How We Choose the Best Gambling Sites
Gambling sites are complex beasts, and there’s a lot to think about when it comes to reviewing and ranking them against each other. We take a comprehensive look at every factor that can influence your experience, including licencing, security, game libraries, sportsbook depth, mobile functionality, and more. Read on for the finer points of this process and get a better understanding of how we can confidently point you in the direction of the best online gambling sites.
Licence, Safety and Reputation
Player safety is our top concern, and for that reason, you’ll never find an online casino or gambling website listed on TopRatedCasinos that isn’t fully-licensed by the UK Gambling Commission (UKGC) in May 2021. The UKGC is the UK gambling industry’s regulatory body, overseeing the development and rollout of legislation that seeks to protect consumers. In other words, a gambling site that’s licensed by the UKGC meets the standards set by the body. Not only that but licensed operators must continually update their offering in order to remain compliant with evolving regulations.
From a player’s perspective, the licensing guarantees are as follows:
- Every game offered by a site is fair and subject to regular audits that ensure this is the case.
- All customer transactions must be protected by SSL encryption technology, scrambling your details in such a way that hackers will be unable to read them.
- Operators must behave in an ethical and compliant manner, upholding measures put in place by the UKGC to protect players. This includes updating their processes in particular ways when prompted to by the regulator. A recent example of this is in making opting-in to self-exclusion service GAMSTOP mandatory for all UK gambling operators.
- Terms and conditions, and other vital bits of information, must be clearly detailed on-site, with any and all important details being readily available and straightforward to understand.
Deposit and Withdrawal Options
You can deposit and withdraw using a debit card at every top online gambling site, but what if you want to use an alternative banking method? If you prefer to use an e-wallet like PayPal, Neteller or Skrill, or if you want to deposit with Paysafecard, ecoPayz, or a phone bill payment method, make sure your preferred option is accepted before signing up.
As well as checking out the accepted banking methods, make sure you also read up on minimum and maximum limits to ensure they are suitable for your budget. Don’t forget about withdrawal times, either — these vary at different online gambling sites, with some of the best sites offering fast payouts for certain banking methods.
Be sure to also check the terms and conditions of any bonus offers you’re hoping to claim, as some UK gambling websites exclude certain payment methods from eligibility. If your chosen payment method isn’t accepted for the bonus in question, switch to an alternative or you could miss out! Read on for a breakdown of how each payment option works at online gambling sites in May 2021, and get a flavour for which might be best for you.
Debit cards are almost universally accepted at top gambling sites, and you’re more likely to be ready to go with this option than the others in this list. That being said, there are a couple of drawbacks to using debit cards at gambling sites when compared to the other payment methods on offer. Debit cards can be a little slow when it comes to withdrawal wait times, with 3-5 working days typically being added on top of the gambling site’s internal processing time before you can get your hands on your cash. You also need to input your card information directly into a website in order to make deposits and withdrawals, and there are other options available that require a smaller exchange of personal information.
Our personal recommendation at TopRatedCasinos is to go for an e-wallet solution such as PayPal, Skrill, or Neteller. The only issue you might encounter when using one at a gambling site is that some operators exclude e-wallets from bonus eligibility, but thankfully this isn’t overly common and such restrictions will be clearly stated within the bonus’s terms and conditions. When it comes to benefits, there are plenty offered by e-wallets. For one, you can generally expect faster withdrawals with an e-wallet than any other payment method, with some sites offering withdrawal turnaround times of just 24 hours for e-wallet users. You only need to enter your e-wallet’s email address in order to set up payments, keeping your banking information hidden from the operator, and the service’s own security layers will ensure you’re protected against fraud, rogue transactions, and hacking. E-wallets are also a great way to manage your spending, enabling you to only spend what you top up your account with, if that’s your preference.
Prepaid cards, such as Paysafecard, are a great way to manage your spending whilst keeping your cash secure. Simply select a card value, purchase your prepaid card from an outlet, and then use the card on a gambling site’s cashier page as you would use a regular debit card. If you’re using Paysafecard, the corresponding app and online portal make it easy to check your balance, your transactions, and the PINs for cards registered to your account. While prepaid cards are a secure and straightforward way to manage your online spending, they’re unfortunately ineligible for withdrawals and you’ll need to either provide your account information or an alternative payment method in order to cash out from a gambling site.
Bank transfers are perhaps the simplest way to make deposits and withdrawals — simply enter your bank account name, sort code, and account number, complete the corresponding transaction authentication, and you’re away. You can typically make instant deposits through wire transfers, but they’re commonly the slowest payment method for withdrawals. Processing times can extend to 7 days in some cases, along with your gambling site’s internal payment verification. In short, if fast withdrawals are important to you, opt for an alternative cashier option. If you make bank transfers through Trustly, however, you may be able to accelerate your withdrawal time.
Pay by Mobile
Through services such as Boku, you can link your deposits with your monthly phone bill. Simply enter the amount you would like to deposit along with your mobile number, follow the instructions with your confirmation SMS, and your deposit will be included in your next payment. This is a great way to keep your banking details private from your operator, while the low maximum deposit limit means it’s easy to manage your spending. As with prepaid cards, you can’t make withdrawals using pay by mobile, so be ready to use an alternative method when you come to draw out your winnings.
Bonus Terms and Conditions
Bonuses are one of the most prominent factors you’ll notice whilst browsing through gambling sites at TopRatedCasinos, and they can be just as complex as they are enticing. There are plenty of bonus and promo varieties out there, and they each will typically come tied to terms and conditions limiting their use, the total you can win with them, and how challenging it will be to make withdrawals against them. It’s worth bearing these factors in mind as you select a new casino, along with which bonus is best suited to the type of player you are. We pay close attention to the quality and value offered by individual gambling site bonuses—along with how their terms and conditions impact usability—as we review and rank the industry’s best, but the best casino bonus is always a subjective call.
Take a look at our bonuses section below for a detailed breakdown of each major bonus type, as well as the wagering requirements and restrictions you’re likely to come across.
UK gambling sites are a diverse bunch, and some have more to offer than others in a very literal sense. Slots, sports, poker, bingo, e-sports, lottery, scratchcards, live casino, and more can be found across the online gambling landscape, and the more of these a site offers, the better. As we assess a site’s product offering, we look at how comprehensive their games libraries are and the quality offered across each vertical. Some sites specialise in a particular vertical, such as new slot sites, with a smattering of other options to choose from — provided their specialism is delivered in a top-notch way, we’re also keen to promote sites that take a focused approach.