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Casino Ratings

Here at The POGG we’ve tried to put together a ratings system that values what you as a player value. We encourage all of the casinos we work with to be as transparent as possible in their operations and as such we feel it would be hypocritical and unfair of us – both to the casinos involved and you, the player – not to be as clear as possible about how we rate casinos. So here it is; We rate casino using 8 separate categories and use the ratings in each category to form an overall score. The eight categories are;

  • Trustworthiness (0.25)
  • Payout Speed (0.15)
  • Customer Service (0.15)
  • Bonuses (0.1)
  • Software (0.1)
  • Slots RTP (0.1)
  • Comp Points (0.05)
  • Licensing (0.1)

Not all of the categories are as important as each other – having a great Comp Point program is fairly irrelevant if you’re not very Trustworthy – that’s why the different categories are weighted accordingly. When we review a casino each of the above categories is given a score out of 10. To generate an overall score the category scores are multiplied by the number in the bracket next to it and are then all added together. When assessing some of these categories, we need to actually experience the services provided. However as many casinos are actively seeking promotion on thepogg.com and all of them want the best review possible we could not guarantee that if we signed up a player account using names, addresses or other details that the casino associates with thepogg.com that we’d receive an honest reflection of what the average customer experience is. To ensure that our reviews are truly independent of external biases we use a team of reviewers that are not associated in any public way with this site and whose names will never be published or passed on to any casino. In this way we can ensure a ‘mystery shopper’ style review where we can guarantee that our reviewer has not experienced preferential treatment due to their association with thepogg.com. Below you’ll find a breakdown of exactly what we look at to come up with a category score.

Trustworthiness

There are six reviewers that work regularly for this site. When we’re asked to review a casino the first thing we do is speak to our reviewers and find out if they’ve ever played with the casino in question. If they have we’ll detail their overall impression of the casino and whether they’ve experienced any problems. If none of the reviewing team have played with the casino we’ll ask one or more of them to sign-up and report back. If any of these reviewers experience issues, this is normally where it will be detailed. Alongside our reviewer’s report, we look at several other player resources including CasinoMeister, AskGamblers, Gambling Grumbles, Affiliate Guard Dog and Beating Bonuses to see whether the casino in question has a history of fair play and whether they are communicative and willing to engage in 3rd party dispute mediation. A casino that is unwilling to engage with mediators like ourselves and the above mentioned sites is very unlikely to get a positive score for Trustworthiness. We also look at various news stories – if there are any – about the company and report if they’ve been involved in any unethical business practices (copyright infringement etc etc).

When considering what Trustworthiness score to award there are certain factors that will always be viewed negatively

  • Refusal to work with dispute mediation/unresolved complaints
  • Seizure of funds due to vague spirit of the bonus terms
  • Excessive requests for Notarized ID
  • Suspect software, including offering free games that return funds to players at a higher rate than their real play equivalents or any game that uses a real device (cards, dice, roulette wheels etc) that does not conform to the real odds that the device would naturally create
  • Unexplained or lengthy delays in payments to players
  • Unreasonably restrictive maximum withdrawal terms. This includes restrictions on the withdrawal of progressive jackpots. Progressive jackpots come from pooled funds and are paid by the software provider, as such there’s no honest reason for a casino to limit the payment of these winnings. Limiting of progressive jackpot payouts to casino standard maximum payouts will result in a maximum Trustworthiness score of 3 and Not Recommended status.
  • Capping the amount a player can win outside of bonuses – this should be done via maximum bet restrictions and not as part of terms and conditions, otherwise players who have large wins but do not recall the term can be place in a position where they can lose but no longer win. A cap of 10000 or less will result in a Not Recommended status, 50000 or less will reduce Trustworthiness by 3, 100000 or less will result in a reduction or 2 and 250000 or more will reduce Trustworthiness by 1.
  • Unreasonable dormancy terms. Dormancy terms should be used to allow for the management of abandoned balances, not as an opportunity for the operator to make money. A good dormancy terms should allow the operator to charge a reasonable fee for maintenance of the account (5-25 credits/month). Dormancy terms that allow for the reduction of balance by a % will result in Not Recommended status unless stipulated that the operator will take all reasonable measures to contact the player before fees are taken, and will still result in a 1-2 point penalty depending on the size of the %. Dormancy terms that allow for the seizing of a balance will result in automatic Not Recommended status.
  • Accepting players from the UK without a UKGC license – This will result in the Trustworthiness stat being reduced by 2.

