Choosing an Online Casino

With literally thousands of casinos available on the internet and new ones being launched every week, it’s more important than ever to make sure you only play on the reputable ones – but how can you spot a bad site from a good one, and which casino will suit you the best?

Game Selection

Firstly, you may have specific preferences for which games you want to play. This could make life hugely complicated, but thankfully there are only 4 or 5 main software manufacturers dominating the industry and we advise that you use a casino backed by one of them to ensure that you play somewhere reliable and safe. They each have their strengths, but with just a few of them around you can easily join one casino from each games maker and flit from one to the next, especially if you play online, which is increasingly recommended:

Microgaming are the largest and longest-established. They have hundreds of casinos, though our favourite is 32 Red, a site that’s won endless awards including Casinomeister’s Best Casino (Global) for the 9th year in a row. Like most Microgaming sites it has way more games than its competitors (about 600 in total) if you use the download version. Microgaming excel at different varieties of videopoker and Blackjack, and feature more Blackjack tournaments than anyone else. They also offer a dozen or so progressive jackpots, with more large jackpot games than you’ll find anywhere else.

Playtech are the second major competitor and are growing at an unprecedented rate. They’re strong on branded slot games, with endless slots based on the latest Marvel films like Blade, Elektra and The Incredible Hulk taking centre stage, though they’re constantly adding new, innovative slots inspired by all sorts of other material as well.

Even though they have less than half as many slots as Microgaming, you’ll never tire of their selection, though the real advantage with Playtech lies in their table and card games: Their 3D Roulette wheel is the best in the business and they offer some games from off the beaten track that really ought to be offered as standard these days: If you want to play Craps, Pai Gow Poker, Casino Hold ‘Em or Stravaganza then you’ll need to visit a decent Playtech site like Bet365 or Winner.

Gaining rapidly in third place are Net Entertainment, offering the sleekest gaming software on the web. Again, they don’t have as many slots as Microgaming but you won’t care as the games are so good. Whilst their table games are every bit as impressive as their competitors’, we’d recommend Net sites like Mr Greens and Guru Play for their range of 3d slots like Jack and the Beanstalk and Robin Hood: Shifting Riches. This collection offers similar levels of strategic play to slots found elsewhere, but with much more entertainment and music plus animated sequences that blow most other slots out of the water. Particularly impressive is Gonzo’s Quest, Net’s signature slot: It’s a falling block-style South American adventure and arguably the best slot game on the planet. Net have plenty more to check out as well, including a new series of movie-based slots on their way courtesy of a recent deal with Universal.

However, if you really want to see just what can be done with a 3d slot game, make sure you check out Betsoft’s Slot3 range. These are simply stunning, with immersive storylines, great characters and incredible sound and graphics. We confidently predict that within a few years somebody will actually make a movie based on a slot game rather than vice-versa – and it’ll be a Betsoft game that does it. Try out games like The Slotfather or A Night in Paris at Mr Green’s and you’ll see what we mean.

Reputation and Credentials

Once you know where to find the games you want, you need to make sure your casino is reputable:

Firstly, only use casinos that operate from a UK Whitelisted jurisdiction. Due to punitive tax rules you’ll be hard put to find any online casino operating within the UK, but certain places are deemed by the UK authorities to offer the same level of consumer protection that we get onshore, so make sure your casino is based in one of the following:

Any European Economic Area Country; Gibraltar; Tasmania; The Isle of Man; Alderney; Antigua and Barbuda

Secondly make sure they have the eCOGRA Safe and Fair seal on their homepage. eCOGRA is the premier self-regulatory body for online gaming and their endorsement doesn’t come easily, with any casino awarded the seal checked regularly to make sure they still deserve it. With the larger casinos it’s not so much of an opinion on the software being fair, but confirmation that the casino will process your business properly and pay out when they’re supposed to.

You also need to be sure that your casino uses P-128 SSL encryption if you’re going to provide them with your bank or credit card details. In fact, we’d suggest using an alternative payment method but any decent site should tell you that it uses P-128 SSL anyway.

Our final recommendation with regards to reputation is to check out any casino you’re thinking of using on a player forum, There are lots of these and you’ll hear from real players what the casino is actually like.


Next, you’ll need to look into bonuses:

Virtually all casinos offer ‘free’ money to get you playing with them when you make your first deposit and often for subsequent deposits as well. These, however, come with a catch: You’ll need to gamble your deposit plus your ‘free’ cash over and over up to as many as 50 times before you can withdraw any winnings from your deposit or bonus.

In addition, many sites will only let you play on slot games to meet the bonus conditions, so check the sites’ terms and conditions carefully –look for ‘playthrough requirements’, ‘wagering requirement multiple’ or similar phrases and you’ll find out which games to avoid and how long it’ll take you to get your winnings. For some good bonus deals at present, check out our Top 10 guide…

Payout Speeds

Finally, you’ll need to make sure you can get hold of your winnings easily. Player forums are full of disgruntled winners complaining about this, so you’ll be able to find out the score pretty quickly, however as a rule of thumb any of the high street bookmakers that have set up casinos online will have a superb record in this respect, so sites like William Hill Online, Ladbrokes or Betvictor will be a good bet.

