A Brief History
Vera&John calls itself the fun casino, and if its neon blue background with electric pink balls is anything to go by, its claim to be the king and queen of online casino entertainment is more than just bravado and hype. Unlike some of its rivals, the operator does away with themes and characters, and instead focuses simply on offering its players an exciting and innovative experience.
There is an endearing sense of quirkiness about Vera&John, but at the same time the casino feels safe and secure. There is an air of authority about it, a sense of it being well established and mature. In that regard, it combines the best of the new lifestyle brands such as Kaboo, Dunder, and Casumo and the old guard such as Paddy Power Casino, Party Casino, and bet365 casino.
Vera&John is operated by, and uses the licence of, Dumarca Holdings Limited, which is a subsidiary of the Jackpotjoy Group. Dumarca (which also operates InterCasino) was acquired by Intertain for €90 million in 2014, before it acquired the Jackpotjoy brand from Gamesys for £425 million back in 2015. Post-takeover, it rebranded the business to the Jackpotjoy Group, which is headquartered in London.
The Jackpotjoy Group is listed on the London Stock Exchange, and recently appointed David Flynn (formerly Group Chief Commercial Officer at NYX Gaming Group) as the new chief executive of its Vera&John Division. The operator, or rather parent company Dumarca, holds licences with the Great Britain Gambling Commission and the Malta Gaming Authority.
Despite such a large corporate machine chugging away behind the scenes, Vera&John has remained at the cutting edge of online casino. It has a vast library of 830+ slots, table, instant win and live dealer games, and is fully optimised for play on mobile devices. Indeed, the operator has built a solid reputation for offering a smooth and seamless experience to its players, while remaining fun and friendly.
It’s a very hard balance to strike, but by combining its vibrant design and style with a chatty tone of voice – it welcomes new players to “the family” – the operator has found major success. In 2016, Vera&John accounted for 22% (or £15.7 million) of total income for the Jackpotjoy Group, up 13% on the previous year and with no signs of its growth and contribution to the wider business slowing down.
So, Vera&John may be a fun casino, but it is also one that has cracked the code when it comes to delivering a world-class experience to players old and new, who continue to walk through its blue and pink doors en masse.
The Game Library
When it comes to games, Vera&John lets the numbers speak for themselves. The operator’s portfolio is packed to bursting with more than 830 slots, table, instant win and live casino titles. All the major suppliers are present, including Microgaming, IGT, Scientific Games, NetEnt, Yggdrasil Gaming, Red Tiger Gaming, Quickspin, Thunderkick, Big Time Gaming, and Play’n GO.
Proven player favourites such as Gonzo’s Quest, Bonanza, Rainbow Riches, Foxin’ Wins, and Siberian Storm sit alongside trending titles like Wolf Gold, Viking Runecraft, Butterfly Staxx, and Lucky Wizard. In addition to original titles, Vera & John offers a nice selection of branded games including Planet of the Apes, Baywatch, Moby Dick, Bruce Lee, and Emoji Planet.
For those who like the anticipation and excitement of jackpot games with life-changing prize pools, the operator offers 19 titles under this category. Chart toppers such as Mega Fortune, Mega Moolah, and Hall of Gods are bolstered by the likes of Cleopatra Mega Jackpots, Divine Fortune, and Cosmic Fortune. For fans of classic slots, Bell of Fortune offers small jackpots of around £2,000 (at the time of review).
In terms of classic slots, Vera&John has a solid collection of around 30 games that will appeal to those who like to spin the reels on games designed around traditional machines. This includes a mix of five- and three-wheel titles such as Supernudge 6,000, Ace of Spades, Jackpot Jester 50,000, and Second Strike. In addition, there are 40 table games across blackjack, roulette, baccarat and poker.
Those with an appetite for video poker are well fed, too. There are 15 games in total, including Jacks or Better, Joker Poker, and Draw Poker. In addition, the operator has two instant-win scratch games – Bugs Party and Flying Pigs. For those who like to mix and match their slots play with other game formats, there is a varied offering that will certainly keep them entertained.
Of course, no modern online casino is complete without a comprehensive live dealer proposition, and Vera&John has one of the most robust on the market. Games are delivered by both Evolution Gaming and NetEnt, and split into two themed lobbies – Cosmopolitan (NetEnt) and Paris (Evolution). Once inside the respective lobbies, players can access both supplier’s full suite of games.
Vera&John has devised a really smart search and categorisation system for its lobby. The main lobby is split into sections – All Games, Jackpots, Slots, Live Casino, Table Games, Tournaments. Regardless of which lobby the player is in, they can click on the Find Games You’ll Love tab – the button is neon pink and so hard to miss – with a vast array of search categories available to them.
This includes VJ Favourites, We Think You’ll Love, Brand New, Recent Hits, Life Changers, Big Wins, Classic Slots, and Star Studded. Games can also be grouped by supplier, and ordered by Recommendation, alphabetically or Release Date. There is also a search bar where players can enter the name of the game they wish to play, or keywords to help them find it.
