JustGamblers Rating Methodologies

Our goal is to provide trustworthy and objective information about online gambling sites to gamblers in the United States—enabling everyone to make informed decisions about safe gambling choices. From online casinos to sportsbooks and poker rooms, our ratings, built upon rigorous and transparent methodologies, serve as a global standard for online gambling.
Patrik Lidin
Expert: Patrik Lidin Principal Writer and Editor / Head of Content
Experience: Sports Trader, Market Maker, Product Owner Sportsbook, Professional Gambler, Poker Player

Learn About Our Review And Rating Methodologies

JustGamblers rates online gambling websites and apps on a scale from 0.5 to 5.0, with 5.0 being the best. Anything under 1.0 should be avoided, and gambling sites that receive zero stars are deemed fraudulent and effectively blacklisted. The ratings are incremented by 0.5 of a star—2.5, 3.5, 4.0, etc.

Below is detailed information about JG rating systems and the criteria that guide our testing and review procedures and processes:

All persons from our gambling expert review board and editorial team adhere to the rating system and procedures coupled with our editorial guidelines when assessing US online gambling websites and mobile applications.

Please contact our editorial team if you have questions or need clarification about any aspect of our rating methodologies. If you discover inconsistencies or inaccuracies in published reviews and ratings, you can contact us, and we will review and correct potential errors.

Criteria and Formula for Our Rating Methodologies

In testing and reviewing online gambling operators, these criteria act as guidelines for the accreditation process. The following are general criteria for rating sites and apps relating to online casinos, online sportsbooks, sweepstakes casinos, online poker, daily fantasy sports, horse racing apps, and other games of chance online involving real money (in order of importance).

  1. Responsible Gambling
  2. Safety
  3. Trust and Reputation
  4. Usability
  5. Bonuses
  6. Payments
  7. Technology
  8. Mobile Gaming
  9. Customer Care

Responsible Gambling

We require that the site, app, and operator demonstrate awareness of the potential harms caused by online gambling and that adequate preventative measures are in place. This extends to responsible gambling policies and education. Without the presence of the following, we cannot recommend an online gambling site or application:

  • Responsible gambling information and education.
  • Information and access to self-exclusion programs.
  • Self-limit tools: spending limits and time limits.

Safety

Without a proactive security strategy, gambling operators are at risk of data and privacy breaches, escalation of malware, and attacks on websites, networks, and general IT infrastructure that can result in downtime of products and services.

  • Licensing (and regulations): 50%.
  • Security: 50%.

Licensing (and regulations)

Adhering to mandatory jurisdictional safety and player protection requirements is a bare minimum for JustGamblers. In other words, we require all recommended online gambling sites to have a valid license and comply with local state laws and regulations. We label the site unsafe if adequate licensing is missing. Regrettably, no international clearinghouse oversees online gambling in the United States; all activity is subject to individual states’ governance.

In general, for gambling licenses, using a valid gambling license is a baseline for safety. It ensures that the operators fulfill the following objectives:

  • Ensure that gambling is provided fairly and transparently.
  • Protecting children, underage, and other vulnerable persons from being harmed or exploited by gambling.
  • Preventing gambling from being a source of crime or financing or aiding criminal activity.

Security

Without a proactive security strategy, gambling operators are at risk of data breaches, escalation of malware, and attacks on websites, networks, and general IT infrastructure that can result in downtime of products and services.

Because of this, we thoroughly test and assess the security from a technical perspective expecting gambling operators to go above and beyond best practices for cybersecurity, including:

  • Valid SSL (Secure Socket Layer) encryption—SHA-256.
  • Enabled HSTS (HTTP Strict Transport Security).
  • Using secure and HTTP-only (Hypertext Transfer Protocol) cookies.
  • We conduct safe browsing checks for all sites using Google’s Transparency Report.
  • Adequate DDOS (Distributed Denial-of-Service) protection and mitigation, for example Cloudflare.
  • Adequate usage of antimalware software and firewalls.
  • Following PCI DSS (Payment Card Industry Data Security Standards)

When assessing security measures, we also scan websites and apps to understand what type of tracking they are using. For example, some companies use Hotjar to gather information to help develop their products. The more data a gambling operator collects through tracking, the higher the need for robust security and data protection & privacy.

