At OnlineCasinoSites.org.uk our aim is to produce a directory of safe, trustworthy and reliable real money online casinos for players located in the UK. All of the casinos listed on this site are officially licensed by the UK Gambling Commission (UKCG), and legal to play at in the United Kingdom, so long as you’re over 18.
Chances are you may be looking for something specific, so we’ve categorised the site into a number of sections, including guides to the best casinos for beginners, a detailed guide to casino bonuses, and a large number of lists aimed at more experience players that provide recommendations based on software and game.
You can navigate the various sections of the site using the menu (above). Alternatively if you want to get stuck straight in then we’d suggest taking a look at the table below, which lists our top 10 online casinos for UK players. If you want to see all of the casinos we list on one page, you can do so on the casino bonuses page.
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All of the above casinos can be played at both for free and for real money, all of them also offer play in British Pounds (GBP) which means that you don’t need to have to deal with currency fluctuations, exchange rates and conversion fees.
A Guide To Real Money Online Casinos
Online gambling has been legal (and regulated) in the UK for many years and comes in a variety of different forms. As well as casino gambling, many of the above casinos also offer sports betting as well as online poker and online bingo games. But for the purposes of this site though, we’re going to specifically focus on casinos
How Online Casinos Work: RNG’s, RTP & Casino Software
There are hundreds of online casinos on the internet, but how do you know which you can trust and which should be avoided? On this site we guide you through the things you should look for in order to find a trusted, reputable and safe casino to ensure the only risk you take is against the laws of chance. We also provide personal recommendations of places to play that are all safe, legal and licensed.
Unlike other guides we don’t bombard you with giant lists or flashy banners, instead we have hand selected the very best of the best currently available on the web. It should go without saying that all are safe, fair and trustworthy.
Random Number Generators
If you’re trusting your money to an online casino, you want to be sure that the result you’re getting from the game is fair. But how exactly is this determined?
At the heart of every online casino is a Random Number Generator or ‘RNG’ for short. The purpose of the RNG is to randomly generate a number which corresponds to an outcome. The simplest example we can come up with for this is a dice roll – imagine you can have a random number of between 1 and 6, with the output of the RNG determining what number was rolled on the dice.
Getting slightly more complicated could be a deck of cards – there are 52 cards in a deck, excluding jokers, so numbers 1 through 52 could be assigned to specific cards. For example, a 1 may represent the Ace of Spades whilst 37 could be the Queen of Hearts.
This is probably a fairly simplistic view of how it works, as there are more complicated things going on in the background, but generally speaking that’s the basis of the concept.
Whilst the random number generator used by a reputable online casino can be completely trusted to give a fair game, some players don’t like the idea of a computer determining whether or not a hand of blackjack wins or loses.
If you fall into this category there is another option – live dealer casinos. Here instead of a computer generating the results of a game you are connected, via webcam, to a real casino (or special studio) where you can watch real dealers spin the roulette wheel and deal your cards in actual time. You can even chat with the dealers and other players, although this isn’t compulsory.
There are less live dealer games available than RNG, and they run at a slower pace thanks to cards needing to be physically shuffled, but if you’re looking for a more realistic casino experience then it may be something you want to consider. All of the casinos in the list above offer Live Casino games including Blackjack, Roulette and Baccarat with some also offering Craps and various forms of Casino Poker.
Return to Player (RTP)
Now that you know how the outcome is determined, you also need to know about the payout and how that’s calculated. Casinos are businesses who have costs – paying to have the games developed, running their servers and hiring staff all cost money – which means that the RTP cannot be 100%.
Put simply the return to player is the amount of money that is returned to the players out of all the bets. So if there is an RTP of 99% this means that for every £100 bet, £99 is returned to the players. You may have also heard of the term ‘house edge’ – this is the opposite of the RTP, so in our 99% RTP example the house edge would be 1% (the amount kept by the casino).