All told, it is a very impressive game library and with intelligent categorisation and powerful search tools. Every player preference is catered for, and it is easy for them to find new games based on their likes and dislikes.
On the Move
Vera&John does not want the fun to stop when players step away from their desktop computers, so the site has been optimised for mobile play. It can be accessed by almost any smartphone or tablet device via in-browser or native application (iOS and Android). The same features and functionality are found on mobile as desktop; things like bonuses, tournaments and the operator’s unique Guaranteed Winnings.
The operator has a monster mobile game portfolio, with more than 650 titles available, making it one of the largest offered to UK players. The lobby boasts a similar design to desktop, but is a little less easy to navigate. The homepage includes categories – Brand New, Jackpots, VJ Favourites – which players swipe through to browse the games under that tab.
Towards the bottom of the page, there are five additional tabs – Table Games, Jackpots, Tournaments, Live Casino and VJ Favourites. To access the full portfolio, players must enter the main menu or use the search tool. It is identical to that found on desktop, and allows players to find games based on more than 20 categories including All Games, Brand New, Slots, Table Games, Hot Wins, and Life Changers.
It is an effective way of sorting through the hundreds of titles on offer, but doesn’t feel as intuitive as we would like, and it’s certainly not as instinctive as the desktop experience. What’s more, at first glance, it would appear Vera&John mobile only has a small portfolio of games – based on the homepage categories – it’s only when you enter the sub-menus that you discover it’s actually a bit of a beast.
When it comes to gameplay, there is very little difference between in-browser and native application. Across both platforms, games run smoothly, graphics are rich and clear, and sound is powerful and crisp. Native benefits from a couple of additional features, such as Touch ID – log-in with your fingerprint – and is a slightly superior offering with faster load times – which is to be expected.
All told, Vera&John has successfully ported its brand and ethos over to mobile, delivering a smooth and seamless experience to its players.
Vera&John has taken the traditional “points” loyalty scheme and fastened a rocket to it. Players are rewarded for pretty much everything they do, from logging in to depositing via playing games and inviting friends to join the party. For this, they earn coins, which can be exchanged for items in the Vera&John Shop. The more coins they earn, the more levels they clear and the more items become available.
Coins can be exchanged for the following:
- Specials: Special promotions on certain games that tend to carry wagering requirements on winnings.
- Super Spins: A type of free spin offered on games from Quickspin and Yggdrasil Gaming. They come in different formats, including Win Spins and Thrill Spins.
- Spin Credits: A specific bonus amount associated with a specific game or genre. Winnings turn into a generic bonus and come with a wagering requirement.
- Free Rounds: Free spins that are given on a particular game or group of games but can come with wagering requirements.
- Bonus Cups: A deposit bonus with a fixed bonus amount. The deposit and bonus amount will be stated in each promotion, (deposit £10 and receive a £20 bonus).
Players earn badges as they progress through the scheme; you start as a visitor and work your way up through various positions on the casino floor until you are “running this place”, according to Vera&John. Players can also unlock achievements; there are 30 in total, and range from playing 100 rounds in a single game to logging in to your account every day for a week.
It’s a fun and engaging loyalty scheme that rewards players at all levels. It is worth noting, however, that players who are inactive for 45 days will start to lose the coins they have earned. Coins will be deducted daily for a further 105 days until the balance is cleared. Players will receive a warning prior to the 45-day period kicking in, and all they need to do is log in to their account to start earning points again.
Let the Games Begin
For those who like healthy competition, Vera&John offers tournaments to its players. While we were reviewing, there were two available: Chain Reactoonz and Cash BOOnanaza. For the former, players earn points for every £1 wagered on NetEnt’s Reactoonz slot. Come the end of the tournament, the top 100 receive a share of a £5,000 prize pot (£1,000 for first place, £400 for second and £200 for third).
The latter is based on the same premise, but the tournament is offered across three titles – Happy Halloween, Book of Dead, and 7 Sins – and with the same prize pool. Players earn trophies for entering tournaments, with special gongs dished out to those in first, second and third place. It’s worth remembering that tournaments encourage players to wager more, so always keep tabs on your play.
Vera&John says that it loves winners, and since 2013 has been topping up player winnings, dishing out more than £1 million in extra cash. Here’s how it works: the operator has a daily and a monthly guarantee of how much it will pay out – £5,000 and £50,000 respectively. For daily, the player who lands the highest single spin win of the day will have their win topped up to £5,000 if it falls below that amount.
For its monthly guarantee, Vera&John promises that at least one player will score a £50,000 single spin win per month. If they don’t, the operator will top up the highest single win amount to £50,000. Winnings are delivered as cash into the player’s account the following day (for daily wins) and within three days (monthly wins) and come with no wagering requirements.
It’s a really nice touch, and again, rewards players at all levels. This, combined with the operator’s loyalty scheme, promotions and tournaments, adds significant value to the player experience, while ramping up the fun factor at the same time.