Trust and Reputation

The views and opinions of our in-house gambling experts are not enough to assess a site adequately. Even with a diverse team doing their utmost to stay unbiased while being held to the highest integrity standards, our assessments will have traces of biases. To filter away bias and conflicts of interest, we conduct thorough research to gauge public opinion—positive feedback and user complaints.

We also scrutinize the companies behind all the gambling sites we review, from the business entity to the people behind the brand, along with any additional brands, general market practices, partnerships, and sponsorships.

  • Company: 40%.
  • Public Opinion: 40%.
  • Footprint: 10%.
  • Partnerships: 10%

Company

While the brand is what’s facing outwards towards the players and the primary subject of what we’re reviewing, it’s essential to look at what’s going on behind the scenes:

  • Well-established company
  • Ownership
  • Have a legal US entity.
  • Other brands

We always go through the following for each casino and conduct due diligence to find irregularities and supporting information to help us establish whether or not the gambling site can be trusted and has a good reputation.

When it comes to other brands, we not only check that the company is the official owner, but we extend our research to ownership and management to see if individuals are represented with other brands that may otherwise not be associated with the brand we’re reviewing. Another way for us to establish relationships between brands is if two or more brands have the same affiliate program. If an associated brand has a worse rating, we can keep this in mind when reviewing the brand. It can be highlighted in the review or affect the brand rating negatively, depending on the circumstances.

Public Opinion

Your and everyone else’s opinions are as valuable as the individual opinions of our gambling experts. We value the input and feedback of other players and scour the internet for information—Reddit, public forums, websites, TrustPilot, and customer surveys and reviews.

We look for both the good and the bad and particularly follow up on complaints to assess the severity of bad experiences and negative feedback.

A common fallacy around gambling sites is to assign bad luck and variance to particular operators, which sometimes renders negative feedback about sites being rigged and players getting cheated. The fact is that a gambling site with a valid license issued from a strict authority is virtually guaranteed to offer fair products and services that are held to a certain standard. This is why we are diligent around negative feedback, to understand if the user left a 1-star review because they were unlucky or if there are reasonable grounds for us to regard the 1-star review as something serious that can impact our rating of the site.

Footprint

Many US gambling operators are active in several jurisdictions, which require multiple licenses from multiple states. Multiple licenses mean that more governmental bodies have insights into operators and processes. It also results in more work and due diligence on the operator's part, which provides another indicator of trust and reliability when gambling operators are present in several states.

Partnerships

Partnerships and sponsorships can be strong indicators of trust and reputation, especially if the brands or organizations the gambling operators have partnered with are reputable. It’s common for gambling brands to sign sponsorship agreements with sports clubs and hire celebrities and high-profile individuals as spokespersons. For example, FanDuel have partnered with Kevin Hart in the past and BetMGM with Jamie Foxx. Additionally, every pro team through the United States have official betting partners for states where online gambling is legalized. We look for this when assessing and rating gambling sites, as it can help us establish a brand's trustworthiness.

Usability

Usability testing is a user-centered way to evaluate products by testing them on users. It’s commonly used during website and app development. In the case of JustGamblers, we apply principles of usability testing in our rating methodology to evaluate the usefulness, ease of use, accessibility to standard features, and navigation. All our reviewers are educated about aesthetic/usability-effect to avoid testers confusing aesthetically pleasing products as more usable. The primary objective of JustGamblers’ usability testing is functionality.

We have also baked in transparency relating to general usage of the app, as well as transparency of user agreements and policies.

  • Usefulness: 30%.
  • Simplicity: 30%.
  • Accessibility: 20%.
  • Transparency: 20%.