Alongside the above, if our Terms and Conditions monitoring service cannot access a casino’s rules for any reason, we will automatically deduct 2 from the casino’s Trustworthiness score.

Any venue that receives 3 or less for their Trustworthiness stat will not receive any directly links from this site.

Payout Speed

To establish payout speed we ensure that one of our reviewer makes a withdrawal from the casino in question alongside looking at the advice given on the casino’s website. Many casino list a payout time longer than it usually takes them to ensure they always exceed expectation. By comparing the listed time with the actual time our reviewer experience we can offer you the most realistic timeframe. Obviously we cannot ever guarantee how long a casino will take to pay, but we can give general advice based on our experiences. For this particular category we’ve chosen to use Neteller as our payment method of choice. Neteller is the largest and most trustworthy ewallet available to online gamblers and is also normally the fastest withdrawal method. By using an ewallet the customer avoids having to give card details to every casino they sign up to, instead trusting those personal details to one company that is more stringently regulated than any online casino.

To keep the field level and ensure our reviews compare apples to apple, in the rare instance of a casino not offering Neteller as a payment option we will review their stated withdrawal times and attribute a Payout Speed score slightly lower than that time would receive using Neteller. This is to reflect the lack of player convenience and the fact that we will not have confirmed this payout time.

Withdrawal time Score
Within 24h 10
Within 48h 9
Within 72h 8
Within 4 days 6
Within 5 days 5
Within 6 days 4
Within 1 week 3
Longer than 1 week 0

Customer Service

To assess customer service we test the casino’s email response times. We do this by setting up a free anonymous email account then we email the casino’s customer service address with a couple of basic questions. Our rating is based on the response time. Previously we did give the casino 3 opportunities to respond, reducing the rating for each non-response, but we’ve reconsidered this stance and are of the mind that there is no excuse for failing to reply to a customers question. As such only one email will be sent to each venue during each test and the rating they receive will depend on how long it takes them to respond to that email.

In the instance where no form of email support is offered – no email address and no on site submission form – a Customer Service score of 0 will be awarded. It is absolutely essential that players can initiate some form or written communication. Phone and live chat are great services but they do not as standard provide written proof of what was communicated.

The below scores can be amended depending on our reviewers experiences with the venues customer support.

Response time to email Score
Within 3 hours 10
Within 9 hours 9
Within 15 hours 8
Within 24 hours 7
Within 1 day 12 hours 6
Within 2 days 5
Within 2 days and 12 hours 4
Within 3 days 3
Within 3 days and 12 hours 2
Within 4 days 1

Bonuses

Due to the complex and diverse nature of casino bonuses, we’ve created a separate page to discuss the rating system we use to evaluate sign up bonuses. You can read out our Bonus Rating System by following this link.

Software

Here we look at the software platform the casino uses. We link to the review of that software, where you’ll find the overall out of ten rating for the software. Where a casino uses a different software platform for their download and instant play platforms, they’ll be awarded the higher rating. Where a casino has augmented their primary platform with games from other providers – generally slots games – we will try to take into account the range of games offered and adjust their software rating accordingly.

Slots RTP

This category looks at whether the casino offers information on the house edge (or RTP – Return To Player) of their slots game. This is an important issue and one that not many players think about, but all other casino games you can easily find out how much you are paying for your entertainment, however it’s become standard practice for casinos not to tell their customers’ how much they are paying when playing a slots game. With slots games charging anywhere from 50p per £100 wagered right up to £45 or more per £100 wagered, it’s important for you to know how much you are being charged when you select which game to play. This rating will be based on the proportion of games that the casino list this information for.

