888 Casino Review
888 are veterans of the online casino business, they have been running for more than 20 years now and host a number of great games from their own privately made games platform as well as top titles from other major software providers.
If this were a Las Vegas casino it would be up there with the Bellagio, such is the power of the brand and their reputation in the industry. Anyone new to online casinos should give 888 a look, as it will give you a good benchmark for what a quality online casino site should look like.
There are plenty of other reasons to try them too, they have some of the best regular promotions around and they run their own rewards scheme which is so clear it is almost transparent. 888 boast a worldwide customer base of over 25 million players and this, along with the length of their tenure in the online casino game, has not been down to luck.
- Strong Reputation – One of the first and still one of the best online casino sites
- Proprietary Software – Develop and run their own exclusive games
- Casino Veteran – Perfect all-round casino for new and seasoned players alike
Software and Games
Firstly, let’s mention the fact that 888 have their own in house software development arm known as Dragonfish or Section 8 (older name Random Logic), and they have been developing this alongside their casino since they opened in 1997. Therefore, if you like discovering games you won’t have tried before then this is one of your best options.
Dragonfish games are licenced out to other casinos (usually those that are part of the 888 Holdings group) and so you can find some of the bigger titles elsewhere, but there is no one else with as comprehensive a package.
Alongside their own proprietary software 888 also run games from other software providers such as NetEnt, IGT, Cryptologic, Electracade, NextGen, Barcrest, Blueprint, and others, so you will be able to play the big titles from elsewhere too.
888 are all about quality over quantity, so there are only around 250 world class games currently available discounting the live casino. This is made up of 200 slots of which around 35 are jackpots, and most of those are exclusive. This does mean a lot of the pots are quite low but one or two are close to 7 figures.
A selection of table games completes the catalogue, made up of poker, baccarat, blackjack, roulette, craps, and keno. Roulette and poker players, in particular, have a healthy choice of titles to play.
All games come with full information from how to play to payout rates and rules, and most games can also be tried for free which seems only fair.
If you are looking for a mega casino with a game library you can get lost in then 888 are not for you, but if you are looking for a carefully curated selection of only the best titles they are a great option. By running their own software 888 have full control of the games, their payouts, and associated promotions. Keeping all of this in-house also keeps their costs down so these games often offer better value in terms of payout rates and freebies when compared with other brands.
888 used to run their live casino in-house, but have since decided to go the way of so many others and use Evolution Gaming to do the legwork.
To be honest, Evolution are so good at what they do that it was probably a good move, and there are still some 888 exclusive tables including 888 Casino Clash and plenty of Blackjack tables.
Other than these there are around 35 roulette and around 60 blackjack tables, all with varying table limits to suit players of every bankroll, and even a few tables that are private if you have the sort of funds required to access them – high rollers, you are in good hands here.
Baccarat, poker, dream catcher, and an elite lounge are also there vying for your attention. If you can’t decide what to go for there is the option to play more than one game at a time, but be careful not to lose focus if you do.
The interface is great and the whole thing opens from within the main site, so there are no pop up windows to deal with. Table limits and game info is clearly displayed and you can filter tables to suit your wagering requirements. It works perfectly.
A lot of casinos run slot races (some call them competitions or challenges but they are much the same), but not many run them as frequently as 888.
Every 15 minutes a new race will begin, with links to the qualifying slots next to the race info, which displays the race details and top prizes. They usually only last 10 minutes so you don’t need to dedicate a weekend to them.
These prizes mostly equate to freeplay worth different amounts the higher up the leaderboard you finish, and some of them can be very tasty indeed. I have seen as high as £500 worth of freeplay.
If you join a race you will have the allotted amount of time to score as many points as possible by wagering and winning on the reels. Minimum bets apply so make sure you check before you start.
Interface & Navigation
Whereas other older casinos seem to sprawl outwards with content, 888 have maintained a minimalist approach but kept the design looking lively and colourful. They have also done their own thing rather than follow form in terms of layout and navigation.
It feels high end without coming across as snooty, retaining a sense of fun overall, and it functions beautifully. Everything gameplay related opens from within the site itself which keeps movement fluid, and graphically it is very easy on the eye.
