How We Rank Gambling Sites
At GamblingSites.com, we are 100% committed to providing our readers with the information you want and need to hear. A lot of other sites focus too much on entertaining or feeding their readers lies as long as it’s what they think they want to hear. This results in inaccurate information and is honestly a disservice to you as a reader. This is not how we operate here at GamblingSites.com.
We are dedicated to providing you with the most accurate and complete information available and acting as the most comprehensive online resource for gambling information. We want you to be certain that the information you receive from us can be trusted and applied to your gambling life. This doesn’t mean that we don’t try to do so in an entertaining manner; we just prioritize.
Why You Shouldn’t Trust Most Reviews
Unfortunately, most online reviews of gambling sites are skewed. If the review is coming from an individual, they most likely had a polarized experience. They either had the best experience in the world, and that is why they are choosing to review a gambling site, or they had the worst experience ever and are venting their frustrations in the form of a review.
These users typically only make up a tiny fraction of the users of a site, and therefore you don’t get much of an accurate picture of how things are. Think about the last time you wrote a review for somewhere. We would venture to guess that it was probably after a truly amazing or devastatingly terrible experience. No one seems to write reviews when things go according to plan.
The other reason the reviews can be skewed is due to financial motivation; companies sometimes put profits before their readers. A lot of review sites have financial agreements with online gambling sites and are compensated for portraying the site in a good light. The financial arrangements are fine, but when the review site chooses to abandon accurate reviewing and ethical standards to make a quick buck, it becomes a problem, and players can get hurt in the process.
Unfortunately, this will probably never be able to be stopped. Our first recommendation to combat this is, of course, to use our reviews, as we always put you first. If you do happen to use some outside review sources, we want to point out a few red flags you can look for to identify if a review is likely to be accurate or not.
One of the biggest review red flags is if 100% of the information is positive. Think about your favorite restaurant. If you were to give an actual honest review of it, would 100% of things be positive? Would there be nothing they could improve on? Of course that wouldn’t be the case. There are always things that even the best and most successful companies in the world can improve upon. If you come across a review that is 100% positive, you should be on guard. This doesn’t mean that the information is necessarily false, as the review may just be coming from someone who is extremely excited about the site, but even in that case you should know it’s not going to be a complete review.
Be wary of reviews that seem to be trying to sell you on how great a site is. Again, it is totally okay for reviewers to be excited about online gambling sites, but if they’re way too over the top, it could be a red flag. For example, let’s say a site is commenting their review on the deposit options of a site. There is only a certain level of excitement that you can achieve when talking about deposit options. If the site says something like, “Oh my gosh! These are the greatest and most amazing and top notch and coolest deposit options that have ever been created. They are more remarkable than a treatment for cancer!!!” you might want to take a step back from that review, or at least read it with a skeptical eye. We love positivity, but just be wary if the gambling site review seems overly dramatic or fake.
This one is more common in reviews that are not trying to be deceptive but are just incomplete and a waste of your time to read. For example, let’s continue with our deposit example from above. If the site says something like, “This site has the best deposit options,” and that is all they say about it, you should slow down. Why are the deposit options the best? What are the deposit options? What makes them better than the other options? These are all questions that a complete review should be able to answer. Again, this is less common in reviews that are trying to be deceptive and more common in reviews that are just incomplete or haven’t actually done much homework on the site.
A review is only effective if the right criteria are being reviewed. If we tried to review an online gambling site based on random things that had nothing to do with your gaming experience, what would be the point? To give you a better idea of how we approach reviewing online gambling sites, we’d like to walk you through the standard criteria we look at.
Security and Trustworthiness
This is hands-down the most important factor we look at. You should be able to trust the ownership team of a site to protect you from outside threats. If you can’t trust the ownership team of a site, you should NEVER play there. For that reason, this is the most important and first factor we always look at. With the other criteria we look at, we will still list the site and review, even if they get terrible marks in every category. But if a site gets bad marks in security or trustworthiness, we won’t even put them on our site. We don’t believe they deserve the recognition or the time of day if they can’t be trusted.
We look at several factors when we are analyzing the security and trustworthiness of a site. This includes, but is not limited to:
- Industry reputation
- How long they’ve been in business successfully
- Associated licensing and governing bodies
- News and past events or incidents
- Substantiated customer issues and comments
- Any other relevant information and data
By looking at all of these factors, we can do our best to give a thorough and complete review of the security and trustworthiness of a particular online gaming site.
Deposits and Withdrawals
After security and trustworthiness, the next most important factor we look at when reviewing an online gaming website is their deposit and withdrawal processes. A gambling site is only quality if you are able to add or remove money quickly when you want to. There are several specific deposit and withdrawals factors that we look at.
- Variation of Options
We like to look at all of the different options that are available. If a site only has a few options or has less traditional options for moving your money around, they will receive low marks from us. You should be able to move money with ease, whether you’re getting started or whether you’re ready to enjoy the spoils of a big win.
Besides having lots of options to deposit and withdraw, we take a look at the speed of both of these processes. Typically, this will fluctuate significantly between different sites, so it is of the utmost importance to review. We also will periodically check back on this specifically to make sure to keep our review updated with any changes to the speed of the processes. No one likes to wait to play or wait to get their winnings. The slower the site, the lower the review ranking.
We also like to take a look at how much money the site allows you to put on or take off in a single transaction, as well as per month. Some sites will have limits based on a few parameters on the amount you can move around. This is significant if you are a big player or if you are a recreational player who has a big win. We understand that, due to third-party processing, there are limitations within the industry to take into account, but we can still compare the limits of these sites against the other sites in the industry.
