ 20. While almost all the best UK online casinos don’t charge anything extra on PayPal transactions, PayPal may deduct a small percentage during money transfer to your bank/card account.
Other popular withdrawal and deposit options offered by UK online casinos include Bitcoin, Maestro, Skrill, Entropay, Pay by Phone, Click2Pay and PaySafeCard.
A good selection of games
What good would be an online casino if it doesn’t provide you with the games you love to play?! Majority of the UK online casinos host thousands of different games on their platforms, and a good majority of them are to do with slots. Apart from that players are also offered table games, casino card games, bingo etc. Some of the games you must definitely seek out include:
Online slots – By far the most popular of all the online casino games, online slots are offered in great numbers by every UK online casino. You can play anything and everything ranging from the conventional 3-reel slots to the new-age 3-D kinds! Such slot games normally run into hundreds and appeal to even the most selective slots fan! Of all the slot games, it’s the progressive jackpots that pay the max and are most popular. A major reason behind the popularity of online slots is that they can be played by almost anyone, without the need of any skill.
Blackjack – Also referred to as 21, blackjack is another big favourite of UK online casino players. As in the case of the off-line blackjack, you can sit opposite the dealer in online version too, and play any number of blackjack hands!
Roulette – As against the popular perception, online roulette is even more exciting than the brick-and-mortar version. It’s pretty easy to understand and master as well. What more, you can intensify the gameplay by playing at multiple tables simultaneously!
Video poker – A good online video poker game allows you to experience every exciting element of poker from within the comfort of your home. You’re free to play at varying speeds and even with your friends/family in separate rooms!
Craps – Counted amongst the most traditional casino games, this one has gained huge popularity in the online casino environment too!
An ideal UK Internet casino would also offer all basic casino games that have always been the staple of UK players, for instance, scratch cards, keno, bingo, fruit machines, arcade games and virtual sports games.
A good range of progressive jackpot slots
These are online slot games that can transform you into a multimillionaire in an instant! Although they may seem intimidating up front, once you start playing progressive jackpot slots you’d fall in love with them!
Progressive Jackpot slots – what are they?
These are basically networked slot games operated by the same developer. The reason they’re referred to by this name is because their jackpot amount increases progressively until someone gets lucky! To give you an example, Microgaming offers a good range of progressive jackpot slots (including the highly popular Mega Moolah) which have already created millionaires out of regulars! As Microgaming offers its slot games to a large number of UK online casinos, you can win such jackpots at any casino which hosts the Microgaming titles.
Hence if you play online casino games like progressive jackpots, you’re always in with a chance to win huge sums of money!
How is the prize money funded?
Every time a player bets money on these progressive jackpot slot games, he/she contributes a percentage of that bet to a centrally-maintained jackpot. The jackpot amount can be won in several different ways, including by landing the right symbol combinations or through different bonus features.
Microgaming, NetEnt, Play n Go and PlayTech are the top four developers that supply progressive jackpot slots to online casinos. Few of the popular progressive slots you may have already heard of include Mega Moolah (by Microgaming), Mega Fortune (by NetEnt) and Beach Life (by PlayTech).
Live casino gaming
Another important factor that can make an online casino stand out from the crowd is live casino games. Although a new phenomenon in the UK’s internet casino industry, live casinos have gained huge popularity owing to their ability to offer a really immersive online gaming experience to the players. You can see, talk with and hear not just the croupier but the other players sitting next to you as well!
How it works?
A live casino gaming environment is a replication of real money casino, the only difference being that you access a land-based casino through a web camera. The games are played in real time and a live feed (from a real casino) is streamed directly to your device. It’s as good as sitting in that casino and playing in real time. But there’s one big differentiator – the way cards get shuffled and dealt to the players. While it’s a real dealer who shuffles and hands out the cards in a land-based casino, in live casino gaming, this job is done through a RNG (Random Number Generator).
Game titles from the best developers
Any UK online casino you decide to play with should offer a wide range of games supplied by the topmost developers in the business. To name a few, you must definitely look out for Microgaming casinos, Realtime Gaming casinos, NetEnt casinos (or Net Entertainment casinos), Play n Go casinos and PlayTech casinos.
Although online casino companies do their bit to improve the players’ gaming experience, the real magic is created by these software developers. Please keep in mind that there’s a lot more that goes into the making of the best online casino games than just smooth animations, beautiful graphics and a slick interface! And these developers are top-notch in all the pertinent departments.
So you may have already gauged by now that selection of the best online casino involves much more than simply going by the recommendation of your friend or family!
You should never open an account with just about any casino online, without paying any heed to its credibility. Anyone serious about casino gaming over the long term wouldn’t do that! The least you should do is shortlist all the casino sites you have in mind and then carry out an online casino comparison.
Hence follow the advice provided above and select the best UK online casino that meets all your needs, and helps you maximize your gaming profits over the long run.