Avoid any casino that enforces a reverse pending period. This, amazingly, is touted by some operators as a cooling-off period to benefit you, preventing you from making the ‘mistake’ of withdrawing your winnings in the heat of the moment. They’ll try and convince you that you might regret taking your winnings in cash rather than leaving it with them to gamble back at your leisure,  hoping that you’ll lose patience and blow the lot. This is sharp practice and should be avoided at all costs.

However, even if your casino pays out promptly they may have no control over speed of payment if you choose a lengthy banking method:

Don’t bother expecting cheque payments to reach you in less than a month, even with a good casino. In fact, we suggest you never try this method at all. Withdrawals via credit or debit card shouldn’t take longer than 3-5 working days, though an e-wallet is the best method. These really come into their own when used with  online casinos:

E-wallets (i.e., Moneybookers or Neteller) are web-based, prepaid money-holding devices that you can use to deposit casino funds and withdraw winnings. They allow winnings to be paid out quicker than any other method, often within 24 hours. Check out our banking methods guide for further information, but always pick a casino that uses e-wallets to pay out.

And Finally…

Last but not least, a note of common sense: Remember, all that glitters is not gold. We find that the best casinos are also the most tasteful. Lurid, multicoloured sites with endless photos of half-naked croupiers don’t tend to be as reliable as the more sober offerings. Bright, primary colours are fine within a slot game and on the corresponding icons that show them off, but if the rest of the site is every bit as flashy then you need to ask yourself why. Again, bookmaker sites tend to use low-key colour schemes in their background design, and other highly-regarded sites like Casino Luck and Mr Green’s do the same – and their reputations are second to none…

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged | Leave a comment

Our Top 10 Non-Mainstream Table Games

Whilst Blackjack, Roulette and Baccarat provide endless hours of pleasure for many, there are lots of other equally enjoyable table games that aren’t as well known, but ought to be. If you’re unsure about graduating onto the tables and need something that’s not too strategic to help build confidence, or want something more strategic without having to delve into a lifetime study of multi-player poker, then you may find your perfect game among the following:

3 Card Poker

 In this game you pay an ante (compulsory initial bet) and are then dealt 3 cards face up. The dealer’s hand is face down and you have the option to bet on whether you have a superior hand or not. If you bet, the dealer’s hand is revealed provided it qualifies by being Queen High or better.

If the dealer doesn’t qualify you win double your ante and get your bet returned. If he does, you’ll get double your stake and ante if you beat him, and lose both if you don’t.

Players are allowed to make an optional Pair Plus bet, which does not depend upon the dealer’s hand at all: You simply bet on whether you’ll get a pair or better in your hand, and if you do you’ll be rewarded according to a paytable set by the casino. Odds of 40 to 1 for a Straight Flush are fairly typical.

Additionally, you’ll win a bonus on your ante if you have a pair or better – again, irrespective of whether the dealer plays. This is paid according to another paytable, typically offering odds of 5 to 1 for a Straight Flush.

Microgaming sites like Ruby Fortune and 32 Red tend to offer more 3 Card Poker than any other casinos with up to a dozen versions: Check out the download versions of their sites for the full list, but this version – allowing you to play 5 hands at once – is fairly typical.

three card poker games


Caribbean Stud Poker

This game dates back to the early 1980’s. When you pay your ante there’s also the option to drop a chip into a progressive jackpot box. You’re then dealt a hand that you may look at and the dealer gives himself 5 cards, all face down except one. You’ll then decide whether to bet or fold: If you bet, the dealer will reveal his hand if he qualifies with Ace-King or better. If he doesn’t qualify then your bet is void and you receive evens on your ante. If you beat the dealer you’ll get even money on your ante and varying payouts on your bet, depending on how good your hand is – odds of up to 100 to 1 for a Royal Flush are typical.

If you bet on the Progressive Jackpot, and you have a good hand, then you’ll get some or all of the total accumulated prize pool depending on your hand: A Royal Flush wins the lot, with a Straight Flush usually taking 10% of the pot, and other hands getting lower payouts.

Pai Gow Poker

This is a Western casino variant of an ancient Chinese domino game, simplified yet still fascinating. You play against the dealer, and after paying an ante are dealt 7 cards. These are made into the best 5-card and 2-card hands you can make; you can then fold or bet, and will need to beat both of the dealer’s hands to win even money, minus a small house commission. One of the hardest aspects of online Pai Gow, though, is finding somewhere to play it. Larger Playtech sites such as Titan Casino will offer it – though in time we expect it to be widely-available.

pai gow poker


Red Dog

This is a real departure from the usual poker-related card games: The dealer has no hand to play, but deals you 2 cards after you pay an ante; suits are irrelevant, and aces count as 1. If your cards are of consecutive value (e.g., a 4 and a 5) your bet is returned; if they are of the same value a 3rd card is dealt, with a 3-card match paying 11 to 1 – otherwise, again, your bet is returned.

