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How We Rate Online Casinos (Plus Advice You Might Not Expect)

How We Rate Online Casinos

Do you want to play your favorite casino game online? Well, you have one challenge before you. You need to choose a casino – from a pool of dozens, maybe even hundreds of potential choices. And the hard part?

Most casinos aren’t worth your time. Can you tell the difference?

Sure, you could sign up to each room, make a deposit and play. But that’s the long way. And who knows how much money you’ll lose in the process.

No, a much better solution is to visit different review sites (like this one) and use their rating system. Let them do the research for you. But before you do, let us let you in on a tip …a secret that might save you a few bucks (and your hairline).

Every single review site is biased.

Because every review site’s goal is to make a commission by sending new players to casinos. Some sites don’t care about your experience. They’ll send you off to the highest bidder. It doesn’t matter if the casino will treat you right.

Others, like us, are biased too. But we try to balance our needs with yours. We send you to casinos that we feel will be a win-win-win (you-us-our partners). But you shouldn’t take my word, our word, or anyone’s word at face value. Instead you should have your BS radar on full blast, making sure we walk the walk as well as we talk the talk.

The simplest way is to compare the information you read from reviews written by each – maybe even with your firsthand experience at an online casino. Then see how honest and accurate all the information was.
That includes us.

But before you read our reviews we want to tell you what we look for in every casino we review, and how that affects the ratings we give them.

What Our Rating System Looks Like

Some review sites have rating systems. Others don’t. It’s not required, but we do think it helps our visitors see how much we like a room …or how much we dislike a room. It’s more specific than saying, we recommend this casino, or, we don’t recommend this casino.

We prefer to do that using a grading system. Everyone knows what this looks like from when we were in school. It’s universal.

Here’s how our grading system looks:

Top of the line casino. They have great promos. They have excellent software, thanks to working with multiple software companies. They have multiple banking options, low fees, and fast cash out times. Only casinos that have been online for 2+ years are eligible for an A. The bottom line – we don’t give A’s to just anyone.

A solid casino worth joining. They’re usually strong in a couple areas – maybe games and promotions – but are somewhat weak in others – maybe banking options, fees, or their software is so-so. This is the best grade we’ll give a brand new room (less than 2 years old).

An average casino. It might be worth joining, but only as a backup. A casino with this grade will have okay games, software, banking options, fees, etc. They may even be strong in a few areas. But we wouldn’t sign up to one of these casinos expecting anything great.

A casino that’s average in a few areas, but is (probably) failing in others. They might have really bad promo terms, banking fees, or horrible waiting times on cash outs. Casinos that receive a D usually have something predatory wrong with them. We’d recommend avoiding these casinos.

A casino that fails in multiple areas. They may have predatory terms or fees, despite being an “honest” company overall. They may also be a scam. We’d recommend avoiding these casinos at all costs.

One thing to keep in mind is our rating system is general. These ratings will vary if we were choosing a casino based on a specific game, promotion, or a software company. We’ll also add a +/- when we think a casino is between two grades.

But grades are only one half of our rating system.

What Do We Grade Exactly?

What we grade is important, too. You ought to know what we think is important when we assess and grade a casino (since you’re basing your decisions on our rating system).

Here’s what’s at the top of our list:

Games

Easily the most important factor. Why else would you be at a casino?

We look for a few things including variety, software providers, unique and/or exclusive games, favorable rules/odds, and jackpots.

Software

Software affects the types of games offered. Some software providers (Microgaming, Playtech, Betsoft) are better than others (Real Time Gaming, Rival) – which we grade accordingly. Much of this has to do with the quality, quantity and exclusivity of the games available.

Banking

We look for the number of options offered, how fast they turnaround cash outs, fees, and the min/max deposits and cash outs.

Promotions

There are several important things we look for. We want a lot of quality promos. This includes welcome bonuses, reload bonuses, VIP / cash back programs, and perks for high rollers. At the same time, promos mean nothing if the terms suck or are predatory.

