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Editorial Policy

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At TopRatedCasinos, our aim is to streamline your search for the ideal online casino, working independently of casino operators and software providers to deliver an outstanding resource for the online gambling market. We scour the gambling landscape to bring you regularly updated and accurate information, knowing that our users can make a balanced decision when they’re properly informed. 

Beyond our promotion of the best online casinos in the UK, you won’t find any advertisements on our site, and you can trust that we care about the integrity of our work. Gambling is a pastime to be enjoyed, and we’re committed to promoting its practice in a positive, responsible, and healthy light. 

TopRatedCasinos is committed to credible, trustworthy, and expert commentary on the best casinos around. Our independent team of experts has been trained by industry charity GamCare to ensure a full understanding of responsible gambling promotion, and we never seek to mislead our users in any way, shape, or form. As we’ll detail below, we take a deeply thorough and thoughtful approach to our reviews and guide content, and we keep the site up to date with all of the latest changes to the industry. 

We also believe in being transparent with our users, and that extends to how we make our money. While we have commercial relationships with the operators listed on TopRatedCasinos, and this may have an effect on the order in which sites appear in our rankings, these relationships have no impact whatsoever on our reviews process. The scores we assign to sites are also clearly visible on our lists, so you can always see how each casino matches up with the competition at a glance. 

For more information on how this works, and more details about the company, take a look here.

Before You Play, by TopRatedCasinos

Online gambling can be great fun, but it isn’t without its pitfalls. So before you wager your hard-earned cash, let Before You Play arm you with the essential knowledge you need to maximise your enjoyment.

Take a look at Before You Play

How We Review

There are multiple factors that can make a casino site worthy of your time. How these factors are prioritised is entirely down to the individual – where one favours opportunities for big jackpot wins, another is more interested in the best no deposit bonuses

When conducting our online casino reviews, we consider all of the pieces that make up the picture and rank each gambling site accordingly. Not only does this provide our users with an exhaustive account of any one casino, but it also allows them to quickly find what they’re looking for by consulting our segmented lists. 

Below we outline each area of our review process in detail.

Licensing, Regulation, and Security

You won’t find a single online casino on our site that doesn’t have an appropriate operating licence. Here’s what that means.

Valid Licence

Valid licences protect players from various online threats, and ensure a fair and safe gambling experience at casino sites. By gambling at a casino without a licence from regulators like the UK Gambling Commission (UKGC), players can be left vulnerable to hacks, frauds, and phishing attempts, and can unjustly miss out on winnings due to unregulated or rigged casino games. Licensing is the first port-of-call in our review process, and we stress that you should never place a bet at an unlicensed casino.

Independent Auditors

In order to attain a valid licence, casino sites are independently audited on a regular basis throughout the year. These audits fall into the jurisdiction of regulators such as eCOGRA, which itself assesses the financial records and functioning of games to ensure everything is as it should be.    

Data and Transaction Encryption

UKGC regulations demand that all transactions and customer data are private and encrypted. Nevertheless, our online casino reviews take a look at the tech deployed at each of our site recommendations to make sure customer data is managed securely.

Game Selection

Gambling is a form of entertainment. That’s why our reviews survey game selection, believing that the more variety in a casino’s games library, the better the experience. Here’s how we evaluate the elements that make casino games fair and fun. 

Available Games

Whether it’s table games like roulette, card games like blackjack, or the latest video slots, many online casinos have a specialism when it comes to their games. There’s nothing wrong with this, but our ranking system reflects well on those that offer a wide-range of casino games – not simply in terms of volume, but also in terms of game variations, such as a variety of different poker formats.

RTP

Return to player (RTP) is one of the main areas of interest in online casino audits. RTP is a figure that shows how much wagered money will be paid back to players on a particular game over time. It’s given as a percentage and is usually around 90% – this means that, theoretically, players could win £90 when they wager £100 at a game with 90% RTP. 

It’s important to remember, however, that RTP is calculated over hundreds of thousands of spins, if not millions, and so RTP is very unlikely to be reflected in an individual play session. Nevertheless, casino sites tend to pack out their slot titles with high RTP percentages to attract more players. 

Progressive Jackpots

A progressive jackpot is a jackpot that increases each time a game is played but not won. Progressive jackpots are a prominent feature of casino slots, and offer players the chance to land a big win. These jackpots can either accumulate within individual slots titles, or as part of a network of slots, the latter of which resulting in far bigger jackpots to be won while spreading (and thinning) the odds of winning across multiple games.

