MirrorBingo.com

Mirror Bingo is provided by Cashcade, a leading online gambling marketing company that manages online services for companies such as the Daily Mail and, in this case, Trinity Mirror (the newspaper and magazine publisher behind the Daily Mirror). Cashcade also owns successful sites Getminted.com and FoxyBingo.com. In addition to a bingo operation, Cashcade also offers a casino from Trinity Mirror. Established in 2000, Cashcade is based in the UK. Mirror Bingo makes use of Globalcom software.

Promotions

Mirror Bingo offers a nicely sized list of promotions including a welcome bonus. Unfortunately the site isn’t particularly clear about this bonus and it seems to be confused about whether it is £20 or £10. Either way this isn’t a particularly appealing amount to welcome new players; it doesn’t come close to the bonuses offered by competing sites and there are few with such a feeble offering. In order to obtain your bonus you need to deposit £20 yourself, giving you £40 to start playing with.

Making up for this unimpressive start is the offer to match any deposit with the site with an additional 50% up to £50. The information regarding this and the welcome bonus is, unfortunately, poorly presented. Other promotions are more specific; for example, a mother’s day weekend deal offers a chance to win a spa day. The offers, while fresh, aren’t particularly enticing and they don’t really compensate for the lacklustre welcome bonus.

Bingo

The home page is packed with adverts for differing elements of the site. It is quite cluttered and certainly lacks any sense of style. Unattractive or not, the site is simple to navigate and you’ll find the usual set of tabs running across the top of the page. A login option is at the left and clearly displayed for returning players.

The registration form is fairly straight forward and it asks for the usual details. Awkwardly, it is required that you enter your card details as part of the registration and without this you cannot get started. This will be particularly irritating for those who prefer to use other forms of deposit methods.

Once you have managed to sign up you will have access to the games on Mirror Bingo. Clicking on play now will open a popup window with a selection of bingo games to choose from. Tabs will lead you to 75 ball and 90 ball bingo games along with a set of instant games. You’ll also have the option to pre-purchase tickets for games yet to begin.

In stark contrast to the unimpressive design of the website itself, the in browser bingo lobby is of high quality with a simple and easy to use design. Tickets are displayed centrally and can be highlighted for purchase with a click. Once highlighted, tickets can be bulk purchased with the buy selected tickets button. A chat room is available on the right of the interface and a nice set of options are available for font choice and other preferences. There are some annoying sound effects but nothing that can’t be resolved with the sound features options.

New games begin periodically and warnings are issued a few seconds before they begin. Written help is provided in a few forms, from basic FAQs to guides for new players. Direct help is available through phone lines and email. Mirror claim to be available 24/7 but the phone lines are actually limited to 10am-6pm Monday-Friday. While the absence of an evening line can almost be forgiven, the lack of any quick response service at the weekend is a serious problem.

Other Services

In addition to bingo the site also offers some basic casino games. These include roulette, Bejewelled and a handful of other distractions. Beyond this Mirror Bingo is, unsurprisingly, focused on Bingo. For a more complete selection of casino entertainment you can head over to Mirror Casino.

Payment Options

Contrary to the implication on registering, cards are not the only deposit option available to players. Ukash, Neteller, MasterCard, Visa, Delta, Maestro, paysafecard and Wire Transfer are all options. While a reasonable selection, there are sites with a better choice. Deposit limits can be set if desired and self exclusion is also available. Accepted currencies include the pound, the U.S. dollar and the euro.

Conclusion

Mirror Bingo has many niggling issues stopping it from being a high quality service. The actual game interface itself is designed well and once you actually get to play the game the service is fine. Sadly, a poor set of promotions coupled with a weak help service drags Mirror Bingo down. Small issues include the clumsy feel of the website and the fumbled presentation of promotion details. It’s not a complete write off though and if you can ignore these issues and get to the game itself you’ll find a well presented in browser bingo game.

Tick Box

  • Safe: Yes
  • 24/7 Support: No
  • Demos: No
  • Download Required: No
  • Live Betting: Yes
  • Mobile Gambling: No
  • Promotions: Yes

GalaCasino.co.uk

Gala are a well known name in the gambling industry with a strong selection of services offered including an online casino and a bingo site. Owned and operated by the Gala Coral Group, Gala Casinos offers roulette, baccarat, blackjack and online poker. Having merged with Coral Eurobet in 2005, Gala now provides bookmaking alongside its other services. The largest bingo operator in the UK, Gala also holds a formidable casino market with 27 sites. Gala was founded in 1991 and it is based in Essex.

Promotions

Gala offers a good welcome incentive in the form of a bonus of up to £205. The bonus is divided up into set amounts that can be released by playing various games and waging multiple times the bonus amount in those games. All of this must be done within 30 days of joining the Gala Casino.

