There are quite a few good online casinos in the United Kingdom market. Good games, good promotions and good interfaces aren't uncommon. Some casinos rise above being merely "good", however. They do this with things like innovative features, exceptionally favourable offers or terms that move the industry in a more player-friendly direction.
If you're interested in our detailed criteria for ranking and recommending the best online casinos for UK players, you might want to check out our in-depth guide on the subject. Today's article highlights things that specific casinos are doing that make them stand out from the rest of the pack.
Search Features (Dunder)
Experienced punters know exactly what sort of games they're looking for. It can be frustrating to them when they're forced to scroll through a list of 700 unorganized slots to try to find those games.
The enhanced search features seen at Dunder are great, and are a model that we'd love to see adopted at all online casinos. Within each game category, you can select for individual game features that you're interested in. Say, progressive jackpot slots that have a specific bonus feature or type of wilds. You can also see all the games available that are just from one particular software developer and then apply individual search details to them.
Low Bonus Wagering Requirements (Grosvenor Casino)
One of the first big disappointments for the new online casino player is the discovery of wagering requirements. Now, there are good reasons for them to be in place, as the sorts of bonuses that they are attached to would bankrupt any casino if they were given out free and clear. Some casinos simply make their wagering requirements so high that the bonus becomes useless, however. If there's no realistic chance that the player will walk away with some winnings from the bonus, the whole thing is effectively a big waste of their time.
The best online casino offers keep their wagering requirements reasonable to give players a fair shot. One of the leaders of the pack right now is Grosvenor Casino. Their initial deposit bonus wagering requirement is only 5x, and that drops to 1x if you already have a Grosvenor player's club card when you sign up.
Fun Themes (Monopoly Casino, 777 Casino)
Walk around a number of casino floors and you'll soon notice how homogenous the whole industry tends to be. The same games, the same floor layouts, the same music, the same atmosphere. That design philosophy tends to extend to online casinos, which is why it is so refreshing when one comes out with a strong central theme that it commits to.
One great example is the fairly new Monopoly Casino, which is based on the famous board game. It has all the slots, table games and so on that one would expect, but the site aesthetic totally commits to the Monopoly theme. Player bonuses and the rewards system also feed back into the central Monopoly board concept.
Another good example is 777 Casino, a smaller spinoff of the famous 888 Casino. 777 focuses on replicating the atmosphere of "classic Vegas", the world of the 1960s-1980s that has almost entirely disappeared from the real Vegas at this point. It has a smaller selection of games than most, but is more focused on staying consistent with the theme and atmosphere.
Real-World Rewards (Virgin Casino, Grosvenor Casino)
Cash back is an ubiquitous perk at online casinos, and of course it's always very welcome. But it's nice when you not only get cash back, but also some real-world goodies for your play.
This can potentially happen at any online casino, but the ones that have ties to real-world properties usually offer the richest haul of benefits. Not only does your online play usually qualify you for all sorts of sporadic offline offers, you can often work your way up through the tiers of the casino's loyalty program with much more favourable online options (like playing blackjack or video poker with a strategy card). Higher tiers means more perks and benefits, from free rooms and free food to invitations to special events.
Two good examples of casinos in the UK market doing this are the aforementioned Grosvenor (which has many locations throughout England and Scotland) and Virgin (which will soon have their first real-world location in Las Vegas on the site of the former Hard Rock Casino, and rumours have been swirling about future plans for Atlantic City as well).
Gamification (Casumo Casino)
The process of grinding your way up through a casino's tier program doesn't have to be boring. Some casinos are making this process more interesting by incorporating "gamification" principles, breaking the process up into smaller and more frequent challenges or steps each with their own rewards.
Casumo Casino was one of the first properties to get in on this idea. The "adventure" mode replaces the standard dry tier program with an ongoing quest that sees your little avatar obtain new belts and outfits (along with rewards for you like free play and free spins).
Transparent RTP (Casino.com)
The "theoretical return to player", or RTP, is a percentage number that represents roughly how well a player can expect to do at a game over time. Every game has an RTP number, because it's one of the main tools by which the casino estimates how much profit they'll make on it. For example, if a game has an RTP of 99%, the casino expects to keep about 1% of all the money ever wagered on it.
Historically, casinos have not wanted players to know RTP numbers. Some software developers have opted to be transparent and publish their game RTPs, however. That's why it's impressive when a site like Casino.com decides to almost exclusively populate their lineup with games from Playtech, one of the developers that makes RTPs public for nearly all of their games.
How The Best Online Casinos Do It
The best online casinos are usually built on a solid overall foundation. By that we mean that they do everything at least decently. It's tough to find a casino that dominates in every possible category, so the best of them take that strong foundation and add one or two outstanding qualities to it.