With most games running on in-house software the gameplay is as smooth as you like, and if there was ever an issue, they could get on top of it quickly. I've never seen an 888 game go down for any period of time and I've never had a single game crash on me.
In terms of extra features, I would like to point out the 888 guides to getting the most out of casino. The guides include things like how to maximize slot winnings, how to best use bonuses and how to use strategies. This is in addition to the blog section that hosts some really interesting articles on how to play, betting systems, and what you should know about new games.
The site is extremely user-friendly. It is split into a few manageable sections with live casino, slots and jackpots, casino games, and slot races being the main four.
Most other areas can be accessed from either the single main menu or a handful of floating icons that are placed in practical positions around the screen.
There is a fair amount of scrolling to do when looking for games, but the icons are so attractive to look at that you probably won’t mind. You can break them down into further categories such as 1-25 line and 888 exclusives (in terms of slots), but they aren’t always the most helpful.
What is helpful, is the information box that shows up if you hover over a game icon. It gives you a brief rundown and highlights the games main features and any extras that come with it. It can save a lot of time if you don’t know what you are looking for, since you don’t need to load up the game to find out what it is all about. If you do know what you are looking for, there is always the search bar.
While games are open, you can flip a switch to change quickly from demo to real money if that option is available – although the game will need to reload.
888 were one of the first sites to launch a mobile app, and as the saying goes, things get better with age. All of the great features from the main site have been carried across to mobile, and nothing has been lost when it comes to the design.
In fact, it looks almost exactly the same. The app is simple to navigate with the interface working in the same way, and all of the filter options are still available. There are no heavy graphics to slow things down, although the game icons look equally as fabulous, and it just doesn't crash, ever. The few differences from the website in the way that it handles have been managed well, and they have even made minor improvements in other areas.
The mobile app provides around 80% of the games available on the main site, and this includes the majority of the jackpot games and table games as well as all of the live casino titles. The games load quickly although I did miss the ability to demo them.
Account management is also available in full via mobile so you need never visit the main site again if you don’t want to. 888 also cleverly separate all of their apps, which means each package is tailored to the right market and doesn't compromise on usability or functionality.
You might find it annoying to need multiple apps if you also use sports betting, for example, but if you do have space it is worth doing. The pro's far outweigh the con's and as mobile products go it's well worth having in your pocket.
Saying that the mobile site is equally as good so if you are short of space on your device but happy to use your internet browser, you could go that route and notice very little difference in performance or aesthetics.
Rewards & VIP
It's fair to say 888 covers pretty much every major type of online casino promotion around. When they are running, the daily deals are a personal favourite of mine giving away reload deposit bonuses, free plays, free spins, cashback, and other treats. The best part is you can see what deal is available for each day of the week and pick your day to play to suit the promotion you want to take.
888 may also give away fun periodic prizes where you earn money just by logging in, depositing, playing a game, etc. I didn't used to believe these worked, but I won one of these last year just by logging in on the first day of the month - I got an £88 bonus.
The live casino often has its own suite of offers, bonuses, and free plays. For example, at the time of writing one deal gives you a bonus each time the roulette ball lands in number 8 between 8-9pm each day. Another one they like to use is shuffling bonus cards into the decks, so if you happen to be dealt that card, you instantly win the amount shown on it.
On balance this is one of the most rewarding promotional packages available. Not only does actually feel like you are getting something back, but the 888 promos are fun. They are all supposed to be fun, of course, but some operators make their promotions so difficult to understand that you feel more like you are doing your maths homework.
Points Mean Prizes
The 888 loyalty comp points scheme is one of the longest running reward programmes of its type. The system is refreshingly simple compared to many others, too, so this won’t take long.
When you deposit funds and play games you will earn comp points relative to your activity and the amount you are wagering. These will build up over time and can eventually be exchanged for cash.
The money goes straight into your bankroll and can either be withdrawn or played with as real funds. That's basically it, no other complex terms or tiers, and this is why it's one of my favourites.
888 do run a VIP scheme, but this is very much in the background so that it doesn't annoy the average player. If you do get an invite, and if you are playing around £100 a week or more you should do, you get access to some really great stuff. Remember 888 are a massive company and their VIP package opens doors to things that other online casino sites could only dream of.
