Caesars Entertainment has three different products in the New Jersey online casino market. The flagship Caesars casino is by far the most elaborate, while the Harrahs and 888 sites both use the far more limited software technology from the 888 brand.
Here I focus on the Harrahs online casino. Let’s take a look at the games and promotions offered at this brand…
The Harrahs NJ online casino is powered by the same software as the 888 casino, and suffers from the same very limited game selection. With only one-fifth as many games as the market leader, Harrahs just can't compete. The highlight of Harrahs is the best roulette game in NJ. Other than that, there is a lot of room for improvement here.
The Smallest Game Inventory in NJ
The Harrahs online casino uses software technology from 888. As a result, the game offerings are almost identical to those available at 888’s self-branded site. In fact, there is actually one less game at Harrahs than at 888, giving Harrahs the crown for least games anywhere. For some reason, the 888 game Panda Manga does not appear in the Harrahs casino, while all the other games are identical between the two sites.
The HarrahsCasino.com site offers games from only two developers: 888 and Williams. With tables that include only 1 version of blackjack and 4 roulette titles, the sparse population of games continues there as well.
Table Games: Only Roulette and Blackjack
With only two game types available at the tables, it’s fortunate that the games are well-implemented. If you gamble at online table games for very long, ease of use becomes very important. Harrahs meets the challenge in that regard. The action buttons are conveniently placed and comfortable, and I found the games to be quick and easy. It’s amazing how much a little thing like button placement can matter when you play a lot of hands or spins.
With only blackjack and four versions of roulette to choose from, many players will definitely miss their favorites like craps or three-card poker. Still, the news isn’t all bad…
The Best Online Roulette in NJ
The roulette implementation is the highlight of this entire casino offering. The graphics are attractive, with both single-zero and double-zero wheels available. The four versions are “Roulette” and “High Limit American Roulette” (both double-zero games), “High Limit European Roulette” and “High Limit French Roulette” (both single-zero games.)
The double-zero games have a house edge of 5.26%. The European single-zero wheel has a house edge of 2.70%. However, assuming the minimum bet of $5 is not an issue for you, the best game is the French table, where you only lose half your even money bets when a zero comes up. That reduces the house edge to just 1.35%. My advice is, of course, to only play the French version! This is the lowest house edge version of roulette available online in New Jersey.
Blackjack: Comfortable, and Typical
The blackjack implementation again features well-designed game play. The rules are pretty typical, with 6 decks, dealer stands on all 17s, but you can only split once. You can bet from one to five hands per round.
On to the Slots
Slot players have a lot more choices than table players at Harrahs, but the inventory is still very thin compared to other casinos. When they added the Williams games a while back, it dramatically improved the situation, but they remain far behind the competition. My favorite of the 888-developed games is Ultimate Genie, a slot I described in detail in my 888 review.
A Bright Spot: Several Progressive Games
I admit it… I have a soft spot for games with progressive jackpots. Because any game where a jackpot grows until someone hits it may offer a profitable player situation, I figure The more progressives, the better! At Harrahs, you’ll find several jackpots, from the life-changing Ultimate Genie to the far more frequently hit Dino Jackpot Stampede. Other games with jackpots include “Ultimate Universe”, “The Royals Go Camping”, and “Casino Reels”.
Video Poker: Don’t Bother
Video poker is the weakest point of all at the Harrahs casino. There is only one game: “Jacks or Higher”. And the paytable is not good. At first glance it appears to be a “full-pay” Jacks or Better game, paying “9 for 1” on a full house, and “6 for 1” on a flush. However, if you look more closely, you’ll see that four of a kind pays only 100 coins instead of the normal 125 on a 5-coin bet. Also, a straight flush pays 200 instead of 250. That brings the return down to a miserly 98.25%.
In addition to the poor paytable, the game play is anything but user-friendly. The card graphics are quite small, and the hold buttons are also very small. Adding insult to injury, an annoying payout sound accompanies every paying hand. If you must play it, I recommend turning the sound off, using the small speaker icon near the top of the game window.
There are many excellent video poker games available online in New Jersey. This is not one of them.
Well, enough ranting about the game selections. Let’s look at the bonus offer:
Signup Bonus: 20 Free Spins
The signup promotion at HarrahsCasino.com is 20 Free Spins with no deposit required. Getting any amount of free play with no deposit required is always a good thing, since there is no downside. Just register as a new player and you get some real-money play without having to risk any of your own money.
When I signed up to test it out, it worked like this: After registering, I immediately received an email with the subject line “Let The Good Times Roll”. Inside that email, there was a link to click that will award my 20 free spins in the casino.
When I got this bonus, I used the spins on my favorite of the three offered games, Knights and Maidens. The 20 free spins are played on 20 lines at 5c per line for a total of $0.45 per spin.
If you choose to deposit, you can also get a 100% deposit match bonus of up to $300. But…
Complicated Bonus Requirements
The wagering requirements before you can cash out a bonus are quite confusing, probably intentionally so. You really have to read through the fine print carefully to get any idea what it means. By reading through the multiple sections that apply, I was able to determine that each $200 you bet on slots will release $10 of the bonus money. If you were to max out the bonus at $300, you would need to bet $6000 on slots to fulfill the requirements. If you play roulette, the requirements are 5 times higher. For blackjack and VP, it’s 10X.
If you are not planning on playing for an extended period, it may be easier to just skip the bonus.
HarrahsCasino really has two different experiences, depending on whether you are a table player or a slots player. The table games are well designed, but there are only two choices of what to play. If you are an avid fan of roulette, you’ll be right at home here, with the best game available online in New Jersey. For blackjack players, the games are solid though not exceptional. But, hey… That’s it. There are no other choices.
For slot players, there are more choices, but still a poor variety compared with any other casino in NJ.
Despite my lukewarm review, I think that any serious player in the NJ market should have an account here. My advice: Sign up and use the free spins. Try it out. Once you’re on the Harrahs mailing list, you never know what kind of promotional offers may land in your inbox that will be worth a look. And there’s always that excellent roulette game.
I have no doubt that the competitive market we are now seeing in New Jersey will lead all the operators to continually upgrade the games they offer. In the case of Harrahs, they need to be working overtime.Click here to visit HarrahsCasino.