The Company

We look for how long the casino’s been in business, if they’re running a legit company (they have all their licenses and paperwork in order), if there are any complaints (and have they been taken care of), and so on.

This is what we spend our time looking for. And we review a LOT of online casinos.

But you don’t have to.

In fact, we can let you in on a little secret that will save you a WHOLE LOT of time.

Most Online Casinos Suck – Here’s Why

Did you read over our rating system in the last section? Then let us let you in on a little secret.

Most casinos are average. Most do not deserve a rating higher than a C. And we’ll tell you why.

Most casinos are stamped out. They’re not unique. They use white-label programs so they can get up and running fast.

The upside, for them, is they can have marketing, games, software, and so on, handled for them. They just need to come up with a nifty name, get their licensing in order, and off they go.

We think the best example of this type of casino is nearly every casino (only!) powered by Real Time Gaming. The biggest difference between all their casinos is how they look …and maybe their offers. That’s it.

From a player’s perspective this sucks because:

  • All the games are the same from one casino to the next.
  • Most promotions are identical. And they (often) have crappy terms.
  • Support is lacking or non-existent.

Our guess is these companies are 110% in it for the money. They don’t care about your experience. And they certainly won’t go out of their way to make you happy, let alone give you a reason to come back.

You can avoid these casinos simply by finding casinos that work with multiple software companies. This alone will make them different than 95% of what’s out there.

Another good indicator of a casino worth joining is one that DOESN’T accept Americans. Sorry, but it’s got to be said. So many software companies won’t work with casinos that accept Americans because the legalities are still a gray area in the States.

But these happen to be the BEST software companies. They run legit companies that also only work with other legit companies.

Can you see how that benefits you? They already vet a casino before we/you check them out. On top of that they’ll have great software and games.

It might take you a few tries to find these casinos. But it’s worth the effort. And, ultimately, as long as you avoid making the following mistake – the #1 mistake most people make – you should be okay.

The #1 Biggest Mistake People Make When Choosing a Casino

Our suggestions above are going to fall on deaf ears for some people. And here’s why. People make this mistake when choosing a casino. It’s easily the #1 biggest mistake you can make.

They chase the almighty dollar.

They tend to fall in love with casinos that offer big bonuses, contests and free money. But there’s a lot of danger when you think like this.

Many rooms – shady ones – that offer HUGE bonuses often don’t pay out. They try to talk their way out of it by saying you broke a rule. Others will retroactively change their terms to fit their case/argument.
Worse yet, some rooms will just ignore you. Or bail.

Other rooms have terrible play through requirements. They’ll tell you that you need to wager tens of thousands – even hundreds of thousands of dollars – before you can cash out a 3 or 4 figure bonus.

Other times they’ll just try to keep you from cashing out. They’ll offer all sorts of money offers knowing that if you sign up you’ll never be able to clear the wagering requirements – which means you’ll never be able to cash out without breaking the rules, thus not getting all or any of your money.

There are some legit casinos out there with good promotions. No doubt about that.

But when you chase the money instead of chasing the games, software and legit companies behind these casinos, you often find yourself entangled with companies who are just after your money. Casinos that have horrible terms.

The bottom line – don’t chase the money. It’ll bite you in the butt.

Conclusion: Take This Advice with a Grain of Salt

We have to eat our own dog food.

In other words, we can’t tell you all the things to be aware of, or the reasons why you may or may not be able to trust a review site, without also telling you to beware of the advice we give you, too.

Don’t take everything we write as gospel. Be skeptical of what we tell you. From here we suggest you read our reviews. Then compare what we say to what you read elsewhere. Then try out the casinos for yourself.

Not only will you develop a healthy skepticism for whoever’s trying to get you to do something that has a financial interest in you doing so (like us directing you to a casino and getting paid for it), but in the long run we know you’re more likely to trust us if we genuinely tell you to be skeptical, double check all your facts, and then, and only then, direct you to a casino.

And when you have a good time? You’ll be back for more.