How to choose a reputable UK online casino
Deciding which UK-licensed online casino is right for you can be tough. In this guide, we talk you through the key factors to consider before opening an account
There are literally hundreds of online casinos available to players in the UK, each offering a different proposition and experience.
Online casino operators go to great lengths to stand out from their rivals and to provide a welcoming, exciting and rewarding environment to all players.
That said, some casinos will appeal to you more than others – perhaps you favour traditional casinos over themed casinos, or video slots over live dealer.
Even then, you will likely find there are several casinos that meet your requirements. And that is without taking into account factors such as reputation and trust.
This guide will highlight everything you need think about when deciding where to play, and how Find My UK Casino can help you find the right casino(s) for you.
First of all, let’s look at the key criteria you should take into account.
FACTOR ONE: DOES IT HAVE A UK GAMBLING COMMISSION LICENCE?
If the online casino you are considering does not have a licence from the UK Gambling Commission (UKGC), do not open an account, deposit and play there.
The Gambling Commission is a non-departmental public body of the Government of the United Kingdom and is responsible for regulating gambling in Great Britain.
It is a legal requirement for online casinos that accept players from the UK to have been approved by, and hold an active licence from, the UKGC.
This ensures online casino operators are meeting the required standards when it comes to responsible gambling, anti-money laundering and fraud.
This includes offering the necessary tools for players to stay in control of their wagering, having KYC protocols in place and segregating customer and operational funds.
Casinos that have received a UKGC licence will display this on their homepage, usually at the bottom and with a link through to their licence on the regulator’s public licence register.
Here you can check what activities the operator has been approved to offer, and whether any regulatory action has been taken against it.
You can also see their address, website domain names, trading names and current licence status (active, inactive). If inactive, it means it is no longer approved to accept UK players.
Here at Find My UK Casino, we only write about and recommend online casinos that hold an active UK Gambling Commission licence.
This means that if you sign up to a casino through us, you can rest assured that they are reputable, trustworthy, safe and secure.
FACTOR TWO: DOES IT HOLD ANY ADDITIONAL LICENCES
In addition to holding a UKGC licence, some operators hold additional licences with other regulators. This is usually to allow them to accept players from other countries.
There are several regulating jurisdictions, but the most established and reputable are:
- Malta Gaming Authority
- Gibraltar Gambling Commission
- Isle of Man Gambling Supervision Commission
- Alderney Gambling Control Commission
- Swedish Gaming Authority
A licence from any of the above is not a replacement for a UK Gambling Commission licence but it is a good sign that the operator is meeting the highest possible standards.
FACTOR THREE: ESTABLISHED CASINO OR NEW CASINO
UK-licensed online casinos fall broadly into two categories – established casinos that have been live for 10+ years and new online casinos that have been live for a few years or less.
These sites have stood the test of time by offering a high-quality experience and by also earning player trust over the years.
They tend to be more traditional in their design, offer a good selection of games, and their loyalty schemes are usually points-based.
That said, these casinos have become hugely popular with players thanks to their fun and quirky themes, monster game portfolios and innovative loyalty schemes.
Just because an online casino is new does not mean that it is not reputable and trust worthy – quite the opposite, in fact.
FACTOR FOUR: DEPOSIT AND WITHDRAWAL OPTIONS
The payment methods you prefer to use to deposit into, and withdraw from, an online casino can impact where you play.
Most online casinos now offer a wide range of payment options, including Visa, MasterCard, Maestro and popular eWallets like Neteller and Skrill.
Bank transfers can be made from the likes of Entropay, Trustly and Revolut, while prepaid cards such as Paysafecard are usually available.
Some even offer modern payment methods such as Apple Pay, PayPal and even Bitcoin, plus mobile payments from MuchBetter and Siru.
In addition to the ways in which you can transact with an online casino, also think about the time it takes for deposits and withdrawals to be processed.
Deposits are usually instant, but withdrawal times vary greatly from a few hours to more than a week depending on the casino and the payment method used.
Also think about limits placed on transactions and any fees you may incur. You can find this information in all of our casino reviews.
It is also worth checking to what extent the operator segregates player funds from operational funds.
There are three levels – Basic, Medium, High – and the higher the level the greater the chance of your money being returned to you in the event the operator goes bust.
FACTOR FIVE: WHAT GAMES ARE OFFERED
Regardless of where you play, most UK-licensed online casinos have portfolios packed with hundreds of video slots, classic slots, jackpot slots, table games, and live dealer.
Some even offer sports betting, lottery betting and bingo.