The scheme awards all the standard stuff such as enhanced comp point conversion, higher reload bonuses, birthday gifts, private account managers and banking. It is the exclusive event invitations that are the real draw – generally, they are unbeatable.
We are talking lavish top level hospitality at the high profile events including World Cup finals, Champions League Finals, Royal Ascot, the Grand National, top boxing matches, concerts with Adele, Eric Clapton, Bruce Springsteen etc, and even holidays to Las Vegas and other amazing destinations.
888 From Then To Now
The Complicated Bit
888 have a corporate structure with a few levels so bear with me here. All 888 brands are part of the 888 Group, owned and run by Cassava Enterprises, who are based and licenced in Gibraltar. In the UK, all 888 brands are licenced by under a subsidiary company called 888 UK Limited, also based at the same address in Gibraltar. There is nothing wrong with this, it is all legal and you have to remember 888 are a truly global gaming business with lots of subsidiary companies that run various brands in various different markets.
The Cassava brand is part of the larger 888 Holdings PLC which represents the top of the tree. The company also runs its own software division, Dragonfish, and this is another subsidiary of 888 Holdings.
888 Holdings was established in 1997 as Virtual Holdings Limited under which its first site, casino-on-net, was launched in the same year.
The Interesting Bit
The company was established by two groups of Israeli businessmen brothers (Aaron & Avi Shaked and Ron & Shay Ben-Yitzhak) and they quickly went on to launch further brands including Reef Club Casino and 888.com itself. The company was listed on the London Stock Exchange in 2005 and is now worth billions generating around £500 million in revenue each year.
By 2006 888 were the biggest online gaming force on the planet, however, the move to ban online gambling in most American states hit the company hard due to their exposure in the market. The company began to recover by 2008 and rapidly bought and merged with other entities to reclaim their title as one of the biggest in the world. More recently, rumours have emerged about a possible buy out of William Hill that would truly solidify top place for the company, although as yet this is still only a rumour.
The 888 Casino itself is a direct descendant of casino-on-net which makes it over 20 years old, although it was only rebranded with its current moniker in 2010. The site has won many accolades and awards over the years and stood as the best casino operator in 2015 in the Gaming Intelligence awards.
Are They Happy To Help?
Anything less than 24/7 full customer support doesn't really fly for a brand as big as 888. It’s sad to see, then, that 24/7 support has been pulled. Help is availableonly from 9am – 2am, although when it’s open they have some of the fastest response times around.
Live chat agents will generally pick up your query in a few seconds, and although they can feel a bit robotic to deal with, they get the job done efficiently. You can only find live chat via the cashier, which is worth knowing in advance.
Emails tend to be answered within 4 hours, and the phone line keeps the same operating hours mentioned above. The number is available via the cashier.
The FAQ section of the site is very good and a quick scan through it may save you needing to contact support at all. This is clearly what they are hoping since the contact details (other than a contact form) are not easy to locate.
Banking and Payment Methods
Playing with an industry giant affords you plenty of choice when considering banking options. 888 operate worldwide so if they don’t have a payment option to suit you, whether that be debit card, eWallet, or pre-pay voucher, then the issue probably isn’t with them.
Minimum deposits vary but will be between £10 and £20. Just as a note, this is a little higher than some other big casinos, but it’s not really worth quibbling over. Maximum deposit limits are not set and processing times are exceptionally quick.
In terms of withdrawals, all methods are fee-free at their end, with the minimum withdrawal set at £15. 888 do have a pending period of 3 days, though, and this is one big problem with the casino. It means that if you withdraw by bank card, for example, then instead of the 2-5 days it should take, it will now take 5-8 days due to the holding period. This time is reduced for VIP members but this is not a great system.
You can reverse your withdrawal at any point during the pending period and manual flushing is not available.
Payouts are not capped as such but players can only withdraw up to £30,000 in a given month, this means that, technically, if you win a jackpot it may take you a while to withdraw. In reality, you could probably make arrangements with 888 directly to get around this.
Contact and Licence Information
UK Gambling Licence Number: 39028
- Name: 888 Casino
- Licensee Name: 888 UK Limited
- URL: www.888casino.com
- Phone: 0203 876 8708
- Address: 601-701 Europort, GIBRALTAR, GX11 1AA