There is a sizable selection of other promotions available for players. 3 Card Monday, for example, provides a bonus of £10 in 3 card poker if you bet over £100 yourself. Other daily promotions include Scratchcard Thursday, Blackjack Friday, Roulette Saturday and Megajackpot Sunday. Each of these confers a £10 bonus as long as certain requirements are met first.

All of this is augmented with additional promotions including loyalty bonuses for poker players and monthly “reloads” for casino players who wager enough (25x deposit amount). All in all Gala offers a wide set of promotions with enough scope to please most players. The usual restrictions are in place but the bonuses on offer should help to make the experience more enjoyable.

Casino

The Gala Casino website itself is wrapped up in a neon style which is actually quite appealing. Not over the top, it helps set the tone for the Gala experience. The site is also easy to navigate with clear sections tabbed out across the top of the page. Promotions are advertised and you will be able to choose between playing online or seeking out your local casino. Naturally you’re going to want to know how to get started online in which case you’ll want to head to the open account link (snugly tucked away in the top right).

Setting up an account is a simple matter divided into a convenient set of three steps. You’ll need to enter your personal details, set up how you will make deposits (and make your first deposit) and finally set up any gambling limitations you’d like to set for yourself. It’s all very efficient but it’s a little irritating that you are almost forced to deposit at this point rather than later. The one way to delay your deposit, assuming you wish to do this later, is to select bank transfer and then continue to step three.

Once you have finished signing up you will be returned to the home page where little will have changed. You’ll find your user ID and account options at the top right but otherwise it’s back to square one. Not to worry, click play now and you’ll be taken straight to the casino. The quality of website design continues to the casino games page. Here you will be able to choose from a set of tabs including sections such as roulette, video poker, arcade, blackjack and other card games.

The selection of games is more than reasonable and you should easily find what you’re looking for. The games run in a browser but they still have a decent set of options available. It’s easy to jump into a game thanks to the in browser setup. Oddly it’s a little fiddly to play for fun; if you’re already logged in the games default to real cash mode and to resolve this you will have to log out and select play for fun when you open a game. This is a pain if you want to demo a few games before putting down money. Despite the difficulty in playing for fun, the games themselves are well designed and enjoyable to play. WagerWorks provides software for Gala casino games.

Poker, Bingo and Bookmaking

Gala also offer other services including poker, bingo and bookmaking. Accessing any of these features will link to other Gala sites. Poker is available in the form of a downloadable client or an in browser version. Naturally, the downloadable version has more options and so you can decide whether you want to go through the extra trouble for these or not. Bingo is available in the form of the well known Gala Bingo brand and bookmaking services are also offered from the associated Coral website.

Payment Options

Payment options available at Gala Casino are split between cards, direct bank transfer, Quick Pay and Moneybookers. Acceptable cards include Maestro, MasterCard and Visa. This isn’t a huge selection of options but the bare essentials are here.

Conclusion

Gala Casinos provide a well presented and easy to use casino website. The selection of games is decent and there are many promotions to spice things up. The help service is acceptable but lacks a full 24 hour phone line. This is a shame and hampers what is otherwise a good service. Despite this, Gala delivers a professional and fun gambling experience.

Tick Box

  • Safe: Yes
  • 24/7 Support: Yes
  • Demos: Yes
  • Download Required: No
  • Live Betting: Yes
  • Mobile Gambling: No
  • Promotions: Yes

SegaCasino.com

Usually thoughts of SEGA brings fond childhood memories of whizzing around hoops as Sonic the Hedgehog or exploring the depths of the ocean as Ecco the Dolphin. SEGA has recently branched out on their own casino and poker site, and while some of their mature video game titles are present to show off the brand, naturally there’s no sign of the hedgehog for obvious reasons. Some may find it a little unusual for a big video game name to enter the online casino market, but in Japan SEGA are also well known for their chain of high street casinos as well as their video games. With this point of view it makes perfect sense, but can they transfer this success over to the competitive online casino market?

Casino

Once you’ve downloaded the casino software, you’ll have instant access to all games. With the download you are free to try for fun or dive straight in and invest real money. There is no try for fun option before the download and naturally staking real cash will require you to register.

SEGA games are the the headline here, but these are limited to House of the Dead, Virtua Fighter, Phantasy Star and Nights, and while you may be hoping for a money winning spin on classic games, shooting zombies for cash for instance, in fact they are all themed slot machines. These can be adjusted to suit the number of lines you wish to stake on, from 1 to 25 usually. Thankfully, they are not costly, take House of the Dead for example, a one line stake will set you back 10c, whereas a full 25 line stake is only $1.50 per spin. Of course, you can up your stake if you wish, to increase your chances of winning and losing big. It’s nice to have the option. If themed slots are your thing, then these do a good enough job if you don’t mind zombies stealing your cash.

In addition to SEGA branded slots, there’s also a set of classic games on offer. These include table games such as Roulette, progressive games, card games, standard slots and arcade games. Each one is nicely animated and well worth the time it takes to download.

