The zero-wager or no-wagering casino bonus is a relatively new phenomenon, largely inspired by the UKGC rules on promotion of ‘free’ bonuses and offers. If the spins or cash are truly free, and carry no wagering requirements to cash out, then casino brands are allowed to describe them as such. This is a big deal, and we would suggest that propsective casino customers take a good look at these bonuses first because they offer real value.
How to Chose Your Best UK Casino List
There are rules to being included on our list of UK online casinos. The rules are quite simple.
1. The casino must have a full and current UK Gambling Commission (UKGC) licence.
2. The casino must have a good track record of responding to player complaints and reacting appropriately to any UKGC warnings or fines.
3. The casino must provide provably fair games from tested providers.
4. They must operate a quality website with SSL and support.
Brand new UK online casinos are great too, but don’t neglect the tried and tested classics if you haven’t played them yet.
Our formula for choosing an online casino is a pretty simple one. It comes down to four main things:
1. Choice of games
2. Great customer service
3. Does it have a good mobile casino site?
4. Is it UK licensed?
The fourth criterion is probably the most important but not necessarily the one we or other gamers, may look for first. The UK Gambling Commission has the main aim to protect vulnerable people and prevent criminality in gambling as well as ensure casinos are run in a fair and transparent way. Sounds like important stuff right? It is, and it’s become even more so since new legislation came into force in November 2014. Now any online casino wishing to offer gambling services in the UK is required to obtain a license from the UK Gambling Commission.
How Has This Affected the UK Online Gambling Industry?
Before the new legislation came in, less than 15% of online casinos operating in the UK market were licensed by the UK Gambling Commission. This change has meant a consistent approach to regulations and a clearer view of what your rights are as a consumer of gambling services. Without this fallback, if you have any suspicions about a casino, you have no protection or place to turn for help.
What Does It Mean for UK Players?
Any new online casino wishing to obtain a UK gambling license will be subject to careful consideration by the UK Gambling Commission. They look at the ownership of the company, their financial history, the trustworthiness and integrity of the applicant, their competency and experience, and of course any past criminal activity. This ensures that the casino is trustworthy and not likely to vanish after a few months with your money!
They also ensure that a casino has clear procedures in place to protect players, these include:
* Protection of minors – ensuring players are over 18 by providing documentation and ID checks
* Player registration process – making sure you are who you say you are, and that you are not a known criminal or have been previously excluded from the casino
* Anti-money laundering – ensuring customer information is correct, banking details are verified and checked and deposits and withdrawals are made using the same methods where possible
* Responsible gambling – a casino must have policies and procedures in place to protect their players. These can include allowing players to set self-limits as to how much they wish to deposit or wager within a specified time frame
* The protection of funds – operators must keep customer funds in a separate account. This can help protect your funds if the casino goes bust
What They Don’t Do
The UK Gambling Commission is there to protect you as a player but they are not there to resolve consumer complaints. If you have an issue with a casino such as a wagering dispute you need to try to resolve it directly with the casino. If you don’t get anywhere there are independent bodies who can help you.
How to Find Out if a Casino is UK Licensed
There are several things you can do to check if a casino is UK licensed or not. Most casinos will give details of their UK license number on their home page. You can usually find this at the bottom of the page in small print. You can also go directly to the UK Gambling Commission website and search to see if they have a license or not. Just go to their home page and click on ‘Find Licenses’ from the top toolbar.
Certainly the new legislation is improving player protection and the social responsibility of the casino operators. With the increase in online gambling in the UK and shift to mobile gaming it has become ever more important to ensure casinos have the best interest of their players in mind.
The Future of UK Online Casinos
Many casinos are turning to gamification to engage with their players and encourage long term play and loyalty. Gamification is nothing new though, in fact it’s become huge part of our lives whether through social media, education or even in business. The simple process of applying elements of game playing such as levelling up, point scoring, role playing or leader boards to other areas of activity to encourage engagement is something you are likely to have come across.
In many ways gamification is opening up the world of online gambling to a whole new breed of player, making it a more accessible and socially acceptable pastime. Dressing up casino games as video games can imply a level of skill is involved as opposed to simply being games of chance. Virtual slots have adopted wilds, multipliers and scatters to add an additional level of interactivity although rarely impact on the end result.
