888Casino has been around for so long it predates Google, and in that time it’s become one of the few online gambling sites to grow into something of a household name. Of course, familiarity doesn’t necessarily mean quality, but 888 has continued to collect major industry awards along the way, even as its approaches its third decade in the business. The most recent being in 2015, when it picked up Best Casino Operator at the Gaming Intelligence Awards.
888 clearly strives to maintain its reputation as one of the best UK casinos, offering a range of rewarding slot games combined with a welcome package of generous promotional offers and bonuses.
But with its small, slot-heavy games catalogue, and with a whole generation of innovative new casinos entering the online scene, is 888Casino doing enough to maintain its preeminent position?
Safety and Trustworthiness
Established in 1997, 888Casino has grown into a highly reputable company, traded on the London Stock Exchange. One happy consequence of this is that the site goes above and beyond its rivals to keep you (and your bankroll) safe and secure while playing your favourite titles.
Operated by the Gibraltar-based 888 UK Limited, this online casino holds a variety of gaming licenses, including ones issued by the UK Gambling Commission, Gibraltar Gambling Commission, and by Ireland's Revenue Commissioners.
To ensure the safety and security of personal information and money transfers, 888 Casino uses the latest SSL encryption. And, if you find any issue with the games or payment, there’s a built-in contact form you can use to resolve it. Furthermore, the site contains an extensive FAQ section.
There seems to be a trend on player forums that suggests some players have experienced issues with bonus conditions and withdrawal processing. It’s difficult to judge how much weight to give these complaints. As is always the case, some are down to a misreading of terms and conditions, others present incomplete details, and partly it’s down to the sheer size of 888Casino’s player-base - there'll always be 'some' discgruntled players.
Certainly though a 3 day pending withdrawal period before 888Casino even clicks the start button on withdrawing funds is poor and puts it on a par with Playtech licensees. Support also seems a weak point for 888Casino with many players complaining about the poor response and feedback via email, with there being little live chat and no phone support.
Readers following the UK gaming scene may also have heard about the whopping £7m+ fine imposed on the 888 Holding group for a flaw in their systems allowing players who has self-excluded on 888Casino to still deposit and move their funds over via 888Ladies. This is certainly a black spot in the otherwise clean corporate record of the 888 Group but not something which should concern the average gamer.
What is certain is that 888 goes the extra step when it comes to transparency and fairness. If only more casinos made it easy to view up-to-date certification from independent gambling site auditors. At 888Casino you can access the latest eCogra report directly from the homepage, so it’s easy to see the Return-to-Player (RTP) percentages for every game-type.
Deposits & Withdrawals
888 Casino features a good range of depositing methods and is a VISA accepting casino site, Diners Club and MasterCard casino. Crucially for the UK market, Paypal casino players can play, with cheques, wire transfer and a host of e-wallets rounding out the depositing options. The maximum one-time withdrawal is $30,000, with withdrawals after that amount being made in $30K monthly instalments. If you're a progressive winner, it could therefore take some time to get your big win off the site.
A real minus point is its 72-hour pending withdrawal period (the time taken between requesting a withdrawal and the start of the withdrawal processing) which is one of the longest around. Something to consider if you’re the type of player who expects e-wallet withdrawals to take no longer than a few hours.
888 is offering an eye-catching 200% up to £500 Welcome Bonus exclusively to PlayRight users. That means if you deposit £250 you can claim the whole £500 bonus, giving you a total of £750 to play with.
The standard welcome bonus isn’t too bad, either. It’ll net you a 100% bonus on deposits up to £100. There’s a 30x wagering requirement, which is very good for the industry now. However, as always not all games count equally when it comes to meeting that requirement. Online Roulette, Pai Gow Poker, Caribbean Poker, Triple Card Poker and poker table games contribute at 20%.
Blackjack, Live Casino games, Hi-Lo, Video Poker, Power Video Poker and Baccarat contribute only 10%, while only 5% of the total that you wager at Craps will contribute to your wagering requirements. Overall, this is in line with industry bonus playthrough trends, maybe even a touch better than average.
High-rollers, meanwhile, might be enticed by the Premium Player Welcome Package with a bonus of up to £1,500 on their first five deposits, split as follows:
First deposit: 100% up to £100
Second Deposit: 30% up to £350
Third Deposit: 30% up to £350
Fourth Deposit: 30% up to £350
Fifth Deposit: 30% up to £350
It’s worth noting that if you’ve already taken advantage of a welcome bonus at another 888 Holding’s property, including 777 Casino, you won’t be able to claim any welcome bonus at 888Casino.
