At Gambling Sites UK we have one aim – to help you find the best casino sites in the UK. The online casino industry is bigger than it has ever been and there are a plethora of casinos to chose from these days and seemingly with each week that goes by, the numbers continue to rise.
The increase in numbers is a real positive for the punters as casinos are needing to work harder to just get you through the door, let alone hang on to your after that. What we have noticed is that casinos are much more user friendly than they once were, with things such as bonuses being much more transparent and casino games having to improve to meet demand.
Because this site is dedicated to players from the UK, all of the online gambling websites that we list are licensed in the United Kingdom – so you can rest assured that they’re both legal and safe to play at. The majority also let you play and bet in British Pounds Sterling (£). All of the bonuses you see listed on this site are also those that can be claimed by us plucky Brits.
Best Gambling Sites For UK Players
Frequently Asked Questions
We realise that not everybody is a seasoned pro, and there are probably plenty of people out there who are looking for a bit of help getting started. So, for this reason, we’ve come up with the following list of Frequently Asked Questions:
Q. What Is Online Gambling?
A. In its most basic form, it’s anything where you bet or wager real money over the internet. This could involve betting on your favourite team to win a football match or playing online casino games such as roulette, blackjack or slots (one arm bandits to those of us who play in the pre-internet days). There are also a number of multi-player online games such as poker and bingo where you play for real money against other people. To put it simple, if it involves risking money it’s gambling, and if you do it over the internet, it’s ‘online’.
Q. Are Online Casinos Legal In The UK?
A. One of the most common questions we’re asked revolves round the legalities of online betting. In the UK, online gambling (in all it’s forms) is 100% legal and regulated by the Gambling Commission – a government agency which was set up under the Gambling Act 2005. Advertising of such products on TV is also tightly controlled by the Advertising Standards Agency (ASA) and you can even complain if you feel an advert has missled you in any way.
Q. How Old Do I Have To Be To Gamble Online?
A. Legally you must be 18 to participate in any form of gambling in the United Kingdom, with the exception of the lottery which you can buy tickets for when you’re 16. Most betting websites, including all of the UK high street bookmakers, will accept customers who are 18 or older, but occasionally you might run into an offshore site that requires you to be 21.
Q. Where Can I Get Help If I Gamble Too Much?
A. Betting or playing online games for money is a form of entertainment that is enjoyed by millions of people in the UK. Whilst the majority of these gamblers do so for a bit of fun, some people can take it too far. You should only ever bet with money that you can afford to lose – if you find yourself risking more than this, then it’s time to take a break. Similarly, if you find that it is adversely affecting your home life, mood or relationships then it’s probably time to call it quits.
If you think that you might have a problem then Gamble Aware and GamCare are two excellent organisations that can help give you advice and support. And remember, gambling is a form of entertainment – if you don’t enjoy it any more, don’t do it!
RNG Casinos v Live Dealer Casinos
The introduction of live casinos to the online casino industry has been one of few over the last decade or so that have gone on to really fit a niche within that sector. It’s all about player interaction with live casinos and the ability to see, talk and hear not only the croupier but also that of other players really adds an element of depth to the whole process.
What Are Live Casinos?
Live casinos are basically an online version of your standard brick and mortar casino. The set up usually compromises of having a web cam installed either in an actual casino or in a building that has been developed to resemble a casino. They both have the same common denominator in that they are streaming a live feed of that specific casino game. Games are played out in real time just as they would if you were physically there.
There is one fundamental difference between the live casinos and that of online casinos, and that is how the cards are dealt and shuffled. In a live casino you will see the dealer physically handle to cards, shuffle them and distribute them accordingly. Online however the cards are distributed by a Random Number Generator (RNG) which allows a completely random sequence of cards to be given to each player.
The easiest way to explain an RNG is by thinking of the cards spinning round continuously in a ‘virtual’ circle and for each decision made this circle would stop and the card that the circle lands on will be that card. This circle never stops spinning and works and an unbelievably fast rate. Whereas the live casino games will have them shuffled before the start of the hand and they will remain in that –unknown- order until the deck gets shuffled again.