Poker

SEGA also offer poker, which is playable with cash or for free via download and register only. Once this is done, you have access to a few game types over hundreds of table. On offer is Texas Hold’em, Omaha, Omaha Hi-Lo, and 5 & 7 Card Stud. There are numerous tournaments on offer, which run frequently and offer prizes up to $50,000. These tournaments include freerolls, satellites, double stack and shootout to name a few. In addition to the poker, the download also comes with a quick tab to casino games to fill in the time between poker sessions if you wish.

Promotions

SEGA has a whole host of promotions looking to entice you in. Most of which are crossed over with casino and poker. For example, the 200% welcome bonus is split 100% each way. To benefit from the fill 200% bonus up to €400 you must make a deposit on both game types. 100% of the bonus is to be released by playing in Poker games through SEGAPoker.com and the remaining 100% of the bonus is to be released by playing in Casino games through SEGACasino.com. As is the norm, you’ll need to wager the deposit and the bonus 20 times over before you can cash it in.

Poker and casino are also offering a second deposit bonus, in which they’ll boost it up by 50% up to €200. The usual terms and conditions apply. Add this to the reload bonuses and daily prize handouts and the VIP lounge and there’s more to SEGA poker and casino than a quick fix game if you want there to be.

Payment Options

As well as VISA and Mastercard, there are many payment and withdrawal methods available. This includes all the big names, such as PayPal, MoneyBookers, Click2Pay and so on. All of which are safe to use and most offer instant deposits. As is usual withdrawals take a bit longer.

One thing to remember about SEGA Casino / Poker is that it’s a very young site. What they offer now is a quality casino gaming and poker, which could also improve over time. Bearing in mind SEGA are one of the masters in video games and pros in the Japanese casino industry, so I expect this will be a site to watch in the very near future.

Tick Box

  • Safe: Yes
  • 24/7 Support: Yes
  • Demos: Yes (with some limitations)
  • Download Required: Yes
  • Mobile Gambling: No
  • Promotions: Yes

FoxyBingo.com

We’ve all seen the adverts and yes, they can be surprisingly annoying. But whether you’re fond of that grinning and glamorously dressed fox or not, it’s hard to argue with the success enjoyed by the Foxy Bingo website. Launched in 2005, Foxy Bingo has grown to the point of having thousands of new players joining each month. Foxy Bingo is owned by Cashcade, the group behind Getminted.com and other successful brands. The site offers bingo along with a small selection of other games.

Promotions

A good selection of promotions is available to entice you into joining and new offers are rotated in frequently. The main welcome promotion at Foxy Bingo is a 200% bonus on top of your first deposit. Not bad at all. This bonus will be applied to any deposit amount between £10 and £150, so it can go all the way up to £300. After this, every additional deposit will bring on another 50% bonus- it’s the gift that keeps giving. Ts and Cs state that you’ll have to wager twice the amount of your initial deposit along with twice the amount of the bonus money before you can draw out the bonus in cash form.

Other promotions are divided into categories ranging from slots and casino bonuses to weekly specials. These include themed bonuses and free plays; for example, Night Owls provides a late night period of free gaming while Happy Hours is a similar promotion for day time players. Another promotion, Thank Foxy it’s Friday, has variable bonuses such as large jackpots or free play. The promotions on offer are suited to the site and the regular changes keep the games fun.

Bingo

The website itself is as would be expected from Foxy Bingo. Bright orange, pink and purple is lathered across every free space. The actual content is well laid out and easy to navigate, but the style probably won’t be to everyone’s taste. I count four instances of that fox’s face dotted around the home page (one of which talks to you on arrival) and this might deter those who find him off-putting.


Finding your way to registration isn’t a challenge and once there you’ll find all the usual questions. One small issue is that the site insists on you entering your card details during registration rather than set up a deposit method later. While one can understand the motives behind this, it’s frustrating for those who don’t want to use their card at all.

Once you’re registered and set up you can get straight to playing the game itself. Clicking play now will open a popup window with a complete selection of every gambling resource available to you. Everything from bingo to the casino offerings and pre-purchase options is at your fingertips in one window- very nifty.

While a little straining on the eyes, the lobby is simple and easy to navigate. The usual tabs system separates categories of games and you can manage your banking and account at the top of the interface. Bingo games inform you of when the next game will be through a countdown and a good list is available to choose from.

The in game bingo interface itself isn’t the clearest out there but it’s easy enough to get used to. An announcer and a, somewhat intrusive, clicking clock give warning when a game is about to begin. The announcer continues through the game and is high spirited enough to avoid becoming monotonous. No demos are available for bingo but there are occasional happy hours and free games.

Instant win casino games are available but open a third window- a little bit too much clutter on the desktop. Games offer play for fun or real money modes the moment you open them. The presentation is of decent quality but it’s not as slick as some competitors. These games are really there just to provide some variation alongside the gambling and, in fairness, they do that job well.

Payment Options

There are a fair number of methods open for you to deposit funds. Options include Maestro, MasterCard, Visa, Delta, Neteller, Wire Transfer and Playsafecard. An option is available to set deposit limits if you prefer to establish boundaries for your gaming. Currencies accepted include the UK pound, US dollar and the euro. There isn’t much to complain about in this department.

Conclusion

Foxy Bingo offers a strong bingo service with a unique style. The games themselves are well designed and fun to play, navigating the site won’t be a worry. Unfortunately customer service is only available between 10am and 6pm on the phone and this is quite a drawback to an otherwise good service. Compounding the error is a promise to respond to email queries within 48 hours- certainly not a competitive response rate. Otherwise the site does what it sets out to do and provides a fun bingo experience. If you can get over, or simply don’t mind, the furry mascot then Foxy Bingo could be for you.

Tick Box

  • Safe: Yes
  • 24/7 Support: No
  • Demos: Yes
  • Download Required: No
  • Live Betting: Yes
  • Mobile Gambling: No
  • Promotions: Yes

Betsafe.com

Boasting over 400,000 customers spread over 100 countries, Betsafe has seen considerable success since its launch in 2006. Owned by Safepay and provided by Ongame Network, Betsafe is based in Malta. While the company is relatively young, the site offers a complete set of gambling services from bookmaking to poker and a casino. While the betting service has a list of active odds on the home page (as is common on bookmaking sites), there is no dominant focus on any of the main services.

Promotions:

A reasonable set of promotion offers are available for those signing up to poker on Betsafe, but unfortunately the offering diminishes considerably for the other services. New promotions are released for poker each month, always keeping the fun fresh. Currently two main promotions are being advertised; the March Races and Gumball 3000. Players who make it to the top few hundred positions on the leaderboards will share in a $100,000 prize pool and Gumball 3000 packages (a cash prize coupled with a chance to play in the Gumball poker tournament).

Registration bonuses are surprisingly flexible compared to competing sites. New players have the option of choosing between copper, bronze, silver, gold and diamond bonus packages. These scale from $25 all the way up to a $2000 bonus. The flipside, of course, is that the higher your package choice, the more player points you will have to earn in order to unlock it. A time limit of 29 days is in place and the amount must be cleared before then. A minimum deposit of $1000 is required for the diamond package- no small order. These promotions are certainly of a reasonable quality but it’s a shame that poker gets the most out of them.

Sports Betting:

Sports betting options are the first thing you’ll notice about the Betsafe home page. The site layout itself is exceptional; a red, black and white colour scheme dominates the style and it works very well indeed. A simple and uncluttered tabs list will lead you to whatever service you’re looking for on the site. Betting services are prominent on the home page but you’ll also find large links to poker and the casino beneath the tabs bar.

First you’ll have to register, though, and you’ll find a large open account button at the top of the page. The form will appear in the main browser page without any aggravating popups. The details requested are all what you’d expect and there aren’t any unexpected questions. It should only take a minute or two to enter your details and register; once this is done you’ll be taken straight to the deposit page. A glance at the top of the window will show you that you’re logged in and so you can enter your deposit details after having a nose around if that suits you better.

The list of available odds is comprehensive and you will likely find something to interest you here. Everything from football to politics to martial arts is up for betting on. An interesting addition on top of all of the expected features is the option to suggest an odds idea of your own. Popular ones even stand a chance of become a real odds.

Poker:

The poker offering on Betsafe can be played either in your browser or as a downloaded program. The in browser version functions as a popup and runs smoothly. The red and black style carries over into the game and the lobby is well designed, if a little heavy on lists. Demo games are available if you want to get some practice in first. Unfortunately entering a game will open yet another popup which can be a bit too much clutter. The poker rooms themselves are well designed and easy to navigate. Game customisations options are very limited in the browser version but that’s what the downloadable client is for, right?

Oddly, the downloaded version of the game doesn’t really have that much more in the way of features when compared to the browser version. In fact, the downloaded lobby is practically identical to the browser game and has little in the way of options. Thankfully the browser version is of a good standard so if you don’t mind the popup poker rooms you can forget about the downloadable client completely.

Casino

Unlike the poker from Betsafe, the casino doesn’t bother with a downloadable version and it’s all run in the browser. The list of games itself is a little too spread out and the games aren’t heavily advertised. In contrast, the games themselves are very well presented and easy to get used to. There is a guide for new players, if required. Unfortunately there doesn’t seem to be an option for trying out any of the games in a play for fun mode.

Payment Options

Deposit options are neatly laid out as large icons on the payments page. The list isn’t huge but it’s certainly enough. Your choices include Visa, MasterCard, Entropay, bank transfer, Neteller, Moneybookers, ClickandBuy and gift vouchers. An impressive list of accepted currencies accompanies this, giving you a lot of options for depositing money.

