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How Do We Review Casinos?

ticking box reviewsIn order to be fully transparent about how we arrive at our Bitcoin casino ratings, our readers should know how Crypto Lists perform reviews and what tests that’s conducted.

The ratings published for brands are completely unbiased with editorial independence, while being free of spin or outside influence. There are usually at least two of our in-house team of experts conducting a set routine of tests as part of a thorough evaluation.

Of course, it wouldn’t be a Bitcoin casino review site if the Crypto Lists crew didn’t have a ton of fun playing the games, but that comes with the territory!

Pre-review process

Great crypto casino sites don’t just fall into our lap. Our wide contact network after 30+ years in the industry, along with extensive due diligence and research, give us a certain edge and great insight. It requires lots of work and still:

We have to select from the worst and best, before we put them through a genuine test!

Our goal is to always look out for an find interesting casinos that accept cryptocurrencies, while warning our visitors for the worst casinos out there.

There are also some small tweaks and additions to our standard evaluation procedure when it comes to brand new casino brands and sites that offer players the chance to play anonymously.

Selecting the right brands

Part one of the process is choosing the right brands to work with. Of course, this isn’t a perfect process and there will always be the odd operator that falls through the cracks. However, overall we think we’ve got the art down to a tee and partner with some exceptional casinos!

Choosing the right reviewers

Not all crypto casinos are created equal, of course. And, not all reviewers are suitable to review all of them either. For example, Tom who is a partner in Crypto Lists since 2023 and head content writer Ron are big fans of sports betting sites so are better placed to look at crypto sportsbooks compared to Markus J and Chris, who are big fans of crash games.

Co-founder Markus J has done and overseen 1000’s of casino reviews in the past decade and his focus has been on new brands. He usually does testing for at least half of the crypto casino brands shown on Crypto Lists review sections. Finally, Marcus E who’s been in online gaming for over 16 years and online marketing for 20+ years is mainly focused on the tech behind the site, but occasionally writes “how to guides” for Crypto Lists, and he also tests casinos pretty frequently.

Reviews of new Bitcoin casinos

New crypto casino reviews are performed essentially the same way as the others. However there are some things that are important for us to nail down such as the release date of a new casino. Lots of other review sites fabricate the launch date in order to make a site look as new as possible, however we take our time to ensure accuracy and honesty. We do this using both internet archive tools as well as chatting to the operators of the casino itself and confirming from the brands social media accounts. There’s not much a quick phone call and research can’t solve!

Often Crypto Lists is among the select few first players on a new crypto casino, so it’s really important for us to be able to give an accurate first impression, so we do our best to play and look around as much as possible.

In addition, with the freshest sites, not everything is always working with 100% perfection but it’s expected. So, we also help the crypto casino operators by adding feedback of our own to get the casino up and running at its best before it goes live to our readers. Just contact us to get this review process started.

Anonymous casino reviews

When it comes to anonymous casino reviews, some of our readers are a bit hesitant to sign up because they assume these sites aren’t legit or that they might get ripped off. On the other hand, some players absolutely love no-KYC sites because they can play in privacy and fly under the radar, so to speak.

Testing anonymous casinos is really important to ensure players have peace of mind. Of course, new and anonymous brands do require extra due diligence and there isn’t an absolute foolproof science to separating the wheat from the chaff, but thorough testing goes a long way.

If a player’s country is excluded from the site’s terms and conditions then there is still a risk, of course, but if it’s included and we’ve tested it thoroughly then Crypto Lists visitors can rest assured. However, in those small amount of cases where a brand has managed to fool us then we’ll receive player feedback and adjust the rankings and also punish the perpetrators by adding them to our warning list. We’ll go into more detail about how this works a little further down the page in the ‘post-review process’ section.

Evaluation time

Once the brand is selected and the reviewers are in place, it’s time to begin our in-depth analysis.

Summarizing the site

The introduction to each review is always engaging and gives the reader a reason to play. However, the summary (appearing just under the primary ratings panel) is where you’ll find a detailed overview that often covers when it was launched, the amount of developers it has, whether it has a sportsbook, and so on. You’ll also sometimes find the rating repeated here, as well as whether we consider it to be one of the absolute premium sites we’ve looked at recently. If there are any serious concerns, that will also be added to the summary section.

Pros and cons: Overview

We then have another kind of summary for the visitors to Crypto Lists who prefer to skim read. After internal deliberation, we called it ‘advantages’ and ‘disadvantages’, in regards to the pros and cons of signing up. In this section we take various aspects of the site and weigh them up.

