What to look for when choosing an online casino

What to look for when choosing an online casino - Banner
Paul Clare
by Paul Clare Last updated:


Choosing the right online casino is an essential part of enjoying a safe and productive online gambling experience. With so much choice it’s easy to get overwhelmed when considering how to choose an online casino. But we’re here to help! Our experts do all the hard work so that you don’t have to – and if we’ve recommended a site, you can be sure it’s worth joining. Every player is different and no casino operates the same. This guide will cover the most important aspects to consider, including positive signs and any potential red flags.

Aspects to consider when choosing a good online casino include the general reputation of a casino. This can be assessed through reviews from independent review sites, such as No Wagering. It’s also important to check that the casino holds a gambling licence from a trusted regulatory authority. All casinos recommended by No Wagering are licenced by the UK Gambling Commission – one of the most respected in the industry.

Other elements to consider include the software developers the site partners with and the choice of games. You’ll want the games available to match your gambling interests. Many online casinos will have a range of enticing offers, promotions and bonuses, all with transparent and fair T&Cs and ideally no wagering requirements. Pay attention to the security of the site to ensure your financial and personal data is protected. Also, check that standard payment methods are available and there is adequate customer support.

Once you’re ready to choose an online casino, check out our up-to-date directory of the best no wagering casinos.  This details sites we have verified and approved as safe, secure, reputable casinos that offer an all-round enjoyable gaming experience.

Evaluating Casino Regulations and Guidelines

Gambling industry regulatory bodies ensure that online casinos operate fairly and securely. The UK Gambling Commission (UKGC) is one of the most respected regulators in the industry and you should be looking for a casino with this licence. When a casino holds a licence from the UKGC, it ensures a high level of security and protection for players. This includes data protection and financial security, along with assurance of fair gaming, complaint resolution options and full regulatory compliance.

The player protection measures assured by the regulations of the Gambling Commission include:

1. Identity verification

Licensed casinos must perform in-depth identity checks to prevent underage gambling and fraud. This includes gathering personal and financial information.

2. Financial security

Licensed casinos are required to keep players' funds separate from operational funds. This ensures that players’ deposits and winnings are always protected.

3. Data protection

Advanced encryption technologies, like Secure Socket Layer (SSL), are used to protect players’ data. They protect personal and financial data.

4. Fair play

Random Number Generators (RNGs) are used to ensure random results in all games. Licensed casinos are also regularly audited by independent testing authorities like iTech Labs to ensure the RNGs are working properly.

5. Responsible gambling

Casinos must offer safer gambling tools, including self-exclusion tools. These encourage players to set betting limits and time reminders to manage their bankroll and gameplay. Casinos must also provide resources and links to organisations such as Gamcare that help with problem gambling.

6. Complaint resolution

If an operator can’t resolve a dispute internally within 8 weeks, players have the right to escalate the issue to an approved ADR (Alternative Dispute Resolution) service. The ADR will ensure any disputes are resolved fairly and impartially.

7. Regulatory compliance

Regular audits and inspections ensure licensed casinos maintain the highest standards of operation. There are strict penalties for non-compliance, including fines and licence removal for casinos failing to meet required standards.

When choosing an online casino to play at, selecting one licensed by the UKGC ensures you benefit from the Commission’s robust protection measures and commitment to safety, security and responsible gambling. All casinos recommended by No Wagering are licensed by the UKGC.

As well as the UKGC, other valid casino licences to look out for include licences from Malta (Malta Gaming Authority), Gibraltar (Gibraltar Regulatory Authority), Alderney (Alderney Gambling Control Commission) and Isle of Man (Isle of Man Gambling Supervision Commission).

Assessing the Online Casino's Reputation

It’s essential to research the casino's background and reputation. First and foremost, is it a trustworthy casino? How does it score on reliability? Check out the expert reviews and ratings here at No Wagering to get insights into the casino’s performance. Be sure to pay attention to any negative factors as well as the positive side to get a balanced view. Consider also the casino’s history of fair play and timely pay-outs, along with their reputation for customer support.

There are good, reliable casinos out there – it's important to find a reputable casino that you can trust.

All casinos listed on No Wagering have been verified by experts as safe, secure and offering a comprehensive gaming experience. We will only review or recommend a reputable online casino that respects responsible gaming practices. Read our reviews for an in-depth guide to each casino. We uncover both positive and negative points, to help you choose the right casino to suit your priorities and preferences.

