At ReadWrite, we’re focused on providing accurate, insightful, and relevant information at all times, especially when reviewing different casinos and remote betting sites.
We want to ensure that you identify the best and most reputable gambling hubs regardless of where you are in the world, using the criteria and metrics that are most important to our audience.
But how do we rate individual casinos and sportsbooks here at ReadWrite, and why should you trust our findings? Here’s a breakdown of our review process and the how we rate criteria that we use!
Our Review Process
Ultimately, our entire approach is based on a clear distinction between our objective reviews and sponsored content. This way, we can maintain a balanced and completely unbiased view of the casinos and betting sites that we compare while using consistent and universal criteria across the board.
This also makes it much easier to compare sites in real time and identify safe, secure, and high-quality platforms that are right for you. We also award each casino or sportsbook a numeric grade based on their overall quality, and this can be broken down as follows:
|How We Rate Gambling Sites
|What Does This Mean?
|A market-leading gambling site of exceptional quality
|An excellent gambling site with numerous positives
|A satisfactory gambling site with few positives or flaws
|An underperforming gambling site in need of improvement
|A very unsatisfactory gambling site with significant issues
Our Rating Criteria
Our review and rating process includes 10 primary criteria, which are relevant to both online casinos and remote sportsbooks.
We evaluate each site separately based on performance, which in turn helps us to calculate their scores and provide comparable results across both verticals. Here’s a visual summary of our criteria. We’ll explore each metric in more detail below!
Explore Our Rating Methodology
While each of these criteria has been considered as part of our review process here at ReadWrite, you may have your idea about the most important factors when choosing a gambling site. But what exactly do we look for as part of each metric, and how do we rank sites accordingly?
Range of Gambling Options (15%)
This criterion will mean different things depending on whether you’re gambling at an online casino or sportsbook.
For example, this will refer to the range of sports and betting markets covered by a sportsbook, including the full selection of pre-game and in-play wager types available.
At an online casino, the range of gambling options refers to the types of games available, such as slots, blackjack, roulette, baccarat, and video poker. Casinos will also be ranked in part based on the availability of a live casino platform and the number of games included.
Of course, the number of games and betting markets is an important consideration, as is the diversity of options available. For online casinos, we’ll also review the range and quality of software providers that are represented.
Welcome Offers and Promotions (13%)
While operators often offer different bonuses for casino and sportsbook sectors, these promotions should be concise, transparent, and capable of offering real value.
To ensure this, we’ll look at each welcome bonus structure and its key terms and conditions, such as the minimum deposit and wagering requirements. The latter should be competitive and in line with the value of the bonus, with lower wagering requirements making it easier and more affordable to access your winnings.
You should also have plenty of time in which to fulfill your wagering requirements, especially when dealing with higher-value bonuses that are spread across multiple deposits.
Security and Safety (12%)
Not all online casino or remote sports betting markets are regulated in the same way in the US, and we review many ‘offshore’ sites here at ReadWrite.
We ensure that these operators are licensed and regulated by a recognized offshore body, such as the UK Gambling Commission, the Malta Gaming Authority, or Curaçao eGaming.
Each site should also boast 128-bit SSL encryption as a minimum security standard while offering secure and trusted payment methods. Our featured sites should also take steps to verify their players’ identity, ensuring they’re of legal age and wagering responsibly.
It’s also crucial that casinos guarantee a safe gameplay experience for their players by having their game library independently tested by a trusted third party.
Global giants in this space include eCOGRA and Gaming Labs International (GLI), the latter of which pioneered independent testing services in various international jurisdictions, including North America, Europe, and Asia.
Such testing ensures that games are fair and that outcomes are triggered by random number-generating (RNG) software. Return-to-player (RTP) rates should also be published and transparent across each game and vertical.
Payout Rate (11%)
This leads us directly to the payout rate, which can be calculated across different games, verticals, and sites. The RTP rate describes how much a bettor can expect to win for every $1 wagered on a specific game or betting market, while this is usually expressed as a percentage.
Obviously, sites with the highest RTP rates will achieve an optimal ranking, with anything in excess of 96% generally considered above average at both casinos and sportsbooks.
When calculating the payout rate at sportsbooks, odds also play a significant role. However, we’ll touch on this a little later on the page.