For such a well-known and established site, 888 Casino has a surprisingly small games catalogue, standing at around 200 titles. Of course, as with almost every one of its competitors, a good chunk of that selection is made up of slots games.
It’s still got enough games to be getting on with, especially for the casual player, with games from a range of providers that including 888’s own Dragonfish, IGT, and Cryptologic, as well as instant-play slot games from NetEnt and Electracade. You'll find some of NetEnt's biggest hitting slots like Gonzo’s Quest, Jack and the Beanstalk, and Starburst but Netent experts seeking out the latest releases may be better off choosing a site like LeoVegas. There's also a smallish selection of big-money progressives, including the 888-exclusive Millionaire Genie.
The table and casino games section contains several roulette tables, as well as a couple of blackjack variants, video poker, and baccarat. Whether that’s enough for you will depend on your own preferences. Before they added their Netent game selection a couple of years ago the situation was far worse. It’s just a shame, and a bit of a mystery though, why a company of 888’s size and experience doesn’t offer a bigger and more balanced game selection.
888’s Live Casino section goes a long way to making up for the shortcomings of its virtual table game selection. It is populated with a range of instant-play games from the top live software developer, Evolution Gaming. The games are top-notch, and available to play on desktop, mobile and tablet. 888 players also get access to exclusive tables (one roulette and nine blackjack) in addition to Evolution’s regular (extensive) selection of tables.
If you want the option to play while out and about (or simply find it more comfortable to play on a tablet) then you won’t be disappointed with what you get from 888.
Like most other casino sites, the game selection is more limited than on the full site but it’s certainly strong enough to hold your attention. There are around 60 games currently on offer, and they can be accessed using the iOS and Android apps, or via the mobile site (just visit the regular site address using your mobile browser).
As you would expect, the mobile catalogue leans heavily towards slots, with favourites like South Park, Starburst and Rainbow Riches all present. There is a good range of progressives too, including Irish Riches, The Big Lebowski, and Millionaire Genie.
The selection of table games is a little sparser, but you’ve still got European, French and American Roulette all accounted for, a handful of blackjack options, and baccarat. There are also four types of video poker to play.
If you prefer to look your croupier in the eyes there’s a decent live casino section, with all the most popular options available, including three-card poker and Casino Holdem.
Game quality is generally comparable to desktop, although your experience will rely on the quality of your connection. As always, Wi-Fi is the safe way to go if you’re playing for real money.
There are a whole slew of great benefits on offer to those players who make a home at 888Casino. There are too many to detail individually, but here are some highlights:
Pinch, Punch – £888 is divided out randomly between 26 players on the first of each month. Daily Deals - There’s an interesting offer open every day of the week at 888Casino. Jackpot Manic Monday offers a 30% bonus up to £150 on a selection of progressive jackpot games, while Table Tuesday extends the same offer, but limited to casino games. Saturday Night Live, meanwhile, can net you a 20% up to £100 match bonus on live dealer games.
Real live dealer fanatics might also be interested in the Bonus Frenzy offer, which gives players the chance to claim 25% up to £500 bonus on live games. The bonus can be used up to 20 times, but requires a 3x rollover on the deposit before you can start on the bonus playthrough requirements.
Loyalty points can be earned for every pound wagered, and can be traded for cash. The exchange rate varies depending on your status, which bring us to the VIP scheme. The VIP Casino Club is invite-only, but brings a range of benefits to those lucky enough to be invited , including exclusive bonus offers, special events and prizes.
All the standard support options are available at 888, but you need to be a signed-up member before you can access Live Chat, which is a little inconvenient. The lack of telephone support for a casino of 888's stature is poor and a bit of a mystery.
The Final Word
888Casino is far from perfect, but it is a solid option for the average online casino player, especially first time players. You get an enticing welcome bonus, a mature, reliable platform with popular slots and a great live casino. And it’s all delivered by a massive global company with a reassuringly high public profile. Not only that, but 888 sets standards when it comes to fairness and transparency. We love the fact that you can access eCogra certification right from the homepage. More casinos should follow suit.
How could the experience be improved? A more balanced – and plain bigger – game selection would be a good start. We also feel that there’s room for improvement when it comes to ongoing promotions. There’s a broad range of offers, but too few of them are really worthwhile. Finally 888 needs to make steps to bring their 3 day pending period down. Still, 888 is a safe choice for most online casino fans. Even if you find you prefer to play elsewhere, the fair terms and conditions attached to the welcome bonus make it well worth giving a spin.