What you need to watch out for is some of the established online casinos such as 32Red that only offer games from Microgaming or Playtech and perhaps one or two other providers.
This is due to legacy agreements that were signed several years ago, and which allow such operators to only offer games from each developer.
This does not mean you shouldn’t play at these casinos – 32Red, for example, offers one of the best overall experiences – but just be mindful that there are less games to choose from.
Other operators like Paddy Power and William Hill have got around this by launching “Games” or “Vegas” tabs with lobbies full of games from all the major providers.
If you are looking for the widest range of games, new casinos tend of offer the largest portfolios with titles from the industry titans to the Scandinavian powerhouses as well as start-ups and innovators.
You should think about the games you like to play and whether the casino you are considering offers plenty of choice based on your preferences.
FACTOR SIX: BONUSES AND PROMOTIONS
The vast majority of UK-licensed online casino sites incentivise players with various welcome packages, bonuses and offers.
Each will offer something slightly different, from deposit match bonuses to free spins via cash back or a combination of all three.
Different bonuses appeal to different players, so it’s important to understand what you are being offered and whether the incentive adds any value to your play. You may also receive ongoing bonuses and offers for continuing to play at the casino.
FACTOR SEVEN: LOYALTY SCHEMES
In addition to bonuses and promotions, operators have developed loyalty schemes to reward players for wagering with them. Some of the best schemes are run by UK casinos.
There are different types of loyalty scheme including:
- Cashback on wagers whether you win or lose
- Earn points and clear levels
- Complete missions and tasks to collect trophies
Some loyalty schemes better reward players who bet large amounts while others favour those who bet a little and often.
When deciding where to play, it is important to think about the sort of player you are, the amount you wager each month and how you like to be rewarded.
Some UK-licensed online casinos also run VIP clubs for their high rollers. In most cases, these clubs are invite-only.
If you are lucky enough – or spend enough – to join you can expect additional perks such as your own VIP manager, personalised bonuses and even invites to exclusive events.
FACTOR EIGHT: TOP-NOTCH CUSTOMER SUPPORT
For a lot of players, a key consideration when deciding which casino to sign up to is customer support, and the ways in which they can contact agents.
It is not uncommon for players to have questions about the casino they are playing at, including regarding their account, bonuses and even the outcome of a game.
The majority of UK-licensed online casinos will offer customer support across live chat and email, while some can also be reached via telephone and letter.
It is worth checking whether customer support is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week, and whether an operator’s agents are knowledgeable and professional.
Again, this information can be found in our online casino reviews.
Some operators have also developed comprehensive FAQ sections, while Unibet has a community where players can discuss all aspects of the casino.
FACTOR NINE: ARE THEY SAFE AND SECURE
Another key factor when considering where to play is the security of an online casino; for UK-licensed operators there are certain things they must do.
This includes deploying a Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) encryption for all financial transactions and personal data.
This is the same technology used by some of the largest banks and financial institutions in the UK to protect transactions from being hacked.
Some operators take this one step further by also ensuring they are Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI DSS) compliant.
Operators are also required to use a random number generator (RNG) to decide the outcome of each game they offer and these RNGs must be tested by independent third parties.
All UK-licensed casinos have certified RNGs, but if you are really concerned about fairness and the outcome of games, opt for online casinos that publish their testing certificates.
FACTOR TEN: HOW THEY APPROACH RESPONSIBLE GAMBLING
Online casino operators licensed by the UK Gambling Commission are required to provide their players with the necessary tools to keep in control of their play.
This includes things like deposit limits, loss limits, wager limits and session limits as well as the option to cool off for a set period or to self-exclude.
Some operators take a more stringent approach to responsible gambling than others with dedicated pages offering advice and support.
This might include a self-assessment questionnaire for players that are concerned about whether they are displaying problem gambling habits.
In addition to the tools and services offered, it is also worth taking note of the gambling charities and support organisations each operator works with.
HOW FIND MY UK CASINO CAN HELP:
Our mission is simple; to help you find the right UK-licensed online casino(s) for you.
To do this, we provide you with everything you need to know about the best online casinos available to players in the UK through our comprehensive and detailed reviews.
We subject each casino to stringent testing requirements and write honestly about the experience we receive – both bad and good.
Our reviews are broken down into two sections; the key facts and ratings and then a more comprehensive report on the casino.
We provide ratings for each casino we review and recommend, and also allow our readers to give their own scores, too.
In addition to this, we have developed a smart tool that helps you discover new casinos based on your preferences in just a matter of seconds.
Of course, if you have any questions about any of the UK-licensed online casinos on our site, then drop us a line via our contact page.