It is commonplace in the industry for there to be small fees attached to withdrawals due to the need for third-party processing. Some sites, though, allow a certain number of free transactions per month, while some sites do not offer that. Some sites will have small and reasonable fees, and some sites will have fees that will make your face cringe. Before selecting an online gambling home, this is extremely important information that you are going to want to know about.
This is as important, if not more important, than the above criteria. If the transactions are not reliable and consistent, then you probably are not going to want to be playing on a site. We take a look at as much information is available on the web and on forums to try to see if there is a pattern of reliability in the deposit and cashout processes. If we see any issues that don’t seem like one-offs, we will include them in our rankings. This is not the same as the trustworthiness that we talked about earlier. We are merely talking about reliability in the timeliness of payouts. If there are issues with payouts altogether, the site will likely fail to meet our trustworthiness criteria and not even make it onto our site. Our ultimate goal is to provide you with complete information so that you can make informed decisions and protect yourself and your money.
Once we’ve reviewed the behind-the-scenes processes that are the most important (security, trustworthiness, deposits, and withdrawals) we’ll start to take an in-depth look at the actual functional gaming parts of the site. The first and most obvious place that we look is the user interface. User interface refers to what it looks like when you play the games, and how easy that process is. Included in the user interface are the following:
- Graphics and Experience
We look at the quality of the graphics and what sort of experience they produce. Graphics should be high quality, smooth, and relevant to the games that you are playing. This is extremely important for creating a fun and exciting gaming atmosphere. Sites that skimp on this will be noted in our reviews, as we think this is extremely important.
- Overall Layout
It’s no fun to use a site if you are constantly getting lost or having trouble finding what you are looking for. A well-put-together site is going to have a layout that is user friendly and makes it super easy for you to find what you want. We will typically have several users who are not computer savvy try out a new site as we review it and let us know what they think regarding the navigation. Layout reviews are much better when they don’t come from people who spend 15 hours a day on a computer and have experience in the gambling industry already.
- Game Play
The most important factor we weigh with the user interface is gameplay. This refers to the buttons and controls that you use to play your favorite games. Are they easy to use and simple to understand? Is there an obnoxious learning curve to playing a simple game? Do you have all of the options you would want? These are things we weigh heavily before giving our review on the user interface and gameplay.
We take a heavy look at the games that are offered by each site we review, and we compare that to the other sites in the industry. Having a variety of choices in place is important for a site to be top notch in our mind. If they only offer a few options, there is a chance you’ll get bored, or you’ll be stuck if you get the itch one day to try something new. While this may not be important if you have one game and only one game that you love, we still want to include a comprehensive review for those players that find it important.
Bonuses and Promotions
Online gambling sites are extremely competitive when it comes to trying to get new customers and keep them around. What does this mean for you? Tons of free stuff, free play, and free money. This is probably the area that sites differ the most on, and can also be one of the most important to your bottom line at the end of the day. A lot of sites will offer relatively the same games and have similar interfaces and similar deposit and withdrawal options, but the bonus structures are going to vary greatly.
Let’s face it; we all need some help sometimes. Now that we’re done sounding like a psychiatrist or a motivational speaker, let’s talk about our criteria we look at for the customer service of online gambling sites. First, we look at the different types or mediums of customer service that are offered. Do they offer just email support, or do they have live chat support and phone support as well? Are they available 24/7, or just during certain hours? How long does it take them to respond? Once we look at all this, we like to look at how effective their customer service is. Are there huge language barriers that make it difficult to get help? Do they actually have the ability to help you, or do they have to shift your issues to someone else?
All of this isn’t important until you really need help, and then it is the most important. For that reason, we take the time to review the customer service department and their processes intensely when doing a review of an online gambling site.
What We DON’T Do
We’ve talked about what we do look at with our reviews, and we’ve also talked about how to spot faulty, biased, or incomplete reviews, but we also want to talk specifically about things that we do not do.
A lot of sites will allow companies to purchase their way to the top of their rankings. We understand the financial motivation of sites to allow companies to do this, but it ultimately hurts you, the reader, by providing false information to you. For that reason, we will NEVER allow this to happen on our site.
This is something we are extremely proud of. We do not let anything affect our reviews and rankings, except for the actual data and findings that we come up with. Just because another review site is a big fan of somewhere does not mean that we are automatically going to jump on the bandwagon. We handle our own reviews internally and stick to our guns to protect you and provide you with the most complete and accurate information available.
As we discussed earlier, too many sites will ignore the negatives or areas needing improvement. This may be because of financial motivation, personal bias, or simply because of lazy and incomplete reviewing. We think it’s important that you are 100% aware of everything about a site before you play on it. If a site has too glaring of a negative, we will remove it completely from our site and not even give it the time of day.
A lot of review sites will put out a review of an online gambling site, and that will be the last time they touch it. The problem with this is that things change. In an effort to create a better user experience, the site may add new features or fix issues they once had. You should be aware of when this happens, as it may make a site you had previously discounted into the new perfect fit for you. The sites may also move the other direction and start having issues where they used to be strong. This is something you definitely are going to want to know about.
To stay in front of these changes, we regularly revisit our reviews and update them with any changes that you need to be aware of. Without this process, a review is worthless shortly after it is published.
Types of Rankings
After we review an online gambling site, we compare it and rank it against other sites in the industry. This process allows us to make recommendations to you based on your unique needs and what you are looking for. We have our overall rankings, but we also rank sites in categories and subcategories depending on what you are looking for.
Someone who is looking for a sports betting home might not be concerned with game choice in the site’s casino. Someone looking for an online poker home might not be concerned about the lines offered in the sports book. To accommodate everyone, here are the main categories that we have split our rankings into.