Conclusion

The service offered by Betsafe is a complete one with few gaps. If you’re looking for a gambling provider that offers betting, poker and a casino then you will find Betsafe to be a good choice. There are some problems- the promotions aren’t all that they could be and the downloadable poker client isn’t all that impressive. The help service is good and a guaranteed 15 minute response time is in place (and you get 10 euros if they don’t live up to this). Betsafe is a well rounded offering that would benefit from a few upgrades.

Tick Box

  • Safe: Yes
  • 24/7 Support: Yes
  • Demos: Yes (with some limitations)
  • Download Required: No
  • Live Betting: Yes
  • Mobile Gambling: No
  • Promotions: Yes

LittlewoodsGameOn.com

Littlewoods Gaming run the Game On network of websites, providing casino, poker and bingo services. The company was founded in 1923, making it one of the oldest gaming companies and giving it a strong grounding in the industry. The company took its games online in 1997 and launched a casino in 2002, following up with poker in 2003. Littlewoods certainly has a well established name both in gambling and in its other enterprises; a recognisable brand to new players.

Promotions

An impressive selection of promotions is available from Littlewoods Game On and there are separate bundles for each of the main services offered by the company. Each service also has its own welcome bonus; poker, for example, has an offer of a 100% bonus up to £200 for new players. Littlewoods claims to top competitors with a generous offer of 25% of this bonus being available in your account immediately. The rest must be earned using bonus points gained from continued play.

This is a little misleading as what they actually mean is that 25% of the bonus will be instantly available as game credit (something generally expected of the entire bonus in most promotions of this sort) but this still cannot be withdrawn as cash instantly. Instead you must wager at least 50 times the amount before it can be taken out. While the initial limit to 25% of your bonus credit is somewhat disappointing, these bonuses are still generous and add some more fun to the game. A bonus meter in the game interface will give you a constant update of your progress to unlocking more of your credit.

Casino

The Littlewoods casino requires a download (a separate section of the site offers a quick play mode) and once downloaded you are asked to register immediately. Thankfully this is a simple process asking for the normal details you would expect. Setting up a deposit is done separately.

Once you have entered your details you’ll be free to start playing and you’ll be asked to choose between playing for money or for fun- it’s always good when this question is asked at the start of your session rather than being buried in the options section. Once you’ve made your choice you’ll be greeted by a user interface that has large buttons for featured games and a set of categories for other choices. The interface is easy to use and a video tour is available for those who would like to take a look around first.

Accessing a category will link to a subset of buttons for you to sift through to find the game of your choice. If you have any problems there is a live chat link on the right underneath an advert for the latest promotions. Everything is very much at your fingertips here and you’ll be hard pressed to find yourself lost or confused. Starting a game will bring up a quick guide to playing before placing you in the game room. The games are of a high quality and the interface is both simple and fun to use. The casino is of a high standard and should appeal to players looking for a professionally designed but friendly interface.

Poker

The poker lobby is a little more complicated at first glance but it won’t take too long to get to grips with it. You can login with the same username as your casino account and from there it’s just a matter of navigating tabs. You can choose between practice play and play for money, select the style of poker you wish to play and then the kind of tournament you want to join. Quick seat mode is available for those who want to get straight into a game. The poker game interface itself is fun to use with avatars appearing in the place of players and a chat room at the side.

Bingo

The bingo offering links to a separate site and, unfortunately, does not accept the same login details as the other games. Compounding the problem is what feels like a fairly lengthy registration form (which combines the standard questions with your payment details). Thankfully the bingo service makes up for these shortcomings with a well presented game lobby and the lack of any download requirements. Running in a new window, the game features a chat room and multiple options for different game preferences.

Payment Options

There aren’t any worries with payment options for Littlewoods games; a good selection of methods are accepted including Visa, MasterCard, Neteller, PayPal, Moneta, Moneybookers and more. There are deposit limits depending on the method you choose to use but these are clearly listed and they shouldn’t be a problem.

Conclusion

Littlewoods run a very professional gambling service with a fun atmosphere included in the experience on offer. Help is provided in various forms and you should have no trouble getting answers to any problems you might encounter. There are a few drawbacks- the strange limits on welcome bonus credit and the annoying need to register again for the bingo service stand out as difficulties. With that in mind, the rest of the service, particularly the casino interface design, is excellent and definitely worth a look.

Tick Box

  • Safe: Yes
  • 24/7 Support: Yes
  • Demos: Yes
  • Download Required: Yes
  • Live Betting: Yes
  • Mobile Gambling: No
  • Promotions: Yes

EverestPoker.com

Everest Poker, established in 2005, is a successful poker room provider. Focusing on its poker offering and on providing a multilingual service, Everest runs its site in 15 different languages. Run by the Taiwan based GigaMedia Limited, Everest Poker reaches over 150 countries and millions of customers. Not bad at all for a few years work. In addition to poker, Everest also offers a casino for those who like a little variation. Everest claim to have created a friendly community of poker fans, aiming to provide a good experience for players of all levels.