Nowadays more and more casinos are taking things to the next level with their whole business model centred on a gamified approach to online gambling. Creating opportunities for players to level up, earn virtual currency or adopt online profiles has proven to help casinos not only attract new customers but keep them coming back again and again. We’ve explored some of these methods in more detail…
Casumo have based themselves around the act of levelling-up through reaching various achievements which is a widely used gamification technique. Working very much in the same way as you’d find in a video game, your character gains new abilities and powers as you reach new levels in the game. By playing games and achieving set goals you’ll be able to unlock new levels which will give you access to content that wasn’t there before, this could be in the form of exclusive games, tournaments or bigger and better bonuses. Some casinos like Casumo have taken this to the next stage where you adopt your own character or avatar. This kind of immersive casino experience is not only enjoyable but can be highly rewarding too!
A great example of gamification is the use of virtual currency. Virtual currency is a great way to earn rewards whilst doing something you love. Casinos are basically giving you something for nothing as in most cases you don’t need to do anything extra to earn your currency. This is great for players as they can earn free spins, cash and real life prizes and great for the casino as they get you as a loyal customer!
Some casinos choose to steer clear as many feel it can put off serious gamblers and high rollers and encourages only low risk, novice gamers only willing to lose the odd fiver. Arguably it actually creates a more responsible approach to gambling with players less likely to completely burn out and end up self-excluding. It can also result in loyal, long term customers that are likely to keep coming back and share their experiences with friends.
Bringing all these aspects of gamification to online casinos makes the whole experience even more enjoyable, making it feel as though the casino itself is a game to be played. They can help you make the most out of your gaming session without blowing your budget. They can even be pretty rewarding in some cases! The social aspect is a great way to interact and partake in some friendly banter as well as sharing your achievements and wins with friends on social media. We’ve seen more and more casinos become ‘gamified’ with ever more wild and imaginative themes, we’re totally hooked and can’t wait to see what the future brings!
UK Online slots
Online slots are one of the most played casino games ever. They have overtaken the humble table games, and although there is still a place for all traditional casino games, online slots provide software developers with a license to let loose and bring out their inner creativity. With advancements in technology, the graphics and sound effects are now so realistic you’d be forgiven for thinking you were watching a live-action movie.
UK players are very fortunate because they can play slots from all the major brands and don’t need to lower their standards like mahy non regulated countries. Brands like NetEnt, Microgaming, PlayNGo, Cryptologic, Playtech, Big Time Gaming, Megaways, Nyx, Yggdrasil, WMS, 2×2 Gaming, IGS, Playson, Leander, Red Tiger, iSoftBet, Blueprint, Quickspin, Aristocrat and Betsoft.
There is so much scope for casino software providers to create unique games with ever more complex storylines, immersive elements and of course, various features that can take the game in any number of directions. There has also been a big trend for video slot collaborations with popular movies, TV shows and comics. NetEnt has even gone one step further with their rock series which teamed up with some of the biggest rock stars on the planet. These collaborations have brought a whole new fan base to online gaming.
Find the Best UK Online Slots Bonuses
If you are looking for the latest online slots news for UK casino players, then UK Casino Awards is the only place you’ll need. Find out where to grab no deposit free spins for top video slots from massive software developers including NetEnt, Microgaming and Play ‘N Go. Online slots are huge, there are thousands out there.
Mobile gaming has become a huge focus for the gambling industry with casinos providing mobile-friendly gameplay, so their players don’t have to be at home to enjoy their favourite casino games. It has also seen the need for video slots to be created for playing on mobile including portrait mode, so the game looks as good on your smaller mobile or tablet screen as it does on your laptop or home PC.
Where to Play Online Slots?
Finding the right casino to enjoy online slots might seem like an easy problem to have. There are however hundreds of casinos out there so which one do you choose? It’s our goal to find the very best UK casinos showcasing the biggest online slots in the industry. UK casino fans can play with confidence, knowing that casinos are fully licensed by the UK Gambling Commission.
How to Find New UK Slots Sites!
The availability of slots varies from casino to casino. Not all casinos offer the full range of providers, with many of the most famous names in the UK online casino world like 32Red and Roxy Palace being dedicated to Microgaming.
