An Industry-Defining Brand
888casino launched in 1997 and more than 25 million people have played its games in the two decades since. The parent brand, 888.com, is even more familiar through its sponsorship of snooker champion John Higgins, while football fans may support one of several Championship teams sponsored by the group’s sports betting brand, 888sport.
If you play online bingo, you’ve probably played at an 888 UK Ltd bingo site; the brand operates some of the most familiar bingo sites, including everything from ABC Bingo to Zinger Bingo.
The group – under parent companies 888 Holdings plc and Cassava Enterprises – is one of those you’ll see in TV adverts, online banners, sports sponsorship and so on, and has been a true household name in online gambling since the turn of the millennium.
In-House Software with Fan Favourites
The main 888casino software is developed in-house, with some licensed games from third-party developers, and launches with no installation when you visit the site.
If you’re used to seeing the same games at every casino you visit, the experience here is quite different, and it can take a minute to stop looking for the big brands and movie tie-ins you’d see elsewhere. But there are some third-party-licensed titles from a long list of developers including Virtue Fusion, NetEnt, WMS and Cryptologic. Some of those titles will definitely stand out if you’ve played at other slots sites, for example, Gonzo’s Quest from NetEnt, and IGT’s Cleopatra. The Marvel-themed comic book slots are no longer available, due to the end of Playtech’s arrangement with Marvel, but Cryptologic’s Superman and Wonder Woman slots are still there at the time of writing.
The software works well and there’s a firm focus on the quality of the games; it looks fine in a browser window, even if it prompts you to switch to full-screen mode when you first log in.
Third-party games are carefully chosen to bring real added value to the selection, and load within the same overall software, so there’s no jarring and you usually won’t really notice if you’re playing a Random Logic (i.e. an in-house 888casino) game or one brought in from elsewhere. The overall experience should be pretty much seamless.
888casino Mobile lets you play a selection of the desktop site’s games from your smartphone or tablet. It includes some of the live dealer rooms and nearly 150 titles in total from all of the sections of the main site. Find it in your app store under ‘888casino’ and you can be mobile gaming in minutes – it’s easy to install, open and log in, although reviews of the app seem to suggest that the mobile sign-up offers – such as free spins – don’t always work.
A Choice of Slots
Head to the Slots section for a list of exclusive 888-developed titles and some that are licensed from other developers too. It’s easy to find the exclusive slots as there’s an index page just for those, as well as one for titles with a jackpot. Beyond that, 888casino splits its slots according to the number of pay lines – either 1-20 or 25+ – which is useful as this, multiplied by your stake per line, will affect how much you wager on each spin.
Point to any title for an instant preview of quick facts including its maximum wager and whether there’s a jackpot, bonus game and/or free spins – although you’ll have to click through to find out the exact format, number of reels, and so on.
A special mention has to go to the brilliantly named Under Construction, a 30-payline five-reel slot with jackpots, free spins and bonus round which, despite the title, is very much complete and ready to play.
Big-Money Progressive Jackpots
888casino might not have the big brand-name slots you see elsewhere, but it has its fair share of big-money progressive jackpots. Try your luck on Millionaire Genie, Rise of the Pharaohs, Irish Riches, or Pirates Millions (or the seasonal Santa’s Super Slot) and you could claim a jackpot in the millions.
The casino lobby has the option to list just the jackpot slots, making it easy to find one that’s fit to burst.
Classic Casino Games
The classic casino titles are also 888casino’s biggest payout percentages, at over 98% on both blackjack and roulette. Aside from the live dealer tables, there are several flavours of each to choose from and, like the slots, they’re mainly developed in-house and so look and feel consistent with the rest of the site. One exception is 3D Roulette, licensed from Virtue Fusion, but the 3D graphics mean this one would look different anyway, and it still launches within the same overall 888casino software rather than as a separate experience.
Interestingly, there’s a way to guarantee you play optimal blackjack strategy, but you’ll need to be patient. If you’re disconnected from the site after being dealt a hand but before playing it, your game will be saved so that you can resume it, for up to 30 days. But if you have not completed the hand within 30 days, the software will automatically complete it for you, according to optimal strategy. One hand per month is a snail’s pace, and there’s still no guarantee of a win, but if you want to play optimal strategy without actually learning it, it’s an option!