Promotions

Everest offers a strong selection of promotions, with some giving players the chance to attend live poker tournaments at different locations around the world. They also have a nice bonus for new players; Everest offer $200 for new players no matter what your first deposit is. Unfortunately the catch here is that to convert the bonus into cash you need to earn Summit Points which will convert $0.06 of your bonus into cash for each point. It should also be noted that there is a 30 day time limit after which any unearned bonus money will be lost.

Poker

In order to play Everest Poker you will first have to download the client. A shame that this couldn’t be managed in the browser but the download is actually fairly small and it isn’t too intrusive. When you load the program you will be asked to join or sign in. Naturally this is where you register and you’ll be pleased to find that the process is quick and trouble free- a very short form and you’re ready to get started. You can then decide between playing for money or for practicing.

The lobby is relatively minimalist with only one small advert and the rest dedicated to the game. A list of available games is centre screen and a set of tabs enables you to find the right one for you. You can further narrow the list using filters which help you find the stakes you want (high, medium, low or beginner).

The game interface itself is fun to use and easy to understand. You can observe a few games to learn the ropes if you’re new to poker or you can jump straight to playing. There is a good set of options including a table style list which gives you the chance to change the aesthetic feel of the room; anything from medieval to Japanese styles can be chosen. This is a great feature for those who like to tweak the feel of the game to their liking. Some of the sound effects can be irritating but, of course, you can switch these off.

Help is provided in a few forms if you want some guidance before getting into a game. There is a how to play guide, a glossary, a tutorial and a training room. Player support is available through email and live chat but the latter is limited to 2pm-9pm. There is also one crucial element missing here; there is no phone support whatsoever unless you’re a VIP player. Together these problems represent a serious lack in effective help services from Everest. Despite this, the email help is available in 15 languages so Everest can’t be completely condemned for the lack of a phone line.

Casino

The casino also requires a download but once again it is a fairly short process. You also don’t have to make a new login so you can get straight into the games if you’ve already made a poker account. The lobby is a bit messier than the poker version but it’s still quite easy to find your way around after a little familiarisation. Games are tabbed by category and long lists of available games are presented underneath. New games, your favourites and progressive jackpot games are shown in a separate section. The casino feels less polished than the poker lobby and help is more limited. It still has a decent selection of games though and is worth taking a look at. Everest uses Grand Virtual for their software.

Payment Options

Payment options aren’t extensive but there is a reasonable choice. Visa, MasterCard, EntroPay, Neteller, Moneybookers, Click2Pay and Paysafecard are all accepted. Currencies include US Dollars, Euros or Pounds Sterling but most details on the UK version of the website still use US Dollars.

Conclusion

Everest Poker offers a reasonable poker experience. The game interface is relatively easy to use, the rules are thoroughly explained and signing up is simple. Unfortunately the site slips up on help and support services where you will find no phone line (unless you’re a VIP) and a limited live chat system. Other than the support issue Everest has all of the basics; it just needs a little more shine to climb above average.

Tick Box

  • Safe: Yes
  • 24/7 Support: No
  • Demos: Yes
  • Download Required: Yes
  • Live Betting: Yes
  • Mobile Gambling: No
  • Promotions: Yes

Expekt

Expekt is a trans-European site available in many territories, notably in the Eastern European countries and also China, it has been in operation since 1999 and is based in Malta. Offering sports betting on its home page, users can diversify into poker, casino games and a few other diversions. Smartly designed, on signing up you can pick your chosen currency from a sizeable basket and then start betting.

Being continental, the front page has a mixed bag of sports listed including Basket (basketball), Bandy (not a clue), Asian Handicap betting on the Premier League, handball and so on. But, the mainstay British sports are also present including football, rugby, cricket, darts, golf and tennis – but no horse racing.

There are different tabs for upcoming and hot bets and the main column has the current big stories (The Olympics) and the major football matches in a little more detail. Odds are displayed in decimal format. On the right of the page are the latest live betting options. Finally, there are plenty of adverts for the site’s other services. In places it’s a bit of a mix, you can bet on who will win next year’s Worlds Series in Baseball, but I can’t find a place to bet on the next Formula One champion. On the plus side, England are third favourites for the World Cup in South Africa,

Under the main tabs, a bunch of mini-tabs offer live scores, statistics and a scoreboard. Lacking the nous of a fully UK developed site, Expekt looks good but the odd Euro-foible doesn’t make you feel particularly welcome. For example the first bet demo, which is a good feature, is buried on the side of the screen and is so light to be practically invisible.

