Best Online Casinos in 2018 – Comparing the Top Online Casino Sites
I’m going to start this guide with a question:
What are the factors which make one online casino different (better) than another?
Once we approach things from this angle, it is a lot easier to spot the right casino for your location, bankroll level and game preferences.
These factors are each covered in detail below. Here is a list: Game selection, Trust / Reputation, Payment Methods, Bonuses / Rewards, Software Platform, Device Compatibility and whether they allow players from your location.
The table below shows the best online casinos for your location, along with links to the detailed reviews.
Safety at Online Casinos
Before I even get into the detail of the factors which make one casino different from another, a word on the most important factor of all – trust. New casinos pop up all the time, many of them offering big incentives for you to check them out. This is a case of ‘player beware’, and I recommend you read my detailed guide to making sure you have found a safe and legitimate online casino before you deposit.
Online Casinos and Software Creators
As you become more familiar with the world of online casinos you will quickly realize that the software and games are produced by different companies than those who run the online casino brands. There are a couple of exceptions (Party Casino and 888 Casino).
The platforms and games are created by specialist software houses, and the casino brand operators license them. This explains the reason you’ll find the same games at several different casinos. In the old ‘download only’ days, each casino would have the games of one software house only. Now that most casinos do not need a download, games from many different providers are offered. This has enabled many smaller / niche software houses to showcase their games on the biggest brands.
To add one more level of complication, some casino software providers allow their games to be used on US-facing casinos, while others do not. The publically owned giants like MicroGaming and PlayTech are non-US only. Popular alternatives like Rival Gaming, RealTime Gaming and BetSoft leave the decision on who plays up to the casino site operator.
Choosing the Best Online Casino Site – My Checklist
Game Selection: The basic division is between slots and table games – though this is really just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to assessing the number and quality of the games at online casino sites. If you want to get a shortcut to understanding the strengths and weaknesses of each software provider then my best casino software guide has this info (plus links to even more detailed individual articles).
Many operators today take games from multiple software providers. These are often my top picks, especially when combined with a trusted brand and easy payment options. Some will choose the top games from each provider, others give you a much bigger selection – there are casinos out there with more than 600 slot titles from many of the best providers.
Live dealer games are available at some casinos and not others. Once you try these tables the ‘virtual’ table games do feel flat in comparison.
Here are some of the questions to ask when reading reviews on the game selection of online casino sites:
Slots: How many games overall? Which big providers? Are there big (pooled) jackpots? Are there mobile or 3D slots available? Are there big movie / TV tie-ins?
Table Games: How many variations of the popular games? Are both European and US Roulette spread? Are live dealer table games available?
Casino Site Payment Methods
This is area is more important for US based players than those outside. With restrictions on some popular casino payment options, you’ll need to find casinos which have a solid track record of handing deposits and (most importantly) withdrawals. This guide to US Casino Deposit Methods explains the main options available.
As long as your credit card can make international purchases, this will be the easiest way to deposit. Alternatives include pre-paid vouchers (or even pre-paid visa cards), money transfer services and sometimes even BitCoins.
Worldwide players should not ignore this area. Use of major bank cards and services like PayPal is a solid trust signal. PayPal in particular is only available at the biggest and best brands.
Casino Site Bonuses and Rewards
I prefer to focus on the ongoing rewards instead of the welcome bonuses. The reason is that these have a much bigger effect for the average player – since they are in-play for a long time after the main (welcome) bonus has been cleared. This is not to say that welcome bonuses are not useful – as long as you read the terms and conditions these can make a big difference.
Loyalty rewards take several different forms. Many casinos have comp point collection schemes. You’ll pick up points as you play real money casino games and then exchange these for bonuses or cash. Often these are tiered, so you’ll pick up points faster the more you play. Reload bonuses and promotions focused on specific games are the next most common. This can include spins on new slots (as a way of showcasing these).
You will find a lot more information for online casino bonuses elsewhere on this site.
Device Compatibility of Online Casinos
I remember the days of needing to download software every time you wanted to try an new casino very well. Fortunately those days are mostly behind us, and new casinos can be accessed via your browser window.
Most casinos nowadays offer some kind of mobile compatibility, though there is still considerable variation in quality in this area. This is most apparent on smartphone screens. I have highlighted truly mobile casinos from those which have just adapted their games a little elsewhere on this site. For this page I will leave it at the important recommendation to try out the different casinos on your smartphone before you make a deposit – not all casino claims of mobile compatibility are equal!
Online Casino Sites – Location, Location, Location!
If you are located in the US, then you get to access casinos located offshore – mostly out in the Caribbean. These include some big and well trusted brands (for example Bovada and BetOnline Casino). Restrictions within the US forced these casinos to countries where they can operate legally. There is no Federal law stopping you enjoying the real money games – though there are restrictions on making deposits in place through the banking / financial systems.This detailed guide to US Real Money Casinos explains more.
Outside of the US things are mostly easier – though some countries (for example France and Italy) do have their own separated casino sites. Non-US players get to enjoy the games developed by some of the biggest and best casino software providers around – for example MicroGaming and PlayTech.
If there is one thing which is constant in the world of online casino sites, it is change! Bookmark Sit N Go Planet's Casino Section today – I will keep you up to date with all of the latest developments and best online casino sites.