Examining Bonus Offers and Promotions

Various types of bonuses and promotions are available at online casinos – all designed to attract new or existing players. Understanding these can help you maximise your benefits. Some common bonuses you’ll find at most casinos include:

Welcome bonus: These are often matched bonuses on initial deposits.

Free spins bonus: Often found as part of a welcome package and as a regular ongoing promotion.

No-deposit bonus: Bonuses that allow you to play without an initial deposit.

Cashback: Giving you a percentage of your losses back.

Reload bonuses: Bonuses that are issued after you've made your first deposit, often as part of a welcome package.

Sometimes you’ll get the chance to choose your own bonus, for example, you might get the option to receive your bonus as bonus cash or free spins to play slots. This is partly down to player preference, but you can also check the terms to decide which is the more favourable option.

Bonuses usually come with terms and conditions attached, which often include wagering requirements. Wagering requirements refer to the number of times you need to wager your bonus amount before you can withdraw any winnings. These are included by casinos to protect themselves from bonus abuse (i.e. players only signing up to get the bonus). However, if a casino has very high wagering requirements (e.g. 50x), this can render the bonus worthless, as it would be almost impossible for you to ever cash your money out!

No wagering and low wagering casinos offer a much better alternative. The bonuses offered at no wagering casinos have zero wagering requirements attached to them, allowing you to access your winnings straight away. We mostly recommend casinos with no wagering bonuses. However, some low wagering casinos also offer excellent value for players, as their low wagering requirements are low enough to be fair and manageable. And they sometimes offer even bigger bonuses than no wagering casinos.

It’s always sensible to compare bonus offers at different casinos to find the best value bonus. Read the terms and conditions carefully to ensure you understand the fine print, such as any maximum bet limits or game restrictions. Some games may also count more towards the wagering requirements than others. Slots usually contribute 100%, whereas table games can contribute 10%-20% or less).

Game Selection

One of the most important aspects of a casino when deciding where to play is the game selection. Consider the games you want to play – there’s no point signing up to a live dealer specialist if your favourite games are slots! A diverse collection of online casino games will enhance your gaming experience, allowing you to try the latest releases alongside classic games, thus enjoying a wide variety. Consider the selection of slots, table games, live dealer games, and specialty games, such as keno, scratch cards or video poker.

Players keen to play on mobile and desktop or switch between the two also need to check the site’s compatibility with different devices. This will help ensure a seamless gaming experience across mobile, tablet and desktop. All good casinos facilitate mobile play with games perfectly optimised to give the best experience on mobile. Some even have a dedicated mobile app.

Another aspect to consider is the game providers that casino partners with. Look for reputable software providers to ensure high-quality games, such as NetEnt, Playtech, IGT, Microgaming, Play ‘n Go, Yggdrasil, Red Tiger Gaming and Evolution. Generally, we like to see a healthy balance of classic games from well-known developers mixed in with a few left-field offerings from smaller studios. If there's a game you particularly enjoy, it’s worth looking at who the developer is, and what other titles they have. Casinos that have a good mix of software developers include:

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If you’re interested in the biggest potential payouts, you could check out sites that offer progressive jackpot slots, such as the Mega Moolah series from Microgaming, the Age of the Gods series from Playtech, and the Jackpot King series from Blueprint. Take a look at our reviews of some of the best casino sites for jackpot slots:

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Functionality, Design and Usability

Committing to a casino isn’t a decision to be taken lightly – it must be intuitive to use, easy to navigate and easy on the eyes. When compiling our reviews, we take all these factors into account. Solid functionality and user-friendly design are must-haves when it comes to choosing an online casino. However, it’s worth bearing in mind that some elements of design are subjective and what might be appealing to one player could be irrelevant or even off-putting to another.

Here’s what to look out for:


Responsive design: The site must be responsive and adapt smoothly to different devices, such as desktops, laptops, tablets and mobiles.

Ease of navigation: The site should be intuitive to navigate with clear menus and sections for games, promotions, customer support and account management.

Loading speed: Fast loading times are important for an engaging experience, ensuring easy access to games with no frustrating waiting times.

Game performance: Games should play smoothly without any interruptions, lags or glitches.


