27.122018The Best Online Casinos for 2018
2018 has been a big year for online gambling. It’s the year in which the United States looked to relax its strict laws, while the UK seemingly tightened theirs, a year in which the big brands grew bigger (with Paddy Power BetFair expanding further) and the smaller ones rushed to join the party.
As we look ahead to what should be a very exciting, busy, and possibly game-changing 2019, we want to offer our final thoughts on the year that was. This is a list of the best casinos of 2018, the ones that impressed us the most and the ones that we think will make the biggest impact in the years to come.
LeoVegas seems to divide gamblers. There are those who hate it and those who love it, and there seem to be very few players in the middle. We’re in the latter group, and believe that LeoVegas is one of the standout casinos for 2018. We love the aesthetic, the bonuses, the simplicity and the variety—it ticks so many boxes that it would be a travesty not to include it on this list.
9. Spin Palace
We feel like Spin Palace has lost its way somewhat over the years, going from one of the best casinos to being, well, average. But it redoubled its efforts in 2018 and it seems to be right back on track. What’s more, the Spin Palace Loyalty Club, which is what has made this casino great over the years, is better than ever.
This club remains the best place to be for gamblers looking to turn prolonged play into stacks of loyalty points. These points make loyalty profitable and ensure Spin Palace always has a place on top lists like this.
8. Ruby Fortune
The relatively low welcome bonus belies the true greatness of the Ruby Fortune casino. It is a Microgaming Casino with loyalty at its heart, and it excels in many areas, including an array of banking options, a wealth of reload bonuses and loyalty bonuses, and a great mobile casino.
This casino was established back in 2014, at the peak of the mobile revolution, and it has helped to set the pace for this revolution ever since. In 2018 it was one of the best mobile casinos on the market and its format has since been cloned by many other casinos.
There are a few things we don’t like about it and we discussed these in our review, but most of these are superficial (including the occasional use of poor English) and when you get to the heart of the review you’ll find nothing but deserved praise.
Every online casino has gone mobile because it is a necessity for any brand that wants to survive. But this casino has done more than pay lip service to it—it has gone all-out to ensure mobile players get exactly what they want. It’s not a mere desktop conversion, it’s a purpose-built site, and this can be felt in every facet.
6. Jackpot City
In many ways, Jackpot City reminds us of Spin Palace. It has many of the same pros, and a few of the same cons. It also has a similar look and feel. The difference is that Jackpot City has stood the test of time a little better and is maturing like a fine wine. It still has the best bonuses, and in 2018 these have consisted of a multi-stage deposit bonus offering up to $400.
Jackpot City is part of a dying breed of online casino: the Microgaming Mega Brand. But in continuing to grow it shows us why this breed should not die, why it has plenty of life in it yet, and why it still deserves its place at the top of the most relevant casinos, alongside the snappy mobile brands, the quirky avatar-centric casinos and the impressive 3D slot sites.
In our online casino reviews we ranked Guts higher than the vast majority of other casinos. In fact, at the time of writing it currently sits top of our leaderboard. A few gamblers will be surprised by that, as it’s not a headline-making brand that has the biggest promotions or the most top tier developers. But what makes Guts special is its reliability and the fact that while it’s not quite “the best” in any particular area it does excel in all of them and doesn’t have any flaws.
That’s rare in this sector and it’s why they are one of our best casinos for 2018. It is a similar story with Rizk, which is more or less a carbon copy. In fact, we contemplated giving both of these their own entries as they are both majorly impressive casinos in their own right, but in the end we decided to link them together. As good as they are, the truth is that if you have played on one then you have played on the other and they exist merely to cater for different markets.
Casino.com has been around for some time, but despite having the best name in online gambling, they haven’t quite met with expectations. That has changed somewhat in the last few years though and 2018 was a big year for them. It was a year in which Mansion pushed their investment to the max and began to reap the rewards, with their Casino.com brand at the heart of that move.
William Hill and William Hill Casino Club both find themselves in our top 20 ranked casinos of all time. They are one of the few historic gambling brands that have made a seamless switch from “trackside bookie” to “online casino” and they have to be applauded for that. Some of their rivals, the most notable of which are Ladbrokes, have failed miserably in this area, with software that doesn’t work well on Chrome and games that are far too slow.
There is an assumption that big named brands like this have an advantage and that they should excel. People point to Paddy Power and William Hill as proof of that. But they are the exception. When was the last time you heard someone praising the BetFred, Bet Victor or ToteSport betting sites? They are equally big and long established names, so if that assumption made sense then their online casinos would be just as impressive, but that’s not the case.
We hold brands like William Hill to a high standard, but in this case they did exactly what was expected of them and they are one of our standout casinos for 2018.
2. Paddy Power BetFair
As little as 4 yeas ago, if anyone typed “Paddy Power BetFair” our grammar senses would be tingling and we’d assume they’d missed a comma. The idea of two giants combining is not unheard of in other industries, but until these two agreed to put their heads together in 2015 it had not happened in the gambling industry.
In 2018 we saw more of the fallout from this deal. Initially, it was bad news for the gambling industry, as hundreds of jobs were lost and fans of the respective sites worried that the individualities of these sites would also be lost. But that hasn’t been the case and we’ve since learned that they are intent on expanding even further.
In 2018 they acquired FanDuel, a massive fantasy sports company based in the United States. This gave them a major hold on the US gambling market, and put them in prime position should gambling be legalised over there. They have also expanded their casino operations, which is the main reason they make it to number 1 on our list.
Paddy Power is truly a beast in this department. They have a massive selection of slots, a number of generous bonuses, and plenty of virtual games too. But what sets them apart is their commitment to being unique, and the many exclusive games that pass through their casino every quarter.
In 2018 the games that impressed us the most were Paddy Power Gold, Ruby Walsh Champion’s Gold and King Spin Deluxe. BetFair isn’t as impressive when it comes to casinos, but they have also championed exclusive slots in the past and they have one of the best betting platforms in the industry.
If Paddy Power BetFair are the kings of the jungle, lounging around all day, revelling in their kingdom and occasionally making a big move, then BetWay are the rangers who do all the work behind the scenes to make sure everything is as it should be. They don’t necessarily grab the headlines, but they do deserve them and there is a lot to like about this gambling brand.
In 2018 we saw BetWay step-up their bonus game even more, with promotions like the BetWay Theme Park and Reel Talent showing the gambling community what they are made of. They have also embraced a host of new slots, while still ensuring that classics like Immortal Romance and Mega Moolah are given centre stage.
It’s a casino you can always rely on, one that only gets better as the years pass, and that’s why they are one of our best casinos online for 2018.
Super-Fast GoGoCasino Launched by Leo-Vegas27.03 2019
NetEnt Expand into Key US State21.03 2019
116 Swedish Gambling Licenses Issued: More on the Way13.03 2019