Independent Online Casinos UK
Many gamers who first discover the joys of online casinos cut their teeth on big, popular casino sites run by major brands. However, as they become seasoned gamers, they become intrigued by shiny objects on the horizon—so-called “independent” online casinos.
What makes an online casino independent? Are there advantages to gaming on them? Disadvantages? Pitfalls to avoid? Are these legitimate, trustworthy businesses? What independent online casinos are worth a try, and which ones should be avoided at all costs?
Let’s look at the best independent online casinos on the market right now, as well as dig into what makes completely independent online casinos different and attractive.
Best Independent Casinos
Founded in 2001 as a sportsbook in Costa Rica and now licensed in Panama, Betonline AG is an independent online casino with over two decades of operational history and an excellent reputation.
Part of their branding includes a penchant for dazzling publicity stunts. For example, Betonline sponsored seasoned mountain climber Tim Rippel to be the first to place a sports bet from the summit of Mount Everest. (They made it to and set the bet from Base Camp 4 due to weather.)
Mountain exploits aside, Betonline offers an all-in-one online casino experience, including sports betting, slots, and table games. In addition, they offer many BetSoft games, various payment options, attentive customer service, and the comfort of patronizing a reputable independent online casino with a long record in the industry.
Sportsbetting AG is a sister site to Betonline AG. Still, since a significant parent company owns neither site, we include it as an independent site. Mostly a sportsbook with a few casino offerings, Sportsbetting AG was founded in 2002 and is registered in Panama.
There are many reasons to love Sportsbetting AG. It has one of the shortest lists of restricted countries in the business and one of the most extended lists of banking options (including several cryptocurrencies). Their 24/7 customer support gets great reviews. They have a robust selection of bonuses, including up to $3,000 in betting funds as a welcome bonus.
One of the downsides of Sportsbetting AG is a limited game selection in the mobile version. But betting enthusiasts choose Sportsbetting AG to get a lucrative bonus ecosystem and great betting options, backed by one of the most reputable names in the independent casino zoo.
Opened in 2019 and registered in Curacao, Roletto is newer on the online casino scene. So far, they have proven themselves worthy of attention. Their limited number of game offerings is counterbalanced by its impressive variety of offerings from different major software developers like BetSoft, NetEnt, Microgaming, Evolution Gaming, and many others.
Roletto also offers a fantastic selection of banking options, including cryptocurrencies like bitcoin, Ethereum, and Litecoin. The welcome bonus—up to $5,000 in deposit matching triggered with deposits as small as $10—is lovely.
Another advantage that sets Roletto.com apart is its commitment to offering live dealer games, as well as fast withdrawals and 24/7 chat support.
Founded in 2013 and licensed in Curacao, Cloudbet broke ground by being one of the first online sportsbooks to accept bitcoin. Unfortunately, it only takes bitcoin, so bitcoin enthusiasts should give it a serious look. Its 24/7 chat support is quick on the draw, and they have invested heavily in UX. The site is beautiful and intuitive.
Cloudbet offers a user-friendly live and in-play sports betting solution. In addition, it provides considerable value to the international market by offering international formats and betting odds through a simple and elegant user interface.
In addition to the sportsbook, Cloudbet.com offers an impressive online casino, including live dealer games. Its reputation and longevity make it an easy sell for bitcoin lovers.
Superslots.ag launched in 2020. This might seem too new on the scene to be trustworthy. Still, the operator has been in the industry since 1991 and operates Betonline AG and Sportsbetting AG, both of which have been in business since the early 2000s. So we’re confident in calling this one reputable (though it may be hard to call them “independent” if the parent company keeps growing).
Superslots.com distinguishes itself with an impressive selection of casino games, live dealer games, and slots from various software providers. In addition, their wide variety of banking options include popular cryptocurrencies Bitcoin, Ethereum, and Litecoin.
In business since 2018 and registered in Panama, Wildcasino has the same parent company as Betonline AG and Sportsbetting AG, adding reputability to this new independent online casino. It also offers an entirely different design aesthetic than its sister sites—bright, beautiful, and immersive.
It doesn’t have the most games, but it offers an impressive selection of live dealer games, 24/7 support and accepts various payment methods, including popular cryptocurrencies.
Registered in Malta and business since 2017, Mr.play is notable for its well-curated selection of games. It also offers an impressive mobile experience, loyalty program, and software selection.
The minimalist white backdrop of Mr.play shows a commitment to simple user experience and no-frills, letting the whimsical selection of slots and table games do the talking. Mr.play loses some points by not having 24/7 support, but overall it’s impressive.
The world’s oldest online sportsbook is also independent. Intertops, headquartered in Antigua, has been online since 1996. This is, obviously, an impressive run. However, it’s hard to argue their credibility, and they live up to it with some of the best customer services in the online sportsbook industry.
Intertops, predictably, doesn’t offer as many banking options as some of the newer players. It also provides some pretty steep odds. But it makes up for it in a great selection of promotions and bonuses to keep bettors happy, engaged, and ready for action.
What is An Independent Casino?