If there is a spread of 1 or more between your first 2 cards (e.g., you were dealt a 7 and a 9) then you can bet the same amount as the ante on whether a 3rd card will fall between the 2 values of your 1st 2 cards, with higher odds depending on the spread size. So, for example, if your initial cards are 7 and 10, your spread is 2 and a 3rd card of 8 or 9 will be paid at 4 to 1.

This highly-unique variant can be found on Playtech casinos like 1-2-1 and Bet365, so give it a whirl for a highly-refreshing change.

Sic Bo

This ancient Oriental game is highly engaging yet incredibly simple to play: You bet on the outcome of 3 dice, with odds offered for 7 different types of bet:

  • Evens are paid if you bet on any one number appearing on any 3 of the dice
  • Bets on any 2 specified numbers appearing pay 5 to 1
  • Bets can be made on the total value of all 3 numbers rolled, with varying odds from 6 to 50 to 1
  • ‘Small’ or ‘Big’ bets are made on the value of all 3 dice totalling between 4 and 10 or 11 and 17
  • Bets made on specified pairs pay 8 to 1
  • Bets made on a triplet of any value pay 24 to 1
  • Bets made on a specified triplet pay 150 to 1

Sic Bo can be found at Playtech casinos including Bet 365 and Mansion; it’s a great introduction to dice games and makes a refreshing change from playing cards…

sic bo on playtech


Casino Hold ‘Em

This is a close as you’ll get to playing genuine Texas Hold ‘Em against the dealer, and it captures the community spirit of its bigger, multi-player cousin superbly: After making an ante bet with an optional  side bet you’re dealt 2 cards face up and 3 community cards are dealt face up in the middle of the table. You then decide whether to fold or bet, based on the best hand you think you can make from the total of 5 cards. If you bet, then 2 more community cards are dealt and the dealer will show his hand. Win and you’ll be paid evens on your ante and bet; lose and both are forfeited. Meanwhile, if you’ve made a side bet you’ll be paid according to the casino’s paytable if you can make a hand of 2 Aces or better. This is an ideal introduction to multiplayer Hold ‘Em, as well as a great game in its own right and can be found on selected Playtech sites such as William Hill Casino.



This legendary Chinese tile game is rapidly growing in Europe and America and can now be found at several places online. It’s like a complex version of Rummy in the sense that you need to collect sets of tiles in groups to win – but the online versions allow you to play solo, cutting out the lifetime of devotion needed to become proficient at the full 4 player game. You’ll begin with a hand of 13 tiles and will pick up and discard tiles to try and make 3 sets of 3 or 4 consecutively-numbered or identical tiles, with an extra 2 identical tiles on top. You’ll select tiles at random, and they’ll come from the following groups:

  • 3 main suits – Bamboo, Character and Circle, numbered from 1 to 9
  •  Honor suits comprising the Wind tiles (North, East, South and West) and the Dragon Tiles (green, red and blue)
  • Bonus tiles comprising 4 Flower tiles (Plum, Orchid, Chrysanthemum and Bamboo) and 4 Season tiles.

You’ll get 3 picks per game to try and achieve a full hand. For most players it’s a fascinating new gaming environment, and a great introduction to the real game as well as a lot of fun in its own right. Try it at any fully up-to-date Playtech site like William Hill or Mansion and you’ll be glad you did…


Let it Ride

This is hugely popular in Vegas, and is beautifully simple yet highly addictive: You make an initial bet of three chips and are then dealt 3 cards face up with 2 face down, ready to be turned over. You are aiming to make a decent Poker hand and can either leave your bet prior to the 4th card being turned (‘Letting it Ride’), or withdraw one of your chips. The same procedure applies with the 5th card, and you’ll win according to a pre-determined paytable if you end up with tens or better.

There’s also a bonus bet you can make at outset which can’t be withdrawn – should you get a decent hand with this bet made, you’ll receive much better odds – typically up to 20,000 to 1 for a Royal Flush.


This game is unique to Playtech online casinos. Played against the dealer, you’ll start with 2 cards: If they’re worth between 2 and 5 you can pull out completely and take your ante back. If you have between 6 and 9 you can pull out with half your ante forfeited. 10 or more and you have to play, either with 2 cards and your ante, or with a 3rd card and a raise.

If your hand outranks the dealer you’ll win evens, however if he holds a red ace in his 2nd or 3rd cards he’ll win your ante and raise bets; a red ace for his 1st card will lose you your ante bet. It’s a highly distinctive take on the usual table poker games and can be found on any reputable Playtech site such as Winner, 1-2-1 or Bet365.

Online Craps

This is the Daddy of all dice games and will give you endless credibility among your gaming buddies. It might look complicated, but it’s not:

Start by placing your bet on the Pass Line and throw the dice. If it’s 7 or 11 you win evens; 2, 3 or 12 and you lose your stake. Any other number is known as ‘the point’ and is indicated by white disk next to that number on the table. You now win evens if that number is rolled before a 7, and lose if the 7 comes up first.