Online Slots Are the Most Popular Casino Game in the UK!
Online slots are still by far the most popular casino games, and that is a trend that seems destined to continue. The variety of games continues to grow, with big name licences like ‘Who wants to be a Millionaire’ and the NetEnt ‘Universal’ series adding a touch of glamour. Many online casinos are even developing their own exclusive slots to tempt players away from their competitors and into signing up with them! Brands like Leo Vegas and bgo have developed some unique games that make it worth signing up with them to play those alone.
The intense and rapid growth in slots has also been backed by a growing number of smaller slots providers. The big names that were famous to old school slots players, like Microgaming, Playtech and WMS, are being challenged for pride of place at online casinos everywhere. The original newcomer, Net Entertainment (NetEnt), is no longer the new kid on the block. In fact NetEnt has established itself as something of a fixture across all new online casinos. With a catalogue of popular and famous slots such as Starburst and Dead or Alive, it has now started to create follow ups to these older games and players love new releases such as Berryburst and Dead or Alive 2.
Of course, lots of new casinos, lots of new slots providers, and lots of players looking for somewhere to play SHOULD make for a wonderful and happy gaming environment… but there’s a catch. The UK Gambling Commission has become very strict, and has enforced various fines and restrictions on both casinos and slots providers. This has created a very different environment for online casinos, and it’s one that has inevitably led to some casualties. In most cases, online casinos simply drop the UK as a market or shut down altogether to try something else, but in a few cases it has meant flaunting the rules and regulations and accepting UK players without a license. If you are in the UK, you need to be sure you are playing at a licensed online casino…there is no reason for a UK player not to. It affords you so much more security that it simply doesn’t make sense to play anywhere else.
What Should I Look for at a New Online Slots Casino?
* UK Gambling Commission license.
* A great bonus with reasonable terms and wagering.
* The slots you want to play.
How to Find New Online Slots?
The easiest way to stay up to date with the latest online slots is to follow on sites who offer free online slots bonuses and new slots reviews. By following a website like that, you can find reviews of new slots before they launch, as well as being able to claim exclusive bonuses for them when they go live at online casinos. You will be able to sign up for email updates, or push notifications, which should alert you to the latest releases before you can find them in a search engine.
How to Choose a Casino to Play the Latest Slots?
Whether you want to play at a new casino or at one of the tried and tested best online casinos in the UK, we have the information you need right here. UK Casino Awards was established to represent only the best interactive online casinos, mobile casinos and slots in the United Kingdom. We don’t allow any rubbish or time-waster brands here. We stopped listing casinos on many of the popular white-label platforms.
These were essentially the same casino, duplicated to enable them to sign up previously excluded or lapsed players. We think that’s a shady practice and we can’t see any reason for casino operators to launch multiple very similar brands. It feels dodgy and we don’t like it, so they got the boot. UK Casino Awards is funded by revenue share from the brands we refer our players to. This means if you don’t like the casino, and you don’t play there, we don’t get paid. Watch out for unscrupulous sites that take listing fees and promotional payments to list the worst brands first. It’s not hard to spot!
UK Casino FAQs
Which Is the Best UK Online Casino?
Let UK Casino Awards be your guide to finding the best UK online casino to suit your specific gambling needs and tastes. There is a world of choice for UK players when it comes to online gaming and casino players will have varying requirements based on games and slots, casino promotions and welcome offers in addition to casino customer service records and online payment choices.
Which Is the Safest UK Online Casino?
All of the UK online casinos we feature and review here at the UK Casino Awards, hold a UK Gambling Commission License and as such must follow strict rules around player security and safe and fair gambling practices.
Who Has the Best UK Online Casino Bonuses?
Get your best foot forward at a new UK casino with the best casino bonuses available in the UK. Competition between UK casinos to claim new players is strong and there are some fantastic welcome offers and casino bonuses available to allow you to try amazing slots and casino games for free.
Which UK Online Casino Has the Best Games?
Many online casinos open to UK players house vast collections of awesome video slots and casino games from the worlds best gaming software producers.Casinos work hard to secure new customers, and they do this by creating ever-more tempting looking welcome bonus packages.
