Two Overseas Players Try To Crack EuropeIt was back to standard casino fare for Gambling magazine this month as we ran the rule over two major overseas operators currently making inroads in the UK and European markets. First up to the plate was American casino brand Bodog.com who, with their own custom-made software, are looking to extend their reputation for excellence in the US on this side of the Atlantic.
Given that they’re operating on a client designed entirely in-house, Bodog.com must be given huge credit for the smoothness and efficiency of their online casino. The menus are all incredibly straightforward and easy to navigate, while all of the pop-up categories are perfectly slick and responsive. Separate tabs provide quick links to the cashier and a comprehensive list of rules for the various games on offer, not that there is anything that you’re likely find too daunting here. For the most part, the games are very user-friendly and well presented, with a crisp selection of audio-visual effects ensuring that each slot or table game retains its own unique character. Our one gripe would be that the download times for some of the games can be quite long and users are unable to navigate around the rest of the casino while the software opens. Other than that, a very respectable offering.
There’s certainly no shortage of different games to choose from at Bodog.com’s, with all of the usual slot, dice, card and roulette options more than adequately represented. The slot options are particularly plentiful – with over 60 different titles all a mouse-click away – and each game has its own special quirks and charms. We particularly liked the futuristic splendour of I.R.I.S. 3000 – a high-tech slot robot complete with fittingly cutting-edge sound and animation – and thought being able to unlock bonus reels added an extra dimension to the gameplay. The table games were similarly impressive, with Hi Hand Hold’em providing a slightly more cerebral alternative to lumping your money on blackjack and the site’s various roulette tables all delivering an altogether classier gambling experience.
Currently Bodog.com are offering new casino players an unlimited 10% bonus on their first deposit, meaning the only restriction on your signing-on present is how much money your bank manager will allow you to transfer onto the site. Impressively, the new player bonus does not require you to fulfil any special criteria in order to unlock it and your free dollars will be available for you to play with within half an hour of your initial deposit being processed. Additionally, Bodog.com offer a refer-a-friend bonus, where the money you receive is the equivalent of 20% of your referral’s first deposit up to a maximum value of £30.
As mentioned earlier, Bodog.com’s client features a detailed casino help menu containing comprehensive rules and instructions for every single one of its games and all manner of other technical support options. Dedicated FAQ’s are assigned to both software and financial queries, meaning that the majority of problems that you encounter can be readily solved without any major hassle. Should the FAQ’s not be able to provide the solution you’re after, however, Bodog.com does provide 24 hour technical support in English – with other languages soon to be added as the operation expands throughout Europe – via phone or email.
Customer Service 4
Bodog.com’s challenger this month was the increasingly popular Expekt Casino who, like their rivals, have recently stepped up their efforts to tap into the lucrative UK casino market. Powered by casino software giants Microgaming, the site’s client certainly has no shortage of online pedigree, but how would it fare against Bodog.com’s custom-built offering? We sat down to find out.
If you’ve spent any significant amount of time playing at online casinos, you will no doubt have come across a Microgaming client on your travels – and for good reason too. The company have a long-established reputation for providing first-class software that is both cleanly presented and incredibly straightforward to use, and their efforts at Expekt Casino are no different. The lobby features ten separate categories of game, with each menu opening up into a further selection of titles, and games that have been downloaded are saved to a handy ‘favourites’ menu. This means that you’re never more than a couple of clicks away from the games you love, which is just as well as the download times for some of the more graphically-challenging titles can be inordinate, even if they are usually worth the wait.
Having got Microgaming on board to take care of their software, it should come as no surprise that Expekt Casino’s range of titles is as broad as it is varied. There are currently over 140 games on offer, with new titles being added more or less every month, and the selection of slots is virtually second to none. Furthermore, the majority of the casino’s most popular reels feature their own custom graphics and sound. Rather than this being merely a token gesture to differentiate one slot from the next, however, the customisation is such that each title provides a completely different gaming experience, with slots like The Great Galaxy Grab even serving up their own unique bonus rounds. In terms of table games, all the major titles are present – albeit with a significant weighting towards blackjack variants – and all perform in a suitably crisp and straightforward fashion.
Where to begin? Expect Casino offers new players a juicy sign-up bonus equal to 100 percent of their first deposit up to a value of €200, though this is only released in 0.10c increments subject to the casino’s wagering requirements. Similarly, existing customers receive a 25 percent bonus on their first deposit of the month and cash bonuses of between €10 and €100 are awarded to random accounts every Monday. In addition to the money, loyal customers are also awarded with free spins on some of the casino’s most popular slots and earn bonus points for their continued trade.
A support menu is readily accessible from Expekt Casino’s main lobby and offers detailed walkthroughs on a number of key trouble areas for new players, with further technical support offered 24/7 via phone or email. Having already established themselves in mainland Europe, Expekt Casino is able to offer region-specific customer support in 20 different languages, and their staff claim that they are able to answer queries within one hour of receiving them. Unfortunately, rules for specific games are only accessible from the tables themselves, but for the most part they are so straightforward that this isn’t a major issue.
Customer Service: 4
Though this month’s showdown was an incredibly close-run affair, we felt that Bodog.com just about edged the win on account of them providing and maintaining their own software. The two casinos were virtually inseparable in terms of quality and variety of titles, but with Microgaming powering Expekt Casino’s client, we just didn’t feel we’d seen anything different from any of their other casino offerings. It’s certainly a harsh way to lose, but when the competition is this good, it’s these tiny margins that make all the difference.