Those are the main sub-categories of our usability testing where we internally have outlined testing objectives and scenarios for completing those objectives. Examples of test scenarios are:

  • Register and complete the verification process for a new account.
  • Log in, find a specific casino game, and start playing.
  • Log in, find a specific sport > league > event > market > place bet;
  • Access Bet History of a sportsbook app and make a partial cash out.
  • Log in, find an active micro stake poker table > buy-in > post, and wait for the big blind to participate.

Bonuses

While online gambling operators are not required to offer bonuses, promotions, and loyalty programs, we rate them higher if they do. Having promotional calendars available is a plus, along with frequent updates to promotional content—variation, coverage, game eligibility, requirements, and cash value all play a part in the accredited rating.

We value casino promotions with eligibility and wagering requirements spanning several game categories instead of just applying to online slots. This way, new players can experience the full breadth of an online casino while clearing the wagering requirements.

We like to see promotional calendars for sportsbooks that align with the sports calendar—season openings, tournaments, playoffs, and finals. Odds boosts for specific local teams, popular matches, and so on. Localizing sports betting bonuses is vital since it improves engagement beyond providing cash value.

Loyalty programs are an integral part of a gambling site’s promotional offering, and points for bonus credits should be awarded in an accessible manner so that it not only benefits VIP players. Additionally, rewards should extend beyond the online gambling experience, unlocking the platform's perks and bonuses and providing real-life prizes and experiences.

Primary factors for online gambling bonuses as rating criteria:

  • Eligibility Requirements: 50%.
  • Cash Value: 40%.
  • Transparency: 10%.

Eligibility

A common misconception around bonuses is that cash value is the most critical aspect; after all, that’s what’s highlighted in big, bold letters. However, we prioritize eligibility criteria for turning the bonus money into real money. Including the following factors:

  • The minimum deposit should be below $20 (or equivalent in local currency).
  • The longer the time to make a qualifying deposit after registration or opting in, the better.
  • Where applicable, the time window for clearing the bonus should be as long as possible, at least 30 days.
  • The wagering requirements should be as low as possible; wagering requirements of 1x to 2x will automatically score a high rating, while the higher the turnover requirement, the lower the bonus rating.

If converting the bonus to real money is difficult, the actual cash value stated in the bonus is irrelevant, as players and bettors can’t meet the eligibility requirements. With adequate time windows and wagering requirements, the bonus is more accessible to play through and convert.

Cash Value

The dollar value of the bonus if all the eligibility requirements are met. Naturally, the higher the cash value, the better. Additionally, the percentage of the bonus can make a big difference. Most commonly, a 100% bonus is offered. The total value can be higher if the bonus percentage is 150%, 200%, or 300%. For example:

Bonus OfferMaximum Cash Value
100% Welcome Bonus of up to $500$500
200% Welcome Bonus of up to $300$600
Two Bonus Scenarios

Furthermore, we accredit a higher bonus rating if cash bonuses are augmented with free spins, free bets, or other perks. We also consider no-deposit bonuses that do not require real money.

Furthermore, we accredit a higher bonus rating if cash bonuses are augmented with free spins, free bets, or other perks. We also consider no-deposit bonuses that do not require real money.

Transparency

Information about wagering requirements, time windows, and general eligibility must be easily found with bonus offers. If we cannot locate and verify the critical details of a bonus offer through the Find command (Control+F on Windows or Command+F on Mac) on the terms and conditions page, we will assign a lower rating based on the bonus criteria.

Payments

Ease of use, speed, and security are vital to accrediting payment ratings for online gambling operators. Ease of use relates to the availability of different banking options; the more, the better, and premium payment solutions like PayPal and Play+ result in a higher rating.

  • Number of Payment Providers: 30%.
  • Withdrawal Time: 25%.
  • Transaction Limits: 15%
  • Transparency: 15%.
  • Overall Cost: 10%.
  • Deposit Time: 5%.

Withdrawal Time

The largest payment discrepancy between online gambling operators and providers is the withdrawal time—including the time it takes for an operator to authorize a withdrawal and the time it takes for the payment provider to process the transaction.