Casino Games You Can Play With Live Dealers
As live casino games are still relatively new to the industry, it’s only going to be natural for online casinos to test the software, generally with that of the more popular games, but also ones that will work the best with this format. The games below are some the main live casinos games currently in operation.
- Live Roulette – Live roulette is one of the most popular choices for most casino players. The games often include a stream of the wheel with a virtual table super-imposed to place bets. However, some casinos have made the ‘real’ casino table interactive, making it look like players are wagering on the actual table.
- Live Blackjack – Blackjack was always going to be a winning choice to covert to the live streams and its popularity has continued to soar as a result. The tables will likely be a little more interactive than most, with the only sections such as where you place your wagers being covered by an interface.
- Live Baccarat – The baccarat tables aren’t as popular as the two above, but nonetheless provide solid interaction levels within the casino floor. The interface will be very simple, again just choosing Player, Tie or Banker tabs and how much you want to bet.
- Live Casino Holdem – The live casino Holdem tables carry a strong link from its Texas Holdem roots which many people will be able to associate with. Again another simple interface with call, ante and bonus sections, but these tables often have a large number of players on any one table, meaning that if it’s interaction with other players you are interested in, then this could be what you are looking for.
It should be fairly obvious that you’re only going to find live dealers at games that would traditionally have a dealer. There would be no point, for example, to have a live stream of a slot with a person spinning the reels for you. After all, the outcome of the slot in a physical casino is determined by a random number generator, just like the slots you can find at an online casino. So in this section we’re specifically talking about table games.
Why Do People Play With Live Dealers?
The novelty factor of the live casinos is probably the biggest reason as to why many players will first try out these games. They are a totally different animal compared to the online equivalent and it allows players to interact with not only other players, but also the dealers or croupiers. The steams coming from actual casinos will include sound as well, so you get a real sense of the atmosphere when playing. Streams from the set-up casinos will also include sound, but this is generally a recording, although it still makes for an improved feel.
A massive draw, especially for the player who’s going to devote a reasonably high amount of time to the games, can get a much improved bonus deal than the online equivalent. In fact, many sites actually don’t allow games such as blackjack and roulette to work towards clearing an online bonus, whereas the live games often have specific bonuses specifically designed for these games.
These factors just amalgamate in the overall casino experience in an attempt to get players who don’t like the solitary feel an online casino can have, to allow them to feel as though they are in a brick and mortar casino, but from the comfort of their own home.
Downsides of Live Casinos
There are a few downsides when compared to playing online games with the biggest being the wait in-between hands. Live casinos happen in real time with real decks of cards, so the time it takes a dealer to shuffle then deal the cards will be longer than an RNG program. On top of this you will often have to wait for other players to complete hands; blackjack being the biggest culprit for this.
The limited number of games on offer is something that would be of concern at the minute. But like any new concept, the games that have been picked will be assessed as to how popular they become and if they thrive then there will be no doubt that more live casino games will become available in the very near future.
Finally it’s important to remember that, like any real casino, at peak times you may have to wait for a table. There is still limited availability with most sites, but as wen mentioned before, if the games continue to offer a service that punters want to take up, then the casinos will be more than happy to provide a wider selection of games to accommodate these.
How do Online Casinos Work?
The general concept of an online casino is actually very simple; to provide games and gambling opportunities for their users. Casino these days often have a huge number of games to choose from, often ranging from the 200 – 600 mark for most, but increasing even further for some of the bigger sites.
The games are generally what draws people in and this is what we often judge most online casinos. Whilst 500+ games might seem impressive, we would much rather take a 200 game casino with quality throughout, rather than a 500+ games casino with a huge spectrum in terms of quality any day of the week.
