When you’re hoping to begin playing slot games, there’s much more to consider than signing up with one of the first new online casinos you come across. You’ve got to be sure that the one you choose is a safe, reputable establishment. Many newcomers are unaware of the pitfalls of committing themselves to a rogue casino and have no idea about how to check its credibility. But by the time you’ve finished reading our detailed guide, you should be much wiser before you sign up instead of after.
WHY IS IT IMPORTANT?
Anyone who unwittingly joins a rogue online casino usually lives to regret it. You need to be aware that rogue casinos can often be operated by criminal gangs that are incredibly well-organised and competent at creating websites that, on the surface look convincing. Two main dangers are identity theft and being cheated of your money. At the very least, you could end up playing slots that are rigged and unfairly draining your funds every time you play.
Our advice is to take your time when choosing an online casino. The best ones won’t be going anywhere because they’ll concentrate on steadily building a batch of regular players by offering great service and exciting slot games. If you’re desperate to play a slot game you’ve only just heard about, it’s sure to still be around for years to come. Even now, players are still enjoying slots like IGT’s Cleopatra and Microgaming’s Mega Moolah that were released in 2005 and 2006 respectively, simply because they’re great games that offer exciting payouts. You should be patient, weigh up what a few different casinos offer, and make the security checks we’ll tell you about next.
IS THE CASINO LICENCED?
Every reputable online casino will have obtained a licence either from the United Kingdom Gambling Commission (UKGC) or an equivalent authority such as Alderney, Gibraltar or Malta. You’ll find some casinos are licenced from further afield in the territories of Costa Rica, Antigua, Curacao and Panama. Some casinos are even licenced by more than one regulatory body. Honest casinos are proud to belong to these authorities as it reassures potential customers to join them.
HOW TO CHECK THE CASINO’S LICENCE
The licence number of a casino will be listed at the bottom of the site’s home page. It should contain a link to the UKGC where it will tell you everything you need to know about the casino’s status. To help you know what to expect, you can now look at the UKGC’s Licence Finder to see how quick and easy it is to check on a casino’s registration. We check new online casinos in this way all the time when we’re deciding whether to include them in our listings.
Every new slots player must feel confident that the casino and the games they choose are being operated fairly. You can gain peace of mind by checking for the logo of an independent auditor such as eCOGRA alongside the UKGC certification at the foot of the home page. eCogra have been in existence since 2003 and its seal of approval is another safeguard when you choose a casino. Officially licenced casinos have to agree to regular testing of their Random Number Mechanisms (RNG) by independent auditors otherwise their licence is revoked.
RANDOM NUMBER GENERATING TESTING
The RNG is responsible for selecting the outcome of your spins when you play slots. Every potential combination of the symbols is allocated a long numerical code that run in a continuous cycle. One of them is randomly chosen at the moment you spin the reels. It’s this operating procedure that is tested for fairness by eCOGRA regularly. What the auditors look for is that the Return To Player (RTP) percentages are within the specified limits for each of the games. Checking the RNG mechanisms and RTP percentages monthly involves millions of spins. Determining the RTP correctly is achieved by dividing the amount of money returned collectively to players by the money placed during that time as wagers.
BEST FOR SLOTS PLAYERS
The work of both the UKGC and eCOGRA has been massively beneficial to slots players through standardising operating practices and protecting them from fraudulent activity and exploitation. Reputable casinos also welcome their endorsements as it enables players like yourself to have trust in their services. Our advice is don’t risk playing at any casino where you can’t see the accreditations of official auditors or licensing authorities.
When you want to play some of the best slot games ever invented, you must ensure that your casino has compiled its library from the most accomplished software providers. That way, you can play the greatest variety of games.
Microgaming is acknowledged as the original provider of online slots established before anyone else in 1995. There are now around 900 slot games in Microgaming’s catalogue, and they cover every category you can think of. There are adventures, humour and slots based on cute nursery rhymes such as Bar Bar Black Sheep with a 95.32% RTP in the three-reel version and a 96.6% RTP for the five-reel. Microgaming also creates games with popular themes such as creepy horrors like Halloween featuring a 96.01% RTP and characters from the 1978 film that is now a cult classic.
