Everything You Need To Know About Online Casino Sites
Since the launch of the first online casino 23 years ago, online gaming has thrived becoming a booming billion £ business. The number of online casino sites is estimated to be 700+ all of them offering an array of games for desktop and mobile from online slots, roulette and blackjack to the more exotic such as craps and sic bo. Choice in life is good, but this ever-growing, number of online casinos can be overwhelming for new users. How exactly do you separate the wheat from the chaff? Is there any difference between these sites? Or might you just as well pick one blind?
At Top5casinosites we know that there is a difference and not every casino site is equal. Pick a poor site and in a best case scenario you may end up with slow lagging software, playing games with dated graphics. In a worst case scenario they may run off with your money and just not let you withdraw your winnings. Picking blind is not an option.
Every site listed on Top5casinosites is licensed by the UK Gambling Commission. Choose a site listed here and you won’t have to worry about them running off with yoyr cash. But before you plunge in, we recommend taking the time to look over the rankings of our recommended top online casinos, read the reviews of our favourites, and use our comparison tool to find the exact features you need to choose a top casino site.
LAND-BASED CASINOS VS. ONLINE CASINOS
Although going to your local land casino in London, Manchester, Leeds or Liverpool may not be Vegas, there’s still some kind of stimulation by the dark lighting, lack of windows buzz (and groans) of people winning. Back in 1997 many people said it was the kind of real life experience that couldn’t be replicated. Whilst its true that the social aspect and stimulation can’t be replicated from playing in your own home, the advantages of playing online have superseeded the disadvantages.
At a land-based casino you may need to wait your turn to play a table game while other players place their bets or remove their winnings from previous hands. You may get distracted by other players etc. With online casinos the whole experience is so much smoother. Simply choose the game you want to play and jump straight into the action. Most games for desktop and mobile are played at your pace so there’s no waiting for someone else to bet, nor having someone else rush you to make your move.
In a land-based casino you may find it hard to locate your specific table game, or the minimum bet might be too high. At the best online casino sites you’ll find hundreds of game variations at all stake levels, making it much easier to find exactly the one you want to play.
LIVE CASINO – THE BEST OF BOTH WORLDS?
If want to avoid the distractions of a land-based casino but also don’t feel like playing blackjack online like a computer game, then you might find the live blackjack and live roulette tables offered by almost all top casino sites the perfect balance.
With live casinos you’ll feel more part of the action. They do away with the slick computer graphics and replace them with live videos feed of a real dealer dealing you cards, or spinning a real roulette wheel. The whole experience and thrill is much more akin to that you’d feel at a real land-based casino, truly giving you the best of both worlds. All or our recommended casinos offer live casinos by one the best live dealer casinos – Evolution, Playtech and Microgaming
CASINO GAMES OFFERED BY GAMBLING SITES
Probably the biggest advantage of playing at an online casino is the virtually unlimited space they have to offer every kind of game, at every possible stake. The best online casino sites have a huge selection of slot games for mobile and desktop, some similar to those you have seen in real casinos, whilst others take full advantage of the technology at hand and provide a smooth, enjoyable experience while utilizing advanced graphics, features and sound effects. Some of our top sites like LeoVegas, Casumo, Dunder and Videoslots offer in excess of 600+ different games.
In addition to a complete range of online slots offering video, 3 reel and linked/progressive slots, you can of course play familiar favourites like blackjack, baccarat, craps, roulette, keno and video poker games. In selecting and reviewing the best casino sites we breakdown the games offering of each casino. Is it a slots specialist? Does it focus more on table games? Can you find more exotic table games like Sic Bo or soft/arcade games? We also look into the software provider powering the casino so you know whether you’re playing at a casino mainly powered by Playtech, Microgaming, Netent with all their accompanying pros and cons.
HOW TO PLAY AT AN INTERNET CASINO
At most online gaming sites nowadays you play directly from your browser on what is known as an instant play casino. There’s now no need to download and run any software although certain casinos still offer both options. As well as playing from your PC or Mac no self-respecting casino comes without either a mobile friendly site (also known as a responsive website) or native apps for iOS or Android phones and tablets. So, whereever you are you’ll never be stuck for a way to play, wherever you happen to be!