Appearance: An aesthetically pleasing design with high-quality graphics and an attractive theme can enhance your enjoyment. Though of course, theme preference is subjective!

User interface (UI): The layout should be well-organised, making it easy to find games, access your account area and explore other features.

Images: All the images, including game thumbnails, should be clear and high-quality to help you easily identify the games you want to play.


Search function: A simple search function allows you to find specific games or types of games.

Filters: There should be filters for game categories and software providers so you can narrow down your options.

Demos: These allow you to try games out and practise your skills before playing with real money.

Multi-language support: Offering multiple language options can make the site more accessible for non-native speakers.


Cross-platform compatibility: The casino should be compatible with different operating systems, including Windows, MacOS, iOS and Android.

Mobile gaming: Dedicated mobile apps can improve usability, providing a better experience on mobile. It’s worth checking that the games catalogue isn’t compromised on mobile though, as sometimes a casino can reduce the number of games available on the app.

Playing on mobile and tablet is so popular because it is easy and convenient and many operators are taking a mobile-first approach when it comes to design, usability and functionality. Here are a few casinos with excellent mobile offerings:

Ensuring a Safe and Fair Gaming Experience

Security and fairness are two crucial aspects to consider when choosing an online casino. Look for SSL (Secure Socket Layer) encryption to ensure data security – this protects your data when transferring information between your device and the casino’s servers. The casino should also adhere to data protection policies, such as GDPR.

Check the terms and conditions and the wagering requirements attached to bonuses. All T&Cs should be transparent and fair to players. Any high wagering requirements should be a red flag, as it challenges a casino’s claim to fairness if you can’t ever realistically access your winnings. Ideally choose a casino with no wagering requirements, as these tend to be the fairest of all.

Other aspects to consider for confirming the fairness of a site’s games include a Random Number Generator (RNG) certification and regular positive audit reports from independent authorities such as eCOGRA. There are several measures in place at casinos regulated by the UKGC to ensure customer rights are protected and any disputes can be resolved fairly and impartially. This is one of the main reasons that we only recommend casinos regulated by the UKGC.

Considering Payment and Withdrawal Options

Although banking options can be a matter of personal preference, the deposit and withdrawal options available at a casino should include all major payment methods. E-wallets tend to strike a good balance of speed, security and convenience, but there are advantages to other methods too.

Virtually all casinos will support debit card payments, bank transfers and a selection of e-wallets, such as PayPal or Skrill, but some accept a range of different methods, including prepaid cards and cryptocurrency. A wider variety of convenient payment methods payment options is a green flag, as it makes transactions more convenient.

Check transaction speed and reliability to ensure reliable processing of deposits and withdrawals. Another element to consider is any foreign currency options and their associated fees. It’s also important to check for any fees attached to specific payment methods.

Payment processing times can be a deal-breaker for those players who want their winnings as close to instantly as possible. Although withdrawals can never actually be instant and you’ll have to wait at least a little while, some casinos process withdrawals much faster than others. Online casinos with relatively quick payment processing times include:

Customer Support

Things go wrong from time to time, and players want to know that there’s a real person out there who can help. Reliable customer support is essential for resolving any issues, whether it's about a financial transaction, bonus eligibility, a technical difficulty or anything else.

Support channels should include various options, including live chat, email and telephone support, ideally with a UK phone number. It’s always best if a casino offers 24/7 support to help with out-of-hours queries. However, there will often be specific office hours for telephone support, so, ensure they match your favourite playing times.

Live chat can often mean an automated chatbot, so check if you’ll be able to communicate with a real person in real time using the live chat channel. Look out for other methods of getting in touch too, such as social media accounts, which can make it easier to get help when you need it.

Casinos regulated by the UK Gambling Commission must adhere to policies regarding player rights. One of these policies stipulates that if a casino can’t resolve your issue within 8 weeks, you can escalate the issue to an independent authority.

Red Flags

As well as knowing what to look for in a casino, there are some warning signs that can be quite telling. We’ve mentioned the importance of good reviews but, equally, if you find that we’ve reviewed an aspect of a casino unfavourably that will be integral to your enjoyment, then you might want to consider a different site. Some red flags to look out for include:

Vague terms and conditions

Check the terms thoroughly to ensure you fully understand the conditions attached to any promotions. Vague or overly complicated T&Cs could suggest a casino is attempting to conceal some information. Transparency is at the heart of a great player-operator relationship. All restrictions and requirements should be clearly stated, not buried in small print.