The range of games these days include slots, blackjack, roulette, craps, baccarat, video poker, scratchcards lotto, punto banco and many, many more. For some new to the industry or limited on their experience of game types, it can seem quite daunting being faced with so many games.
DOWNLOAD, INSTANT PLAY OR MOBILE
The platform in which casinos are run has evolved massively over the years. Back in the, players were forced to download the casino software straight to their computer. It was essentially a separate program to the website and this is where the games were stored and run. The issue with this is that the programs were often more susceptible to hacking and often were riddled with bugs.
The next phase of the evolution was to come in the form of instant play casinos. This essentially meant that you were able to play the full range of casino games from the browser on your computer. There was no need to download the software at all, you simply need to open the webpage for that casino, sign in and then you get instant access to the games.
Mobile has been the next leap for the industry and this is probably seen the biggest technological advance. Pretty much all casinos now have some form of mobile option, which you can access from pretty much any smartphone or tablet. The downside to mobile is that not all games are accessible on the platform yet. Whilst not set in stone, as a rule of thumb you can look to get around 50% of the desktop casino games on your mobile.
One of the ways that casinos have been able to really move forward with mobile technology is the development of HTML 5. Now, it’s likely that you’ve never heard of HTML 5, but it’s essentially a design platform that a lot of websites and casinos are designed on. The reason why it’s been so successful is that it allows websites to be more fluid when used on mobile devices and in turn, allow for much better design and usability functions.
Whilst mobile is still someway behind the online sector at the minute, especially in terms of the number of games on offer, we fully expect that over the next 5-10 years, all games will be available on mobile and it will be the number one way in which users play online casinos games.
RNG (RANDOM NUMBER GENERATORS)
The Random Number Generators are the brains behind the casino. They are the function that allows games to work in the way they do and also allow results to be pulled at ‘random’.
Except, these RNGs are truly random. We are being a bit pedantic here in that to 99.99% of people you’d never be able to crack them, but they technically could be hacked if you knew two key points; 1) The seed and 2) The algorithm.
But, we address that in a minute. The best way we find to explain an RBG is to imagine a roulette wheel spinning at 10,000 mph in a circle. Your job would then be to stop the wheel (think of wheel of fortune) on a specific number. You couldn’t. If you did, it would be pure luck. As the table is moving so fast there is no way that you could influence this decision.
The RNG isn’t actually totally random though. It’s made up of an algorithm, which would be impossible to work out, unless you knew the seed and the algorithm used, as mentioned above. The algorithm is mathematical equation, so if you think of it as 1+1 is always going to be 2, then the algorithm would take on the same affect. Hopefully, that makes sense!
If you are new to online casinos you may not be aware that for the majority of casinos in the industry, they don’t actually make their own casino games. In fact, there are a number of game developers who produce the games and then sell the rights to the casinos. This is why you will often see casinos using the same developers and in turn, having a high number of games the same.
The reason they do is so that they are able to choose from a higher quality range of games. You see, these game developers are solely there to design and make casino games. Whether that be slots, table games, jackpots or otherwise, their only job is to design.
Casinos have a huge number of things to take care of already, most notably their player database. By outsourcing their games it means they are able to invest more time into the day-to-day running of the casino and not have to worry about game design as well. This is one of the main reasons why you see so many online casinos in the industry at the minute, as they can simply pick from a few developers and they have the base of casino ready to go.
The vast majority of casinos will choose more than one developer, often with a mix of up to a dozen. This just means that they get a wider range of games and as some developers specialise in different areas (slots, table games, live casino etc.) it means the casino can then combine them to make much more appealing all-round product for their users.
Due to the developers pouring 100% of their efforts into the games it means the standard of casino games are much better. There are actually one or two casinos that still make a handful of their own games, but to be honest, they are miles away in terms of quality as compared to some of the mainstream developers.
There are four main developers in the industry at the minute, including Microgaming, IGT, PlayTech and NetEnt.