If a player wins or wishes to withdraw funds, waiting for the money to arrive can be stressful. The shorter the waiting time, the better. When we accredit the payments rating, we prioritize the speed of withdrawals, benchmarking against our withdrawals with the operator to gauge authorization and transaction processing times.

While it’s difficult for us to test the withdrawal times for all banking options, we prioritize those that are typically the most popular and fastest.

Transaction Limits

Transaction limits apply when making deposits and withdrawals. A tell-tale sign of shady business practices where we deduct points is when there are significant discrepancies between deposit and withdrawal limits. 

For example, an online sports betting site allows you to deposit $2,000 in one go, but it has a withdrawal limit of $1,000 without explanation. What we mean by “without explanation” is that sometimes, payment processors have transaction limits that the gambling site must adhere to. In such cases, the gambling site is forced to have such a discrepancy, which won’t affect their payment rating.

Overall, we prefer to see low deposit limits so the gambling content is accessible to consumers. Similarly, a person with a larger budget should be able to deposit larger sums while remaining within the recommended limits for responsible gambling.

The more that can be withdrawn from an account, the better. This applies to all the typical time limits: daily, weekly, and monthly.

Transparency

The flow of transacting funds, whether depositing or withdrawing, must be transparent. This extends to overall security and visibility into the payment process: it should be easy to follow from start to finish. Any specific terms and conditions related to transactions should be adequately displayed and have available explanations where necessary to clarify timings, limits, and fees.

Number of Payment Providers

We like to see that online casinos offer at least 8 payment options to receive an above-average score. Additional tiers include 10 and 12 or more payment providers. Extra points are accredited when the range of payment providers includes popular options like PayPal and Play+.

Overall Cost

Luckily, the days of hefty processing fees are behind us. However, microfees is commonly used for many transaction methods, often on behalf of payment processors or banking institutions. Such expenses are accounted for in our rating methodology. It’s rare for online gambling operators to charge fees concerning payments; if they do that, they’ll receive a lower rating.

Deposit Time

Deposit times carry the least weight for payment ratings simply because almost all payment methods outside bank or wire transfers are instant. This means that deposit options at online gambling sites typically make up 90%+ of all available options.

Technology

Beyond what we mentioned about technology in the safety rating section, several other technological aspects are considered in our rating methodology because they significantly impact the user experience.

  • Performance: 50%.
  • Usability: 50%.

Performance

Loading speed plays a crucial role in the overall gambling experience in websites and applications. When browsing platforms for casino games, markets to bet, sitting down for a cash game, and so on, we expect instant access and fast-paced interactions in user journeys. The time it takes for websites and applications to load significantly affects how we accredit ratings to gambling sites.

Besides testing specific user journeys, we also check if the sites and applications adhere to practices that improve performance. As an example, where possible, we verify that the gambling operator leverages technology like CDNs (Content Delivery Networks) to improve performance.

Usability

When assessing usability from a technical perspective, we look at how best practices around technology and development have improved the overall gambling experience. 

Suppose a gambling site offers several verticals, such as online casinos, sportsbooks, and poker. In that case, we’ll rate an operator higher if they have shared wallet technology, allowing players to use the same funds regardless of what product they’re using.

We also check the compatibility of the gambling platforms across different devices: desktop, laptop, and iOS & Android mobile devices. The experience should be seamless regardless of what device the user connects. This extends to the ease of installing potential software such as online casinos, betting apps, or online poker software.

Another technical aspect we look at from a usability standpoint is geolocation and geo-blocking. It’s becoming increasingly common for state legislators to include geographical restrictions. With the help of geolocation technology, access can be denied to users outside the allowed geographical region. There are different methods to manage geo-blocking; some are better than others. The wrong solutions can severely impact accessibility and usage.