Free Games

It’s testament to the quality of a game if it can be enjoyed without the gambling element. Free-to-play versions also help equip those unfamiliar with the game – or the online gambling world in general – with knowledge of how it works before committing real money to wagers. Our reviews favour sites with a wide selection of free games and demos, as well as real money variants.

Downloadable Software

For big releases, some casinos and game developers enable players to download the software onto their desktop or mobile device to let them immerse themselves in the game. Downloading the software may also unlock a series of in-play bonuses or promotions, and open up players to more gameplay options. 

Innovative Options

We’re always on the lookout for the visionaries in the online gambling world. The development of new technology innovations like VR and AR lends itself well to online casinos games, and operators that look to introduce new ways of gaming to their customers are highly valued by our expert team of site reviewers. 

User Experience

The user experience (UX) isn’t necessarily a top priority for every player, but it makes up an integral part of our reviewing process – here’s what it means to us. 

Visuals and Site Design

First impressions go a long way. The aesthetics and general design of a site will generate an immediate reaction from an online gambler, and will have some level of influence over their decision to play at the site. That’s how we see it anyway, and we’re quick to highlight well-designed sites in our reviews. 

Usability and Functions

Has the layout of the site been well thought out, and does it offer players quick and easy access to all of its features? The sites that perform well here have simple filters available for players to navigate their extensive game libraries, as well as a range of on-site limiters and account management tools. 

Innovation

Online gambling is a crowded market. With so many casinos to choose from, our reviews look to praise those that offer unique and innovative features to their customers. We pay close attention to each site’s individual identity, and assess for ourselves how effective its characteristics are in a competitive field.

Bonuses, Promotions and Terms

At the top of most prospective gamblers’ wish lists are generous, regular, and realistic player bonuses and promotions. These considerations go beyond the attraction of initial welcome bonuses – though these are an important part of any casino site’s offering – as we also assess the added value a punter can gain from consistent bonus offers and the terms attached to them. 

Bonus Availability and Quality

The types of casino bonus on offer at each site will depend on the kinds of games that site offers. For example, if an online casino has an emphasis on slots, it’s likely that most of its bonus offers will focus on free spins. What’s important is that casino bonuses are an integral part of the site’s service, and that it regularly offers high quality bonuses to both new and existing players.  

Promotions and VIP Packages

The best online casinos offer a series of regular promotions on top of their bonus packages. These promotions may be tied to a specific date or event, and will be easily accessible for all casino members. The highest-ranking online casinos in this category will also have VIP schemes in place, offering players a chance to take their seat at the high table. These VIP schemes give punters opportunities to receive more personalised customer service, friendlier terms and conditions, and access to exclusive tournaments and games. 

Terms and Conditions

None of us like them, but terms and conditions are as much a part of online casinos as the bonuses they’re attached to. Our online casino reviews evaluate the nature of the T&Cs of each site, and whether or not they represent a fair chance for players to cash in on bonuses and promotions. Terms and conditions occupy a vital part of our reviewing process, which includes in-depth analysis of the following: wagering requirements, time limits, winning caps, game weightings, game exclusions, payment exclusions, and more. 

Mobile

The mobile revolution has changed the way we gamble – not just in terms of our gaming habits, but also in how we pay for our gameplay. Let’s break this down a little further.

Mobile-Optimisation

Mobile-optimised websites are now a minimum requirement for the top UK casino sites. An optimised website is one that adapts seamlessly to mobile devices, operates smoothly with touchscreen controls, and reshapes to smaller screens without sacrificing functionality. It’s also important for a site’s mobile capabilities to be unrestricted by the user’s browser choice, or whether they’re using Android or iOS operating systems.

Mobile App Availability

As well as mobile-optimisation, the best online casinos will also have their own dedicated apps available to download. This is a highly valued category in our reviewing process, and we almost always recommend downloading these apps if they’re available. Native apps not only offer great functionality and sleek user interfaces, but easy access to push notifications also offers players the best chance at capitalising on a site’s various bonuses and promotional offers.

Live Casino

A growing trend for online gamblers is to play at live casinos – a casino offering that uses video streaming technology to place punters in a real casino environment from the comfort of their own home. This trend’s growth has been accelerated by the COVID-19 pandemic, with players craving an authentic casino experience in the absence of visits to brick-and-mortar casinos. Here’s a breakdown of what we look for to identify the best live casinos. 

