How We Rate Online Casinos

25 Rating Steps © CSNO 2020

What we look for at each of the casinos we recommend to you

CSNO prides itself on our commitment to honesty and professionalism, giving you the unbiased and honest reviews you need to make an informed decision about which online casinos deserve you as a player.

On this page, we’ll go into the 25-step process we use to review and rate each casino we recommend to you.

Step 1-3
Step 4-9
Step 10-13
Step 14-18
Step 19-22
Step 23-24
Step 25

Security and Trust: Checks 1-3

Our fundamental step is checking a casino’s security and trustworthiness. We’re just as dedicated as you are to piercing your player privacy – of your personal details or financial details. To make sure a casino is fair, honest and trustworthy, we look for:

Step 1:Licensed by a respected regulatory body. Without this, a casino won't legally be allowed to operate. Some of the trusted regulatory bodies we check for include the United Kingdom Gambling Commission, the Malta Gaming Authority, the Kahnawake Gaming Commission and others.

Step 2:Independent regulation. It's not enough for a casino to be regulated by a respected body - they have to be independently audited too. A casino needs to display evidence of this, displaying its auditing organisation’s logo in their footer - eCOGRA or GLi, among others. If this isn't on display (some casinos don't display it, and that's still fine), we go to each individual game and check that they're fairly audited. We do this in two ways - either running the games 100 times to make sure the results are random (from a RNG) or by checking its auditing report in the game’s information section.

Step 3:Valid SSL encryption across the site. Every site page needs to be protected with SSL encryption across any casino we look at. This means the data being sent to a casino - such as player financial details - is completely encrypted and is therefore unable to be hacked and stolen. SSL encryption means a site is safe and secure to give your information to.

Security and Trust: Checks 4-9

This is what you came to an online casino for – and we like to check that the games on offer are amazing, engaging, plentiful enough, and deserve your time, effort and money! There are so many game variations and software providers powering them, that we want our players to know you’re really getting the absolute best on offer.

We look for the following at each casino’s game section should have the following if it’s to pass our security checks:

Step 4:A solid variety of games, obviously, the more, the merrier here. We look for a good selection across a range of games, including slots, Blackjack, Roulette, other table games, baccarat, Live Dealer games and others, such as bingo, keno and scratchcards. In each game section, we like to see that there are a wide range of variants too.

Step 5:Range of progressive jackpots. These are a huge draw for slots fans, and even other curious players. These jackpots can be lifechangers, paying out insane amounts on random spins to players making real-money wagers. We check for fan favourites like Mega Moolah, the Age of the Gods series and more.

Step 6:Free play games. This is always important. You'll have a chance to experience a game before committing your bankroll to it, as well as practice a strategy - all at no risk. We check for a range of free to play games, and have a go at a fair few ourselves.

Step 7:The software providers powering the casino. Casinos are only ever as good as their software providers - we especially check for industry-leading providers like NetEnt, Microgaming and Playtech, who are well-known to provide a fantastic array of quality, rewarding games, as well as cool bonus rounds and other features.

Step 8:A well-optimised mobile site. Since gaming-on-the-go is only becoming more popular, we look for a solidly built and optimised mobile site, as well as any dedicated apps for iOS or Android. We test both of these platforms across a few of our devices, as well as checking if all of the games from the desktop site are available on the mobile platforms.

Step 9:A great desktop experience. Having a well-optimised desktop experience is incredibly important for any casino we review - one that loads quickly, has no lagging or buffering (or crashes) and a quick, simple sign up process. We also check that each casino site we look at is easy to navigate.

Bonuses and Promotions: Checks 10-13

Who doesn’t love a bonus? Every online casino we bring you offers you at least one welcome bonus to boost your bankroll on your first deposit, as well as offers regular promotions once you’re no longer a shiny new player. Our casino experts look for the best offers, but also go deep into the Terms and Conditions of each bonus, to double check the bonuses on offer really are as great as you think they are.

Step 10:The welcome bonus. This is the bare minimum we check for. This could be generous, and could be in the form of a matched deposit bonus, a free spin offer, cash back or even a no-deposit offer. This is the key to getting your online casino journey off to the right start.

Step 11:Terms and Conditions. The Terms and Conditions of a bonus need to be both understandable but also fair to you - we go through these in depth and explain them to you in our reviews, making it clear what you need to know about if you’re considering taking a bonus.

Step 12:Ongoing promotions. Each casino we look at has to offer new bonuses and other goodies for players after they become a regular member.