You can play the exact opposite of this strategy with the Don’t Pass Bar, and also play similar games using Come and Don’t Come if you want further action at any time. The rest of the table consists of ‘Sucker Bets’ – low odds, one-roll propositions that real Craps players avoid. Find a practice table at any large Playtech site and learn the ropes – and when you visit a land casino with a Craps table you’ll be the coolest dude on the floor…

online craps

As you can see, there’s so much more to online gaming than slots and the well-known table games: Find a casino that offers easy practice play and give them a go. You may find your all-time favourite game is much easier to learn than you thought, and offers vastly improved odds than you get spinning that Roulette wheel for the thousandth time…

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged | Leave a comment

Top 10 Gambling Sites for Women

Our Top 10 Female-Orientated Gaming Sites

Recent studies and figures are showing that women of all ages are increasingly participating in online gaming. With many women juggling careers, social lives and often family commitments as well it comes as no surprise that many of them are enjoying the escapism and excitement offered on the slots and tables. Not all the casino operators have recognised this yet though, and still offer sites that are clearly male-orientated – so to make things a little easier for aspiring women gamers, here are our top 10 female-friendly sites to play at:

Mr Green’s

The female appeal of this site isn’t that it’s girly in any way: It isn’t at all, but by making it non-specific to either gender they’ve actually done what any self-respecting, contemporary career girl actually wants, which is not to be patronised. In the same way that kids generally hate it when products are cynically tailored to suit what marketing focus groups think they want, many women just want gender to be left out of the equation and that’s exactly why this site is ideal for female gamers. It’s played in your browser, allowing you to shop around easily – and they’ve a top-notch reputation for payout speeds, minimal small print and good customer service.

Freya Bingo and Casino

Tastefully rendered with an impressive autumnal feel, Freya Casino and Bingo is easy on the eye for all the right reasons. Obviously aware of the casino-playing potential of existing female bingo players, this site offers a non-macho, comforting environment to learn the ropes with dozens of slots and a bloke-sized complement of table and videopoker offerings, all from Microgaming. There’s even an abnormally easy-to-find tuition section, but what you won’t find is the usual download prompt you generally get with Microgaming. It’s actually the most tasteful and user-friendly site Flash site we‘ve ever seen from the software giant, and won’t drive the men away either – once they’ve got past the name of the site and it’s bingo tie-in…

freya casinos

21 Nova

Aimed squarely at the youth market, this is where aspiring models, celebrities and WAGs should play. It administers a healthy injection of hedonistic glamour without any patronising bling, helping it stay the right side of the taste barrier without resorting to too much unnecessary sobriety. If 21 Nova were a drink it would be a glass of white wine – but definitely not a cheap Aussie Chardonnay…

Foxy Casino

Foxy have a head start over all their competitors in the UK market that they’re clearly aiming for: Their bingo sister site sponsors The Jeremy Kyle Show, making Foxy one of the best-known gaming brands in the UK, period. It’s unashamedly glitzy, fun and brash but delivers on all fronts with 9 types of Roulette and Blackjack plus 14 videopoker games on top of 50-odd slots from IGT/Wagerworks. Any young or young-at-heart females who enjoy painting the town red every Friday night and need a guilty pleasure for those hangover days need look no further.

foxy casino for women 

Ruby Fortune

This site may have more shades of purple than a day-old bruise, but it’s actually really something to look at, and makes a point of telling us that it’s fair, easy, safe and fun. Females looking to start gaming will invariably be wise to some of the online retail tricks that are employed to lure shoppers into dodgy deals, and will often be understandably wary of signing up to a casino site so Ruby, with it’s reassuring strapline, makes a natural choice – and that’s before you realise that it’s a member of the Palace Group, easily the most well known Microgaming operator with several casinos to its name, all sharing the same economies of scale in respect of customer service, security and gaming ethics.

Maria Casino

Fresh and contemporary, with no hint whatsoever of dark colouring or neon-lit promises of illicit pleasure, Maria is a real breath of fresh air – and what’s more it’s a Net Entertainment site as well. Net now offer what are considered by most industry pundits to be the best slots and table games on the web, and as they use Flash technology you can play without having to download. The games are inspired by all manner of ideas with no gender bias, and the site even has its own tabs for chatting, sharing recipes and more…

maria casino


High street betting legend Victor Chandler has been synonymous with a traditional target audience of male punters for as long as any of us can remember, however the Gentleman Bookmaker’s site actually has a female-only section: Go to the slots tab and you’ll find Ladies Night, offering games like Flowers, The X-Factor, Hot City, Cherry Blossoms and Secret Admirer. Using an established bookie like Chandler also gives that extra reassurance that you’re dealing with an outfit that know exactly what they’re doing and will pay up promptly when you win.

Spin and Win

The byword for this site is Fun, with a capital ‘F’. It’s a no-download Microgaming site dressed up in a cartoon, tabloid style that’s like nothing else out there and is as far as you can get from the traditional, chrome and leather vibe that puts so many women off gaming sites. There’s even a 3d world due to make its debut shortly, allowing you to roam and chat in a virtual lobby whilst wearing your own, custom-designed avatar. There’s a whole host of fun promos and some enticing scratchcard giveaways when you sign up, as well as a £20 free cash award to start playing with before you’ve even deposited.

spin and win casino

Pink Lady

The name says it all here: This welcoming site uses pink and white backgrounds exclusively with a host of fun, original games from little-known games maker GCTV. There are about 50 slots, a great horse racing game and a full quota of table games. Female-orientated sites can sometimes be a little short of decent table and card games, but not this one: Apart from the usual games there’s Pai Gow Poker, Red Dog, Casino War and even Craps, which you’ll struggle to find elsewhere except on selected Playtech sites.

The outstanding feature here, though, is the mobile application facility: Pink Lady let you download any of their game apps onto your iPhone via iTunes, lifting their site head and shoulders above the competition who generally only offer a maximum of 18 or 19 games for phone use.  With female mobile gaming use exploding at present, this serves as a major plus point.

Manhattan Slots

This is the Sex and the City casino in everything but name, as the snapshot below demonstrates. Aimed at ladies who lunch, girls who shop and women of all ages who love their credit card as much as they love chocolate cupcakes, this highly-original site is unashamedly feminine in every way. Other sites may market themselves at females but men can play as well: Not here. Any regular guy winning a jackpot here would rather forgo the cash than admit he played here, so hats off to the designers for coming up with a genuine women-only site. With a full range of games including slot titles like Food Fight and Mid-life Crisis they’ve hit a winner, and we predict that this site will grow exponentially as word gets out that there’s a new girl on the block.

manhattan slots

Sites like these could easily become all the rage soon, but we suspect that the increased number of female gamers betting from Smartphones and similar devices will result in more female-friendly sites that are mobile-only. Our advice to aspiring lady gamers, though, is simply to find a non-download site that offers practice play and a welcome bonus with low playthrough requirements. Then, once you’ve learned the ropes the gaming world will be your oyster…

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged | Leave a comment

Top 10 Best Online Casino Bonuses

Online casinos offer all manner of bonuses to encourage new players and retain existing ones, but no two casinos offer the same deal. The bonus structure offered by your chosen casino can greatly affect how long it takes before you can withdraw your winnings and even which games you can play, so to make things easier for you, we’ve compiled a list of our top 10 casino bonus schemes:

Mr Green’s

The ever-reliable Mr Green’s Casino offers a welcome bonus in typical no-nonsense style, matching your initial deposit 100% up to £250 and giving you 10 free spins on the peerless Gonzo’s Quest. There’s a playthrough requirement of 35 times, redeemable on slot games – and they have arguably the best selection of slots to play on, so you’ll meet the requirements in no time. Unlike some other casinos, the bonus requirements can be met by playing on progressive jackpot games…


32 Red

32 Red have a brilliantly-unique bonus system, paying you £32 up front before you’ve even deposited. Subsequent deposits of £20 are matched by £32 up to 5 times, making a total of £192 for total deposits of £100. Playthrough requirements are very reasonable at 30 times, however it’s the free £32 given within 15 minutes of registering that lifts this one above the crowd.


Guru Play

Guru Play are offering a 100% match on your first deposit up to £300 – on live casino games. Play Roulette, Blackjack or Baccarat in their hosted table room as a new player and you’ll receive the bonus – which you’d invariably have to spend on slot games at other casinos. It’s great to finally see a bonus that helps table gamers.


Titan Casino

Not all bonus schemes centre around the welcome bonus: A reputable casino will generally offer substantial ongoing bonuses as well, and one such operator is Titan Casino. They will match your initial deposit 100% up to £200, followed by 26 weekly 100% matches up to £100 and monthly matches of 100% up to £200: that’s a total of £2,600 + £1,200 + £200, or £4,000 in total. As a comprehensive bonus scheme you’ll be hard put to beat it.

Virgin Games

Virgin Games have a bonus especially for mobile users: deposit £5 or more in their mobile casino and receive a 100% match up to £25 with a generous 25 times playthrough requirement. It’s about time mobile users were given some more individual attention and it’s good to see Virgin taking the lead here, and there’s a great selection of games to meet your wagering requirements with: Choose from Tomb Raider, Thunderstruck, Mermaids Millions, Mega Moolah, Major Millions, Dragon’s Fortune, and Bingo Bonanza and you’ll be ready to access your winnings in no time at all.

Blue Square

Where most bonuses offer free cash without mentioning playthrough requirements up front, Blue Square have taken a very unusual but highly ethical approach of only paying you your bonus once you’ve met the requirements: Deposit up to £100 and play it through just 20 times and they’ll then award you a 100% bonus matched up to £100.


It can get a little dull when every casino offers bonuses that are solely about cash, so it’s nice to see some more imaginative schemes around. One such concoction comes from Mansion, who offer an optional $150,000 racing game. Simply play at Mansion to accrue loyalty points every week for your shot at a $10,000 prize pool, and after 10 weeks your accumulated points will be totted up on a leaderboard with a total of $150,000 shared out. The overall winner will receive a $15,000 holiday.



For the chance to receive £15 absolutely free with no deposit, take a trip to BetVictor Casino and you’ll be given a great range of state-of-the-art Net Entertainment slots on which to spend it. That would be a single headline promo for any other casino, but Victor Chandler also makes discretionary awards to loyal players, rumoured to be the highest on the web along with countless other schemes, updated constantly.



Ladbrokes offer a seemingly-endless list of promotions, with up to £500 as a welcome bonus. However, we like them because all their offers come with terms and conditions that are impeccably clear – in terms of bonuses their site really is a lesson to all others in how to be straight with players, and has earned them a lot of respect for doing so.



Finally, mention has to be made of 1-2-1. This rather interesting casino offers one of the best high-deposit deals on the web: Deposit up to 200 Euros and receive a 100% match up to 4 times, so make 5 deposits totalling 1,000 Euros and it’ll be doubled. Yes, there are a few other casinos offering more, but not with a 20 times playthrough requirement. Beautifully simple and extraordinarily generous – exactly what we want to see….


With hundreds of casinos on the web using software from the same 3 or 4 manufacturers, your choice of casino will often come down to bonuses. The above have all been singled out for offering something exceptional, but don’t forget: If you don’t want to meet the bonus conditions you can always ask the casino if you can opt out.

Any reputable operator should have a round-the-clock chat service, allowing you to ask questions prior to joining which is the easiest way to find out where you stand. They typically get more queries about bonuses than anything else and therefore ought to tell you straight away whether you can simply bypass the bonus and avoid the conditions that go with it. However, should you find yourself opting out we strongly recommend that you keep copies of all evidence to prove that you’ve done so. No matter how good your casino is, you don’t want to be denied the proceeds of that much-sought-after huge win on a technicality. As always, do your homework and check out some player forums to see what real players are saying about the casino you intend to use and you’ll have a much better idea of what they’re really like.

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged | Leave a comment

Branded Casino Slots

Showing at an Online Casino near You…

You’ve seen the movie, bought the t-shirt, played the Xbox game and been on the ride – so why not play the slot game? It makes perfect sense. Slot manufacturers have never been slow to jump on the bandwagon when it comes to cross channel marketing, so why do we still see so many slot games that allude to well-known films but don’t go all the way with a full tie-in? There are slots out there that are Indiana Jones or Sex and the City in everything but name, although as long as that’s as far as it goes then the images, styling and music will never match the rest of the branded merchandise that goes with these hugely popular productions. The demand is obviously there, but the reason we don’t see more branded slots is simply because it takes time and effort to reach a compromise that both studios and casinos are happy with. But things are moving, so what deals are in place at present and what have they led to?

Branded casino video slots

Marvel Comics and Online Slot Games

Probably the best-known branded slots anywhere are the Marvel series from Playtech. In 2009 the now seemingly-unstoppable software house was struggling to compete with the likes of Microgaming and Cryptologic, but no-one could ever have predicted what would happen:  Although Cryptologic has, since 2005, owned the rights to make games based on the Marvel comic books, a deal was reached between Playtech and Marvel Characters BV, a subsidiary of Marvel that produced the films using their characters. This was a rather sneaky, yet devastating move that allowed Playtech to make games based on the Marvel movies made in the last two decades – like Blade, Elektra and the Incredible Hulk.  Players flocked to these games as they used classic, established characters within a contemporary movie setting, bringing state-of-the-art production values to their favourite childhood heroes.

The importance of these brands is highlighted by just how difficult things subsequently became for Cryptologic: They’ve now been taken over by Amaya Gaming, and currently have a presence in just two well-known casinos – Intercasino and VIP Casino, whereas Playtech are grabbing an ever-increasing slice of the UK market share, with the Marvel games always given prominence. To add insult to injury they even replaced Cryptologic as software provider for William Hill, which must have hurt more than an uppercut from Iron Man. Nonetheless Cryptologic do have Braveheart, Ferris Bueller and Forrest Gump – which you won’t find anywhere else.

Playtech’s Other Brands

It’s easy to forget that Playtech are not just about Marvel: they’ve also had productive working relationships with Paramount and Universal:

The Mummy, based on the 1999 Universal blockbuster with all the visuals and sound features you’d expect hit the spot with a classy production with sequences from the film; ditto Kong, based on the 2005 remake by Universal, from a deal between Playtech, Universal and MGM.

Gladiator, whilst every bit as impressive to play and look at, suffered a slight setback: Its main star Russell Crowe was not covered in their deal with Paramount, so he’s missing – but the game’s still true to the movie, with great animated clips and music – although Crowe’s absence highlights how difficult it is to get games to market even when the studio agrees to let you.

Playtech also made Rocky, based on the early versions of Sylvester Stallone’s series. With opponents Apollo Creed, Ivan Drago and Clubber Lang all appearing, they’ve got enough of the six films covered so we’re not expecting a sequel – but it looks good, with animated fight sequences from the films really burning the feel of the movies onto your screen.

Whether or not Playtech will stick with Universal is unclear: Net Entertainment have recently signed a deal with Universal, so Playtech may be out of the frame, though it’s unlikely to bother them as at the end of 2011 they announced a new deal with Platinum Studios. Their first collaboration will be Cowboys and Aliens, based on the recent movie by Dreamworks and licenced by Platinum.

Net Entertainment and Universal

Net secured the rights to make games based on some of Universal’s films towards the end of 2010, and the first two are already with us: Frankenstein was a lovingly-crafted tribute to the 1931 Boris Karloff original – which as we all know is the best version.  Pundits consequently expected Scarface – their second Universal game – to be based on the little-known original, but thankfully it’s the definitive Al Pacino version. Unveiled on 24 January this year, it’s rumoured to be superb, and will coincide with the second remake coming this May.

What about Microgaming?

Surely the biggest hitter of them all can’t be twiddling their thumbs when it comes to movie branding? Their Lord of the Rings game raises the bar out of reach for many, with its swooping sequences over the mountains of Middle Earth and trademarked Cinematic Spins upping the opacity of the reels as they spin to reveal scenes from the movie. In fact, their Tombraider game was one of the very first branded slots out there, so they’re bound to be on the case – and unsurprisingly they’ve gone for a deal with DC Entertainment, Marvel’s main opponent and owner of rights to the Batman movies. We’ll therefore be seeing The Dark Knight and The Dark Knight Rises in game form this summer and in 2013 respectively.

Anyone Else?

That really ought to cover all the movie franchise slot deals out there – but actually it doesn’t. It’s easy to forget Party Casino’s games: They do their software in-house, giving you slots that you simply won’t find elsewhere and they’ve got movie tie-ins as well. The Godfather Part 1, The Naked Gun, Gone With the Wind, Mission Impossible and Saturday Night Fever all get a look in, so quite what Party Casino will give us next is anyone’s guess but they’ve broken the mould with some departures from the usual macho themes, so let’s hope they keep it up.

That only leaves IGT, of course. You’d expect an outfit with decades of land-based casino experience to be heavily in on the movie franchise act as well, yet strangely only their Star Trek game seems to appear online – but it’s a decent production despite not being too heavily promoted.

Our Predictions

So what can we expect in the near future?

Marvel films that have yet to be made into games include Wolverine, Ghost Rider, Spiderman, Magneto, Thor, Nick Fury, Deathlok, Luke Cage, The Avengers, Captain America and Ant Man. With Playtech churning these games out faster than Quicksilver after several bowls of Weetabix, the chances of several or all of these making their way to the small screen in slot form within the next few years is almost the safest bet around – though as Playtech specifically secured rights with Paramount for The Untouchables as well as Gladiator, it’s almost a dead cert that the former will be with us in slot form pretty soon as well…

The more prominent entries in Platinum’s catalogue include Atlantis Rising,The Weapon, Jeremiah, Metadogs, V.I.C.E. and Blood Nation, so we won’t be surprised to see Playtech games based on these either.

Microgaming releases are expected to include sequel productions to follow the first Immortal Romance and Lord of the Rings slots. Given the overall size of the Batman franchise we suspect there’ll be more games featuring him as well, though not for some time as the two Dark Knight productions are taking up a lot of resources at present. Don’t necessarily expect Microgaming to churn out endless games from further DC agreements either: although they’ve been highly proactive in branded slots they’ve also been very choosy about what they release…

Slot-friendly Universal titles that seem to remain unclaimed include the Back to the Future trilogy, Dune, Flash Gordon and the Jaws trilogy – but we’d put our money on the Jurassic Park films, with their monster-inhabited island theme lending itself perfectly to the world of slots – along with the hugely popular and very male-orientated Bourne trilogy. Who will make them? With Playtech busy elsewhere and Microgaming being extremely picky, we’d guess Net Entertainment, though they have been slow to capitalise on their relationship with Universal, but if Scarface does well –which it’s bound to – then they’ll be very tempted to try something else.

Ironically, given our comments earlier, there has actually been an IGT Sex and the City land-based machine recently launched to great acclaim, so for all the branded games that are so clearly aimed at men, there’s finally something for the girls that could make its way onto the web in due course.  That may not seem like a big deal, but in the world of branded slots it’s like Ferrari launching a pink car, meaning anything’s possible. So if you’re a movie buff, keep an eye on all the major slot manufacturers, as your favourite film of all time could be showing up in your favourite casino lobby quicker than you think.

As for now, if you want the absolute ultimate in movie-branded slots, we still think Lord of the Rings is the one to beat despite being nearly 18 months old. Now that they’ve developed their amazing Cinematic Spins there’s no way Microgaming will be putting the technology aside – but they won’t give any old flick this kind of treatment, so whatever they decide to work on will be well worth the wait.

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged | Leave a comment

To download or not to download? Is it even the question?

With literally hundreds of online casinos to choose from, one of the major factors that bewildered punters often have to consider is whether they go with a downloadable casino, or stick to playing online. As if figuring out which games manufactures you like the best, which types of jackpot you’re after, how many lines you want to play on your slots and thousands of other criteria were not enough, you’re then also faced with a plethora of technical considerations when you make the decision to download or not.

