Comparing the Two Best Online Casino Sites in the UK
In addition to the online sportsbooks provided by the UK’s leading bookmakers, you’ll often find other exciting online products in the form of casino style games, live dealer and regular poker games, and occasionally some special platforms dedicated to bingo simulators. Some of the bigger operators we’ve listed in our reviews are dedicated to making sure their online gaming products are up to the same high standards as the sportsbook, and sometimes even better. If you’re thinking that you’d like to start experimenting with some of the alternate online gambling products, you should first have a look and see if your favoured bookmakers also have seperate online gaming platforms. This way, you’ll be able to use your existing account to access the whole range of online games, as well as the sports betting service.
|Games Options||170+ casino games with 33 jackpots||600+ games, 79 jackpots|
|Overall Payout Rate||96.60%||96.11%|
|Casino Bonus||100% match up to £100 & £88 free play bonus||100% match up to £500|
|To the Casino!||Test and claim the £88 no-deposit bonus!||Test and claim the £500 deposit-match bonus!|
In the table above, we’ve provided some important information for what we think are the two best online casino sites of all the betting operators we’ve listed in our reviews. This isn’t to say that the other bookies don’t also have good casino products: Betway’s poker platform guarantees monthly pay-outs of over £3million across all their different tournaments, and William Hill have a selection of over 700 different games, as well as a generous welcome bonus worth up to £150. However, when it comes to offering a top quality online casino experience across the board, the countless number of awards that 888 have won over the past decade suggest that they’re probably still the industry leader, with Ladbrokes not too far behind as a strong competitor. To find out exactly which qualities and attributes to look for in an online casino, keep scrolling down below and read through our different judging criteria.
What Makes a Good Online Casino?
In the following sections, we’ll go over what we think are the some of the most important features to look for when assessing the quality of an online casino. The following review will serve as a perfect introduction for punters who are just starting to learn the ropes, and who are trying to get a feel for all that’s on offer in the world of online casinos.
A Large and Varied Game Selection
Undoubtedly one of the most important things to look out for when thinking about signing up to an online casino is the selection of games on offer. Players should not be blinded by the sheer number of games, but instead be concerned with the variety of options across the different games categories. As to ensure that you have a healthy selection of overall options, the total number of games on offer should ideally be well distributed across the slot machines, roulette, blackjack, casino poker, live poker, scratch cards and arcade style games categories.
The table shown above is a good example of how the total number of games on offer should look at a given online casino. With a grand total of 511 games on offer – a vast selection that would keep most players entertained – we can see that Ladbrokes are a fair few steps ahead of 888. Despite the fact that the majority of these games are heavily weighted in the slots department, players can still choose from more than 10 different gaming options in each of the other categories. With 888, the selection of games isn’t quite as vast as Ladbrokes, however players still have a more than satisfactory degree of choice across the board. Adding to this, 888 utilise the services of their own in-house Dragonfish software company. This means that many of the games on offer here are unique to 888, and have been specially developed to cater to the likes and dislikes of 888 customers.
Lucrative Bonuses with Simple Conditions
Much the same as with online sportsbooks, online casinos often come with a number of value for money bonus offers for newly registered and regular playing customers. Unlike sportsbook bonuses however, there’s often a considerable amount of money up for grabs, (often in the region of £100-£200) and the bonus is normally triggered by the first deposit, rather than the first wager or action.
The one main difference between sports betting bonuses and bonuses for online casinos, is that online casinos will normally have far more demanding, more complex wagering conditions attached. In almost every case, you’ll be required to play through your initial deposit, and the bonus reward several times before you become eligible to make any withdrawals. It’s also important to know that with casino sites, not all games contribute the same amount to the wagering requirements. Normally, when you play on slots, any bet that you make will count 100% towards the wagering requirements. However, with games such as Black Jack and live poker, only a percentage of your wager amount will count towards the overall wagering requirements.
- 100% bonus up to £100
- £88 free play bonus
- no bonus code required
An example of a good value for money welcome offer with reasonable conditions can be found in the 888 sign-up bonus. New players can earn a 100% first deposit match worth up to £100, as well an additional £88 free play bonus that doesn’t require an initial deposit. Before withdrawals are permitted, punters must wager thirty times the bonus amount within in a 90day period. Adding to this, the wagering contribution of games are some of the most reasonable we’ve seen so far: slots count for 100%, roulette for 20%, and Black Jack and video poker both count for 10%.
Several High Quality Live Dealer Games
As we’re sure most of our readers would agree, the most exciting, most thrilling online casino experiences out there are those that can best replicate the feeling of playing inside a real casino. It therefore comes as no surprise that interactive, live casino games have gathered such a widespread appeal for a great number of players around the world. In live casino games, users are able to play on real tables, in front of a real dealer, and play against real players rather than against a computer. With all the action being captured in real time via high-speed, live video stream, live casinos games really are the closest you can get to a proper casino experience.