Welcome Bonus Packages
Welcome bonus packages can come in all manner of shapes and sizes. Some big, some small, some with a side order of spins! With many casinos, it’s a case of smoke and mirrors and is used as a way to attract new players with a seemingly big bonus only to find out later that there are unreasonable terms attached or that the casino you’ve chosen is not all it’s cracked up to be. It can be a minefield!
This article will cut through a lot of the confusion surrounding welcome bonuses and provide some clarity on the types of bonuses available and what to look out for. Being in the know will allow you to take advantage of some of the best offers around and hopefully, you won’t come away feeling deflated by a poor choice of casino.
What Are Welcome Bonus Packages?
A welcome bonus package is an offer that is created by the casino to attract new players to sign up and play. They can take many different forms; deposit match bonuses, first, second and third deposit match bonuses, match bonuses plus bonus spins…the variations and size of offers available can range dramatically!
They are usually dependant on you making a qualifying deposit. After all, nothing in this life is totally free! When you see a massive £2000 welcome package offered by a casino you will usually find that it is split over several deposits and in some cases, you may have to deposit thousands of pounds to get the full bonus amount! UK licensed casinos must display clear terms and conditions so players can make an informed decision. But make sure you do your own due diligence and thoroughly read the small print before signing up to anything!
We really like it when we see a casino has got creative with their welcome bonuses. It’s a chance to show off some of their personality and the type of experience you are likely to have while playing there. A run of the mill basic deposit match is all very well, but it’s not hugely inspiring. A bonus that includes a “prize every time” wheel of fortune, or free spins for a brand new game and you’ve definitely got our attention!
The critical thing to remember about welcome bonuses is that they are exactly that, a welcome bonus package to kick-start your gameplay at your chosen casino. They don’t last forever; you’ll spin your way through your spins, play your way through your bonus cash and then what? If after all that, the casino is excellent, offers great service, seamless gameplay and a solid rewards scheme, then it’s all good. However, if behind all of that new casino pizazz is a whole lot of nothing, then you may want to keep looking.
Are They Worth It? Yes and No!
Before you jump right in and grab that big old bonus with both hands, it’s wise to take a moment to have a look around your chosen casino. Make sure you know what you are getting into and what you can get out of the bonus if anything. In some cases, a bonus that can appear to be generous can carry such high wagering requirements that there is a snowball’s chance in hell of ever winning anything. We’ll delve a bit deeper into the wagering requirements to look out for later on.
On the flip side, a smaller bonus may offer more of a chance at coming away with something at the end. A casino that offers a more modest bonus may have much more reasonable wagering requirements than one that has thrown a big wad of virtual cash out there that you have very little chance of ever getting your hands on!
Some Examples of Welcome Bonus Packages
First Deposit Bonuses
E.g. 100 % match bonus up to £200. For every £1 you deposit, the casino will match it with £1 in bonus funds up to a maximum of £200. To gain the maximum £200 bonus, you need to deposit £200.
First Deposit Bonus Plus Bonus Spins
E.g. 100% match bonus up to £100 plus 20 Bonus Spins on Starburst.
Possibly one of our favourite types of bonuses as you get the best of both worlds. But as with the other bonuses, watch out for the play through requirements and other terms and conditions. The example we have given above is game specific. You will often find bonus spins are attributed to a particular game or choice of games and each spin will have a set value.
Welcome Bonus Package
A welcome package may offer a higher amount of bonus cash, but this could be spread across your first three or more deposits. Below is an example of a typical £1000 welcome package. Taken at face value, it sounds pretty good, but read on to discover how much you’d need to deposit to get the full bonus hit…
* First deposit = 100% match bonus up to £200
* Second deposit = 50% match bonus up to £300
* Third deposit = 25% match bonus up to £500
You’ll notice how the match percentage gets smaller as the numbers get bigger. This is quite common, and something to be aware of as the actual amount you need to deposit to get the full bonus amount can be thousands of pounds!
In this example, you would need to make a first deposit of £200 to receive your full £200 bonus. Then to get the £300 maximum bonus with the second deposit you’d have to deposit £600. Finally, to max out this bonus and get the full £500 hit with your third deposit, you’d need to chuck £2000 into your account! So in total, to get our £1000 in bonus cash we have deposited a massive £2800! And that’s before we’ve even started on the playthrough requirements!