Step 13:VIP and Loyalty Schemes on offer. Most casinos will offer you a loyalty scheme, where you get to earn additional benefits as you play. Those who earn the most loyalty benefits will likely be invited to a VIP club - it depends on the casino. We check out what kind of loyalty and VIP offers a casino has, as well as whether the benefits of it are really worth it or not.

Banking and Money: Checks 14-18

It’s obviously important for players to want and need a secure, easy deposit and withdrawal process – and that’s what we check for. We deposit and withdraw at all casinos, as well as check which baking methods are available. We then check how a casino handles these processes overall.

Step 14:An easy deposit process. We sign up at the casinos and make a first deposit, to check how easy the entire process is. We look for the payment method available, if there are any fees and what the minimum deposit is.

Step 15:Financial security. We need to see that your payments are made securely and with trusted software. This includes checking for SSL encryption on the site, but also double checking that casinos commit to their payouts requested, with player funds separated from a casino's operational funds.

Step 16:Fast withdrawals. We make a withdrawal, double checking the times a casino takes to process it, as well as checking the range of options available to withdraw with, if there are any fees, and what the minimum amount is.

Step 17:Quick processing of funds. Going hand in hand with quick withdrawals, we like to see that a casino isn't taking the time in processing players funds before releasing them. We double check a casino stays true to their word on the times it takes them to process a player’s winnings too.

Step 18:Fair RTP. We check the average RTP of the casino, based on the games on offer. We also check the RTP of the games - and all good casinos will have information relating to this somewhere on their site.

Customer Support: Checks 19-22

Hopefully you’ll never need to, but if it comes down to it, you want to know that the customer support on offer is timely and helpful. We put this test for you.

Step 19:Player’s data protection. We make sure that each of our recommended casinos keep their players’ details and data private, and will never sell it on to third parties. We check a casino's privacy policy to make sure they are committed to player data protection.

Step 20:Safety and wellbeing. Player safety should be a casino's number one priority. We check our casinos’ monitoring the time and money a player has spent gambling, and giving them the option to protect themselves and access to the support they need.

Step 21:Easy customer support and contact. Customer support should be highly accessible - even 24/7 - across a range of channels. We check for a phone number, email, live chat and a solid FAQ section.

Step 22:Fast responses across channels. We check out the support offered by a casino, contacting them to see how long it takes them to respond, and whether or not they've solved our issue.

Mobile Optimization: Checks 23-24

As mentioned above, gaming-on-the-go is a huge part of the online casino experience. We check out a casino’s offering via Android, iOS and tablets.

Step 23:Optimised for the smaller screens. We check out the mobile casino for a site via different browsers and devices, to double check that the casino plays just as well as it does on the desktop, and offers the same experience overall. We also check for additional mobile-only bonuses and will alert you if we discover any!

Step 24:Solid app experience. Where you choose to use a casino’s app or mobile site, both platforms should offer to pay for the same, highly-optimised experience. We pay particular attention to their speed, layout and the range of games on offer, with bonus points for apps and mobile sites that have the same exact number of games from their desktop to mobile platforms.

Localisation: Check 25

Gambling is a global pastime, so you may be playing at a casino that wasn’t established in your county of residence, and so will other players worldwide. We like to make sure that a casino treats each of these players exactly the same, with options for them to play and bank in their own currency and language.

Step 25:Location. We like casinos that are adapted to a player's location. This can include a range of local languages and currency options for players to deposit and withdraw in.

What Happens When a Casino Fails Any of Our Checks

When online casinos meet all of the above checks, we’re ready to recommend them to you. But, if a casino doesn’t quite make the mark, it will be added to the casino blacklist.

We have around 90 casino sites already on the blacklist, and with more to be added as and when we find them.

We know our readers deserved a safe, fair and enjoyable online casino experience, and so each casino on our blacklist has been investigated by a team of experts, who alert us and you against those sites where you might find:

  • Refusal to release your winnings
  • Bad customer service – unresponsive, or unhelpful
  • Slow to pay out winnings
  • A lack of fair games and a lack of on-site security
  • A tough time claiming and receiving bonuses on offer

We add casinos to our blacklist based on either something we discover during our initial reviewing process, or based on our player feedback – once we receive a complaint, we take it on ourselves to personally investigate it.

As a team with 100+ years of combined online gaming experience, we are experts in the field, knowing exactly what it takes for a great online casino to be worth your time, money and energy – and we take our jobs very seriously.