As an example, a site might not have a dedicated mobile application, but it could be extremely well optimized for mobile devices and their screens. And, in these cases, we’ll also often mention the brand of phone as well as the browser our reviewer used when checking this out.

We’ll also highlight the game developers that are missing, so that a skim reader can quickly see if their favorite studio isn’t featured on that particular casino. There’s no set formula here, apart from giving our readers a comprehensive but easily readable overview of the platform in question.

Scanning the software

Nope, not the anti-virus package they’ve installed! Here, we take a look at the range of game development studios they’ve chosen to partner with. We often find that crypto casinos have less than fiat sites, but over the past year or so this has certainly started to change. For example, there are sites we’ve reviewed since the turn of 2023 that have over 150 software providers and also have wallet-to-wallet crypto payments enabled. In general, this negative perception of the crypto casino niche from within the broader iGaming sector is starting to shift. Indeed, Bitcoin casinos can be bursting with studios.

We collate this information using a combination of factsheets provided by the operators themselves, as well as browsing the site manually from various jurisdictions, to find out which developers they have. It can vary significantly between jurisdictions which games and game developers that’s available.

Picking apart the promos

The section a lot of players are looking for is where we analyze the bonuses and rewards on offer. Where possible, we highlight the primary welcome bonus(es) and indicate what the wagering requirements are, and place this in bold writing at the top of the section. This is so people who are browsing quickly can pick up on key information. If there’s any kind of cashback or tournament offers we’ll also discuss them here, and similarly, and seasonal promotions.

Here we’ll also include information about the VIP program on offer, where applicable, and what players can expect if they make it to the top tier.

Beauty or the beast

Perhaps one of the most subjective parts of our Bitcoin casino reviews is the ‘Look and Feel’ section. In this part our reviewers play around on the site (on both desktop and mobile) to get a handle on how easy it is to navigate, how the menus work, and how smooth it is to move from page to page. In technical terms, we evaluate the User Experience (UX).

In addition, we also explore the design and layout. For example, some casinos have a particular theme such as around the mafia, or perhaps ancient civilizations, and we evaluate how well they’ve done this visually and if it’s done with a touch of humor. Of course, this is subjective too, but so is any review.

Let the games begin

This tends to be the part where our review team gets a tad excited. We explore the variety of the games on site after making a deposit, spanning video slots to poker, crash games to lottery tournaments. And, everything in between. Obviously, we can’t spend days covering every casino and we can’t always take as much time as we’d like on each site, but we try to cover enough to make the review completely comprehensive.

So far, we’ve never had negative feedback from a reader where they felt we didn’t go into enough detail about a particular aspect of the game catalog. If you can see an image of any games that they have, you can also read more about that game and see a list of all the best crypto casinos with that particular slot, live game or instant game.

One area we really like to spend our time on is live casino, as that’s something players are very much attracted to when it’s done well. It’s the bridge between the brick and mortar and the digital casino spaces, and when it’s executed properly on a crypto site it can really make a world of difference.

Bitcoin bonanza or dollar delight

Since we’re focused on crypto casinos, it makes sense that we have a section dedicated to transfers. However, most of the sites we rate also have fiat deposit options too. And, it wouldn’t be a review if we didn’t test at least one of these methods.

Typically, we always test one of the crypto coins or tokens on offer to see if the casino offers direct, wallet-to-wallet transactions. These are transactions between a players crypto wallet and the casino’s, and don’t involve a third party. No, we don’t think it’s a good experience if you have to use a payment processor to first exchange to crypto. It should be directly from your crypto holdings into the casino site.

And, we sometimes test additional deposit methods too, and on occasion this is a fiat method. Fiat payments are fairly standard, so we find our readers aren’t as interested in hearing about speeds and costs as they are when it comes to crypto. Which, given the name of our site, is absolutely to be expected!

If we award a good score for transactions and it later transpires that the site has been dishonest or fraudulent with a player who has signed up via Crypto Lists, we update the review accordingly and also take additional actions. We’ll go into this further later on where we explore the post-review process we do. But in general, there can be variations between different countries and some sites may have changed the list of accepted or forbidden countries recently.

Got a license for that?

Some of the decentralized crypto casinos we have on our top lists don’t have licenses since they’re not operated by any central authority and operate completely on the blockchain. Others are somewhere in the middle and fall more into an anonymous category. However, the vast majority of sites on Crypto Lists reviews are licensed.

Mostly, this licensing is done in Curacao (in the Netherlands Antilles), which is a common jurisdiction for crypto-focused casino brands. As part of our evaluation process, we manually check the licensing information presented and check it with the relevant body. These bodies include MGA in Malta, UKGC in the UK and of course the main master license holders in Curacao such as Antillephone and Gaming Curacao, for example.