In reality if you bet £100 and received £99 back that would be a fairly boring game and chances are you wouldn’t want to play. That’s where something called ‘variance’ comes in to play. Here the theoretical RTP can still be 99%, but the outcome for different players can be very different.
- Player One – Bets £100, wins £250
- Player Two – Bets £100, loses it all
- Player Three – Bets £100, wins £40
- Player Four – Bets £100, wins £100
In this example the total number of bets is £400 and the total amount won by the players is £390 giving an RTP of 97.5% (£390/£400 x 100). But out of the four players two lost, one broke even and one had a significant win. The casino has “won” £10, which it uses to cover its running costs.
Each game in the casino will have a different RTP which is mathematically calculated based on the rules of the game, and is often listed in the game info. Because of variance you would need to play a lot to approach the theoretical RTP, but the bigger the number the better.
To put it in perspective the national lottery has an RTP of around 50%, meaning only 50p out of every £1 is returned to players. Online casino RTP usually vary between 90% and 99% depending on the game. There are also rare occasions when the RTP exceeds 100% – for example if a progressive jackpot gets so large that it pushes the expected return over the amount theoretically needed to trigger it.
Third Party Audits
These two concepts, RNG and RTP, still rely on trust because the casino could, in theory, say one number when it’s really another. That’s why it’s important to find a safe online casino to play at, so that you know there’s no funny business going on in the background.
Part of the way casinos can prove their reliability is through an audit. This is where an accounting company is brought in and analyses the results from the RNG and the games to determine if the results are truly random.
By opening their books to an audit it shows that the casino has nothing to hide, as well as giving an opportunity to publicly verify the payout stats that casinos often like to publish. These auditors aren’t small time outfits either, the big players go to well known and respected accountancy firms such as PWC.
The final thing we want to discuss on the subject of how casinos work, is where they get their games from. Just like in a land based casino, the games aren’t made by the casino themselves – they buy them from a manufacturer. Except when you’re taking about an online casino they’re not buying a physical machine, instead they’re licensing the games a software company.
These companies license their games to multiple casinos – meaning that you may see the same game in more than one casino. In the early days of online casinos there used to be physical software that needed to be downloaded to play, meaning that most sites tended to offer games from one provider. These days’ players tend to favour games you can play instantly in your browser without downloading, which also means that games from multiple providers can be combined into the same casino.
By offering their games to multiple casinos it means that the software providers can spend more time and resources making better games – with more elaborate features, and even licensing deals that allows branded games meaning you can play games based around South Park, the Terminator or Marvel Comics.
Are Online Casinos Legal?
The answer to this question is going to depend on where you’re located. For those of us in the UK online gambling in all its forms – including casino games, sports betting, bingo and poker – are completely legal so long as the casinos are licensed by the UK Gambling Commission. You can verify if a casino holds a license with the commission using this form on their website.
If you’re based outside of the UK the rules may be slightly different so make sure to check if their are any restrictions on players from your country before signing up.
Finally, we should mention responsible gambling. Playing at an online casino is a form of entertainment – it’s not a way to make your millions, and those that do have been very very lucky. Because of the house edge, the casino isn’t beatable and in the long run, unless you do have a large win, the house usually does come out on top.
But people enjoy the thrill of the gamble and the chance to win, so as long as you’re having fun and happy to risk the money you’re playing with then spin away and play your favourite games.
On the other hand, if you’re not enjoying it any more or playing with money you can’t afford to lose, then stop playing. Gambling can be addictive and for some people they continue to chase the win long after the fun has stopped.
We advise that you not play if you:
- Can’t afford to lose the money
- Are chasing a loss trying to recover your money
- Aren’t enjoying it any more
- Have lost concept of time spent playing
- Are playing too much and missing out on social or family events
If any of the above apply to you then take a step back and stop playing immediately. Most reputable casinos will have a self-exclusion feature you can activate that limits your ability to play – either temporary to ‘cool down’ or a permanent exclusion.
There are also a number of non-profit organisations that offer help and advice to people who think they may have a problem with gambling, or for friends and family of those who are struggling with addiction: