One of the most common questions we get asked is how we rate online casinos at casinojournal.
Players want to know what system we use when we say casinos are either good or bad. It’s a fair question, so we put together this article to update you. But first, why rate casinos in the first place?
It’s simple. We’re passionate about online casino and we want players to have fun and play responsibly and in the smartest way possible.
The team at casinojournal.com sat down and put our heads together. We developed a system that ensures we deliver a solid casino review every time.
This is one of the best casino review systems online today. Read on to learn more.
The rating criteria at CasinoJournal.com
Casinos vary significantly, but there are a few ‘golden rules’ that online casinos just can’t break. Our review process measures how well a casino delivers on those golden rules.
According to casinojournal, a great online casino:
- Offers relatively quick sign-up processes that including all necessary KYC processes
- Offers a wide selection of game types (ex: live casino games, poker games, slot games, sports betting)
- Offers games that are tested, fair, and work as they are supposed to
- Offers a quality selection of games within that subcategory (ex: live casino games: Crazy Time, Funky Time, Monopoly Live)
- Has good customer service (24/7)
- Has attractive bonuses that players enjoy
- Is designed well and organized, preferably with a downloadable mobile app that offers an identical experience on mobile
- Is licensed and legal
- Is secure, data encrypted, and GDPR compliant
In order for a casino to be successful, popular, and legitimate, it needs to tick all those boxes.
What do other online casino players have to say?
We value what slots players have to say. We scour the web looking at reddit boards, twitter/X feeds, online forums, and review sites, to get a sense of what players think.
We also want to hear directly from players. In the future, we hope to set up a means to have players give us feedback on games directly, but we haven’t implemented that yet. Watch this space!
Casinos use bonuses for a variety of reasons:
- To encourage players to utilize a promotion and sign up to a casino and play
- To keep things interesting with new and entertaining bonuses and promotions
- To offer high rollers a premium experience
Below, we offer more information on classic bonuses and promotions.
Welcome Bonus and sign up process
Welcome Bonuses are essential for a casino to attract new players to play. The quality of the Welcome Bonus is often a sign of the quality of the casino itself.
You’ll notice Welcome Bonuses advertised on the homepage of any good casino. The Welcome Bonus is only triggered when you sign up to the casino and deposit funds (in the case of Deposit Bonuses).
Promotions and offers
Online casinos frequently use promotions and offers to attract and retain players, promote games, reward VIPs, and create excitement during events. Here are common promotions:
- Welcome/Sign-Up Bonus
- Deposit Bonus
- No Deposit Bonus
- Free Spins
- Reload Bonus
- Cashback Bonus
- VIP and Loyalty Bonuses
- Refer-a-Friend Bonus
- Seasonal/Event Bonuses
- High Roller Bonuses
Loyalty and VIP programs
It’s not a nice feeling when you’ve spent lots of cash at a casino and you feel like you are not a valued customer.
Good casinos will identify customers who appreciate their brand. They value these customers.
Bonuses and promotions are ways that a casino uses to reward these players and give them an extra boost.
The way they do this is often through VIP and Loyalty Bonuses, access to exclusive tournaments, customized promotions, and personalized customer service.
If promotions and bonuses appear too good to be true, often it’s because they are. As they say, you should always read the fine print, which in online casino is known as the “t’s and c’s”, i.e. terms and conditions. Most of all, you want to look out for the wagering requirement.
Terms and conditions
Always review promotion terms, especially for Deposit Bonuses. They should be accessible, clear, and concise. Quick access to wagering requirements is crucial. If a casino hides these terms, be cautious.
When we rate casino bonuses, we give points based on the following:
- Attractive Welcome Bonus with fair wagering requirements
- Fast sign-up and quick verification of documents
- Creative, entertaining, and useful range of promotions
- Good loyalty program
- Easy and quick cash withdrawal
The points system can be summarized in the following way:
- 9-10: A selection of useful, attractive bonuses with clear Ts&Cs and reasonable wagering requirements.
- 7-8: Overall, very good. But does not fulfill everything listed above.
- 5-6: Average. Cut and paste bonuses and promotions that are extortionate.
- 0-4: Terrible. Stay away at all costs.
Game Catalog and Provider selection
Online gambling sites have different approaches to gaming. The types of games offered by a casino are an important factor that determines casino quality. There are several things we consider:
- Types of games offered (live casino, casino, etc)
- Range of games
- Quality of games
- Manufacturer brands
- Categorization and search functions
- Stats and information on games
Usually, you can try out games – especially slot games – for free. For some players, playing slot games for free is entertaining in itself. There’s no need to bet money. Other players like to familiarize themselves with a slot game first before wagering money.
Games from the most popular providers
The game studio that made the game is also an important thing to consider. Game studios have different styles when it comes to games. Players build up loyalty to particular studios and brands. Some of the classic slot game studios are NetEnt and Play’n GO. When it comes to live casinos, Evolution Gaming is the most well-known. But there are countless other studios.
