You have a huge choice of online casinos, with new brands popping up all the time to compete with the established operators. While most of these casinos are legitimate – there are rogues among them. On first view, it can also be hard to differentiate small outfits with the same old games from those casinos offering unique slots, table games and more. This page will make sure that you choose the best online casino site for your location and preferences – without getting burned.
There are two distinct groups of online casino – those which are open to US based players and those which are not. While both operate legally, the publically owned European casinos do not offer games to US players. This is due to the UIGEA, passed in 2006, which prevents US banks transacting with gambling sites. Casinos which do offer games to US players are based in countries which allow gambling and believe they have a right to accept players from the US under international free trade laws. These jurisdictions include the Netherlands Antilles, Antigua, Panama and the Kahnawake tribal lands which are located within Canada.
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Casino Site Reviews
Casino Sites and Software Providers
Very few online casinos create their own games. These are created by 3rd party software specialists and then licensed to the casino operators. Some of these software houses are huge – for example MicroGaming and PlayTech. These companies are both listed on the London Stock Exchange, which prevents them transacting with casinos allowing US players.
Fortunately, there are also casino software houses which are based in those same offshore jurisdictions where US friendly casinos are found. These include popular software suites by RealTime Gaming, slots from BetSoft and others including WGS, Rival Gaming, and Arrows Edge. Between these platforms, you’ll find a solid selection of table games and 100’s of video slots at US casino sites.
Offshore Casino Sites for US Players
A regular question is ‘are offshore casinos safe?’ The answer is yes, though outside of the regulated markets that the rest of the world enjoys, it is certainly worth spending a little extra time double-checking the reputation of an operator before you deposit.
Here at CasinoGamblingStrategy.com, we only review and recommend casinos which reach our standards in terms of reputation, fast payments, and customer support. Each casino should have a license, have their games independently tested and verified and offer full contact details too. When you combine these factors which a long history (long enough for any payment issues or shady practices to have surfaced), then you usually have a site which you can deposit at in confidence.
Here are some examples of US friendly casinos which we are happy to recommend:
Bovada Casino: Exclusively open to North American residents, Bovada is the continuation of the popular Bodog brand which has provided betting and casino games to the US since the 1990’s. You’ll find RealTime Gaming and BetSoft slots and table games here, along with generous bonus offers. A smaller selection of the games can be accessed through mobile devices. Check out our Bovada Casino Review for full details.
Drake Casino: This casino stands out from the crowd by mixing casino games and slots from Arrows Edge and BetSoft – a selection which includes a lot of linked jackpot slots. This casino does not require a download, with the full selection of games available through your browser window. See our detailed Drake Casino Review for more.
Casino Sites for Non-US Players
For players worldwide, the choices of software and games expand rapidly. This creates issues if its own – with all this choice, where are you supposed to find the best games? While this is a matter of personal taste in many cases, you will find some casinos which aggregate the games of many of the leading software providers. 888 Casino is a great example of this, with the added advantage of having many of their own unique games alongside those from PlayTech, Net Entertainment, and others. You will also find that non-US casinos offer a wider range of live-dealer casino games, which mix online betting action with a real time croupier, streamed to your computer in HD video.
Licensing for non-US casino sites comes from places like Malta, Gibraltar, Alderney and the Isle of Man. In addition to better oversight, you’ll be able to enjoy a lot more payment options – many casinos accepting PayPal and debit cards in addition to services which are for specific countries.
For non-US readers seeking a solid casino – our top recommendation is 888.
888 Casino: One of the biggest and best-known gambling companies, with licenses around the world and a solid track record. 888 collect games and slots from many software houses, and also offer their own unique titles. 888 Casino have desktop software, and instant play client and also apps for both Apple and Android devices. Read our 888 Casino Review here.
Accessing Casino Sites on Desktop and Mobile Devices
In the past you had to download a software package onto you Windows PC to be able to access casino games. Nowadays you can access all the games you’ll ever need through your browser. These use a mixture of Flash, HTML5 or Java – and are every bit as stable as the old download versions.
Games are also available on mobile devices like phones and tablets. The usual solution is not to create dedicated apps for this (though some casinos, for example 888, do have these) – instead using browser games which adjust to your screen size. Some casino software works better on the smaller screens than others. For US players, look out for casinos featuring BetSoft slots, many of these have been designed with phone sized screens in mind.
One huge advantage to browser-based casino games is that casinos are no longer restricted to one type of software. When you read our comprehensive casino reviews you will find many examples of casinos featuring the games of several software providers.
Other Key Factors to Look for in Online Casino Reviews
When you first access a casino’s website, they can all look very similar – promising the best bonuses, greatest selection of games and regular promotions.
Several of the key factors have already been covered on this page. These include reputation, licensing, software and device compatibility. Some other factors that I like to look out for include how fast you will be able to clear your welcome bonus and how good ongoing promotions are for loyal players.
While every casino offers at least a 100% match on your first deposit – the rates at which this bonus cash can be unlocked vary widely. Each casino will specify the number of times this bonus must be gambled before you can withdraw it (if you can withdraw it at all). The best casinos are closer to 20 times than 50 times ‘play-through’. You can also look out for weightings given to different games – or even games which are completely excluded.
Your welcome bonus will usually be cleared very fast. This means that the ongoing promotions and VIP reward schemes should be given a bigger priority than the initial bonus when making your choice of where to play. Look out for casinos with regular reloads, free spins and extras for checking out their mobile or live-dealer casino sections. Those rewards can add up over time!