NetEnt was launched in 1996 and has entertained us all with action-packed slots with incredible graphics. You’ll be able to look forward to playing NetEnt slots with great themes and innovative features such as Avalanche Reels that can activate a series of cash prizes from just one spin. You’ll find it in the amazing Gonzo’s Quest, a legendary game set in the days of the Spanish Conquistadors that boasts free spins, multipliers and a 96% RTP. But don’t take our word for it, you’ll have to try it for yourself to discover why it’s still so popular after more than a decade.
OTHER EXCITING SOFTWARE PROVIDERS
Other famous software providers with dynamic slot games include Play’n GO, which has a series of exciting Rich Wilde action adventures. IGT has successfully transferred many land-based casino classics such as Cleopatra to the online arena. It has the potential for great cash wins when you activate a bonus round that can lead to an incredible 180 free spins. Other software providers you’ll want to learn more about include Playtech, Blueprint, Thunderkick, Foxium, Eyecon, Big Time Gaming. An unwritten rule seems to be that the more providers a casino has its slots from, the more reliable it should be. And a large selection of software providers will help you to discover the most well-known slots while enjoying the best variation in themes, features and cash prizes.
Although we hope you’ll be looking out for some of the casinos we list for great free play offers, you might still eventually want to pay money to play your favourite slots. The most reliable online casinos usually offer a wide range of payment methods. These often include Visa, Mastercard and Maestro debit cards. If you’re new to slots and online casinos, you need to know that of April 2020, the UKGC issued new rules to ensure that credit cards could no longer be used. The measure was introduced to help safeguard players against incurring debts while playing slots or other online casino games. If you find a casino that still offers the use of credit cards, it won’t be licenced with the UKGC.
Other payment methods include e-money wallets such as Neteller, Skrill, PayPal and many others. They are an instant and easy way to fund your slots at online casinos. They also give you a certain amount of privacy as you don’t have to provide the casino with your banking details. Trustly is another convenient method that acts as a type of money exchange between your bank account and the casino. Some casinos even offer the use of cryptocurrency such as Lite and Ethereum, but the most common is Bitcoin. If none of the well-known payment methods that we’ve mentioned here appear to be offered by a casino, it should make you suspicious of their legality.
DEPOSITS AND WITHDRAWALS
Every reputable online casino tries to include methods for deposits and withdrawals that combine ease of use for their customers with additional safeguards against fraud. Occasionally, your choice of an e-money wallet, such as Neteller, might not be compatible with making withdrawals and deposits. The reason is that some of these payment methods have an element of anonymity. The convenient mobile payment method of Boku is fine for making daily deposits, but it’s regarded as being too anonymous for the casinos to allow it to withdraw funds from your account. You’ll have to open an alternative account with a suitable payment provider in this case.
Reputable casinos are very wary of falling victim to organised crime and need to be convinced that any money that they pay out is going to the rightful owner. We all have our preferred payment options, but we always recommend that new players think carefully about which type to use before signing up in case you find out later that you must use two different methods. Casinos usually limit how much you can withdraw in one transaction and sometimes only allow a set number of withdrawals in a week or month.
One of the main considerations in choosing a casino is safety. Some players are so concerned that they use a VPN (Virtual Personal Network) to disguise where they are playing from. But they usually find it impossible to access their winnings if the casino requires them to provide proof of their address. The use of VPNs has also been banned by many online casinos to prevent people from claiming a bonus more than once. However, if you join a reputable online casino, you should be confident in the safety they provide.
The best online casinos operate through Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) 128-bit encryption code. It’s a technologically advanced system that offers the same high level of security as those used by banks and finance companies. The casinos use powerful software that protects your transactions and personal data from illegal hacking. The Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI DSS) is an officially recognised organisation at the forefront of ensuring safety for online financial transactions and the protection of personal data involved in such activities.
The PCI DSS sets out various regulations for businesses of all sizes, including online casinos, to use acceptable software and procedures with the highest levels of security. The measures protect both parties involved in a financial transaction from fraud and hackers. Casinos must comply with the security measures required by the PCI DSS for all the processes involved in a transaction, such as acceptance of money, data storage and the transfer of funds. Compliance gives players the best security against fraudulent activity and any personal data breaches. Suppose a casino wasn’t PCI DSS compliant and therefore allowed a breach to occur, it would then be liable for a very large fine.
