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Casino Reviews – What we check for when testing online casinos

With so many online casinos out there nowadays, each battling to attract and retain players in different parts of the world, the competition between gambling sites couldn’t be fiercer. And that’s a great thing for players looking to try their hand at an online casino for the first time or for those looking for a new place at which to play. Increased competition means that each brand is looking to outdo its rivals by coming up with the best welcome bonus packages, the largest selection of high-quality casino games, featuring plenty of ongoing promotions throughout the year, having a wide choice of different payment methods, and so on. In short, they all compete to be the best online casino out there. Finding the best one can, however, become a bit tricky with all the choices out there, and that’s why we here at GoodLuckMate have completed thousands of casino reviews and tests – so choosing the right casino for you will be a breeze!

We’ll be taking a look at each of the important factors and more to give you the best understanding of what makes a site great, while also showing you what things could be done better at some sites.

Also, it’s worth remembering whilst reading through this article that each GoodLuckMate casino review covers each of these areas in detail so that you can make an informed decision about where to play. So, as we go over the good, the bad, and the ugly, think about what features are most important to you. For example, it’s all well and good being able to use your preferred payment method at a given casino, but not so great if there are fairly low withdrawal limits or it takes days on end to get ahold of your winnings. So, as you can see, we have lots of elements to explore here today, so let’s get started on one of the most important considerations for a great many players – the type, number, and quality of the games offered…

How we find the best casinos

After hours and hours of testing games, reading all bonus terms, and going through the casinos, top to bottom, we reach a conclusion about which are the very best ones. The casinos that do everything right score in the very top for all categories. This is what we have been checking:

  • Game selection: How many different game categories do the casino offer? Do they have more than just casino games such as sports betting, poker, and bingo?
  • Bonuses and promotions: Do they have a welcome bonus, and how about other VIP programs or promotions for existing players? As for the offers players do get, are the bonus terms fair?
  • Usability: Is the site easy to navigate, and do they have any special features to ease the use of the site, or perhaps good filters for games? And what about the mobile casino?
  • Customer support: Is it easy to get a hold of their customer support when you need help, and which contact options do they have? Is there a FAQ on the site?
  • Payment: How can a player easily make deposits and withdrawals, and which payment methods are supported? Do they also offer a lot of currencies?
  • Security and licensing: Is the casino safe to play at? Which gaming license do they have, do they use a safe encryption, and what about fair gaming?

Play the top casino games

Without a great selection of casino games from the best providers on the planet, you’re not going to have a very good time regardless of a site’s other plus-points. That’s why we always go into detail about the providers you can expect to find at each online casino we review. Having a nice mix of global powerhouse suppliers such as NetEnt, Microgaming, and Playtech, for example, as well as some of the more innovative companies such as Yggdrasil, Play’n GO, and Pragmatic Play, to name but a few, can really enhance your overall experience. 

The same thing goes for Live Casino experts, too, where we always look to have at least one of the renowned studios on board, from the pinnacle of Evolution to NetEnt Live, Ezugi, Authentic Gaming and Pragmatic Play Live. After a while, you’ll no doubt find one or two providers that tick all your boxes, so you can then narrow down your search to those suppliers alone. And seeing as Live Casino is becoming ever more popular, we always look for a great selection of these titles.

Next up, you need to check if an online casino, sportsbook, or poker site features the kinds of games you find most appealing. After all, there are many choices out there. These include the main categories of slots (such as classic, video, and progressive jackpot slots) and table games (including roulette, blackjack, baccarat, sic bo, casino poker, craps, and so on). Without these, an online casino won’t score many points with us. Then there are other kinds of games, such as scratch cards, peer-to-peer poker, bingo, provably fair, and sports betting, which all need to be included at your site of choice if these represent the gambling action you want to play the most.

Find the best welcome bonuses

Once you’ve sussed out that a few appealing online casinos have sufficient quantities of the games you want to play, the next thing to look at is what you can expect in terms of a welcome bonus. These are definitely not created equal at various different brands. For example, you may find that some sites enable you to try all the features with a sign-up deal that can include a small amount of bonus cash, free spins, or free bets simply for registering a new account – which means you can get a free no deposit bonus!