Live Casino Availability

Live dealer casino games play out in real-time – a real croupier takes and places bets, while dealing and conversing with players at the virtual table. Their availability offers players a slower change of pace to the oftentimes frantic world of typical online casino games, along with a more personalised casino experience. Casino sites that have both online and live gaming options available offer an interesting mix to their customers, and it’s great to have the option to switch between the two flavours.

Game Selection

Table games such as roulette, poker, and blackjack lend themselves particularly well to live casino games, and the top software providers in this space include Evolution Gaming, Playtech, and NetEnt. However, there’s no shortage of games at live casinos, and some developers have also taken classic board game and TV-based game shows and adapted them for live casinos. 

Stream Quality

Live casinos live and die by the quality of their streams. HD streams are par for the course at live casinos, and the best of these tend to include multi-camera studios designed to create a fully immersive experience.

Payments and Payment Processing

High on most online gamblers’ priorities is the range and speed of payment methods available at gambling sites, and this section makes up another seminal part of our online casino reviews. This can be broken down into the following two areas. 

Available Banking Options

The top UK casinos will have a long payment method menu for their customers – including debit cards, e-wallets, pay by mobile services, prepaid cards, and even cryptocurrencies. Depth in this area benefits the user, as it allows them flexibility not only in how they make their deposits, but also in terms of deposit and withdrawal limits. When we review the banking options of an online casino, we also consider how prevalent payment exclusions are in the terms and conditions of their casino bonuses.

Processing Speeds and Fast Withdrawals

Having a range of banking options also allows for fast withdrawals – the time it takes from the moment a withdrawal request is made to the cash arriving in the specified account. The older payment technologies, such as debit cards, are slow in this area, as the combined processing times of both banks and casino operators can take up to and beyond five working days. Other methods, like e-wallets, often cut this time down to within 24 hours, and the best fast withdrawal casinos can offer their customers instant payouts. Some casino sites prioritise fast withdrawals as a key selling point, allocating larger resources to making it happen and pleasing their customers in the process – such sites are heavily favoured in this part of our reviews. 

Software Providers

Online casinos will host a variety of games from a variety of software providers. Let’s take a look at who these developers are and what they bring to the table.

Top Developers

As well as the developers we mentioned in the live casino section, other major developer names include, but are not limited to: Microgaming, Pragmatic Play, and Play’n GO. These developers have been creating gaming software for decades, engendering the rise not only of online casino software but of mobile casino software, too. Casino sites’ game libraries can be built out by partnerships with these software providers, developing the next iteration of much-loved casino games as a response to the successes of existing games on the top sites. 

Options Depth

Players may find they develop an affinity with a particular game developer, but having a games collection that represents a broad range of developers widens a casino’s appeal. These casinos offer players plenty of choice in terms of style, design, and gameplay features, and are often given a tick from us in our online casino reviews.

Customer Support

A bit of tension is part of the gambling experience. In these moments, players want the security and comfort of knowing they can rely on outstanding customer support to address any problems or queries they might have. These are the areas of customer support we assess.

Availability

Customer support availability involves both ease of access – including active responses 24 hours a day – and reply speed. If either of these two areas are inadequate, the other is impacted greatly. When time is of the essence, casino sites need to be on-hand to assist their customers in any way they can.

Channels

The best casino sites offer a host of different methods of delivery for customer support, and each medium’s availability is of great benefit to users. These channels include phone support, email, on-site chat features, and active social media accounts. 

Reputation

Last but not least, we consider the reputation of an online casino before we decide to list it on our site. Everyone’s a critic these days, and we pay attention to what’s being said – here’s how. 

User Reviews

To garner a general feeling for user sentiment towards a particular site, we’ll head to the user reviews to see how a casino stands up to the toughest critics around. Our site is an impartial resource for the gambling community, so we take these reviews seriously to help reflect a casino’s qualities. If there are consistencies in user issues, then this is good evidence to suggest that there’s a probable inadequacy in the site. However, we also understand that online reviews aren’t always a reliable source, requiring us to occasionally take these reviews with a pinch of salt. 

Online Gambling Communities

There’s a wide network of forums and platforms that make up the online gambling community, and we use these when trying to build a picture of a casino’s reputation in our reviews. Through a combination of user reviews and slightly more formal chat forums, we can develop a decent understanding of the community’s general feeling towards a casino site.