Some of the questions you’ll want to ask yourself will be fairly obvious, for example you’ll need to know if there’s enough space on your PC for your intended download, and that’s assuming you’ll even be permitted to install the software anyway: You needn’t necessarily if you’ve got the wrong operating system…

In fact, most of the more obvious considerations are well-documented and generally don’t present too much of a problem: Even the largest downloadable casinos only use around 5 Megabytes of your RAM space, which isn’t likely to be a deal breaker for most users, with PCs typically offering at least 2 Gigabytes of RAM – that’s over 2,000 Megabytes – so you could probably download every casino you could find on the web and still be OK, though there wouldn’t be much point: Despite there being hundreds of casinos to choose from, there are only, in fact, half a dozen basic types at the most – and they’re not all downloadable anyway:

Of those that do offer downloads the largest will be a Microgaming casino such as Jackpot City, which will take up just 3.52 Megabytes at present. By the time you’ve added a Playtech installation (Casino Tropez is a good one – it’s Playtech’s flagship casino and get the latest games before everyone else, and takes up just 0.172 Megabytes), then you’re pretty much set with all the downloads you could possibly want. The other major games providers are Net Entertainment, Betsoft and IGT/Wagerworks – and you’ll be hard put to find a download casino offering their games anyway.

You also need to check out security risks: Firstly, which is safer? Playing online or downloading? Anecdotal evidence these days suggests that downloading carries a risk of inviting malware onto your PC, such as viruses, Trojan Horses or spyware – but what’s the likelihood of you really being caught out these days? Bearing in mind that there are only really the 2 aforementioned software houses offering download casinos anyway, it’s not considered much of a risk as these companies know exactly what they’re doing – we certainly haven’t come across any complaints at all.

Whilst we’re on the subject of risk, you’re money’s safer then ever these days, too. Ever since the development of P128 SSL encryption technology, no reputable casino has had an issue, with your bank details and other personal data jumbled up beyond anyone’s recognition and deciphered at the casino’s server, the risk to you is negligible nowadays though it won’t be a deciding factor when choosing to download or not.

Back to your PC itself, though: Sadly there’s no getting round the fact that casinos are still very Windows orientated. There are sites that welcome Mac and Linux players, but we’ve yet to find one that’ll offer a download for those users, so if you’re not using Windows, forget about downloading – the decision’s been made for you. In terms of Windows specifications, anything from Windows 2000 onwards seems to work fine for any decent casino, so don’t panic if you haven’t got Windows 7 (not that many people do…)

The less obvious side to all of this really concerns the games themselves:

Firstly, don’t fall for the hype: Even reputable casinos will encourage you to download. Once you’ve gone through the rigmarole of downloading their software and filling in the forms you’re that much more committed to them and less likely to go off and visit other casino sites. They therefore have a vested interest in telling you that you’ll have a significantly better playing experience on their download. Granted, you’ll get marginally better graphics and sound, but in the last few years the difference has become almost imperceptible. The acid test as far as we’re concerned is the Roulette wheel. Here’s Mansion Casino’s fabulous 3d wheel from their download site:

download casino roullete

It’s the best Roulette wheel on the web. Now take a look at the online version:

online casino roullete version

No real difference, is there? We found the same applied to other measures, i.e., sound and motion. Admittedly the download allows some customisation – background chatter or music options, faster play, that kind of thing, but we found no significant reason to use the download version of this particular, or any other Playtech casino – quite the opposite in fact. Stick to the online versions and you can skip between Playtech sites until you find one that has optimal bonus conditions and customer service: Punter power in its purest form…

So if the games aren’t significantly better via download, you’re probably wondering if it’s ever worth downloading at all. Actually, it sometimes is: Firstly, though, we recommend that you don’t bother unless you want a Microgaming site – which many players will. With Microgaming, you typically get over 400 games on their download, with just 150-odd online. That’s a hell of a lot – in the region of over 4 or 5 times the number offered by other providers – and if you’re a hardcore player you’ll have your favourites and you won’t want any of them to be missing. Playtech sites, on the other hand, tend to offer more or less everything online…

And it’s with hardcore players in mind that we recommend a Microgaming download for another reason: Blackjack and tournament play. You’ll find more varieties of Blackjack at Microgaming casinos than anywhere else, with tourneys often thrown in for good measure – check out casinos like 32 Red or Jackpot city to see the full quota of 42 Blackjack and Blackjack Gold series of games, with extensive tournament play added on top. You simply won’t get this any other way, so the download is a no-brainer.

But for the rest of us, why bother? There’s always a guaranteed way to work out whether something’s worth doing when it comes to web technology, and that’s by looking at the industry leaders: Without a doubt it’s now Net Entertainment and Betsoft who are developing the most immersive, innovative games around, with the best characters, storylines and 3d graphics. And are their games available on download casinos? No they are not. They use sites like Mr Green’s, Guru Play and Casino Luck, all of which play like a dream but are online only. It’s hardly surprising really: with Google having reached the point where they’ve launched the Chromebook, more and more people are using remote servers to hold their files and downloads will mainly become a thing of the past – though not just yet with online casinos. As well as having way more games, Microgaming have more casinos than any other manufacturer. With such a huge catalogue and market penetration, we fully expect that serious Blackjack lovers and slotheads will be downloading their sites for a good few years yet.


Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged | Leave a comment

Best New Casinos


Bonus Up to £250 Free

Software Net Ent

Get Bonus Now


Bonus up to £175 Free!

Software Net Ent

Get Bonus Now

Best Casino Offers


Bonus up to £4000 Free

Software Playtech

Get Bonus Now


Bonus up to £1000

Software Playtech

Get Bonus Now

Best Casino Sites

Latest Casino News