But even if an online casino doesn’t offer a sign-up offer, there’s plenty of bankroll boosting promotions running at near enough every site (with a few exceptions) to get your journey off to the best start possible. Sometimes this will be a one-off deposit bonus giving you a vital cash injection and/or some free spins for popular slots, whereas other casinos will give you multiple bites of the cherry over your first three to five deposits into your account. Just note the minimum deposit amounts each time, and see how much of a percentage you get on top. Some deals will stick with the more or less standard 100% double your money offers, others will drop down to something like 50% or 25%, while some brands offer astonishing amounts like 200%, 300% or even more!

However, each deal will come with certain terms and conditions, including wagering requirements most of the time, so these need to be considered carefully before you sign on the dotted line. Thankfully, GoodLuckMate details each of the significant T&Cs in our reviews and gives an honest view of what’s being asked of a player, so that you can get a complete picture. 

Enjoy regular casino promotions

After (or alongside) the welcome bonus phase, you will find that the vast majority of online casinos will run other promotions throughout the year. These can be regular promos that you can pick up on certain days of each week, such as reload bonuses, slots tournaments, prize draws, cashback deals, and free spins for some of the best casino games in existence. So, it’s well worth checking back here for updates on the deals or else heading to the casino’s Promotions page regularly so that you don’t miss out. Additionally, you may find that special casino promotions are run periodically at different times of the year. For example, Christmas and Easter are two of the busiest times of the year for finding great casino bonuses, competitions, and exclusive goodies, or else during popular sporting events like the World Cup.

Furthermore, there are many other types of rewards and additional extras that you can pick up when you’re loyal to a site for a good period of time. Many brands run a loyalty scheme or a VIP program to give a whole bunch of additional goodies to players who stick around in the long run, make regular deposits, and spending plenty of time playing the various casino games. Typically, the rewards and bonuses increase with time, until you’re at the stage where you can regularly claim cashback on losses, pick up better or more frequent reload bonuses, and take part in super-exclusive competitions against other players. Also, it’s worth mentioning that some online casinos have a shop in which you can spend your loyalty points on bonuses, free spins, or physical items such as TVs, smartphones, and tablets. So be on the lookout for those!

Explore the features and functions

Another important factor when deciding on a new casino is the site design, functions, and additional features that either make your life that much easier or else give it a feeling of being welcomed home to a familiar place. Chief amongst these, we would argue, is the first impression that you get from things like the color scheme, the overall layout so that things are easy to find in an instant, and the use of animations to create a smooth experience as you click buttons, scroll through pages, and play the games. Therefore, when testing a casino, we always spend some time with each part of the site when we review it and report back on what we found to be exemplary and those elements that were frustrating, hidden from sight, or even broken – we never pull our punches when we write casino reviews, so you can get an honest appraisal of everything!

We also look at things like how easy it is to find a new game, which is why we always mention things like numerous options for filtering the releases in various ways, if the site has the ability to save your favorite titles for future reference, and whether casino jackpots are displayed on the game tiles without having to open each one in turn. Furthermore, we’re always interested in having the most critical functions right up top where you need them, quick access to customer support or live chat when you need it, and a smooth way of making deposits and withdrawals. These may seem like small considerations compared to the other things we’ve covered, but they make a world of difference when you’re using the site on a regular basis, which is why usability is something the casino experts at GoodLuckMate is always keeping a close eye on when reviewing all the pros and cons at a casino. 

Discover the best mobile casinos

More and more players are now choosing to play at online casinos via their smartphones and tablets, sometimes exclusively so. In fact, the latest statistics suggest that the majority of players use either an iPhone, iPad, or equivalent Android device to gamble than those who prefer to use a desktop computer or laptop. Therefore, it’s super important to ensure that the site you’re going to use frequently is either built from the ground up for mobile casino players or at least optimized for various different screen sizes – as well as being adapted for mobile touchscreens.

Additionally, as Apple near enough killed off the use of Adobe Flash on mobile devices, it’s important that the online casino features plenty of games that have been created or adapted to use the super compatible HTML5 technology. After all, there’s nothing more frustrating than finding out you can only play half of the available games from your mobile devices. We always cover this aspect, simply because so many players use phones and tablets for gaming.

