As Casino-On-Net, the site we now call 888.com was a pioneer in the online betting industry. The site launched in 1997, when many of the big names in the Web-based sportsbook and gambling industries didn't even exist.
888.com is based in Gibraltar, licensed by the UK and Gibraltar gambling commissions, and uses a combination of several software platforms to host sports betting, casino games, poker, bingo, and a variety of other skill and luck-based contests.
The complete list of software companies that designed 888's games is long - Random Logic, GamesOS, Electracade, Bwin.Party, WagerWorks, NextGen, Blueprint Gaming, Endemol Games, NetEntertainment and Amaya. I'm always encouraged by a library built from multiple platforms, since it's an early sign that the user interface and variety of bets available will earn high marks.
Now, here's the good news and the bad news.
888.com's Longevity in the Industry is a Good Sign of Their Legitimacy.
But their reputation as an above-board operator isn't based just on the fact that they'll soon celebrate their 20th anniversary. I had a hard time finding too many complaints about the site. Complaints at PokerScout focus on the quality of competition more than anything.
The Site Gives Access to (A Very Small Number of) US Citizens.
888.com is a curious case in terms of access for US players. Thanks to changes in legislation in the US state of New Jersey, 888.com was able to make a deal with the government to allow New Jersey residents to get access to all of their online and mobile games.
You Can Play a Ton of Different Games All in One Place.
This is a matter of convenience, and some gamblers won't care one way or the other. I like blackjack, but I also bet on sports, and having access to both with a couple of clicks is convenient. To a certain segment of the population, convenience is everything. If you're one of those people, you'll appreciate having a bingo parlor, poker room, casino floor, and sportsbook all at one site.
The Casino's Software Comes From a Healthy Blend of Designers.
I love that 888 uses NetEnt and a few proprietary slot games, since they're the best in the industry. I've reviewed far too many Microgaming and Playtech and RTG sites, and I'm always happy to find a site offering these slots. They're more fun, with more replay value, and better effects. I'm also pretty happy with the casino selection. I cover this in more detail in the game category reviews below.
The Feature I'm Most Concerned About is How Difficult it Was For Me to Contact Customer Support.
I've never had such a difficult time even finding contact information for a major online casino operation before. The way it's set up is really odd – check out the full description in the Customer Support section below. I consider this to be a really important problem with the site, so I encourage you to read the details below.
I Also Don't Like That the Site Doesn't Explicitly State Any Details About Its Payment Methods.
I complained about this above. I imagine the fees and transfer times are similar to what I'm used to at other sites, but why not advertise that fact?
Several Reviews I Read Cited the Fact That 888 Refuses to Work With Third-Party Mediation Services.
I don't have much to add here, except that if these accusations are true, it's not a good thing.
The Casino Games Section Includes Some Snazzy Titles, But Overlooks a Few Casino Classics.
Again, I go into more detail on this subject in the game reviews a bit lower on the page.
Here is an overview of each gambling option available at 888.com at the time of my review.
- Poker Welcome Bonus
100% match bonus worth up to $888
- Casino Welcome Bonus
100% match bonus worth up to $3,000
- Mobile Bonus
Unlimited $2 "Instant Bonus" pay for mobile players
Please Note: On all of these above bonuses, T&C apply.
At the time of this review, 888.com allows deposits and withdrawals from a total of forty-three payment methods. Some of them are region-specific; others are available to customers all over the world.
Rather than list every payment method available, I'll point you to the source for this information - 888.com's "Accepted Payment Methods" page. It's valid as of the time of my review, and includes a list of all forty-three accepted payment methods.
The list is a decent representation of all the popular methods, from credit and debit products to eWallets. A few conventional funds transfer methods are available – bank drafts, payments by check and courier, and wire service payments.
It would be nice if 888.com shared information about transfer times, fees, and minimum and maximum deposit amounts, like basically every other online casino I've reviewed, but that information is not publicly available. I did manage to get some of these details from a member of the customer support team, but that seems like an unusual thing to be secretive about.
All casino games at the site are broken up into four categories.
Sure, the site has nine roulette variants, five different versions of blackjack, and thirty-three different NetEnt slots, but I'm shocked that customers can't choose to play games like craps, casino poker, and keno.
Here's a look at each category in the site's casino tab.
- Roulette Pro is Euro-rules roulette on a fancy-looking animated table that allows for turbo play.
- Low Stakes Roulette is American-rule roulette that allows wagers as low as $0.50.
- American Roulette is the worst in terms of player odds, with two green "zero spaces."
- 3D Roulette uses European roulette rules and a cool 3D design.
- French Roulette has a few bets not found in other versions and a unique Paris-inspired design.
- French Roulette High Limit is a high limit version of the site's French Roulette game.
- American Roulette High Limit is a high limit version of the site's American Roulette game.
- European Roulette is the classic Euro game with just a single green "zero space."
- Classic Blackjack is the site's classic game of 21.
- Multi-hand Blackjack allows players to bet on up to five hands at a time.
- American Blackjack uses slightly different rules regarding splitting and doubling.
- Spanish 21 allows for a surrender option in which the player gives up half his wager.
- High Limit Blackjack is classic blackjack with higher betting limits.