Mobile Gaming

In January 2014, mobiles and tablets accounted for 55% of internet usage in the United States. This was the first time mobile internet usage surpassed desktop (45%). Since then, the gap between mobile and desktop has continued to increase. This doesn’t automatically mean that all online gambling operators are mobile-first or have fantastic casino, betting, and poker applications. Unfortunately, some operators are behind the curve, and when they are, they get punished in our mobile rating.

  • Native Applications: 50%.
  • Mobile Adaptability: 30%.
  • UI & UX: 20%.

Native Applications

The difference between a native application, a hybrid app, and a web app is complex to discern for the average user. Meanwhile, an experienced user or technical person can easily spot the limitations of the latter two while fully appreciating the power of native applications:

  • Superior performance.
  • Better security.
  • More intuitive and seamless interaction in pages and user journeys.
  • Leverage the complete feature set of mobile devices, including:
    • Seamless synchronization with GPS and biometrics.
    • Push notifications (APNS for iOS and GCM for Android).
    • Near-field communication (NFC).
    • Finessing interaction and navigation, including back-and-forth navigation using swipe, swiping to verify something concerning a bet, and so on.

Mobile Adaptability

Mobile adaptability is modifying web and desktop content to the mobile screen. Here, adaptability is as important as consistency. If a player has a set of favorite casino games that they play on their laptop one day, the next day, when they access the mobile casino app, the same games should be available. As much content as possible from the desktop and the web should be available in the native app.

If there is low adaption and a lack of consistency between the platforms, we will give the gambling operator a lower mobile rating.

User Interface and User Experience

With the advancements in hardware and software in mobile devices, the user experience often exceeds that of desktop computers and laptops. User interaction in mobile apps is more intuitive, with seamless interaction in navigation and user journeys.

iOS and Android requirements state that each native platform’s design guidelines unify the UI/UX so that the design and interaction are familiar to other unrelated applications built-in iOS or Android.

Customer Care

Customer support should be an integral part of every online gambling site. In times of need, adequate support must be provided, preferably on a 24/7 basis, across multiple communication channels.

  • Availability: 50%.
  • Communication Channels: 35%.
  • Help Center: 15%.

Availability

The best gambling operators offer customer support 24/7, and sites with limited opening hours will receive a lower customer care rating.

Communication Channels

Ideally, customer support is available on live chat, email, telephone, text, and social media. Since live chat is the most popular method of communication, we prioritize live chat availability over other channels in the following priority:

MethodAccessibilityTarget Response Time
Live ChatCommon1-5 Minutes
TelephoneCommon1-10 Minutes
Social MediaRareWithin 48 Hours
EmailCommonWithin 48 Hours
Text MessagingRare2-12 Hours

Help Center

An extensive help center can provide help guidance, particularly if the customer support opening hours are limited. When evaluating the functionality of a help center, we look beyond just a simple FAQ and prefer to see a knowledgeable base type of page that covers everything there is to know about the content, processes, website, and apps.

Rating Specific Online Gambling Verticals

Besides the general criteria listed above, which apply to all gambling verticals, we have complimented the rating methodology for each specific vertical below: online casinos, online sportsbooks, online poker rooms, daily fantasy sites, and horse racing.

Specifics Relating to Online Casino Ratings

When our in-house experts are researching online casinos, they use the general criteria and the specific requirements for casinos, which primarily relate to gaming content:

  • Casino game offering: 40%.
  • Game providers: 40%.
  • RTP and Volatility: 20%.

An example of a top-rated online casino: BetRivers

Casino Games

When evaluating casino game offerings, we don’t prioritize sheer numbers but rather focus on the quality of the offering. This means an online casino with 500 games can score higher than an online casino with more than 800 games. After all, the average player doesn’t cycle through hundreds of casino games. Instead, they have their favorite games and occasionally venture out and search for other games or try new game releases.

With that said, we still consider the overall count when evaluating, and a good quality offering with depth and variety above 1,000+ can receive the highest ratings.

Another variable that goes into casino games as criteria for online casinos is game features and variations. This relates to the depth and variety. For example, we specifically look out for the availability of table game variations, particularly live dealer, or that the casino games offered cover different online slots, like video slots and classic slots, along with all the different kinds of game features that players like to find.