Comp Points

Some casinos offer a comp point program where you earn cash back for every wager you place, others don’t. As a standard we use the Playtech comp point program – this is the comp point program offered by most casinos that use Playtech software and awards the player 1 comp point for every £10 wagered on any game and returns £1 for every 100 comp points earned. This comp point program is a little above average for the industry and would be awarded 7/10 – when assessing other comp point programs we compare them to this standard and look to see if they provide greater or lesser value for money for the player.

Licensing

Finally we look at the jurisdiction that regulates the casino. In rating the licenses that an operator holds we take several things into account. Notes on each operator to help understand their rating are provided below:

Top Tier Regulators (score 8/10)

  • Malta Gaming Authority – 48% of operators holding this license hold non-negative status, regulator has full complaints processing system in place, regulator has been cooperative with dispute mediation process, we are aware of a significant number of player complaints that have received player positive outcomes through this regulator.
  • United Kingdom Gambling Commission – 38% of operators holding this license hold non-negative status, regulator has full complaints processing system in place, complaints managed by outsourced ADR groups resulting in variations in experience.
  • Alderney Gaming Control Commission – 68% of operators holding this license hold non-negative status, regulator has full complaints processing system in place.
  • Aland – 100% of operators holding this license hold non-negative status, regulator has full complaints processing system in place.

2nd Tier Regulators (score 6/10)

  • Kahnawake Gaming Commission – 10% of operators holding this license hold non-negative status, regulator has full complaints processing system in place, regulator has been cooperative with dispute mediation process, we are aware of a significant number of player complaints that have received player positive outcomes through this regulator, regulator accepts licensees who work accept unlicensed US traffic.
  • Isle of Man Gambling Supervision Commission – 24% of operators holding this license hold non-negative status (small number of licensees), regulator has full complaints processing system in place.
  • Curacao eGaming* – 29% of operators holding this license hold non-negative status, regulator has partial complaints process in place, regulator has been cooperative with dispute mediation process, we are aware of a significant number of player complaints that have received player positive outcomes through this regulator.

3rd Tier Regulators (score 4/10)

  • Jersey Gambling Commission – 100% of operators holding this license hold non-negative status (small number of licensees), regulator does not have full complaints process in place.
  • Gibraltar Gambling Commission – 26% of operators holding this license hold non-negative status, regulator has full complaints process in place, regulator is non-cooperative with this site’s efforts to resolve player complaints, regulator has failed to uphold the technical specifications of their license during previous issue.
  • Antigua and Barbuda Directorate of Offshore Gaming – 7% of operators holding this license hold non-negative status, regulator has full complaints processing system in place.

Bottom Tier Regulators (score 2/10)

  • Curacao eGaming* – 29% of operators holding this license hold non-negative status, regulator has partial complaints process in place, regulator has been cooperative with dispute mediation process, we are aware of a significant number of player complaints that have received player positive outcomes through this regulator.
  • Cyprus – 71% of operators holding this license hold non-negative status (small number of licensees), no player complaint infrastructure in place that we could find.
  • First Cagayan – 60% of operators holding this license hold non-negative status (small number of licensees), no player complaint infrastructure in place that we could find.
  • Costa Rica – 8% of operators holding this license hold non-negative status, no player complaint infrastructure in place.
  • eGambling Montenegro – XXX% of operators holding this license hold non-negative status, no player complaint infrastructure in place, associated with disreputable operators.

*Curacao eGaming appear in both the 2nd and Bottom Tier as there are multiple groups (4 that we’re aware of) responsible for the regulation of operators licensed in Curacao. Some of these groups are responsive and cooperative in the management of player complaints, other (Cyberluck being the most notable name) we’ve found to be completely non-responsive to player issues. Where we can establish that an operator holds their license with a responsive group they’ll receive the higher score.

Where an operator holds more than one license their score will be adjusted positively by the Tier of the licenses being combined. The primary license will always be considered to be the better rated of the licenses and second Top Tier license will increase the Regulator score by 2 and a second 2nd Tier license will increase the Regulator score by 1. Additional licenses in the 3rd and Bottom Tier will not increase the Regulator score.

While we’ve endeavoured to make our rating system as clear as possible above, if you do have any questions please feel free to pop on to our message board and let us know!