As seen in the image above, there are of course some advantages and disadvantages of choosing to play live dealer games over regular online games. As previously mentioned, one of the major attractions of live dealer games is the enhanced atmosphere. With regular online games, you’re essentially playing against an automated computer program, which means that the level of interaction is kept to a minimum. However, with live casino games, the atmosphere is greatly enhanced as the authentic casino experience of playing alongside other players is recreated right from inside your home.
One of the major downsides of the live casino games however is the limited number of gaming options. This is of course dependent on the individual casino as some will support all the common favourites such as Roulette, Black Jack and Poker as well as a few other options. For the most part however, the total number of games available will be significantly lower when compared to those on offer with regular dealer games. Adding to this, regular dealer games are always available around the clock, whereas some operators don’t provide 24-hour access to live dealer tables.
User-Friendly Mobile Apps with Numerous Games
Much the same as with sports betting, the significant increase in demand for gambling on the go has led to pretty much every notable betting operator developing high performance mobile apps for online casinos. Although we won’t go into a huge amount of detail here with regard to the specific functioning on the individual mobile apps, there are a few things we think you should look out for when in search of the best casino apps.
|App Download||Web Application||Games||Live Games||Payment Methods|
|888casino||iOS (version 6 or above) & Android (2.3 and above)||all devices||over 60||bank cards
|ladbrokes||iOS (version 6 or above) & Android (version 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich and above)||all devices||over 60||bank cards
- over 60 games for mobile
- live games included
- jackpot games included
Probably the most important things to consider when choosing a mobile app at this stage is the selection of games available, the ease of use, and the range of supported payment options. As seen in the table above, our top two recommended casinos both support full native apps for Apple devices, and web applications for Android. Both have over 60 different casino games, they support payments made via credit and debit cards, e-Wallets and pre-paid cards, and they also both have a good selection of live dealer games.
High Level Security and Full Licensing
Valid gaming licensing, and rigorous, thorough testing procedures are equally as important to online casino sites as they are to online sportsbooks. Before signing up to join an online casino, always look out for the following certificates: the UK Gambling Commission logo that ensures the company is fully licensed and regulated and adheres to all the strict standards regarding player protection, the logo of a reputable testing agency such as e-COGRA or GLI as to ensure that all the games are fair and meet all the relevant criteria regarding proper and timely pay outs; and the certificate of an equally reputable security company such as Thwate or Norton which guarantees the safety of your sensitive personal information.
Consistently Good Payout Rates
The payout rate of a casino game is somewhat comparable to the odds price of a particular betting market. The RTP (return to player) percentage essentially tells you the chances of winning a particular casino game; the higher the percentage, the more chance there is of you seeing a return. These percentages have been calculated over a long period of time, and across a wide selection of different games options. The end number is an overall average return to the player for a specific game. You’ll normally find that the RTP is between 90% – 100%, with the house advantage (the casino’s profit margin) normally coming in at around 0% – 10%.
|888casino||96.60%||93.30 – 96.30%||94.70 – 97.30%||99.40 – 99.60%||96.40 – 99.30%||90.50 – 97.15%|
|ladbrokes||96.11%||92.33 – 97.71%||94.60 – 98.65%||98.38 – 99.87%||95.44 – 99.95%||90.05 – 97.50%|
Casinos are normally pretty clear about the individual RTP rates, and will often display the percentages for the different games somewhere in the game rules section on the website. Some operators aren’t so transparent, and instead only provide pay out reports from the specific testing agencies, and only outline the average amount returned to players across the different games categories. Even though the way in which casinos choose to display their RTP rates can differ at times, what’s most important is that players have access to these figures in some format as to ensure that the games are not in any way biased, and that there’s always a decent chance of a return profit.
Similar Judging Criteria for Sportsbooks and Online Casinos
As previously mentioned, there are some aspects of an online casino and a betting site that can be judged using the same criteria. Of course aspects such as the quality of the mobile application, the selection of games and the odds levels are dissimilar; however, features such as proper licensing and security, the quality of the customer support service, and the range of payment methods are all largely the same.
Conclusion: Which Casino Has More to Offer?
Even though we haven’t gone into a great amount of detail regarding each individual aspect of an online casino, this review page has hopefully given you a good overview of the features we think are the most important, and how you can determine the quality of these different features. With this in mind, we can say with some confidence that 888 and Ladbrokes both offer a top quality online gambling experience, and come highly reccomended as our top 2 online casino sites. Ladbrokes do have the slight advantage in a couple of key areas; the overall selection of casino games is a lot wider, and the RTP percentages are higher in some of the games categories. However, when it comes to the sign-up offer for new customers, the full range of different promotions and bonus offers, and the quality of the games available, you could argue that 888 have the upperhand. Either way, a safe and secure gambling experience is guaranteed at both casinos, and they both have a great range of gaming products to offer both well experienced and newly beginning gamblers – if you already have an active sports betting account with 888sport or Ladbrokes and you’re thinking about converting over to the world of online casinos, we strongly advise that you use the same account to access the different online gaming products get the complete online gambling experience.