TERMS AND CONDITIONS
Every casino has a page with Terms and Conditions highlighting all the precise information you need. You’ll find details about who owns the casino, which payment methods it supports and if there are any additional fees for using them. The best online casinos usually write their terms and conditions in plain English to help their customers easily find the relevant information and fully understand its meaning. Casinos with something to hide often write their Terms and Conditions in an awkward style that seems confusing and difficult to fathom.
Regardless of how long this informational document appears to be, we suggest you persevere with it as it can help you decide if you want to become a member of a particular casino. You’ll discover how much you can withdraw, whether there are any time limits to claim special offers and which providers they are associated with. You can also find out which slot games you can play while using a bonus. Some casinos restrict it to a single slot, alternatively, some casinos let you choose any of the games from a particular provider.
CHOOSING A WELCOME BONUS
The variety of welcome bonuses that are on offer can be very persuasive. A percentage match promising to pay you up to 200% of your initial deposit may sound tempting, but always spend a few minutes reading the fine print to discover if there are any wagering requirements. These can be up to seventy-five times and you’ll have to repeatedly place wagers equalling your bonus until you’ve matched that number. Some welcome packages even add the bonus and deposit together, meaning you’ll need to play even more to clear it. We advise looking at plenty of casino offers and determining which offers the best value before signing up. And some of the most impressive offers from reputable new casinos is free play.
FREE SPINS NO DEPOSIT BONUSES
We have an exciting selection of new free spins no deposit bonuses in our listings. They allow you to enjoy free spins without paying any type of deposit. It’s a popular offer that evolved from the rivalry between casinos to attract customers. Reputable casinos aren’t afraid to let new players try out their site with some quality free play. They are usually confident you’ll find plenty of entertaining slots and features to keep you returning for more. A bonus offering free play usually has a limit of ten to thirty free spins. However, they might be subject to a time limit and wagering requirements for the cash prizes you win.
FREE SPINS NO DEPOSIT NO WAGERING BONUS
An alternative in our listings is the even more popular free spins no deposit no wager bonus. It’s great fun as you can try out a reputable casino to see if it’s your type of place and you don’t have to pay a penny towards your free spins. But amazingly, there are no wagering requirements to tie up your cash prizes! As long as you comply with the casino’s policy on withdrawal limits, you can access your winnings without delay.
FREE PLAY SLOTS
A free spins no deposit bonus is perfect for checking out a reputable casino and can be used to try a slot game. If you’re new to slots, you’ll have an incredible choice. Apart from NetEnt’s Starburst, Rich Wilde and Book of Dead are among the most popular slots offered with a free spins no deposit bonus. We’d mentioned this series from Play’n GO earlier on, but we can recommend it as it’s an exciting slot with excellent graphics. It has a great theme of searching for cash prizes in one of the ancient Egyptian pyramids and involves special symbols and free spins round. With ten generous paylines and a maximum payout of 5,000 times your bet, it’s a thrilling slot to try for free.
CHOICE OF SLOTS
A trustworthy online casino will usually be associated with many popular software providers enabling you to play an exciting range of slots. You’ll encounter all types of games with simple and complex formats. Fishin’ Frenzy by Reel Time Gaming has a relaxed atmosphere as you try to land pelicans and fish while waiting to activate the Bonus Round, where there are up to twenty free spins. It has a generous RTP of 96.12% and a low variance which is ideal for a beginner as it should provide you with lots of small wins. An easy-to-play three-reel slot with a 96.52% is Triple Tiger by Pragmatic Play. It has just one payline for straightforward betting and you can win cash prizes of up to 500 times your bet for landing three identical tigers.
MAKING A DECISION
It can be difficult deciding which gaming site to join, but a free spins bonus can help you discover what it’s like to play slots in an online casino. The hard work carried out by organisations such as the UKGC, e-COGRA and the PCI DSS, should help you feel safe at a legally licenced site. However, it’s vitally important to only gamble what you can afford to lose. But now you’ve found out what to look for in a reputable online casino, we can make your search even easier. We check all the established and new online casinos to ensure we only present you with properly licenced sites. Choose wisely and you can begin to play some exciting slot games.