When we talk about a casino that is “independent,” we mean a casino that has a no larger parent company. For example, many online casinos are owned by mega-gambling providers like GVC Holdings, 888 Holdings, William Hill, Paddy Power Betfair, and Bet365.
Individual online casinos owned by these major brands have many sister sites under the same parent company. While they might be individually branded, they may start to look repetitive, with similar layouts, game offerings, and bonuses. You could have accounts at a dozen online casinos and never leave the umbrella of one parent company.
Independent online casinos, by contrast, are like scrappy startups, mom-and-pop shops, or independent medium-sized businesses. New independent casino sites launch all the time, with significant variation in quality and reliability. Some independent casinos toe the line, playing it safe in design, game selection, and bonuses. Others are wildly outside of the box.
What is a “White Label” Casino?
“What label” platforms enable independent companies to launch independent online casinos without building the website from scratch. These platforms are digital products designed by tech companies that provide aspiring online casino entrepreneurs with “plug-and-play” solutions to create an online casino.
These solutions usually provide a fixed number of games, payment methods, and bonus options. From there, the operator can customize the key to create a unique gaming experience. Think of white label casino solutions like Shopify, but for independent online casino operators instead of eCommerce.
Play at enough independent online casinos. You may start to notice the markers of the white label providers, despite the customizations. Popular white label casino providers include SkillsOnNet, SoftSwiss, ProgressPlay, Click Games, Dragonfish, and Kambi. Note that many online casinos with big parent companies use them too.
Independent Online Casino Pros and Cons
● Unique Design
If you play at multiple online casinos operated by major brands, they can start to blend. Many parent companies adopt a “house style” that repeats across casinos with limited variation. Yes, you get a new bonus at each new site, but there’s still nothing “new” about it.
Additionally, the big companies compete for market share, basing their design decisions and offerings on the same consumer data. This causes the big brands to imitate each other. As a result, even if you like the offerings for a while, they can get dull.
If you want excitement, a pattern interrupt, or a completely different gaming experience, experiment with some independent online casinos. You may discover a dazzling UX that reawakens your passion for gameplay.
● Fair Gameplay
Remember, “independent” doesn’t mean “unlicensed.” Most independent online casinos operate under a gaming license from a reputable jurisdiction or gaming commission.
Many of these licenses are from “offshore” jurisdictions like Curacao, Gibraltar, Cyprus, or the Kahnawake Nation. These jurisdictions are known to be gambling-friendly, with few regulations and low taxes. Most of them are not on GamStop.
However, these jurisdictions do care about the international reputation of their gaming license. Otherwise, how can their fee-paying licensees count on the trustworthiness of the permit to attract an international gaming clientele?
As such, even comparatively lax jurisdictions like Curacao and Gibraltar take fair gameplay seriously and impel their licensees to be transparent about the odds they offer and to adhere to those odds.
● Exclusive Bonuses.
Similar to how you may find outside-the-box site designs, you may also find outside-the-box bonuses with independent online casinos.
Corporate online casinos tend to follow a reasonably conservative, uninspiring bonus structure, one site a little different than the next. But with independent online casinos, you may find a unique and particularly lucrative sign-up or retention bonus to take advantage of for significant gameplay value.
● Selection of Games
Corporate casinos also tend to adhere to a repetitive script in terms of their game offerings. However, you may find an appealing selection of unusual slots and other digital games at an independent online casino.
If you’re tired of the same old same old and want to sample some games you haven’t seen before, an independent online casino may be the way to go.
● No Gaming Limits
Corporate online casinos may impose limits or restrictions on gaming sessions, limiting the time or the number of spins or plays a member has access to. However, independent online casinos may be their only option for players who (for better or for worse) want to game without limits.
● Quick Registration
Large casino websites usually require a lengthy application procedure, including creating an account and proof of ID. Some independent online casinos, by contrast, offer a quick and anonymous registration process, sometimes without requiring the creation of a statement or verification of ID. Make sure you understand the ramifications of no-account, no-ID-check online casinos before committing your money to one.
● Variety of Payment Methods
Game enthusiasts may struggle to find an online casino that takes their favorite form of payment, especially if that form of payment is a cryptocurrency like bitcoin, Ethereum, or Litecoin, as well as specific less-common mobile wallets. The primary casino brands limit themselves to a predictable menu of funding and payout options. However, they can probably find an independent online casino that will accept their payment and payout method of choice.
● No GamStop or GamBan
Gambling addiction is real as fun and exciting as it can be to gamble on an online casino. Gamers who fear that they may be drifting toward problem gambling may consider self-exclusion services like GamStop or the limitation app GamBan to restrict or limit their ability to use their favorite online casinos.
These applications and services are compatible with most online casinos operated by major corporate parent companies … but not independent casinos. If a player develops a gambling problem while using an independent casino, remediating the compulsive behavior may be a more significant challenge without these useful exclusion tools.
● No Guarantee of the Protection of a Major Brand
One of the benefits of a significant brand, whether we’re talking about a casino or any other kind of business, is some level of conformity and quality control.