Summary

Through a consideration of all of the above sections, we can confidently arrive at a trustworthy account of an online casino. These are the areas that we know make the best casino sites just that – the best. We know this because we’re gamblers ourselves, committed to providing transparent, accurate, user-focused guides that promote the practice of responsible gambling in our users. If you think that our online casino reviews tick all the boxes, then we invite you to use and enjoy our site with confidence, and consult our recommendations for the top UK casinos around in ‘April.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • Every licensed online gambling site is listed in the UKGC’s public register –– if you’re even in any doubt, this is the best place to check. Every site listed on TopRatedCasinos is licensed, and we regularly vet our lists to ensure this is the case.

  • Licensed casinos are required to provide fair games, and independent auditing bodies, such as eCOGRA, ensure that there are no rigged games at licensed sites.

  • While the best method will vary between sites, and details of this can be found in the online casino’s terms and conditions, PayPal is typically the fastest option for withdrawals. Other e-wallets, such as Skrill and Neteller, may also be eligible for withdrawals inside 24 hours at the top fast withdrawal casinos.

  • There are no guarantees in gambling, and unfortunately there are no tactics to make it easier to win. It is, however, wise to get clued up on the best strategies for money management. Check out our guides to blackjack and roulette strategies –– when used correctly, your bankroll can go even further whilst playing these casino favourites.

  • Blackjack offers the lowest house edge of any casino game. Provided you’re playing single-deck blackjack, the house edge is as low as 0.5%.

  • TopRatedCasinos is updated every day, whether that’s to enhance our content with fresh detail or to uncover a fresh part of the online gambling scene. Our writing on each topic is regularly reviewed to ensure it’s accurate, current, and easy to digest, and our rankings regularly shift to reflect changes in the top online casinos’ offerings.

  • Absolutely. While the terms and conditions will be a major barrier to this, along with needing the luck to claim some wins, it is certainly possible to net some real money winnings from your bonus cash. Always check the terms and conditions, particularly those pertaining to wagering requirements, before settling on a bonus –– that way, you can ensure you know what to expect from the bonus itself, and can make a selection that fits your playing style and habits.

  • Wagering requirements can be a bit tricky to understand for newcomers to the online casino space, so we’ve delivered a comprehensive guide to teach you everything you need to know. Check out our full Before You Play guide, too –– whether you’re fresh to gambling or simply need a refresher, these guides will fit the bill.

  • If you’re concerned about your gambling habits, or those of someone you know, there is plenty of advice, support, guidance, and even treatment available.

    NHS – problem gambling and gambling addiction are known medical issues, and your GP will be able to provide the advice –– and potentially the treatment –– you need.

    GamCare – this fantastic charity offers a range of helplines and support information for people struggling with gambling issues. You can also take its self-assessment test and get an idea of how controlled your gambling habits are.

    GAMSTOP – this self-exclusion service will put the stoppers on your online gambling activity for either six months, a year, or five years; the choice is yours. Once you’re signed up and the self-exclusion has been activated, you’ll be stopped by the ID checks at every licensed site in the UK. Don’t be tempted to try your luck with an unlicensed site to get around this –– you will likely encounter rigged games, your data won’t be secure, and you won’t have any legal backing if things go wrong.

  • The million dollar question! Ultimately, the best online casino is dependent on what you’re looking for, which is why we’ve produced a huge number of pages and guides focused on different key qualities that users look for in their online casinos. Whether you’re after low wagering requirements, PayPal casinos, the best slots sites, or something else, we’ve got you covered at TopRatedCasinos. Compare the best casinos around, find your best fit, and sign up to get started.

Contributors

Marcus is an Editor at TopRatedCasinos.co.uk and is currently based in London, UK. Along with managing content across the site, he’s an expert in all things related to online casinos, with a particular personal interest in poker and blackjack.

Guy is a writer for TopRatedCasinos with a keen interest and expertise in the online gambling space. He’s also an avid fan of football and cricket, often found lamenting the fortunes of his beloved Tottenham Hotspur.

Daniel Bennett

As Editor-in-Chief, Daniel offers his expertise in all things gambling, contributing to a number of topics on TopRatedCasinos.co.uk, including our casino reviews and strategy guides. Daniel is also an avid sports fan, with a strong interest in NBA and Premier League betting.

Ben is a staff writer whose expertise extends to all areas of gambling, allowing him to contribute to a range of topics at TopRatedCasinos.co.uk – from individual casino reviews to strategy guides. Ben is also a huge sports fan with experience writing about football for a number of different publications.

Media Mentions

References

  1. UKGC
  2. BeGambleAware