Gala Casino is a traditional online casino, and holds company with the likes of Party Casino, bet365 casino and Paddy Power Casino. It has positioned itself as transparent and honest, and has built a formidable reputation when it comes to offering its players a safe and secure environment in which to play online slots, table, instant win and live casino games.
It may lack some of the creativity and flair of its younger rivals – sites like Kaboo and SuperLenny leverage themes and characters to transport players into new and exciting wagering worlds – but what it lacks in style it certainly makes up for in substance. That said, Gala Casino still offers a sleek and sophisticated place in which players can spin the reels.
Gala Casino is operated by Gala Interactive (Gibraltar) Limited, a subsidiary of one of Europe’s (and the UK’s) largest gambling companies with a presence both on the high street and online. The operator says the division was specifically launched to take Gala Casino and Gala Bingo online, and to create a “market-leading customer experience” for its players.
Today, Gala Interactive forms part of the Ladbrokes Coral Group, which was born out of the mega-merger between Ladbrokes and Gala Coral. The latter was owned by private equity firms Candover Investments, Cinven, and Permira prior to the brands joining forces. As part of the merger, Ladbrokes Coral agreed to sell its Gala Bingo business (retail-only) to investment vehicle Caledonia Investments for £241 million.
Gala Interactive is licensed by both the Great Britain Gambling Commission and the Gibraltar Gambling Commissioner, two of the most stringent regulators in the market. In addition, it stands out via its approach to responsible gaming; it goes to greater lengths than most to educate its players on how to remain in control of their gambling activity. This has seen GamCare approve and certify its approach.
Post-merger, Gala Casino received a major redesign; the result being a modern and bold online casino that is intuitive and easy to navigate. Its Playtech-dominated casino lobby can be seen as both a plus and as a minus (quality over quantity), although the addition of Slots & Games, other suppliers, and a Macau tab ensures there is still plenty of choice for those who like to mix things up a bit.
Indeed, it can be difficult for more established brands to keep pace with their younger, more agile rivals. But Gala Casino manages to offer the best of both worlds; an established and heavily-licensed operator delivering quality online casino products in a smart and sophisticated environment. It’s a winning formula, and helps explain why the operator is considered by many to be in the top tier.
The Gala Casino game lobby is split into categories – Casino, Slots & Games, Jackpots, Live Casino, and Macau. The main casino lobby is dominated entirely by Playtech, and forms part of the operator’s exclusive agreement with the supplier. In short, it can only stock Playtech’s slots and table games in its main casino lobby. The other tabs are the only way around this.
So, what’s on offer in the main casino lobby? All told, there are 190 slots and table games from the powerhouse that is Playtech. This includes all of the supplier’s smash hit titles – Age of the Gods, White King, Plenty O’ Fortune, Legacy of the Wild, and Buffalo Blitz – as well of some of its newer titles such as Pharaoh’s Treasure Deluxe, Maji Wilds, and Dragon Jackpot Roulette.
Its original games are complemented by a suite of branded slots (undoubtedly one of Playtech’s strengths is its partnerships with global entertainment brands) with games in this category including Top Gun, Monty Python and the Holy Grail, The Mummy, Rocky, and Frankie Dettori. In addition, it has a vast portfolio of superhero slots including Green Lantern, Man of Steel, and Batman and Catwoman Cash.
These super hero slots (there are eight in total) are hooked up to a progressive jackpot network, which at the time of review had a prize pool of around £900,000. Other jackpot games available include Jackpot Giant – prize pool of £7.7 million –, Age of the Gods (there are six games in this franchise), as well as Gladiator Jackpot, and Gold Rally. All in, there are more than 35 progressive jackpot games.
Fans of table games will not be disappointed with 49 titles offered across blackjack, roulette, baccarat and video poker. Variants include Jacks or Better, Pontoon and European, French and American roulette. In addition, Gala Casino stocks 14 classic slots for those who like the style and play of traditional games; titles in this category include Bermuda Triangle and Jungle Boogie.
While Playtech’s portfolio offers quality and, to some extent, quantity, Gala Coral understands that players desire variety in terms of game developers. As such, and to skirt around its exclusivity agreement, it also has a Slots & Games lobby. Here, players can find an additional 265 titles from the likes of Scientific Games, NYX Gaming, IGT, Blueprint Gaming, and Lightning Box Games.
In addition, 30+ Asian-themed slots can be found under the Macau tab. This includes the likes of Astro Cat, Black Dragon, and Emperor’s Garden. Again, it adds variety for those who like to wager with more than just one supplier, and particularly those who enjoy slots themed on the Far East. That said, the tab could certainly benefit from additional games from even more suppliers.
No modern online casino is complete without a comprehensive live dealer offering, and Gala Casino has just that. Powered by Playtech (of course), the lobby is split into two sections – European dealers and Asian dealers. Inside each lobby, players can access live games for roulette, blackjack, baccarat, poker and sic bo. They also have the option to play multiple tables at once.