As well as having a good option for loading up games, making deposits, and requesting withdrawals via the mobile version of a site (accessed through a mobile browser like Safari, Chrome, or Firefox), we will give a whole bunch of extra points to those brands that offer a dedicated iOS or Android app. During our review period, we make sure to test out all aspects of a site and its accompanying mobile app (if one exists) from a variety of different devices to ensure that you won’t have any negative experiences once signing up and claiming your bonus. All our tests have therefore also been created as mobile casino reviews, so you can find your favorite casino no matter what kind of device you choose to use. And, our own site is, of course, also made with mobile optimization in mind. 

Expect excellent customer support

From time to time, you may find yourself with a few questions about how things work, especially in terms of site functionality, playing the games, and understanding the terms and conditions of various offers. Therefore, we place a large amount of importance on the customer support team. Not only do casino sites get extra praise for offering different methods of communication (from live chat and email to a direct phone number, clever ways of uploading documents when required, and even a fax number), but we give bonus points if the team are at your beck and call 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Additionally, we want to see superfast response times whenever we need to get in touch, because waiting around is just a huge drag, in our opinion.

In addition to being able to contact the casino experts, we also love a well-written, easy-to-understand, and fully searchable FAQ page. When done well, a frequently asked questions section can make all the difference in terms of how quickly you can get up and running, as well as being able to solve any niggles that come up during your first few weeks and months. On the flip side, poorly written guide sections, confusing terms and conditions, or plain not offering any such FAQ page will draw some criticism from us. With so much competition between the brands, a willingness to help out players (including a decent range of responsible gaming options) shows to us that a casino really does care about your experience on its site.

Supported payment methods

There are many different ways in which you can make a deposit into your casino account and on the other side (fingers crossed), withdraw lots of fantastic winnings! Nowadays, it would be extremely odd if a casino did not accept a range of credit/debit cards, a broad selection of the best e-wallets, and support the various methods of online direct bank transfers. These are the bare minimum for us, and we will always sing the praises of brands that go the extra mile by offering more and more payment methods in each country, as well as those that accept cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin, Ethereum, Litecoin, Dogecoin, Ripple, Tether, and so on.

As well as the available methods, we’re keen to see that there are no hidden charges or fees being added to your transactions – after all, there’s nothing worse than seeing part of your money eaten away before you’ve even got started, or seeing a chunk of your winnings taken from you. Luckily, most online casinos don’t charge anything on top of making these transactions. Next, we’re looking for sites that offer instant deposits and fast payment processing (within a few hours is best) when it comes to withdrawing your winnings. After all, no one in their right mind wants to be hanging around for seven to 10 days just to get hold of their money after a good run of form. This is why we cover all of the above in detail in our in-depth casino reviews. 

Best online security and licensing

Last but by no means least, you need to feel confident that the casino is fully licensed and regulated so that you can play with peace of mind. That’s why we pay particular attention to the license the casino holds, and we’ll give our opinion on the various checks and balances of each one within the review, regardless of if it’s from the Malta Gaming Authority (MGA), United Kingdom Gambling Commission (UKGC), or Curacao eGaming, to name but a few. Additionally, we check that the games have been verified by a reputable third-party such as eCOGRA to ensure fairness, randomness, and that the stated RTPs are correct, for example.

Finally, we always make sure that the site uses proper SSL encryption to ensure that your personal and financial data is safe and secure when being sent from your computer or mobile device to the site’s servers. And, have no fear, we will raise any suspicions we have if something isn’t quite right at each and every online casino we review or feature on this site. In this way, you can concentrate on the fun side of things – beating the house and winning big!

The GoodLuckMate casino reviews

After reading this guide to how we at GoodLuckMate review casinos we hope you feel confident that we always have your best interest at heart when we review casinos. We are looking into all the important aspects of each and every casino brand, and we promise that we never play favorites. 

The reviews we publish have been written from the perspective of the writer that has reviewed and tested the casino, and the facts have also been individually checked by a third member of our editorial team. That way you can be sure that what we write is factually correct, honest and 100% non-biased!

You're also welcome to have a look at our Editorial Guidelines