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Understanding Online Casino Reviews

7 April 2013 by Devon Chappell

When it comes to finding the best online casinos to wager real money at, a really good online casino review can be your best friend. If you are not already in the habit of reading reviews to better gauge the reputation and ratings of online casinos, it’s nigh time you start doing so. This is no overstatement. In an industry besieged with new betting sites every day, not to mention a lack of uniformity in licensing and regulations, it’s imperative that you read up on what other people have already dug up and are saying about each and every online casino you are considering playing at.

But there’s a catch. Not every online casino review is equal. In fact, the majority of published reviews circulating on the Web are nothing more than marketing sling, with the sole intention of getting you to sign up and deposit money. Needless to say, a review written with this sole purpose is anything but impartial or unbiased. You’re not getting the real picture. So then, how does one find the best reviews – the one’s that will be your best friend in pursuit of finding the best destination for depositing your cash? Thought you’d never ask. The following bit of advice is aimed at helping you better sort through the muck and understand how to read through an online casino review.

First and foremost, it’s important to learn how to spot biased review marketing. While there is no specific formula for doing so, there are telltale warning flags to look out for. The biggest flag is flowery sales talk, which probably doesn’t need explaining. A good example would be, “This casino has the best games imaginable with lots of free cash that keeps players coming back for more!”. While this sounds good and well, the information being passed isn’t really helpful. Nor is it qualified. What exactly entails “the best games imaginable”? If the review goes on to qualify the statement, then that’s a good start. But even then, the slickest of these reviews will qualify it with even more sales pitch.

The only problem with all of this is that sometimes the online casino in question actually deserves all the flowery praise. If you run across a review like this, don’t necessarily rule the casino out. This is the point when you should read additional reviews. In other words, it’s time to start scrolling through the Web search results. By reading through additional reviews, you will better gauge what folks are really saying about the casino as a whole.

The second thing to look for in potentially biased review marketing, is a review that doesn’t have anything bad to say about a casino. This is generally more subtle than a flowery sales pitch, and yet, it is still possible to detect an air of “marketing” talk (albeit less aggressive) in this type of review. Granted, there are online casinos that deserve to score high marks across the boards. And there are some review sites (such as your’s truly) that specializes in only reviewing the best of the best. Our view is that if the casino doesn’t have a high enough score to begin with, then why bother. Nonetheless, the wording in these types of reviews should be informational, straight-forward, and always minus the flowery sales talk.

Now that you know what not to look for in an online casino review, here are the components of what make for a good online casino review:

Software and Games – At a minimum, a good review will mention the software platform, whether it’s available in flash and/or download, and how many games are available. Casinos that are powered by more wellknown and reputed software platforms, such as Microgaming or Playtech, need not go into great detail, however, it is important that a lesser known software be examined in depth. Some reviews will actually list the exact number of games offered in each category, which can be helpful if you are seeking out a specific type of game to play.

Credentials – This often goes hand-in-hand with mention of the software, as it is the software platform itself that lends credentials to the online casino. Where the casino is regulated and licensed should always be mentioned, as well as a brief summary of the jurisdiction itself.

Bonuses – It goes without saying, most online gamblers are looking for free bonus money. A truly helpful online casino review will, at a minimum, list the welcome bonus offers for new players, and and even more helpful review will list all of the ongoing bonus offers that are available on reload deposits. An even better review will also list the terms and conditions governing each bonus.

Promotions and Tournaments – Many online casinos now host ongoing tournaments and special promotions, such as raffle giveaways. If it’s being offered, a solid review will tell you about it. A breakdown of a casino’s loyalty programs is also very helpful to include in this section, if not in a section all by itself.

Banking – Nowadays, most online casinos offer several methods of depositing and withdrawing funds. While it is not necessary to go into detail for each and every method offered, a brief summary of the most common methods, as well as security protocols used, is helpful.

Customer Service – When all things are said and done (i.e. proper credentials and promotions in place), customer service is probably the most important factor in rating an online casino. At a minimum, a good online casino casino review will list the modes of contact offered through customer service and overall availability and responsiveness. Any industry awards, player loyalty and overall customer service ratings/feedback if available should also be mentioned in this section.

References: OCS Reviews; Thoughts.com Casino Reviews

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