At the casino you can play a host of video card games and a range of themed slot machines, with an apparent fetish for EIDOS computer games with both Tomb Raider and Hitman represented. According to the Expekt blog, Hitman is a step above other slots and while it looks nice isn’t exactly something gamers will come flocking to play.

The Poker tab requires a Playtech download and sees the gnarled features of Scotty Nguyen hosting proceedings as a mascot. Compared to some sites it looks a bit bare in numbers of players and tournaments. If you want to learn from a pro, then you can apply for a boot camp with Scotty, which is a pretty novel feature. There is a deposit matching $600 sign-up bonus with the usual restrictions. There’s also a loyalty program which seems broadly similar to what competitors offer with cash, goods and prizes on offer to regular players.

Finally, there’s the Bingo tab with lots of games to sign up for and play, a Games tab with more diversions and Supertoto/Pools type games where you can pay tiny bets with a small chance of a decent payout.

Even though its got lots of social features, like the blog, RSS and Twitter feeds to follow, there is little sense of community on the site. It’s ambassadors (apart from Mats Wilander) are unknowns to the British audience and without the kind of campaign that its rivals have, it is hard to see Expekt gaining much of a reputation over here without an improved site and some big name support.

Tick Box

  • Safe: Yes
  • Demos: Yes
  • 24/7 Support: Yes
  • Download Required: Yes, for Poker and Casino
  • Mobile Gambling: No
  • Promotions: Yes
  • Live Betting: Yes

G Casino

G Casino is currently one of the fastest growing casino companies around. Born from the Blue Square betting brand, G Casino has been tabbed as the ultimate online gaming experience with a number of games available through their increasingly popular site. Blackjack, Roulette and Baccarat can be enjoyed with Live Dealers featuring throughout, whom you can even have a natter with. These are just a handful of games available through the outlet where Poker and games also features heavily. The company run a string of real casinos in towns and cities across the UK and Ireland too, just to give you an idea of their credentials.

G Casino

On entering the sites home page it is clear that there is a lot on offer. In the centre of the page we have the sign up bonus which can reach £150 dependant upon initial opening of an account. We then have another section that has the ‘Number 1’ games to begin with but by clicking on the tabs below it, you can access a range of other site headliners. These include the ‘Top 3 Games’, ‘New Games’ and ‘G Favourites’ to name a few. At the top of the page is some quick links to games of particular genres that might interest you.

If you select the main Casino area of the site the sites games are initially divided into New Games and Casino Games. One of the plus points about this area of the site is the act that you can play each game for free before you play for money. This is particularly good if you are new to the casino scene and you want to learn how to play before actually doing so properly. We have all the usual suspects in terms of casino related games here with Blackjack and Roulette standing out. There are also a few twists on traditional games as well though. One example is Texas Hold ‘Em Shootout which is a game based on the traditional Poker game but it only involves three competitors, the only human one of which being yourself.

You also have Three Card Poker which is a straight Heads Up Poker match that only involves the initial triple header of cards you receive. Other games include Multi Hand Blackjack and Double Bonus Spin Roulette which doubles up your chance of walking away with some healthy winnings. No matter which page you end up on whilst navigating your way through the site, you will always have the most popular games listed along the right hand side of the page. New games and Jackpot games are also listed and these act as a quick gateway to any options that may catch your eye.

Slots

In all there are an impressive 42 different slot games available in the relevant section on the site. These are broken down into four different categories; Casino Slots, Jackpot Slots, Multi Line and Single Lines. The way these work is by staking a certain amount on each spin and then the more lines you bet on, the more likely you are to win some cash. All the different slot games have different themes and the pictures that need to be matched change accordingly. For us gaming geeks out there, one particular highlight is the Street Fighter II themed slot games.

Here you have to stake an amount on each line and then if it lands in sequence, you win an amount that is based upon how much you placed on the line to begin with. Bejewelled is another game featured on this section and the concept is exactly the same only this time it is based on a grid and when three appear together in the same row or column, you win. Other themes include the X Factor reality TV show, Monopoly, Cluedo and an option called Creatures Of Rock which is an interesting play.

Games

G Casino’s Games area is divided into three different areas; TV Shows, Virtual Sports and all games. If you want a full list of options, all games provides it for you. Deal Or No Deal is the stand out television offering and here you you have to buy a numbered box for an amount set by you. The top prize is equal to 10 times the amount that you bought the box for in the first place. You then go through each box, as in the real life show and choose to accept or decline the bankers offer which is based on which boxes you have left.

Top Trumps is another game in which you can gamble. Here you place a stake on a certain attribute that your card holds and then if you beat your opponent, you win depending on whatever the odds were at the time of your bet and the stake you put on it. Monopoly features yet again as does Hole In The Wall. Virtual Sports allows you to bet on the outcomes of virtual horse and greyhound races. This is particularly entertaining as you get to see the entire race play out in front of you.