A Warm Welcome
Vera&John likes to welcome new players to the family, and offers a reasonable bonus package. They receive 100% up to £100 on their first deposit, with a minimum deposit of £10 required to activate it. It comes with a wagering requirement of 40x, but just on the bonus amount. This offer is not extended to players depositing via Neteller, Skrill or paysafecard, unfortunately.
As far as welcome bonuses go, it is less spectacular than those offered by some of its rivals who boost second, third and sometimes even fourth deposits. Free spins are usually offered, too, but that is not the case at Vera&John. That said, players do earn coins on their second and third deposits – 25 and 50 respectively – which can be exchanged for free spins in the VJ Shop.
Vera&John offers a solid payment gateway, with all the major methods available. This includes Visa, MasterCard, Maestro, ecoPayz, Skrill, Neteller and paysafecard. Minimum deposits are £10, and maximum deposits are £2,500 (credit and debit) £5,000 (e-wallets) and £750 (paysafecard). There are no depositing fees, but withdrawals incur a £5 charge if under £50.
Jackpot.co.uk is against deposit and withdrawal fees of any kind, and Vera&John should drop this charge with immediate effect. Players should not be charged for putting money into, or taking it out of, their wagering accounts. Minimum withdrawals are £10, and maximum withdrawals are £2,000 (credit, debit, Skrill, Neteller and bank transfer) and £5,000 (ecoPayz).
As required by the Great Britain Gambling Commission, the operator holds all player funds in separate bank accounts to its own operational funds. This meets the regulator’s “basic” requirements, which means player balances are not guaranteed to be returned to them in the event the operator goes bankrupt. Players shouldn’t be overly concerned by this – it’s the level at which most operators are compliant.
Vera&John wants to look after its players, keeping them happy and healthy while on the site. To do this, it deploys several tools and systems that allow players to track, and remain in control of, their wagering. This includes the option to set deposit, loss and session limits, as well as reality checks at intervals of 15, 30, 60, 120, 150, 180 and 250 minutes.
In addition, it has a dedicated responsible gaming page where players can learn more about the tools available to them. The operator says it works with the Global Gambling Guidance Group, which has certified the site and the approach the operator has taken to responsible gaming. Players can also find links to gambling charities, including GamCare, Gamblers Anonymous, and Gambling Therapy.
In terms of security, Vera&John deploys a 254-bit SSL encryption to ensure all player data and financial transactions are protected from the risk of hacking and fraud. The operator also says it uses random number generators to determine the outcomes of its games, and that its RNGs have been tested by government-approved third parties, but stops short of naming them.
As required by the Gambling Commission, Vera&John has appointed an Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) body – eCOGRA. If a player has a complaint, they must first log it with V&J’s customer support team and allow them to investigate and reach their own proposed resolution. If the player is not satisfied, they can then reach out to eCOGRA who will conduct their own inquiry.
A Helping Hand
Vera&John customer support agents can be contacted via email, live chat and telephone. Agents are available daily from 9am: (CET) – 11pm (CET) on phone and live chat, and from 8am to 11pm on email. The operator receives a slight mark against it for not offering round-the-clock customer support, but its agents are available during peak hours of play, which is the important thing.
As is often the case, live chat is the fastest and most efficient way of resolving your issue, and the agents we spoke to were helpful and friendly. They were quick to respond via email, too – we received a reply within two hours and our query was resolved on the spot. The addition of telephone support is great – a lot of operators don’t offer this – especially for players with more serious issues or complaints.
All told, it is a top-notch customer support offering worthy of a gold star. If its hours of operation were to be extended, then it would be among the best of the best.
Vera&John likes to stand out from the crowd; its neon blue and electric pink colour scheme ensure it catches the eye of almost all online casino patrons. Once it has their attention, it then draws them in with an enticing game portfolio packed to bursting with more than 830 slots, table, instant win and live dealer games from all the main suppliers – Microgaming, NetEnt, and Quickspin to name just a few of them.
Those who walk through its digital doors will not be disappointed. Aside from its monster game offering, Vera&John has an engaging and entertaining rewards system, generous promotions and the option to play in tournaments for big cash prizes. In addition, its mobile product is sleek and sophisticated, ensuring players enjoy the same V&J experience regardless of channel.
There are a few areas where it loses marks – in particular, its decision to charge players £5 on any withdrawal under £50. The only reason for them doing this is to deter players from pulling their winnings out of their wagering accounts; operators know that if the funds remain in there, players will likely wager them. For a casino that does so much to put its players first, this feels at odds with its overall ethos.
Some players may be put off by this, and that is a shame. Vera&John only launched back in 2011, but already has the authority and maturity of the old guard – the likes of bet365, Paddy Power, and William Hill. This is balanced out by its approach to design and creativity, taking inspiration from lifestyle brands to deliver a fun and entertaining casino environment to its players.
In short, Vera&John offers the best of both.