“888 Casino” may seem like an unusual brand, but 888 is actually one of the largest online gambling companies in the world. In addition to their own NJ casino offering, they also supply the software for Harrahs casino in New Jersey, and all three of the online casinos in Delaware.
This review is focused on their self-branded site at us.888casino.com.
888 Casino Review
Offering only one-seventh as many games as the leader in the NJ market, 888 Casino is not exactly at the forefront of the technology. The slot inventory includes games from three developers (888, Williams, and SG), yet that is a nice recent improvement as SG was added in August 2017. They have plans to add more games in the near future. Table games are also sparse, with only blackjack and roulette.
With their years of experience in the market, I expected to see a really compelling product from 888, but that wasn’t always the case. The table games are quite well done, but the slot games are not as polished as those of their competitors in the NJ market. And they offer far fewer games overall than the competition.
I have a lot to say about the 888 casino product, so let’s get started…
Attractive and Functional Casino Lobby
Unlike many of the other casinos, 888 launches the casino in a separate browser window. After logging in, you get to the casino lobby, which is attractive and easy to use. You can also customize it by putting your favorite games on the front screen for easy access. But with so few games to scroll through anyway, this seems like overkill.
(Click images to enlarge.)
One useful hint… On my Windows laptop, the taskbar at the bottom covered up part of the game screens. To fix that, right-click on the taskbar, choose Properties, and check “Auto-hide the taskbar”.
Now Three Game Developer Brands
Until very recently, 888 offered games from only two developers: their own 888 games, and slots from Williams. Finally we are seeing some improvement on that front, as they have added a third developer to the stable of games, SG Interactive. While they only host 3 games from SG so far, I understand that new games really are on the way. (If you’re curious, the currently available SG games are 88 Fortunes, Hercules High & Mighty, and Epic Monopoly II.) It’s about time!
In my opinion, variety is the key to a good online casino. The minimal variety available at 888 remains a big handicap, and their rating at NJOC continues to suffer as a result.
I’ve been spoiled by the latest generation of online slots from makers such as IGT and High5 Games. The newest games feature rich and smooth graphics during game play, appealing sound effects and music, and interesting and varied bonus rounds and features. Many of 888’s in-house slots were developed years ago, and they are really starting to show their age. The Williams games compare much more favorably, and were a welcome addition at the site. In addition, since our review last year, 888 has introduced a handful of new slots that aren’t available elsewhere, and they look like a definite step in the right direction.
On a negative note, they recently retired a slot title that was my favorite, Ultimate Genie. Well, as long as they follow through on the promise of finally launching a number of new games to replace it, I’m OK with that.
A Flurry of Progressive Jackpot Slots
My favorite among the current slot titles at 888 is a group of slots all linked to a shared progressive jackpot. As I write this, the jackpot stands at just over $200,000, and you can take a shot at this huge payday on any of four different slot games: Irish Riches, Steampunk Nation, Pirate’s Millions, and Saved by the Bells.
These are new and well-implemented games, and they also offer a chance at a life-changing six-figure jackpot.
Table Games: Good quality, but poor rules and variety
Creating a comfortable user interface for online table games is a tricky business, but 888’s years in the business finally show up here. Their developers have done a fine job on making a pleasant experience at their tables. The game play is quick and responsive, the sounds are just what we expect, and the action buttons are well placed and user-friendly.
The games are polished, but there simply are not many of them. You get blackjack, and 4 versions of roulette. That’s it. Nada más.
Well, at least the roulette is good…
Roulette: An excellent version of a classic game
Roulette is exactly what you would expect, with both single zero and double zero versions. Personally, I don’t play much roulette because even the European version has a higher house edge than I like in table games. But if you enjoy roulette, this implementation is quite good. In fact, I would say that roulette is the highest quality game among the 888 casino offerings. Here is a screenshot of their Premium European Roulette:
The blackjack game is dealt from 6 decks. The dealer stands on all 17s, but you can split only once. You can play up to five hands at once. The result is a game that returns 99.54% with correct basic strategy play.
You can customize several things about the blackjack game, and the controls are easy to use.
No Video Poker, at all!
In my review last year, I really hammered 888 on the poor quality of the sole video poker game in their inventory. Their “Jacks or Higher” video poker game really was an example of how not to implement a casino game.
In fact, I ended my comments with this stinger:
“Normally, I would complain about any casino that offers only one version of video poker… But in this case, I will make the opposite complaint. 888’s one version of video poker is really one too many!”
Well, maybe someone at 888 took my comment quite seriously. Several months ago, they removed the game, and now have no video poker offering at all! Will this change? Are they planning to launch a good video poker game as part of the promised upgrades? Only time will tell. I hope so!
Deposits and Withdrawals, Now with PayPal!
You can deposit into your 888 account with ACH (recommended), Neteller (also a good option), Visa or Mastercard (if your bank will approve the transaction), or cash at some of the Caesars-owned casinos in Atlantic City. They also offer the PayNearMe option which allows you to buy credits with cash at 7-Eleven stores. Odd yes, but also maybe convenient for some players.
One very nice development since last year’s review is the addition of PayPal as a banking method. PayPal may be the quickest and easiest method to deposit your playing bankroll, and also to withdraw your winnings! This is great news.
Signup Bonus and Promotions
Upon signing up at 888, you get a free $10 to try out the games. There are very few restrictions on that money. Play through it once, and any winnings can be withdrawn.
If you make a deposit, you are eligible for a 100% match up to $300. Be aware that the wagering requirements on the bonus is fairly high at 30x on slots. If you play blackjack or video poker, the requirements are ten times higher at 300x, making the bonus a good value only if you plan to play a lot anyway.
Perhaps the best feature of 888 is the consistent availability of ongoing promotions. At the moment, they have different promotions running nearly every day of the week. Read about them in our post detailing the promotions available at 888 casino.
I am also hopeful that the recent games added at 888 are a sign of more to come. The promotions are appealing already. If they had a more competitive game inventory, the overall offering would be a lot more compelling.Click here to visit 888 casino.