Thirty-three NetEnt and proprietary slot games are available for play at 888casino.
NetEntertainment (along with BetSoft) is producing the best slot games in the industry. What do I mean by best? They have industry-leading graphics and sound (like the awesome effects on 888's BetSoft-designed Nightmare on Elm Street title), high replay value (thanks to plots, characters, voices, and bonus games), and they engage me longer than any other slot I've played on the Internet.
I just wish the overall library of slots was a bit larger, since thirty-three games puts them at the low end compared to their big competitors. In an industry where a library of 100+ slots is common, 888.com's collection looks anemic at best.
If you were to say that poker is the most popular game at 888.com, I couldn't refute it.
At the time of this review, 888poker had the second-highest traffic of all sites in the online poker industry. They consistently rank in second place, with average cash game traffic of around 3,000 paying players.
Why is 888 so popular? Reviewers seem to love the software and user interface, calling it "...a thorough and realistic 3D experience," and "...slick and fantastic."
888poker gets something else poker-related right – their tournament schedule. Most poker players know about the Sunday $100K event, but the site has a huge list of other guarantees, along with some niche tourneys in truly odd and esoteric game variants. See the tournament schedule for more details.
- Texas Hold 'Em
- Omaha Hi/Lo
- 7 Card Stud
The variety increases when you consider tournaments and other special events.
As for the competition, I have mixed feelings. I've heard the argument about playing poker at online sportsbooks – people assume that sports bettors will just mosey on over to the poker tables and blow a bunch of money. But I concede that enough people have heard that rumor over the years, that now 888 is probably about on par with any other big poker room in terms of player quality.
888sport, the arm of the site that's licensed in the United Kingdom, has only been online since 2008. That's not a very long life, considering that the casino services provided by 888 have been in business for nearly twenty years.
I'm impressed by the variety of available bets and (from reviews I've read) the site offers somewhat high limits respectable payout times. Unfortunately, it's hard for me to confirm those things, since 888's typically private-when-it's-not-even-necessary policy has prevented them from releasing too many specifics in those areas.
- Horse Racing
- Ice Hockey
- Motor Sports
In most cases, both pro and amateur leagues of all markets are available. For instance, soccer bettors can bet from the highest English Championship league levels on down to minor league US footie. On my visit, I saw literally thousands of markets, including some truly obscure leagues.
- High 5 Bingo
- 75 Ball Bingo
- 90 Ball Bingo
- 75 Ball Progressive
The current promotion for bingo players offers $40 free for a $10 deposit. I had a difficult time finding terms and conditions for this promotion – the best I can do is refer people to one of the other T&C pages and hope for the best.
I was impressed by the variety of languages the site advertises as being available for customer support.
But that's not the whole story.
In the introduction, I made a big point of calling 888.com out for their poor customer service options, the difficulty I had finding contact forms and numbers, and some outright lies they tell about their support services.
I thought it was cool that 888.com has customer service staff standing by to answer your questions in languages like Romanian, Swedish, and Magyar. Magyar in particular – it's the official language of Hungary, and is spoken by about 9 million people worldwide. That's tiny compared to languages like English (841 million speakers), Spanish (400 million speakers), and Chinese (1.4 billion speakers), all of which the site also provides. Answering questions in Magyar means the site is willing to cater to small markets, and I like that.
But I think we're being hoodwinked a little.
888.com makes a different claim about language support on their "About Us" page, saying: "We offer assistance in 11 different languages by phone, email and live online chat." At the time of my visit, customer support was only available in seven languages, far fewer than the sixteen they claim on their landing page, and fewer than the eleven they claim on their "About Us" page.
It was also difficult to find live chat and toll-free phone numbers, though I finally accomplished it. I had to click through an otherwise-useless FAQ that couldn't possibly answer anyone's real questions.
I only found the live chat and toll-free phone number info when I pretended to make a real-money deposit. As soon as it appeared that I was going to send them some cash, links to contact the site were all over the place.
888 says they operate live chat around the clock, and I don't have any reason to doubt that.
The phone number listed as 24-hour customer support during my last visit was +1-268-484-4865.
I am going to remain neutral on 888.com. I wouldn't sign up for an account, even if I lived in a country where the site is accessible, but I'm not going to tell anyone NOT to sign up for an account. I'm unimpressed with the site's overall casino game library. You can easily find sites with better promos, a better customer support system, and more overall transparency, especially if you live in Europe or Asia.
Read the pros and cons above and check the site out for yourself. If you like all-in-one sites, with casino games, poker tournaments, and a sportsbook under one roof, it might be up your alley.
888.com says the only countries restricted from their services are the US, Israel, and Turkey.
No, the mobile casino games list is much shorter than the traditional site, as is the variety at the mobile sportsbook, and the game and stake variety for the site's mobile poker service.
The site will convert any world currency you deposit into dollars, British pounds, or euros. The conversion rate is presented to you before you accept, and is based on a rate set by 888.com's own banking service. Be sure to check the rate before you convert.
It turns out the answer is no. As long as you're in the state of New Jersey, you can access the site, regardless of where you're from. Geolocation will indicate to the site's servers that you are, in fact, in New Jersey – that's why players accessing the site within New Jersey borders have to keep their Wi-Fi connection on.