All told, it is a fairly comprehensive game portfolio, even if it lacks the power and might of some of the newer online casinos that pack more than 1,000 titles into their offering. That said, Gala Casino is a very easy site to navigate, partly due to its clean and simple design. Games can also be categorised based on “Most Popular”, “New”, “Jackpot Size”, and “A-Z”.
In addition, players can search for games by type – slots, table, hero, card and poker, live dealer – as well as by entering the name of the game or keywords into the search bar. They also have the option to pin their favourite games so that they can be accessed instantly moving forwards.
Gala Casino has developed a powerful and sophisticated mobile offering. It can be accessed via both in-browser and native application (iOS and Android), making it compatible with almost any smartphone or tablet device. Its native application has really struck a chord with players; in the Apple App Store, it has a 4.5-star rating across more than 60 reviews.
Regardless of whether players access the site via in-browser or native, they can expect a smooth and seamless experience. The only major setback is the Casino lobby, which is stocked with just 88 Playtech slots and table games. That said, under the Slots & Games tab, players can access an additional 230 titles from the likes of Scientific Games, NYX Gaming and IGT.
In terms of gameplay, titles load quickly and run without a glitch in both browser and native application. In the Playtech-powered Casinolobby, games can be played in both portrait and landscape mode, with the option to switch between right-handed and left-handed play. In the Slots & Games lobby, however, some titles can only be played in landscape mode, which is a bit annoying.
Both in-browser and native benefit from the same features and tools as found on desktop, including bonuses, promotions, rewards schemes, messaging and responsible gambling protocols. In the latter, players can use TouchID log-in, although while we were reviewing Gala Casino mobile, the application crashed every time we tried to use it, so we resorted to entering our details manually.
That aside, Gala Casino’s mobile offering is impressive and robust. It captures the desktop style and ethos and ports it successfully to the smaller screen real estate found on smartphones and tablets. Its design and layout transfers particularly well; it feels intuitive and the navigation of the game lobby, account section, and other features and tools is natural and instinctive.
The Welcome Package
Gala Casino has put a lot of thought into the welcome package it offers. There are three available, each catering to a different type of player – slots, roulette and blackjack. The slots bonus is 100% up to £400 and comes with a 20x wagering requirement that must be played through within 14 days. Both roulette and blackjack come with a 50% bonus up to £200 (30x deposit + bonus wagering requirement).
The welcome bonus is extended across three deposits, although the bonus limits drop to 50% up to £200 (slots) and 50% up to £100 (roulette and blackjack) for deposits two and three.
The operator has adopted the mantra “get what you want, when you want it” and it is a fitting motto for its welcome bonuses. Most other online casinos offer a blanket welcome package that tends to favour slots players over those who prefer table games such as blackjack and roulette. Using this approach, all preferences are catered for and players can take advantage of the offer that suits their game play.
It must be remembered, however, that welcome bonuses should only be used by players looking to increase the amount they can play and not to boost winnings. While Gala Casino’s wagering requirements of 20x (slots) and 30x (roulette and blackjack) are sensible, they are still sufficiently high so that players stand a very good chance of betting through most of, if not all, the cash they win.
Aside from its generous welcome package, Gala Casino offers an array of promotions. Again, it is all about giving players choice and allowing them to select the bonuses that appeal to them and suit their playing preferences. While we were reviewing, five active promotions were available including a £10,000 cash prize draw on Ocean Magic (every £10 wagered on the game earns players a ticket in the draw).
In addition, players could pick from a choice of three bonuses – cashback on slots, 25% deposit bonus on roulette, and cashback or enhanced winnings of up to £50 on blackjack. They could also take part in Game of the Week – players choose from 12 slots, and the most popular at the end of the week earns them 20% cashback up to £100 and double comp points.
The operator also has an exclusive Jackpot Prize pool (which has surpassed £1 million at the time of review), which is available across eight slots including Top Cat, The Naked Gun, and Worms Reloaded. Finally, Golden Card Giveaway sees players accessing its Exclusive Live Blackjack game in with the chance of being dealt a gold card that can be exchanged for £100 cash.
Gala Casino offers a pretty standard comp-point loyalty scheme. Players earn points on every wager they make, and when a set number of points has been accumulated (and monthly deposit requirement met) they level up. There are four levels in total – Bronze, Silver, Gold and Platinum – with more benefits offered to players the higher up the ladder they climb.