Poker

In terms of Poker, the main area dedicated to the popular card game features the games we have already spoken about in this overview. If you want the main Poker action the following the links displayed on the main pages article will lead you to their sister site, Blue Square Poker which is where all the action is at. G Poker enjoys a reputation for providing a combination of online gaming with the excitement of live poker events – such as the Grosvenor UK Poker Tour (GUKPT), launched in 2007 which is Britain’s biggest poker tour. Through the G loyalty programme, players can build loyalty points and exchange them for entry to live events with the opportunity to earn a sponsorship deal.

Live Casino

Live Casino is the final section on the site and here you get to see all the action unfold in front of you live. All of your casino favourites are included in this format with Roulette, Blackjack and Baccarat being present. In all there a six lovely ladies that deal out the cards and spin the wheels giving you an interactive experience that mirrors that or a real casino. You can even have a chat with them while you are playing just to add that personal touch. This is strictly business of course!

Tick Box

  • Safe: Yes
  • Demos: Yes
  • 24/7 Support: Yes
  • Download Required: No
  • Mobile Gambling: Yes
  • Promotions: Yes
  • Live Betting: N/A

MeccaBingo.com

Mecca Bingo is a name you’ve probably heard before; Mecca runs sites all across the UK in combination with their online gambling site. Mecca Bingo is run by The Rank Group which was founded in 1995 and also hosts the Grosvenor chain of casinos in the UK. The website is obviously focused on Bingo but it does host a few other attractions including reasonable collection of games- some casino classics and some more modern offerings.

Promotions

The Mecca Bingo welcome page is almost entirely dedicated to highlighting the promotions on offer from Mecca. What is immediately apparent to new users is that Mecca is always changing and that promotions are updated on a monthly basis. The most familiar promotion is the welcome bonus which offers to match your first deposit up to £50. It’s certainly not the biggest welcome offer out there but it’s still good to have. The offer is also fairly straight forward, all you have to do to convert the bonus to cash is to play through the amount you deposited once; as soon as you have done this the money is yours to keep. Keep an eye on your calendar though as you need to do this within 60 days of registering.

Some other tempting promotions are on offer. During this February Mecca are making Mondays buy one get one free days in the bingo games. Another promotion has Wednesdays featuring enhanced jackpots with another £5000 thrown in. The final promotion offers £10000 to split between everyone who plays the progressive jackpot game Clover Rollover on the day that the jackpot is won. These promotions make for neat incentives and they are changed monthly, keeping the fun fresh.

Bingo

The Mecca Bingo website has a high quality design and it is relatively easy to use. The main page has quite a lot to navigate through but it is laid out very well and you should be able to find what you’re after. Of course if you’re on MeccaBingo.com chances are you’re looking for bingo and the play now link is where you’ll be heading. You’ll have to register before you get started and this is relatively simple; you’ll need to enter the usual personal details and set up a payment method in the same form.

The bingo service offered by Mecca runs in a browser window and no download is required. The main interface splits games about to begin into 90 ball, 80 ball, 75 ball and special categories. The list displays information about each game including the amount of time before the game will start, prize money, tickets and number of players. The information is very clearly laid out and the whole design is extremely easy to use.

Joining a game will enter you into a chat room and allow you to watch a game in progress if you desire. A neat addition to the interface is an audio announcer that performs the role of the bingo caller. Extensive in game help is available but purchasing a ticket is easy and it shouldn’t be too difficult to get into a game.

The browser game features a great degree of customisability; you can change various aspects of the interface from the colour and style of your dabber to graphics quality and the font of your chat text. You can also manage a profile listing information about yourself such as your star sign, hobbies and favourite films. The software for Mecca Bingo is provided by Virtue Fusion, a well established provider of bingo software.

Games

In addition to the solid bingo offering, Mecca also has a reasonable selection of games. These include a few casino classics and a diverse choice of other options. Categories include slots, casino, numbers and keno games. The interfaces are well designed and many of the games can be played for fun rather than cash.

Payment Options

Deposit options are relatively wide ranging with credit or debit cards, Neteller, Moneybookers, cheque or bank transfers all accepted. Card options include MasterCard, Visa, Delta, Solo and Maestro. The deposit section is sizable giving you plenty of control over how you manage your funds. Your account history can be viewed and you can setup deposit limits if you should choose to.

Conclusion

Mecca Bingo offers an excellent bingo service; the website is well designed and the game interface is very easy to use (not to mention easily customised). Promotions are used to enhance the play experience rather than just entice new players and the monthly changes to promotions will help to keep the fun new.

For those looking for a little bit more than bingo the site has a generous, if not particularly large, list of alternative games. Help is available in the form of a comprehensive in game index along with a 24 hour help and support team. A site blog helps to keep players informed of new developments. Mecca Bingo does a great job at what it sets out to do, there are better casinos out there but if bingo is what you’re after and you’d like some games on the side then this is one for you.