Additionally, we prioritize games according to popularity and exclusivity in the following priorities:

  1. Live dealer games (including game shows)
  2. Online slots
  3. Progressive jackpots
  4. Traditional jackpots
  5. Casino crash games
  6. Table games
  7. Video poker
  8. Other games (Slingo, bingo, keno, lottery, scratch cards, etc.)

Game Providers

Casino games go hand in hand with the companies that provide them. Top US game providers like Microgaming, NetEnt, Evolution, Pragmatic Play, and Nolimit City drive innovation and consistently deliver new games to provide players with new and unique gaming experiences.

When evaluating operators, we look at the providers that can help improve the reliability and consistency of entertainment in the online casino.

Not all game providers are equal; there are over one hundred internationally. The network of software and game providers creates a complex web that powers the online casino industry.

We daresay that, through our combined experience, we’ve come in contact with all software and game providers in the iGaming industry in one way or another. We have a solid grip on the good, the bad, and the ugly. We have a knowledge base of all providers and solutions for software, data, and streaming for the iGaming industry—we leverage this database when accrediting our online casino rating according to a three-tiered structure.

We prefer to see that the online casino has 25+ different game providers integrated to receive a favorable rating.

In addition, higher ratings can be achieved depending on the mix of Tier 1, Tier 2, and Tier 3 providers, where a high frequency of Tier 1 providers warrants a higher score than a casino with fewer Tier 1 but more Tier 2 and Tier 3 providers.

RTP and Volatility

The principles of RTP (Return to Player) and volatility can be applied to all games of chance in an online casino where the player goes up against the house.

The most famous games where these variables apply are online slot machines, live casino games, and table games like roulette, blackjack, and baccarat. Generally, it applies to all games where the casino collects bets and pays out potential winnings according to the outcome in-game rounds.

RTP is an essential factor to players as it determines how much money a player can expect to earn or, rather, lose over time when playing a specific game. Some operators have more games with higher RTP, which warrants a higher rating in our reviews since the online casino operators offer a more favorable game selection.

Volatility measures the frequency of the winning and losing rounds in casino games. It also applies to the fluctuations between how big or small the wins are. Casino games, specifically online slots, are typically categorized into three levels of volatility:

  • High.
  • Medium.
  • Low.

Different types of players prefer different types of games. For example, a trend among younger US players is high-volatility casino games. Concerning our rating methodology for online casinos, we expect great online casinos to have an even distribution of both high, medium, and low volatility in the casino game offering.

Specifics Relating to Online Sportsbook Ratings

When our sports betting experts are researching and testing online sportsbooks, they use the general criteria and the specific requirements for betting, which primarily relate to odds, markets, and sportsbook features:

  • Odds Quality: 25%.
  • Betting Markets: 20%.
  • Live Betting: 20%.
  • Betting Features: 20%.
  • Sports and League Coverage: 7.5%.
  • Sports Betting Providers: 7.5%.

An example of a top-rated online sportsbook: Betway

Odds Quality

Odds reflect the collected knowledge of the market, much like a stock is priced on the stock market. Similarly to stock exchanges, sportsbooks charge a fee to make money. The cost of sportsbook bets isn’t pronounced in the same way as regular fees. Instead, it’s expressed as a percentage in the odds that punters wager on—the sportsbook margin (vig or juice). We won’t discuss how odds are created and the workings of sportsbook margins here. Instead, we want to highlight the importance of the sportsbook margin when assessing the quality of a sportsbook.

If the sportsbook has a low margin, it will offer better quality odds with higher payouts on bets placed. Reversely, if the sportsbook has a higher margin, the odds quality is lower and will result in lower payouts. Usually, sportsbooks apply different margins on different sports, leagues, games, and even individual markets in a specific game. In a way, odds are dynamic and complex.