This is especially true considering significant brands are in it for the long haul, not the quick cash-out. A scandal that damages the reputation of a corporate online casino could affect the importance of the global parent brand, which puts a lot of revenue at risk.
Just because a casino is independent does not mean they want to cash out quickly or that the operator is disreputable … but it is possible. That’s why it is always important to do your homework before committing money to an independent online casino … or any online casino.
Independent Online Casino FAQ
Are independent casinos unlicensed?
“Independent” makes it sound like these online casinos are off on their own, doing their own thing beyond the pale of the governing authorities that regulate the gambling industry. Add to that offshore location like Curacao or the Isle of Man, and it starts to sound like these operations are run from the deck of a pirate ship.
But remember, many corporate casinos are headquartered in these offshore jurisdictions as well. The truth is, most independent online casinos are licensed in the jurisdiction where they maintain headquarters, and these licenses are more reputable than they sometimes get credit for. Otherwise, no one would gamble with them, and the casinos would be dead on arrival.
“Independence” doesn’t mean independence from licensing requirements and regulatory burdens. It only implies independence from a parent company—the independence to develop a unique business without following a specific corporate template.
Are independent casinos safe to play on?
There is no inherent reason an utterly independent casino should be less safe to bet with than a corporate casino brand. However, with a significant online casino operation parent company, you at least have the security of an established brand that cares about its reputation.
Suppose a single online casino under the corporate umbrella gets exposed in a player abuse scandal. In that case, the loss of reputation can trickle down to sister casinos under the parent brand. These parent companies, therefore, have a powerful incentive to cultivate happy customers. This means providing a safe, fair, transparent gaming experience.
This is not to say that independent online casinos are always untrustworthy. On the contrary, one of the best ways to gamble safely using an independent online casino is to select a casino with a long operational history, good reviews, a reputable license, and a positive reputation with casino industry watchdog groups. Such an independent-only casino is presumably just as safe as its corporate cousins.
By contrast, be careful of brand new independent casinos that may be offering big, shiny bonuses to attract new players—especially if the deal sounds too good to be true. Instead, let other bold souls be the guinea pigs for this new casino. For example, suppose it turns out that the new independent casino is in business for the right reasons and deals somewhat with its players. In that case, you can always jump in on the action. But suppose the new independent casino turns out to be a scam for the operator to make some easy money. In that case, you could end up stiffed for your deposits and winnings.
Are independent casinos secure?
Data security is a major concern for people all over the world. Unfortunately, it isn’t just companies or governments that face ruin at the hands of cybercriminals—high-profile data breaches have cost individual consumers time and money. As a result, consumers are understandably wary about entering their personal and payment information into websites, especially those they know are headquartered in offshore jurisdictions, as with many independent online casinos.
However, there is no reason to think an independent online casino is less secure than its corporate counterparts. Many independent online casinos don’t code their websites from scratch, with the incumbent need to consider security from the ground up. Instead, they use out-of-the-box “white label” casino solutions (described above), which afford them the same security standards offered by the big dogs in the online casino space.
As with any website, the thing to look for is the SSL (secure sockets layer) certificate, a digital certificate that verifies the encrypted status of the website. You can tell if a website has a valid SSL certificate if it uses the “HTTPS” tag instead of “HTTP” and if it exhibits a small “padlock” icon beside the URL. SSL certificates are increasingly the industry standard, and some browsers don’t even load websites that are not SSL-encrypted.
Is it legal to gamble on independent casino sites?
It is perfectly legal to gamble on independent casino sites. Provided that they are properly registered and compliant, there is no practical difference in terms of legality between a corporate online casino and an independent online casino.
However, as with corporate online casinos, certain country restrictions may apply. For example, suppose you live in a country where the independent online casino is restricted. In that case, you won’t access it through local network servers.
Where can I go if I have a complaint with an independent online casino?
The most significant fear players experience when depositing money at or betting with an independent online casino—especially a new independent casino on the scene—is that they will experience lousy customer support and possibly be unable to withdraw the money they are entitled to.
If you have a complaint against a particular independent online casino, you have three main avenues of redress:
● The Casino’s Customer Support. Don’t escalate your complaint without first trying to obtain satisfaction from the casino itself. Most independent online casinos provide several channels to receive customer support. Many of them are pretty helpful, though exceptions occur. Nevertheless, suppose they want to maintain their reputation long-term. In that case, online casinos have a solid incentive for cultivating happy customers and resolving the issue.
● The Casino’s Licensing Authority. If the casino itself can’t or won’t redress the grievance, consider escalating to the casino’s licensing authority. Don’t be intimidated if the licensing authority is in an offshore location like Curacao or Gibraltar. These licensing authorities take their reputation seriously and hold their licensees to specific standards. Many completely independent casinos depend on their licenses to operate legally. The licensing authority may maintain considerable leverage over them. The process of restitution may be slower than approaching the casino directly, so this shouldn’t be the first resort.
● Casino Industry Reputation Watchdog Groups. If all else fails, report the online casino to industry watchdog groups who publish reviews and publicize complaints. If a casino receives enough complaints, its reputation suffers. As a result, they may feel compelled to take a different approach to customer satisfaction.