Online gambling has quickly become one of the most established internet pastimes ever. Industry experts credit the use of the freemium model, coupled with widespread internet and smartphone adoption, for this occurrence. Though this industry got birthed in 1996, it began to gain mainstream acceptance in the last decade, once iOS and Android phones, devices that could play modern casino games became the norm. Today, this sector is growing at an annual rate of 11%, with hundreds of new gambling sites showing up on the World Wide Web each month. The offer of such platforms is overwhelming. Thus, it is not simple for those with little experience in interactive gaming to evaluate at first sight which are credible online casinos and what are shady ones. To make things easy, the criteria below are an excellent barometer for gauging the quality of potential betting homes for all parties interested in testing their luck online. They can get applied equally to UKGC-regulated sites and internationally-regulated ones that popularly get called non GamStop casinos.
Adequate Security & Licensing
Everyone should be wary when sending and receiving money over the internet. Thankfully, financial fraud concerning e-trade is minuscule now, thanks to advanced SSL encryption. That is a technology that ciphers the data that users share with online platforms. It wraps all transmitted info in an unhackable cover that only those with the appropriate keys can access. All online casinos feature this technology, and they also have elementary firewall protection to boot.
Any regulator worth its salt mandates that all of its licensees have data encryption of some sort that ensures that player information gets securely handled and that prying eyes cannot reach it. Naturally, the UK, Europe’s most developed market, has some of the Old Continent’s strictest regulations. Its regulatory body, the UKGC, boasts an unparalleled reputation for taking care of those that choose to enjoy UKGC-licensed sites. Nevertheless, international overseeing bodies like the Malta Gaming Authority and eGaming Curacao also do a decent job. They feature many of the same safety measures as Britain’s gaming regulator. They also have more experience in this sector, seeing as they have been around for years before the UK Gambling Commission came into existence.
Diverse Transaction Methods on Offer
No one should play at a site with only a couple of payment methods available, as that can severely limit the gaming experience. Thankfully, most gambling sites these days feature groups of transaction options. Credit/debit cards are the most popular method in most regions, but since April 2020, the UKGC does not allow credit card transfers at their approved platforms. Old and new non GamStop casinos still permit their use. The con with using these is that they incur processing times of three to five banking days for withdrawals, and they may come with fees.
E-wallets are the favored option for experienced players that like to use fiat currencies, as they can facilitate money transfers in less than 48 hours. Cryptocurrencies can do this in minutes, and they offer anonymity by not getting financial institutions involved in transfers. Thus, it would be ideal for a chosen gambling site to supply all of these methods, plus bank wire and check options for old-school digital gamblers.
Promotions are the backbone of the online wagering sector. Virtually everyone knows this, as pretty much all polls show that they are the determining factor in players picking one platform over its competition. That goes for both UK-based sites and casinos not registered with GameStop.
The essential deal that every operator should offer in this sphere is a welcome bonus that consists of either a deposit match or one paired with some free spins. That industry standard aside, operators should also feature perk-rich loyalty schemes, betting contests, and social media promotions. Recently leaderboard challenges have gained massive traction. These are wagering competitions, where users climb a standing based on their bet activity, hoping to get their share of a fixed prize pool by attaining a top position on a leaderboard when a defined period expires.
Vast Game Catalog
Of course, everyone joins an online casino to see if Lady Luck is their concern via games of chance. Therefore, the more gaming products a platform houses, the better. Slots are this sector’s breadwinners, as they produce more than 70% of its revenues. By some estimates, there are over 17,000 reel-spinning titles online, with non GamStop sites often boasting several hundred more than UK ones. That is so because game providers have to fulfill specific requirements to have their products available on the UK market. Many choose not to go through this hassle and stick to providing their games to casinos not using GameStop only.
Live dealer tables are likely the second-most-played genre in the iGaming sector. A decent site with a live lobby should have at least two dozen live tables. RNG ones should also be available. Video poker is an underrated gaming choice. It is the only casino product where a player can get an advantage over the operator in a specific set of circumstances on specific virtual machines. Lottery-like games like keno, bingo, and scratch cards are also betting options that many operators feature.
Aside from the size of an online casino’s game library, it is also paramount that it transparently shows game specs like return-to-player and has proper certification from an accredited testing board like iTech Labs or TST. That proves that all the games it hosts are 100% fair.
Responsible Betting Features & Premium Support
Undoubtedly, gambling can be a risky activity if one has little control over their impulses. Operators do their part to ensure that no one goes overboard with their betting activities by implementing different features that hope to curb potential gambling harms. The most prominent feature is players setting deposit/loss limits via their profile page. Once they hit these limits, their chosen online casino automatically implements predetermined restrictions. Self-exclusion is also super beneficial, as it stops gamblers from succumbing to their urge to wager once they have identified that they have an issue. GamStop is the mandatory UKGC self-exclusion scheme, valid for all UKGC-licensed sites.
The most used online casino avenue is live chat, which most operators now try to have up 24/7. Email support also gets used by most players. That holds, especially when a problem requires that documents or screenshots get attached. Live chat windows sometimes offer this too, but due to most users’ familiarity with email, they often go through that method to accomplish the same goal. A frequently asked questions page completes the golden trifecta of support recourses no online casino should be without.
UK Sites & Non GamStop Casinos
Due to a rise in the number of problem gamblers in Britain, the UKGC recently passed new mandatory measures that make online slot gaming less intense. These included the removal of auto-play, implementing wait times between slot spins, and lowering max bet limits. The banning of credit cards from UKGC licensed sites was a 2020 measure with the same end goal in mind.
Some British players find these restrictions unfavorable, as they believe that they limit the gaming experience removing some of the fun out of it. Hence, they have chosen to navigate to foreign non GamCare casinos such as those found at non-gamstop-casinos.com. Sites that get regulated by an offshore licensing body and do not participate in the GamStop self-exclusion program but rather have site-specific self-exclusion. These platforms attract players by providing games unavailable to the UK market, offering more generous promotions, and not implementing gameplay constraints.
Premium online casinos boast decent customer support, hundreds of gaming products, top-end security, robust promo deals, and multiple payment methods oн hand. Those that crave security and player safety should gravitate toward UKGC-licensed sites. Gamblers that desire more liberating gameplay should pick non GamStop casinos. No matter what category of platform online gamblers choose, they must remember that they must indulge in this hobby responsibly, never chasing losses and only wagering what they can afford to lose.