Many crypto casinos reviewed have certificates in the footer of their sites, and as reviewers it’s our job to check these certificates and verify their authenticity. If finding any issues, we’re going to write about it.

Let’s chat

Support is one of the most important things for many of our readers. They want to know if they need to speak with a casino that it can be achieved simply and in a straightforward manner. Part of our evaluation is checking the options available on a contact page to see if they work and how fast the support agent responds.

We don’t have a fixed set of questions, however, we ask something relevant to the casino in question. This could be about deposit methods, perhaps enquring about how to transfer BTC and how fast their withdrawals are. Crypto Lists are working on taking more screenshots from the replies we get when testing the live chat, if that’s an option they have.

Under lock and key

One important aspect of any website is its SSL security, and how safe your data is when you send it to the site. So, one of the first checks we do is to see if the site is secure in this regard and one of the simplest ways to do this is to see their security certificate. It’s issued by an authority like Google Trust Services Ltd or Let’s Encrypt and also contains a serial number and public key.

This information is easily accessible using your browser, but we like to gather all the details in one place in the review so our players don’t have to spend time checking it all.

We’ll also check if the casino has things like 2FA (2-factor authentication) enabled for their site, and any other additional layers of security to keep their players as safe and sound as possible from any potential bad actors.

Word on the street

Player feedback is key. Any business, from an online casino to a taxi app, that provides B2C services should listen to its user base in order to identify weak areas they can improve upon. And, Crypto Lists now incorprates this wider feedback into our reviews. We listen to the players that find casinos through our toplists, as well as browsing the variety of forums that exist for the crypto casino space, to get a general feel for what seasoned gamblers think about a site.

We also compare this with feedback on customer satisfaction aggregators among other places too, and often add some thought of our own that we gather from the team who reviewed the casino in question. Lately, our reviews usually discuss how simple or complicated it is to register – something that is key for many crypto casino users – while it’s also a huge variation between anonymous sites and those traditional online casinos that are taking a step into the world of cryptocurrencies and gambling.

Any questions?

In this part of the review we like to cover any outstanding topics that we felt haven’t been adequately covered in the review, yet outline things players are keen to understand better. This might include things surrounding KYC requirements and what’s accepted as proof of identification and/or address. Likewise, it might cover additional licensing or regulatory matters that many of our readers would like to know a bit more about.

Welcome to history class

Something we cover that other review sites don’t is the history of a brand. Obviously, if the site is brand new then there isn’t much to report on. However, if the site is fairly established then there’s likely some significant milestones to report on. We often make use of Wayback Machine, which is a digital archive on the internet that allows us to go back in time, so to speak, to see how a site looked in the past. From this we can see design updates and when promotions were launched, among other things.

Post-review process

Our work doesn’t end with the final spin of the roulette wheel. There are various elements that make up our evaluation procedure that actually take place after the initial testing sessions.

Player feedback

The team at Crypto Lists love to hear how our readers rate the casinos they find through our site. That’s one of the main reasons we have our live chat feature, so people can tell us their experiences in real time. Player feedback helps us to continually evaluate a casino’s performance, and we’ll encorporate their judgements into how highly we rate deposits and withdrawals for example. However, we should also point out that all the feedback we receive remains 100% anonymous and just between Crypto Lists and the player.

We will talk to casinos about the feedback, particularly if it pertains to problems surrounding withdrawals for example, but we won’t disclose any personal information about the player unless we’ve been specifically instructed to do so by them.

Continual fine tuning

We’re always going back to our past reviews to make sure everything is still up to date. This might include adding or removing a game developer or deposit method to accurately reflect what’s available at present. And, if the casino launches an exciting initiative or new bonus, we might choose to promote it in a newsflash. These newsflashes populate the right-hand side of the page next to the review and almost act as an ongoing extension of the inital analysis.

Similarly, we also schedule news articles about the brand, which commonly explore our favorite features on the casino and what that particular writer finds most useful. Like without reviews, these are subjective, however there are universal things that we look for that correspond with what we know player’s want in a new casino to play.

Adding to the warning list

In the cases where the feedback we get from players is negative, we chase it up. If the response and/or resolution isn’t satisfactory then we’ll place the site on our warning list. This is a page where we highlight sites to avoid based on both player problems and also problems we’ve run into ourselves in dealing with the operator in question. If casinos dramatically alter their course and rectify the issues raised, then they may be removed from this list and placed back into good standing.

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