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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 6 separate categories and use the ratings in each category to form an overall score. The six categories are;

  • Trustworthiness (0.3)
  • Payout Speed (0.14)
  • Customer Service (0.1)
  • Bonuses (0.22)
  • Software (0.14)
  • Licensing (0.1)

Not all of the categories are as important as each other – having a great games 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. Below you’ll find a breakdown of exactly what we look at to come up with a category score.

It should be noted that for any operator with status Needs Work, Recommended or Deposit Guaranteed we conduct re-reviews every 6 months. For all operators that hold Not Recommended of Blacklisted status reviews are accurate only to the date of publication and review updates are only conducted upon explicit request from the operator.

Trustworthiness

When we are asked to review a casino the first thing we do is 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, regulatory fines etc etc).

If no significant issues are found, the operator will start with a Trustworthiness score of 6/10 and this will increase by 1pt every 6 months to a maximum of 8/10. There are certain activities that the operator can engage in that will increase their Trustworthiness rating:

  • Where a casino holds our Deposit Guarantee seal they will receive +4 to their Trustworthiness score.
  • Where a casino uses our ADR service they will receive +2 to their Trustworthiness score. Where an operator are licensed in a jurisdiction that requires the operator to work with an ADR service (excluding the UK) using our ADR service will be a pre-requisite of
    receiving our Deposit Guarantee seal. As such the operator will only receive the rating boost for either the Deposit Guarantee seal or the ADR service, whichever is applicable and higher.
  • Where a casino has been Audited by our team they will receive +1 to their Trustworthiness score.

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
  • Large volumes of 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 (5-10 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.

The Trustworthiness rating of an operator will decide their ‘status’ as follows:

  • Rating of 8 or higher grants the operator Recommended status.
  • Rating of 4-7 labels the operator as Needs Work status.
  • Rating of 1-3 results in the operator holding Not Recommended status.
  • Rating of 0 results in the operator holding Blacklisted status.

We reserve the right to withhold referral links to any operator regardless of status, but any operator holding Not Recommended or Blacklisted status will not receive referral links.

Payout Speed

To establish payout speed 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

Given the diverse nature of the softwares offered by online casinos in the modern market – very few casino use a single provider as was common 10 years ago – we rate the casino software by the number of games a casino has on offer. Ratings are as follows:

Number of games Score
<50 1
<100 2
<150 3
<200 4
<250 5
<350 6
<450 7
<550 8
<650 9
<750 10

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!