A Strong Live Dealer Offering
888casino’s live dealer rooms are powered by Evolution Gaming and fit well with the overall style of the site, so you won’t feel like you are leaving the main site to visit a separate live casino. There are some nice touches here, with more live casino promotions than you’ll see on most other sites, and a reminder of how long you’ve been logged in. You can adjust how often this pops up, and you can choose a different screen name than your usual 888casino login, which all helps to give you some extra control over your live dealer experience.
Paying a visit to the live dealer rooms without credit in your account will provide a pleasant surprise, as 888casino grants you access even if you can’t immediately place a wager. To help combat this, the software frequently reminds you that your account balance is empty, and prompts you to make a deposit. It’s a bit of a nag and flies in the face of the Responsible Gambling policy slightly, but it’s a small price to pay (or not pay, more accurately) for a no-deposit spectator mode in the live rooms.
Awards for Years
A casino site doesn’t necessarily deserve respect just for being around for 20 years or more, but 888casino’s list of industry awards definitely does.
One of the more recent additions to the impressive list was 2015’s ‘Casino Operator of the Year’ title from Gaming Intelligence – 888casino’s first from the site. A string of other accolades from big names like the eGaming Review Awards go to show how well-regarded 888casino is among its industry peers, and to still be winning awards after more than two decades in the business shows a truly long-term commitment to providing the best quality games, promotions and software.
Deposits and Withdrawals
UK members have a good choice of deposit options, including the standard Visa and MasterCard credit and debit, PayPal and a selection of e-wallets. Deposits are protected in accordance with the Gambling Commission ‘medium’ level, which means they are protected by insurance in case 888 go bust. The deposit page pre-fills your address details from your casino account, which can be a bit off-putting when you see your bank details already filled in, but it doesn’t have any unauthorised access to your actual bank details.
Withdrawals are a bit complicated. You’ll need to verify your age, which means submitting your driving licence or passport number, or uploading equivalent proof of ID, and if you’ve paid into your account within the past four months, you must first withdraw an equivalent amount back into each of those deposit methods.
If, for example, you deposited £100 by Visa Debit and £50 by PayPal, and you want to withdraw £500 of winnings, 888casino will automatically pay £100 of it back to your debit card, £50 of it to your PayPal account, and the remaining £350 to your preferred choice of any method you have used in the past year. It’s not clear what happens if you’ve closed your PayPal account or your debit card expired in the meantime, but hopefully 888casino will take that into account.
Overall withdrawal times are on the slow side – expect anywhere up to about ten days, depending on your withdrawal method – and further complicate payouts because parts of your withdrawal might appear in different accounts, e-wallets or cards on different days.
888casino’s willingness to pay out at all is sometimes brought into question by unhappy customers, but as long as you stick to the terms and conditions and use a valid method, there’s no obvious reason why your funds won’t appear on time.
Security and Fairness
Security on 888casino is extremely strong, with certified encrypted SSL connections and firewalled payment servers – according to the site “this means that using your credit card at 888.com is even safer than using it to order a pizza”.
Deposits are also protected by industry-standard 3D secure verification (the extra page you sometimes see called either Verified by Visa or MasterCard SecureCode) and 888casino make a triple pledge that their software does not contain any adware, spyware or malware.
The Fair Play pledge is equally impressive, with eCOGRA certification of the random number generator used on blackjack and roulette games, and of payout percentages across the site. You can even search your entire wagering history in My Account; not only to find how much you won or lost, but even (if you want) to open the specific game on a screen that displays the outcome of your bet – for example, the exact cards you and the house were dealt in a specific blackjack hand.
It’s impressively transparent, and you can request a complete archive of your wagers and deposits via 888casino Support with all of that information in one place – a valuable first step for anyone seeking counselling due to problem gambling, or just to support you in making an enquiry about a payout or other issue.
