If there is anything to be said for 888, it's that there is plenty to say. Stock-listed on the London Stock Exchange's Alternative Investment Market, employing over 1,000 people worldwide, serving over 70 million customers and powering a standalone poker room, online casino, live dealer casino, bingo room, arcade room and sportsbook in over twenty languages via download, Flash, Mobile and a live dealer platform, 888 (Cassava Enterprises) is certainly one of the largest and most recognized names in the internet gambling industry.
Also being one of the oldest betting companies on the Web today (launched in 1997), 888 has - over the years - earned a large number of accolades and prestigious reviews, including eGaming Awards' Casino Operator of the Year and Bingo Operator of the Year, Leisure Reports Best Betting and Gaming Company and the Association of Publishing Agencies "Most Effective Membership" award for 888's "Eight" magazine (more on this later). But not only is there plenty being said about 888, there is also plenty being shared by 888 itself!
Serving as a hallmark for online gambling transparency, which in the eyes of OCS is one of their greatest assets, 888 goes the extra length in fostering player trust. What other online casino runs a standalone website solely dedicated to this purpose? In the case of 888, it's safe.888.com - a portal site dedicated to player safety. On the Safe.888 homepage is a message from 888 CEO, Gigi Levy, stating, "At 888.com we believe that entertainment and safety come hand in hand. Our players' welfare has always, and always will, come first". This is a powerful statement - even more so when you consider that 888 truly lives by it.
Within the pages of this portal site, players can find information covering data security, deposit safety and fair gaming, along with a behind-the-"screens" pass to see inside 888's Gibraltar-based headquarters and peruse through their numerous awards. In terms of accreditations, these include a difficult to obtain remote gambling license (No. RGL 022) by the Government of Gibraltar (regulated by the Gibraltar Gambling Commissioner), an eCOGRA "Safe and Fair" certification, published monthly payout reports, software RNG certifications by iTech Labs, TRUSTe download program, and memberships with leading industry trade groups - the Remote Gambling Association and Interactive Gaming Council. In terms of responsible gaming practices, 888 is audited by GAMCare, insuring that all staff are skillfully trained in identity verification and in identifying problem gamblers.
Before diving into the realm of specs and numbers, i.e. payouts, promotions, game offering etc., it's important to mention 888's customer service track record. Not many online casinos publish - not just one - but TWO magazines devoted to keeping players informed and engaged. The award-winning Eight Magazine is mainly loaded with playing tips, while Spin888 Magazine takes it to another level with upcoming event announcements (tournaments, promotions, special offers) culture, lifestyle, sporting and travel features. To say that 888 engages their players is an understatement. Modelled after the best land-based casino loyalty programs, 888 truly makes you, the player, feel valued.
Payouts & Jackpots
888 consistently returns an average payout around 97% on all games, which is the best you will find anywhere online. Click on the eCOGRA logo, located at the footer of the 888Casino.com website, to see their latest published report (which at the time of publishing our 888 casino review, showed a return of 92.5% on Slots, 97.2% on Roulette, 98.5% on Blackjack, 96.9% on Video Poker and 98.9% on Baccarat). Indeed, there is a lot of money coming through 888, and consequently, big jackpots to be paid out. The progressive network here hovers in the millions, and consistently pays out big winnings. A Recent Winners page lists the most notable, recent jackpot wins, which for the month of June 2012, amounted to approximately $1.4 million paid out to 1,736 lucky players.
Software and Games
There are hundreds of games to choose from at 888, powered by a collective of over ten software platforms, including Cryptologic (Marvel Slots), Ash Gaming, Bwin.Party, GTECH G2, Electracade, CTXM and proprietary games. In other words, even the most active of online gamblers would be hard-pressed to run out of game options at 888.
As with everything else at 888, the promotions here are numerous and plenty. New players have the option of claiming a 100% Match Bonus up to $200/£100/€140 Free, followed by up to $1,200/£7400/€780 in 10% Happy Hour bonuses over the next twelve months of opening an account. The terms for cashing out winnings derived from bonus play include a 30x play-through with no game restrictions. Slots, scratch cards, Keno, arcade/dice games count 100% of every wager, while other games contribute 10-20% (see bonus terms for details).
In addition to the welcome bonus, 888 continuously offers new player promotions. For example, at the time of this review, new players who deposited $20, would receive 20 free slot machine spins and entry into a draw for a free pair of high-end Dr. Dre headphones. To get a scope of all the promotions taking place here, check out 888 Casino's Calendar of Events Page, which in addition to ongoing promotions, lists upcoming Slots, Roulette, Blackjack and Video Poker tournaments. A sample selection of ongoing promotions include Sunday Funday ($1,000 in bonus bucks and free spins given out to 100 players who make a deposit on Sunday), Loyalty Bonuses for every 5 deposits made, and the Casino Race, which takes place on the 5th of every month, and divvies out $15,000 to 250 winners. 888 also gives out a special bonus for bettors who play live dealer casino games. Everyday from 1 pm to 1 am, $/€/£750 in bonus cards are given out to players at the live dealer Blackjack tables. If you are dealt a bonus card, you win. It's that simple. Speaking of live dealer games....
888's Live Dealer Casino
Since the advent of live dealer gambling (post 2000), 888 has been at the forefront of what some people consider to be the ultimate future of online casino gambling. As close to the real casino as you can get, 888's live dealer platform is synced with live audio/video feeds inside a casino production studio, complete with professional pit bosses and dealers all dressed to the nines. Live dealer solutions are provided by Evolution Gaming and Entwine Tech (both licensed/regulated by the Alderney Gambling Control Commission), and provide high-resolution video feeds, audio and chat functions that allow players to interact with one another, in addition to the dealer.
888 currently offers Blackjack, Roulette and Baccarat in live dealer mode at this time. As demand increases for other games, live dealer versions will be offered for these as well. With both low and high limit tables, these games cater to all bankrolls. So too does 888's aforementioned Live Blackjack bonus, which is a daily giveaway of $/€/£750 in bonus cards. Just by playing during the promotion hours (1pm - 1 am EST) all players will have an equal chance at winning this bonus money. As for the winnings, 888's live casino has seen some big jackpots. A Live Casino Recent Winners Feed shows the latest, notable wins, which at the time of publishing the OCS 888 casino review, included over $270,000 between 12 big winners at the live roulette table and over $53,000 paid out to 3 winners playing live blackjack.
In addition to providing realistic betting experiences, 888 delivers on accessibility as well - namely, their mobile app designed for tablets.
Available on mobile browsers at 888casino.com, downloading 888's mobile app is quick and easy. If you're at your computer with your phone, the simplest thing to do would be to scan the QR code posted on 888's mobile landing page. The playing experience is exactly the same as the download casino, except designed for optimal user-experience on a smart phone. Games currently available include European/American/French Roulette, American/Classic Blackjack and various, popular slot machines.
Casino Review Content Updated: February, 2014
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