Benefits at each level include:
- VIP support
- Up to £50 welcome bonus
- Weekly cashback of 5% up to £2,500
- Comp point conversion rate – 95:1
- VIP table limits
- Exclusive promotions
- VIP support
- Up to £100 welcome bonus
- Weekly cashback of 5% up to £3,000
- Comp point conversion rate – 90:1
- Silver VIP monthly prize draw
- Exclusive promotions
- Dedicated personal account manager
- Up to £250 welcome bonus
- Weekly cashback of 10% up to £5,000
- Comp point conversion rate – 85:1
- Gold VIP monthly prize draw
- Exclusive promotions
- Dedicated personal account manager
- Bespoke offers and bonuses
- Weekly cashback of 20% in cash unlimited
- Comp point conversion rate – 80:1
- VIP table limits
- Exclusive promotions
To access each level, players must earn the following comp points and deposit the minimum amount each month: bronze (250/£500), silver (1000/£2,000) gold (2000/£4,000). Platinum membership is by invite only and is for Gala Casino’s most elite players. The operator says its VIP scheme aims to deliver the personal touch to players at all levels, provide significant added value through its promotions and bonuses, and to offer exclusive entertainment and social experiences.
So far as loyalty schemes go, it is fairly old school in its structure and does not offer the sort of engagement and excitement as those developed by the likes of Casumo and Kaboo. That said, it will certainly appeal to more traditional players, and it rewards those that remain loyal to the Gala Casino brand. It is simple but effective – a tried and tested formula, if you like.
Gala Coral has payment options aplenty. Players can deposit and withdraw via Visa, MasterCard, Maestro, PayPal, Skrill, Skrill 1-Tap, Neteller, ecoPayz, paysafecard, and bank transfer. Minimum deposits and withdrawals are set at £10. Deposits are instant, as are e-wallet withdrawals. For debit card, credit card and bank transfer withdrawals it takes 2-5 working days for cash to land in the player’s account.
The operator is among the most stringent when it comes to segregating player funds from its own bank accounts. They are actually held in trusts, which means they are protected in the event Gala Coral is to enter bankruptcy or become insolvent. This meets the Great Britain Gambling Commission’s highest level of player fund segregation protocols, and is a major mark in the operator’s favour.
Gala Casino is one of the most socially responsible online casino sites available to UK players. Its approach and protocols have been approved and certified by recognised gambling-addiction charity GamCare. In addition, it has a dedicated – and very detailed – page where players can learn more about gambling, how to stay in control of their play, and the signs that suggest there may be cause for concern.
Its Responsible Gambling charter makes clear to players its stance on responsible gambling, and the measures and tools it deploys to ensure they remain happy and healthy. Of particular note is its budget calculator and time and money diary, which help players keep tabs on how long they have been playing for and how much they have spent. It’s also very easy for players to set limits.
In addition, it provides links to blocking tools such as GamBlock and BetFilter, as well as third-party applications for parental controls including Netnanny, CyberSitter and Cyber Patrol. Players can also find information on all the main gambling charities including GamCare, Gamblers Anonymous, National Gambling Helpline and the Responsible Gambling Trust.
All told, it is a very robust approach and one that should leave players in no doubt that Gala Casino is a highly responsible operator going above and beyond to ensure their levels of play are fun and exhilarating, without becoming out of control.
As part of its responsible approach – and as a requirement of the Gambling Commission – Gala Casino has appointed an Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) body: Independent Betting Adjudication Services (IBAS). Players must first log their complaint with Gala’s customer support team, who will investigate and reach a solution. If the player is still unhappy, they can then contact IBAS.
The ADR will conduct an independent inquiry and reach its own resolution. This may take a couple of weeks, and the outcome is usually final. That said, players do have the option to take the matter to court, but it’s always worth remembering that legal cases can drag on for many months and cost a lot of money to pursue. It really depends how serious the player believes the matter to be.
Gala Casino’s customer support team can be reached across email, live chat and telephone 24 hours a day, seven days a week. It is also possible to send messages via the player account. The operator has an extensive FAQ and information section where players can find answers to a lot of questions relating to their account, games, bonuses, payments and so on.
For those who wish to speak to an agent, live chat is the fastest and most efficient line of communication with the operator. The agents we spoke with were polite and friendly, and answered all our questions satisfactorily. The addition of telephone support is nice, especially for players with more serious issues who wish to discuss the matter person to person.
If you are looking for an established online casino that offers a solid selection of games available across both desktop and mobile, and with a stringent approach to responsible gambling, look no further than Gala Casino. It may lack the glitz and glamour of some of its younger rivals, but what it doesn’t have in style it more than makes up for in substance and quality.
While its main game lobby is limited to just Playtech slots and table games, its Slots & Games and Macau tabs deliver the variety and choice that most players now expect. It also offers a substantial live casino portfolio with games featuring both European and Asian dealers. It’s certainly not the largest portfolio on the market, but it still manages to pack a punch.
Where Gala Casino really stands out from its rivals is in its approach to responsible gambling. It goes above and beyond the basic measures most online casinos have in place, and offers a comprehensive selection of tools and a wealth of information on how to use them. The aim of the game is to keep its players happy and healthy, and at that it does an incredible job.
While the operator is one of the old guard, it has transitioned into a modern online casino with ease. The design and layout of the site is bold yet classy, and its powerful mobile offering is a big plus point. All told, it is a very compelling online casino proposition that strikes the right balance between pushing the boundaries without dropping the ball on the basics.