To capture the complexity and make sense of the odds meaningfully in our rating methodology, we calculate the average sportsbook margin for all sports on offer to assess the odds quality. We also target sports that may be exceptionally popular in a specific territory and display the average sportsbook margin for that particular sport in bookmaker reviews.

Betting Markets

When evaluating the market offering, at a bare minimum, sportsbooks should have the main markets: Match Odds and Moneyline, Over/Under, and Spreads (Handicaps)—with alternative lines and spreads. There must also be coverage of main markets for relevant time periods: Half, Quarter, Period, Inning, Set, Gams, and so on. The most common derivative markets based on the core markets should also be available, such as Double Chance, Asian markets, and combo markets. Player props, or player markets, cover key players and main markets depending on the sport: Goals, Points, Assists, Passes, Rebounds, Tackles, Yards, etc.

On top of that, we also pay attention to the total number of markets across different sports. However, if a soccer (football) game has 150 or 500+ markets, many of these are more or less trash that no one wagers on. This is why we check that popular markets that typically receive the most turnover are present in the sportsbook offering and then rate the sportsbook accordingly. We also factor in the total coverage, but it doesn’t significantly impact the overall rating.

Live Betting

There are two different types of sports betting: pre-match betting and live betting, or in-play betting as it’s sometimes called. The reason why we’re not singling out pre-match betting is because most sportsbooks have adequate coverage. Live betting is where you can see significant differences in quality between bookmakers. Another reason is that live betting is so much more popular than pre-match.

When evaluating live betting in our sportsbook rating methodology, we consider aspects of odds quality and betting markets, as well as bet acceptance rate and uptime. Since markets are priced in real-time, the odds constantly fluctuate based on what happens in-game. These fluctuations pose difficulties for sportsbooks as each bet takes time to process, and by the time a wager is placed, it can take up to a few seconds for the bookmaker to accept it. During that time, something may have happened in the game which caused the bookmaker to reject the bet. Sportsbooks with cutting-edge technology can accept bets faster, which significantly impacts the experience and, ultimately, our rating.

Regarding uptime, as odds change, some bookmakers with lower-quality technology and confidence may suspend markets. If markets are often suspended, it will also impact the betting experience for the user. This is another essential factor in our sportsbook rating methodology for live betting.

Last but not least, live streaming underpins everything in live betting. It makes a massive difference if the match can be live-streamed from inside the sportsbook website or mobile application. Livestream coverage varies across sportsbooks, relating to what sportsbook providers they have, if they have separate live streaming providers, and if they have official partnerships with sports leagues such as the NFL or English Premier League. Sportsbooks with good live stream coverage will receive a better score from our testers.

Betting Features

In recent years, sportsbooks have moved past plain old odds lists and offer dynamic features that elevate the betting experience. This includes betting features such as:

  • Same Game Parlay.
  • Bet Builder.
  • Cash Out.
  • Partial Cash Out.
  • Boosted Odds.
  • Featured Accumulators (accas, multiples, combos).
  • Live Streaming.

If a sportsbook has many available betting features, we’ll give it a higher rating.

Sports and League Coverage

Depending on the locality, different sports bear different significance to local audiences. For example, the NFL is the most popular sport in the state of New York which means that local sportsbooks in that state must have a solid NFL offering compared to the NBA och NHL. We evaluate the sportsbook based on where it’s offered and assign priorities and ratings based on the availability of the most important sports and leagues.

Sports Betting Providers

Few US sportsbooks have their own technology stack, trading department, and odds production. Almost all bookmakers rely on getting content and infrastructure from sports betting providers. Some turnkey providers and data providers specialize in supplying stats or specific player markets for niche sports. Like online casinos, the network of technology providers in the betting industry is complex, and quality varies.

Through our combined experience, we have come in contact with all sports and data providers for online betting. We have a good understanding of the quality and what companies are the best. We have a knowledge base of all providers and solutions for software, data, and streaming for the iGaming industry—we leverage this database when accrediting our sportsbook rating.