Poor usability

Keep your eye out for any usability issues, such as broken images or links, which suggest a lack of professionalism. This carelessness could also spill over into other areas of their business, such as customer support or pay-outs. An outdated website can indicate lack of investment in security. Spelling, grammar or punctuation errors show poor attention to detail. This may reflect broader issues and a lack of care for the customer experience.

Unclear licensing information

Ensure the casino is transparent about its gambling licence. It should be licensed by the Gambling Commission (UKGC) which ensures safety, security, compliance and adherence to responsible gambling regulations. If the casino lacks transparency about its licence, this could indicate it is unregulated. and thus poses a severe risk to the safety of your finances and personal data.

Poor reviews

Consistently poor reviews on independent review sites could indicate a problem. So, pay attention to any complaints that keep cropping up such as delays with withdrawing money or poor customer support.

Unresponsive customer support

Slow or no response from the customer support team is a major red flag. Check the live chat, email and phone contact options to ensure timely and helpful responses.

Lack of safer gambling tools

If the casino doesn’t offer any tools to help players gamble responsibly this indicates a lack of commitment to player welfare. It is also against Gambling Commission regulations.

Strict deposit or withdrawal limits

There’s nothing unusual about having deposit and withdrawal limits. However, if they’re too restrictive then this could hamper your experience.

High wagering requirements

High wagering requirements are a big red flag when assessing any casino. They are unfair to players and can be a deceitful way to entice you to register and then be unable to access your bonus or any potential winnings. We only recommend sites with no or low wagering requirements to ensure the best value gaming.

For an in-depth analysis of more warning signs to look out for, check out our full article on red flags when choosing an online casino.

Checking for Responsible Gambling Measures

All high-quality, regulated casinos should have a responsible gambling section, which includes resources about keeping safe while gambling. It should include links to support organisations, such as Gamblers Anonymous and Gamcare. There should also be clear self-exclusion options and various safer gambling tools available for players, including:

Deposit limits and betting limits: these allow players to set limits on deposits and bets.

Time reminders: these allow players to keep an eye on how long they have been gambling. For example, this can be a pop-up reminder that will appear after a set time, asking if you would like to continue playing.

Time out: an option for players to take a short-term break from the casino. This will lock a player’s account and stop them playing for anything from 24 hours to 6 weeks.

Self-exclusion: a long-term solution for players who want to stop gambling for a longer time or permanently. Players will not receive any marketing communications and be unable to open an account again for at least 6 months.


Choosing the right online casino involves a number of factors.  Reputation, licensing, games selection, bonuses, wagering requirements, security, payment options and excellent customer service all need considering . Your choice of casino affects your enjoyment, safety, the bonuses you will receive and the ability to access your winnings.

Finding the best online casino means making informed decisions. Finding the right place to play can lead to a safer, more enjoyable and rewarding gaming experience. Here at No Wagering, our experts carefully assess everything about a casino.  We do this so you can be sure the casinos we recommend are safe, secure and great all-round sites that offer a great online casino experience.

Check out our recommended no wagering casinos to get started.

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What are the most important factors to consider when choosing an online casino?

Reputation and reviews, licensing, game variety, bonuses and their associated T&Cs, security, payment methods and customer support.

Why is a licence from the UK Gambling Commission important?

It ensures the casino adheres to strict standards for player protection.

What should I look for in bonus terms and conditions?

Ensure you look for any wagering requirements, maximum bet limits and game restrictions.

Why should I choose a no wagering casino?

No wagering casinos have zero wagering requirements attached to their bonuses, meaning you can access any winnings straight away. High wagering requirements can make it difficult or sometimes impossible to access your winnings. This is why we only recommend no wagering or low wagering casinos.

How can I ensure a casino is secure?

Look for SSL encryption, audit certification and a clear privacy policy with data protection information.

What payment methods should I expect?

A variety of options for deposits and withdrawals, including credit/debit cards, e-wallets and bank transfers.

How important is customer support?

It’s essential for resolving issues quickly and effectively. Ideally, a casino should have 24/7 support available, including telephone support with a UK phone number.