9-10:The Casino has one of the biggest selections, with the newest releases, progressive jackpots,
7-9: Overall, very good choice of game, but lacking either in quality, presentation, or range.
5-6: Lack of thought behind the casino’s choice of game.
0-4: Very poor selection.
Players all have different ways of making payments according to the country they are in, personal preferences, and security reasons.
Nowadays, there are a wide range of safe and secure payment methods available. Generally speaking, the more 3rd party payment gateways that are accepted, the better – unless, of course, the gateway is flagged as being illegal.
Here are some popular methods of payment used by players around the world:
- Credit/Debit Cards: Such as Visa, MasterCard, and Maestro.
- E-Wallets: Like PayPal, Neteller, Skrill, ecoPayz, and MuchBetter.
- Bank Transfers: Direct transfers from your bank account.
- Prepaid Cards: Paysafecard and other prepaid voucher systems.
- Cryptocurrency: Bitcoin, Ethereum, and other cryptocurrencies in some online casinos.
- Mobile Payment: Some casinos accept payments via mobile services like Apple Pay or Google Pay.
Depositing and Withdrawing real money should be quick and easy. We’ll talk more about this in the next sections.
Easy deposit processes
It shouldn’t take long for players to be able to deposit money and start playing. We test the process and award points for efficiency.
In most cases, players are required to sign up or create an account with an online casino before they can deposit funds to play.
Although players have to submit identification documents to the casino, in most cases, they can start playing before their documentation is approved.
Each region has different stipulations for what information casinos require from their players.
Players understandably seek quick withdrawals. Remember, casinos need time to process documents, typically within 3 working days, though it varies. Manual processing occurs on weekdays. We value diligence and urge patience. We also assess customer support’s communication in our fair rating system
9-10: Documents/winnings processed in under 24 hours
7-8: Documents/winnings processed within 3 working days
5-6: Average and not really up to standard. It takes an unnecessarily long time for documents/winnings to be processed. Unprofessional customer service
0-4: Terrible. Documents were never approved, and winnings never processed
We test out each casino we review on our phones to ensure that the experience is smooth.
Some casinos offer a downloadable app. This is a big positive as an app generally improves the customer experience considerably.
An app should, in theory, deliver on the following:
- Enhanced Performance
- Improved User Experience
- Access to Device Features
- Offline Access
- Personalization and Customization
- Quicker Access
- Security and Privacy
- Regular Updates and Notifications.
But, apps can also create issues where data storage and compatibility are concerned. Not to mention the need for updates and bug fixes.
So, to summarize, while we appreciate apps, it’s not a requirement for high mobile performance. High mobile performance can be achieved even without an app, and our review reflects this.
9-10:The Casino has an app or a mobile-optimized website that offers a great user experience.
7-8: Overall very good but does not tick every box.
5-6: Average and not really up to standard. Try for yourself.
Before you register at a casino, we suggest you get in touch with the casino’s support team. The chat button is usually located at the bottom right of the screen, ideally somewhere visible and accessible.
Here are a few suggestions for questions you could ask pre-registration:
- What games are offered at your casino?
- Is your casino licensed?
- How can I set deposit limits or self-exclude?
- What measures are in place to ensure fair play?
- How is my personal information protected?
- Are you GDPR compliant?
- Does your casino have advanced encryption protocols, including Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) technology?
- What currencies and payment methods do you accept?
- Why should I play at your casino?
- Does your casino have an app?
9-10:The Casino has customer service that is helpful, quick, efficient, and friendly. They respond to a query right away.
7-8: The Casino has good customer support but is not the best. This could be for several reasons (ex., Rude, unhelpful, slow, etc.).
5-6: The casino has customer support, but it’s very poor and takes very long to reply (if at all).
0-4: The casino has no customer support.
Responsible Gambling & Self exclusion
For a casino to be given a license to operate in a regulated market it has to meet certain obligations. One of these is to keep a lookout for signs of problematic gambling and to give players tools to fight this. At CasinoJournal we check if the casino has the following measures in place:
- Age Verification and Identification
- Gaming Limits and Reality Checks
- Information and Awareness
- Training for Staff
- Support and Referral Services
- Responsible Marketing
- Partnerships and Collaboration
- In-house Counseling and Support
9-10: The casino has fantastic policies in place for player protection, with its own responsible gambling team and tools.
7-9: Overall very good but does not tick every box.
5-6: Average and not up to standard. Try for yourself.
In this article, we explained casinojournal’s approach to writing casino reviews. We covered the following sections:
Games and Providers
Payment Methods, Withdrawal, and Deposit Times
Responsible Gambling Measures
We tried to make our system of reviewing online casinos as thorough as possible. At the same time, we wanted to make it immediately clear and understandable to players. Through our rating system, players are able to understand our opinion of online casinos at a glance.
We’re constantly field-testing our approach. Gaming is ever-changing, with new casinos and games constantly popping up, so we need to stay current.
We believe that our casino review and rating system is one of the best out there but that doesn’t mean we won’t adjust it in the future.