Mobile Device Compatibility (10%)
Many offshore sites don’t operate native apps on iOS or Android. Instead, they’ve invested in responsive website designs that adapt intuitively to different device types and screen dimensions, creating an optimal experience for all!
When we rate sites for mobile compatibility, we give priority to operators that are available across iOS, Android, and Windows. We’ll also review native apps in cases where they’re available, ensuring they’re functional, intuitive, secure, and capable of replicating a desktop gambling experience as closely as possible.
Reputation and Rewards (8%)
Not all casino or sportsbook brands are created equal, of course. And while some are world-renowned and have years of experience, others are relative startups new to international markets.
So, we’ll consider a brand’s longevity and reputation based on everything from user reviews and reception to any industry awards that have been won.
We’ll also review each site’s loyalty programs and approach to rewarding customers. The best casinos and sportsbooks tend to offer tiered loyalty programs and customized rewards based on your level of engagement and betting frequency.
Gambling Software (7%)
We’ve already touched on gambling software, which has a major impact on the range of games available at online casinos.
Market-leading software providers include Microgaming, NetEnt, Playtech, and Evolution Gaming, the latter of which is a specialist in developing live casino games.
Ideally, casinos should feature high-quality games from a broad range of reputable developers. This contributes to greater variety and a more immersive gameplay experience overall.
Customer support (4%)
Almost all licensed casinos and sportsbooks now offer 24/7 customer support, especially through interactive live chat and email.
However, we’ll review the response times and quality of support provided via these channels while testing additional contact methods such as telephone (which should ideally be accessible via a toll-free number).
Also, sites with highly engaged communities or in-depth FAQ resources will score well for customer support. This is because these channels enable you to answer generic queries quickly and with a minimum of fuss.
Additional Criteria for Online Casino Reviews
When you drill down deeper into each gambling vertical, you’ll discover additional criteria to keep in mind. Here are some further metrics that impact our online casino reviews:
Progressive jackpots are slots that form part of a network and are commonly made available by software providers like Microgaming.
Progressive slots see their jackpots grow gradually as part of this network, while they can often deliver six-, seven-, and even eight-figure prices when they’re eventually won.
We’ll always review the number of progressive slots available at specific casinos while assessing the typical jackpots on offer and maximum bet value per spin.
Many online casinos offer VIP programs through which they generate the majority of their deposits.
VIP programs are loyalty schemes for high rollers and a site’s biggest spenders, who can unlock personalized rewards based on their betting levels.
We’ll review each VIP program to see if it offers value based on the thresholds to qualify and the range of rewards available.
High rollers or competitive casino players may also be interested in playing tournaments. Often focused on games of skill like poker and blackjack, these tournaments can have various betting limits and different rules based on the variations of games played.
Ideally, casinos should operate tournaments that have different levels of reward and accessibility to suit a broad range of players. Rules and limits should also be clearly explained so you can make an informed choice about participating.
Additional Criteria for Reviewing Sportsbooks
At sportsbooks, odds and specific sports event promotions can have a big impact on your online wagering experience. But how do these criteria shape the value proposition when betting online?
The odds offered on specific events and outcomes vary from one sportsbook to another, so we’ll review each site to see which one offers the most competitive rates.
We’ll also review individual brands to see whether they offer daily or recurring odds boosts, usually available for limited periods of time or specific sports. This can create additional value for bettors and boost your potential returns in relation to winning stakes.
You may also find that some odds boosts and promotions relate to specific sports events, including major events such as the Super Bowl, UEFA Champions League final, or Stanley Cup.
These promotions may incorporate price boosts or free bet offers, enabling you to wager at enhanced odds or enjoy significant free play. Regardless, we review sports event promotions for their value, transparency, and structure while seeing how frequently sportsbooks deploy such offers.
Regardless of which of our featured casinos or sportsbooks you wager at, it’s crucial that you bet responsibly and sensibly at all times. Gambling sites offer numerous tools to help in this regard, from daily, weekly, and monthly customizable deposit limits to self-exclusion schemes.
If you do start to develop compulsive gambling behavior, however, it’s important to seek out help and support. You can contact customer support at the relevant casino or sportsbook, while national charities and agencies can also offer help. Visit our responsible gambling page to learn more.