CASINO BONUSES – STARTING OFF RIGHT
The intense competition that exists between the hundreds of online casinos has led to the rise of the casino bonus as an easy way to attract new players. The best casino bonuses can be worth hundreds of pounds, so they’re a great way to boost your bankroll. It’s important though to read all of the terms and conditions associated with your welcome bonus. All our reviewed casinos require you to make a deposit with your own money before you get access to your bonus, and you will also need to meet a wagering requirement before you’ll be able to withdraw any winnings.
Wagering refer to an amount you have to stake (usually a multiple of your bonus amount) before your bonus is unlocked. As you’d expect, the lower the wagering limit, the better. In addition, each game normally has different wagering requirements. Technically known as weighting contributions, slots bets typically receive 100% credit, while wagers on other games will range from 0% to 50%. The best deals give more credit to a wide selection of games as well as a long period in which to meet the wagering limit.
If a promo scores well in the above departments, it gets our seal of approval which we highlight in our individual reviews. Of course, it’s important to remember that online casino bonuses don’t simply involve cash. Bonus spins allow you to play slots for free. Anything you win from a spins promo will be converted into bonus cash and subject to the wagering conditions outlined above. Even though your max bet will be limited during the bonus spins (usually around £0.10), they are another great way to boost your bankroll.
SUPPORT AND BANKING – GETTING YOUR CASH
If you don’t have secure payment options, your wins will count for nothing. In order for you to have an entertaining and profitable time online, a casino needs to have solid support and payment solutions. During our UK online casino reviews, we expect the top platforms to offer 24/7 support with at least one immediate response method (phone, live chat) offered. A presence on social media especially Twitter and gaming forums is also a sign of a proactive operator that’s willing to help.
Assuming a sufficient support system is in place, the top-rated casino sites will offer secure payment options from recognised payment processors. As a UK casino player, you should expect to see credit/debit card, eWallet and pre-paid card options, including: Paypal, Visa, MasterCard, Maestro, Skrill, Neteller, Entropay, Ukash, Paysafecard and Pay by Mobile services such as Boku and Payforit.
IS ONLINE GAMBLING LEGAL IN THE UK?
In the UK, online casinos are 100% legal. In fact, the UK is technically known as a “white” market as opposed to a “black” (illegal) or “grey” (unclear). The reason online casino, poker, sports betting and bingo are now fully legal in the UK is because of a policy change in late 2014. In a bid to regulate all forms of online betting, the government amended the 2005 Gambling Act to include internet-based operations.
As part of the new system, any operator wanting to serve UK players must have a valid license from the UK Gambling Commission (UKGC). In order to obtain a licence, companies must pay certain levies to the government, meet certain operating standards and ensure player protection is a top priority. For example, all UKGC licensed casinos will have SSL secured software, have independently tested games certified as fair and use segregated accounts to store and protect player funds.
Essentially, an online casino has to prove it’s safe, fair and working to offer entertainment and protection in equal measure. We only endorse UKGC licensed online casinos. We do this because it guarantees a high quality online betting experience. Indeed, the UKGC’s regulations are the most stringent in the world and that means any licensed casino operator has invested time and money into its product to ensure a solid level of service.
NEXT STEPS: HOW TO GET MORE AT TOP5CASINOSITES.CO.UK
To get the most out of your time online, you need a little knowledge and guidance. This is where we come in. Using our years of iGaming experience, we’ve put together a comprehensive guide to the online casino industry, its nuances and, importantly, its leading players. By clicking through our site, you’ll not only find the best information, but secure links to the top online casinos.
- If you want an overview of the best casinos for specific games see our best roulette sites and blackjack sites pages.
- If you’re interested in banking methods, check out our guides to standard options such as debit cards or read more about our PayPal casinos and innovative pay by phone services such as Boku.
- If you want some real dealer action from the comfort of your home see our choice of the best live casinos.
- Finally, if you want to learn more about the UK’s top casino sites, see what our experts think using the “Reviews” section and then use our casino comparison tool to find the site that suits you best.
Whether you’re lacking knowledge in a particular area or you’re looking for a new place to play, you’ll find everything you need when you take a tour around Top 5 Casino Sites. If after trying your hand at an online casino you’d like to give online bingo or betting a try, then you’ll find a complete set of reviews across all these gaming verticals at Playright.co.uk