The thing to remember is, the more you deposit, the more you can lose. Always make sure you are comfortable with what you are depositing and never feel pressured into depositing more just to get the bigger bonuses. Often it’s better to opt for a smaller bonus with better wagering to stand more of a chance of coming away with something and even if you don’t, you’ve not lost too much, and you’ve still enjoyed your session.
How to Claim Your Bonus
If you’ve done your research and settled on a chosen casino the first thing to do is check the Ts&Cs attached to their welcome bonus package. Yes, we know it’s super dull but believe us, we have been caught out more times than we care to mention!
There may be a bonus code required and in most cases, you will need to opt into the bonus offer. This may be by following a link or in some cases, you may have to contact their customer support team to trigger the offer. There is usually a grace period where you can still sign up for the welcome bonus within 7 days of registering your account so even if you don’t go for it straight away you still have a chance to claim.
Typically you’ll need to make a deposit of a set value before claiming your offer, and once your account is verified, the casino is usually pretty quick to issue you with your bonus cash or spins so you can start enjoying them straight away!
Bonus Wagering Requirements
We have mentioned wagering requirements a few times in this article as it’s one of the leading causes of complaints from casino goers when it comes to claiming bonus winnings. Often, they can be hard to find or misleading, so always ensure you are playing at a reputable casino that displays their terms where you can easily find them!
What Does Wagering or Play-Through Requirements Mean?
Most casinos will provide details of how many times a bonus or bonus spins winnings must be turned over before you can cash out any winnings. The majority tend to be between 30x – 40x but they can range from wager free right up to 99x so you can see how this can be a huge factor in your chances of being able to gain anything at all from your bonus.
Here is an example of the type of wagering requirements you might see with a simple deposit match bonus:
100% match bonus up to £100 with a minimum deposit of £10, play through x30 (bonus + deposit amount)
If you deposit £20, the casino will give you a £20 bonus so you will have £40 to play with. The play through requirements dictate that you must turn over the bonus plus deposit amount 30 times so you have to play through a total of £1200 before you can even think about withdrawing your winnings.
Here’s an example of a welcome bonus that offers you 20 bonus spins with a 50x playthrough requirement.
If you are lucky enough to win £11 with your 20 bonus spins, your winnings will be transferred to your account as bonus funds and therefore must be wagered 50x so in this case that would be a playthrough requirement of £550.
Things to Watch out for
* Are any payment methods excluded from claiming the bonus offer?
* What are the wagering requirements?
* Check for games contributions towards wagering and also excluded games
* How long will the bonus be available for?
* Is there any cash out limits?
* What is the maximum bet size during the offer?
* Is there any location restrictions in place?
* Which games can be played with the welcome bonus?
Wow, that was a lot to take in! The world of casino bonuses is a complex one with so many variations out there it’s mind-boggling! Hopefully, we have shed some light on the types of bonuses you can expect to find and the things to look out for when selecting a casino.
What Is a Casino Welcome Bonus?
A casino Welcome Bonus is a special offer aimed at new casino players as an incentive to sign up and register a new casino account. Welcome bonuses can take many forms including Match Bonuses and Free Spins. Usually these casino offers are awarded on your first real money deposit but they can often be spread across a number of initial deposits at an new online casino.
What’s the Best Casino Welcome Bonus?
Casino welcome bonuses vary greatly in their scale and generosity. It’s important to consider the wagering requirements of any welcome offer and always read the terms and conditions before making a real money first deposit.
How Do Casino Welcome Bonuses Work?
Welcome bonuses are a great way to try out a new casino and have a go at new slots and casino games with an increased playing budget. All welcome bonuses vary so make sure you get a clear picture of how welcome bonuses work.
What Is a Casino Welcome Package?
A casino welcome package is the same as a welcome bonus but is often used to describe a bundle of casino offers served up to newly registered casino members. Often a welcome package is spread over a number of deposits and can include both match bonuses and/or bonus spins.
Can I Win Real Money with a Casino Welcome Bonus?
Absolutely! You can be up with a chance of real money wins by playing online slots for free. There will definitely be a wagering requirement attached, however, so read the terms and conditions, meet the requirement and then you can keep your winnings.