Microgaming are probably the biggest and arguably the best in the industry. The company are used by more casinos than any other with over 450 brands using their software. The platform is probably best known for its sheer volume of games, with over 850 to choose from.
The slots section is particularly impressive and they have some of the most innovative games that you can find, often spearheading the use of new technologies within bonus rounds and features. They are able to provide a huge number of branded games as well, such as Terminator 2, Playboy, Jurassic Park and Game of Thrones, to mention a few. Mega Moolah within their progressive section is the highest grossing jackpot game of all time, paying out millions with each jackpot that is won.
IGT is undoubtedly smaller than Microgaming, with over 150 games to choose from, but there is little doubt that the company is one of the most innovative. They were one of the first developers to really integrate HTML5 into their software, which allows their games to be fluid on both desktop and mobile devices.
Their games come with state of the art HD graphic and the majority of them look superb. Some of the standout games within the IGT network include Family Guy, Ghostbusters, Maya Gold and Pharaohs Fortune.
PlayTech are a company that just keep on expanding. They are constantly acquiring new businesses within the sector and as such, have a huge range of new technologies available to them. Their game portfolio of over 500 is rivalled by only that of Microgaming and as such, have been a firm fixture with many of the top casinos.
The developers are best known for their link with branded titles from well known movie entertainment companies such as Marvel, MGM, NBC Universal and HBO. This has allowed them to design games such as Robocop, Superman, Spiderman, Wolverine, Thor, Sopranos and Incredible Hulk.
NetEnt are probably best known as the design kings within the industry. Their games are able to take not only design to the next level, but also user interaction. There is something about the games that make them feel more of a story than a casino game, and we can assure you that this is not an easy trait to achieve.
NetEnt have also been huge innovators within the live casino sector. In fact, the majority of casinos that are offering live casino are likely doing so from the NetEnt platform. They’ve been able to make games that are available in full HD, but also from several places around the world and with dozens of different casino game variants.
Casino Games you can Play for Real Money Online
The range of games that are on offer these days is pretty incredible. They way surpass that you will find from a brick and mortar casino, often devising new formats of classics such as blackjack and roulette just to keep things feeling fresh.
Blackjack is able to take on many different game types and is probably the game that we know best within the casino, but fail to see a wide variety of games. Your standard blackjack game is going to be on offer in pretty much every online casino, but other variations can be extensive and include the following:
- Atlantic City
- Atlantic City Gold Edition
- Gold series
- High Streak
- Multi Hand
- Vegas Downtown
- Hi Lo 13
- Vegas Strip
- Super Fun
- Vegas Downtown
Roulette is probably as, if not more popular than blackjack. The aim of the game couldn’t be easier, just pick a number or area on the board and spin away. But, we bet you weren’t aware of all the different game types that were on offer? Including…
- Diamond Edition
- Multi Wheel
- Multi Wheel Gold Series
- Three ball
- Two ball
Video poker is actually quite a popular game in land casinos, but the range of games is often very limited. The online world has not only taken this form of casino game and turned it on its head with the range of games, but we think enhanced this ageing game into the 21st Century.
- Jacks or better
- Deuces wild
- Double joker
- Aces and faces
- Joker poker power
- Tens or better
- Bonus poker deluxe
- Deuces and joker
- Aces and eights
- All aces
The slots section of any online casino is always the most important in our opinion, mainly because it’s always the biggest. There are thousands of games to choose from across the board and whilst many are fairly similar in terms of game type, it’s only by design that you can really see any differences.
- 3 reel
- 5 reel
- 6 reel
- 7 reel
- Video slots
- Classic slots
- Fruit machines
- 3D Slots
- AWP Slots
LIVE DEALER GAMES
Live dealers are a fairly new addition to the online casino industry, but the concept is that it brings the interaction of being in an actual casino, straight to your home. These games have improved massively over the years and now often include HD images, great chat communities for each game and also well-polished casino layouts, which adds to the authenticity of it all.
- Casino Hold’em
- Hi Lo
- Punto Banco