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A Real Review or a Fake One — How to Tell the Difference?
The online gambling market is overheated, and there are hundreds or even thousands of online casinos available to players. And finding a good and fair one might be a challenging task, especially if you are a newbie. Reading casino reviews can really help to make the right choice, but only if you know how to distinguish a review from a real player from the one written by a professional copywriter.
Here is my tip: pay attention to the details and opt for the reviews that have screenshots in them. It wouldn’t guarantee that the review is 100% unbiased, but it will mean that the author has at least opened the casino website and tried to make some bets. And don’t trust your eyes: look at those reviews and make sure they are relevant and up-to-date.
I’ve reviewed a lot of popular and niche online casinos and constantly continue to do it, so if you are in need of an honest opinion — better look for it here on my site. All my reviews are unbiased, unpaid, and come with a bunch of real screenshots and GIFs to prove my point. If the casino is good — I’ll be glad to recommend it to my readers. If it remains wanting — I’ll give you all the details of its disadvantages so you can make your own decision.
Now let’s look at them in more detail.
How I Review Online Casinos: 6 Criteria
You need a clear system to write detailed casino reviews, and my system consists of six criteria that I use every time when a new casino comes into my hands. Here they are:
1. Safety and reliability
You can find a casino with the most beautiful design ever, claim the best bonuses, and play the best games, but it will make no sense if the casino is not properly licensed or doesn't protect the players’ data. No winnings matter when your personal and financial information is stolen by scammers, do they? So, the casino’s reliability is the thing I start with when writing a review, and here are the factors I pay attention to.
Here in Australia, we don’t always have access to international online casinos with the most reliable licenses like the one from UKGC, but it doesn’t mean that there can be no license at all. I always make sure that the casino has the Curaçao or MGA license and if it doesn’t — my review is not going to be good, believe me.
When a casino has a valid license, it means that if something goes wrong (for example, you can’t get your money withdrawn) — there is someone you can address a complaint too and get help. So, it’s the factor that I simply can’t skip. And wouldn’t be satisfied with just a licensing body logo at the bottom of the website. What I do is I click on it and check whether I get redirected to the full license text, and carefully read it if I do.
Having the license is good enough, but I also like it when a casino has testing certificates from independent agencies like eCOGRA, iTech Labs or GLI. It’s not always the case with new casinos and the absence of such a certificate doesn’t necessarily mean that the casino is bad, but I’ll have to indicate it in my review nevertheless.
You can’t always make a complete background-check if you are not working for the intelligence agency, you know, but at least checking the basics of the casino’s reputation will do good. I always read other players’ reviews, learn how long the casino has been in operation and who are its owners, and verify whether there are other casinos owned by the company.
2. Payment options available
For a good online casino, providing swift and safe payments is the must, and the more banking options the casino has to offer — the better grade it will get from me. And gets especially important when you are betting from Australia, where some of the popular options like PayPal can’t be used.
In my reviews, you’ll find the lists of all the available payment methods the casinos have, with the special attention given to the withdrawal options. The reason is, some online casinos have fast and easy deposits, but then get pretty slow when it comes to cashing out the wins, and I don’t want you to wait for a week to get your money or go through an overly thorough KYC procedure.
3. List of games
You can understand that the casino is good once you see a long list of games made by reputable providers. So, it’s another point I always include in my reviews.
Variety of games
Pokies are hands down the most popular online casino game in the world, so a good casino will have a lot of them, including classic 3-reel fruit machines and sophisticated video pokies. I usually play a pokie when testing a casino and writing a review, as it’s fast, easy, and just fun.
But the fans of table games should have something to play too, so I make sure there are also Roulette games, Blackjack, Poker, Baccarat, Craps, and so on.
One more important factor is the availability of live-dealer games. Today, you can’t call yourself a good online casino if you don’t have at least a couple of dozens of live products, and I won’t close my eyes to such a slip.
There are two reasons why I prefer online casinos with the games made by the worldwide-known developers. First of all, it’s just much more fun to play high-quality games created by real professionals (even though products by indie companies can sometimes be good as well). And, secondly, renowned names on the game list are a clear seal of approval for a casino, as reputable brands never cooperate or let their products be used by shady websites.
4. Bonuses and promotions
Even though we all like online casinos for games and bets, we also like them for the free stuff they can give us. But that stuff should be of high quality, otherwise, it’s not worth my (and your) attention.
It’s a tradition for a casino to meet the new players with a welcome bonus. In most cases, it will consist of a 100% or 200% deposit match and some free spins. And in most cases, the players won’t even bother to read the terms once they see such an offer. It can lead to unexpected results, but luckily, I always check the terms for you in my reviews.
If I decide to claim the bonus, I’ll tell you why I believe it to be lucrative and recommend claiming it. If I turn the offer down, I’ll also explain the reason — most likely, I don’t like wagering requirements or other bonus terms.
A welcome bonus is not the only offer you’ll meet in online casinos, and I’ll be sure to tell you about every freebie you can get, as long as it’s worth it. Get ready for the screenshots of loyalty and VIP programs, free spins offers, holiday promotions, and so on.
Some of the bonuses are only valid for a limited time, and even though I try to update the information as often as possible, it’s better if you don’t wait for too long and claim them while they last. And, of course, you can always find all the available promotions on this page.
5. Mobile compatibility
As so many players prefer betting from their smartphones, checking the mobile compatibility of a casino is inevitable if you want to write an honest review. Usually, I test a mobile version of a casino, and then check a desktop version to see whether there are any important differences. These are the aspects I look into in a mobile casino:
- All the features and games should be available;
- There are no freezes or crashes;
- A casino is easy to navigate;
- The connection is safe and secure.
6. Customer service
Even if you are a professional player, you still can have questions or issues while betting online. So, my last criterion is the quality of customer support. To test how responsive and friendly it is, I come up with a simple question and address it in a live chat (if there is no live chat, I’ll mention it specifically in my review as it’s a bad sign).
I want my questions to be answered fast, customer service members to be polite and helpful, and the whole communication process to be easy and pleasant. If I can check all these boxes — the casino can hope to get a straight-A.
Other Things to Consider in a Review
While these 6 criteria cover almost every aspect of the casino quality, there are some other things I pay attention to when evaluating a casino. They might not be as important as the above-mentioned factors, but they can give some additional points to a casino, or take some from it:
- availability of free demos
- website interface and design
- betting and withdrawal limits
I try to look for something positive in every casino if it’s not perfect but has some good potential. But there are some things that I can’t forgive and if I see just one of them — the casino will quickly make its way to my blacklist. These are:
- Slow payouts or non-payment of the wins;
- Data leaks;
- The use of fake games.
If you see that the casino is blacklisted — please, steer clear of it. There are a lot of safe and reputable casinos to choose from, and there is no point to risk your money and personal information.
To write a high-quality online casino review, I start with collecting the information, checking other players’ opinions, and reading everything I can find about the casino. Then, I start testing it myself. I document every step with a screenshot or a GIF, so you can see a clear picture. I’ll tell you both about the advantages and the pitfalls of the casino, so you can make your own opinion and decide whether you want to make your bets there.
I hope my reviews will help you find your perfect online casino and win big!
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