VIP Support Should Be for All
888casino has great support – if you’re a VIP. Members of the 888 VIP Casino Club get live chat support, a freephone helpline and an easy-to-find email address for any queries. If you’re a regular member, contacting 888 Support is much more on their own terms. All of the Contact Us and Help links lead back to the same place: an online email form where you have to fit your query into a set list of categories, and there’s no mention of an email address to let you email directly from your own account.
If you choose to telephone instead, it’s a geographic 020 number, which means you’ll pay per minute for a call to a London-based landline. It’s good that there is a direct telephone number, as it means you can get an immediate response to any problems you might have, but it’s a shame there isn’t a freephone number for all members, or a public email address so you don’t have to use the 1990s-style online contact form.
Easy Links for Self-Exclusion
Links to support services for problem gambling are subtle but are there throughout 888casino, which is good to see. In places, it’s a part of the core experience: join a live casino table and you’ll be prompted to set regular reminders of how long you’ve been playing, although there is a ‘never’ option to dismiss this completely.
In the lobby, click the 18+ icon for a page about preventing access by minors and links to problem gambling support services.
It’s a little odd to see the two different issues on the one page, but it makes more sense under the general heading of Responsible Gambling. The page explains setting deposit limits or self-excluding completely – you can have your account deleted and access to the casino blocked in future, and, importantly, you will also be removed from 888casino’s email marketing list. Beyond that, there are details on how to contact GamCare and other organisations that offer advice and counselling for compulsive gamblers.
Plenty of Promotions
Promotions are where 888casino really excels, and so it’s worth checking the Promotions page regularly, which is clearly linked from the main lobby in the casino software.
The initial Spin to Win promo when you register a new account can be a bit underwhelming, as you’re not likely to win the maximum £888 of bonus credit, but there are plenty of ways to get over it, especially if you are willing to deposit some of your own cash.
It’s especially good to see an entire section of promotions dedicated to the live casino rooms – these usually don’t have many bonuses and offers at rival sites, but at 888casino, there are birthday bonuses and cashback specials that work well alongside similar deals on the RNG parts of the site.
Loyalty Programmes from Day One
888casino’s main loyalty programme from the day you sign up is a simple Comp Points promotion – for every £10 you wager, you receive 1.5 comp points, and for every 150 comp points you earn, you can claim £1 of free credit in the My Points section of My Account. It effectively amounts to a 1% cashback deal on all wagers, subject to the usual T&Cs and withdrawal restrictions, which are clearly explained on the site.
For VIPs, the loyalty programme is a little different. Join the 888 VIP Casino Club and there’s a dedicated support team you’ll get to know by name, and three tiers: VIP, VIP Gold, and VIP Platinum.
Comp points come with a better conversion rate the higher you move through the tiers, and can be exchanged for physical gifts like gadgets and jewellery. There are also one-off gifts like VIP welcome bonuses and birthday presents.
Everything considered, it’s not a bad structure at all, with plenty of perks at Platinum level, although you’ll need to accrue over 750,000 comp points (that’s £5 million wagered in total) to qualify for this top tier.
888casino has been one of the biggest names in the business since the 1990s and is still going strong, and their commitment to offering something different from the crowd is admirable.
The site itself is compact – almost everything (except for the help pages) is self-contained within the software, which preloads quickly when you visit the site.
The number of games is fairly small, but most are developed in-house and different from what you’ll find elsewhere, the licensed games from other developers are a good addition, too, and the live dealer section has plenty of choice.
Criticism, when due, is usually not aimed at the games, but at the support and banking. Deposits and withdrawals are straightforward when they work, but if something goes wrong, getting your money out of your account can be much slower, and may mean submitting multiple forms of identification.
VIP support is good, with a direct email address and freephone telephone number, but for standard members it’s a London-code geographic number and an online contact form, which feels lacking in transparency. Hopefully, you’ll never need the support team anyway, but if you do, it could be a slow and frustrating process.
That being said, overall 888casino – as part of the 888 brand with sports betting, too – is plenty pleasant enough to play at, with enough promotions to keep you rolling and dealing for a good amount of time before you have to dip into your own pocket.
Don’t forget to check the live dealer promotions page, which has more to offer than you might expect, and keep an eye on your comp point total so you don’t miss the day you finally qualify for VIP status.