Specifics Relating to Sweepstakes Casinos

Besides the general criteria, which apply to all gambling verticals, we use a specific rating methodology for sweepstakes casinos. This type of gaming has increased in popularity in the US and bears strong similarities to real money online casinos, except that it’s solely for fun and doesn’t require any real funds to play.

Because of these similarities, we follow the same rating methodology in sweeps casinos as in the real money version.

  • Casino game offering: 40%.
  • Game providers: 40%.
  • RTP and Volatility: 20%.

Specifics Relating to Online Poker Ratings

We are currently analyzing and refining our working methods concerning our rating methodology for online poker.

Specifics Relating to DFS Ratings

We are currently analyzing and refining our working methods concerning our rating methodology for daily fantasy sports.

Specifics Relating to Horse Racing Ratings

We are currently analyzing and refining our working methods concerning our rating methodology for horse racing.

Workflow of our Rating Methodologies

JustGamblers reviews and rates gambling sites from all states and applies the same rating methodologies along with procedures and workflows for every site: online casinos, sportsbooks, sweepstakes casinos, online poker, horse racing, and daily fantasy sports.

Snapshot of testing practices

  • Real money deposits: $20 (or game credits in case of sweepstakes) deposit to test all features that require real money.
  • Testing time: 5 hours is the minimum testing over a 2-week period.
  • Test persons: At a minimum, one tester with relevant gambling vertical experience.
  • Devices used: Desktop/laptop and mobile, including tablets.
  • Software and firmware checks: macOS, Windows, iOS, and Android. We perform a general compatibility test for the most popular browsers: Chrome, Firefox, Safari, Edge, and Vivaldi across desktop and mobile.

1. Selecting a Gambling Site to Evaluate

What gambling sites to evaluate is decided by our gambling expert review board. We have independent backlogs of gambling sites to assess for each state.

2. Perform In-Depth Analysis

Outside of what’s published on JustGamblers’ website, we have internal knowledge bases with data and in-depth guides covering procedures and processes, including the what and how when reviewing a gambling site.

3. Draft Review

Based on our analysis, research, and hands-on testing of the gambling site and app, our reviewers draft a thorough review outlining user experiences and must-have information about the site relating to the general and specific criteria of the gambling verticals covered in the review.

4. Assign Ratings

Based on the review, analysis, and data collection, we assign ratings to the gambling site relating to the general criteria and the gambling vertical:

  1. Specifics of gambling vertical (online casino, sports betting, sweeps casino, online poker, horse racing, daily fantasy sports).
  2. Responsible Gambling.
  3. Safety.
  4. Trust and Reputation.
  5. Usability.
  6. Bonuses.
  7. Payments.
  8. Technology.
  9. Mobile Gaming.
  10. Customer Care.

5. Fact-check and Edit Review

When the draft review is ready and ratings assigned, it’s taken to a senior editor who fact-checks and edits the draft for publication. Before publishing, the edited review is presented to an internal stakeholder for sign-off before publication.

6. Ongoing Monitoring and Re-evaluation and Perform Updates to Reflect Changes

The JustGamblers review process and rating methodology is a continuous process where we monitor the gambling sites on an ongoing basis. 

  • We monitor newsfeeds and updates from the industry continuously in case of changes in operating licenses, which can impact the review and ratings.
  • We monitor newsfeeds and updates from the gambling operator continuously in case of changes to products and services, which can impact the reviews and ratings.
  • We regularly monitor bonuses and promotions and update information in our reviews and ratings accordingly.
  • Every six months, we conduct a new extensive analysis of the gambling site to assess if any changes occurred that should be reflected in our reviews—any significant updates in product offerings, features, and so on.

Resources We Leverage When Analyzing and Reviewing

Besides our gambling experts' independent knowledge and expertise and in-house databases, we consult various resources online for analysis, research, and ongoing monitoring of gambling sites and operators.

  • Relevant and official gambling licensing bodies and US institutions relating to changes in legislation and responsible gambling standards and practices.
  • Relevant and official financial licensing bodies and US institutions relating changes to payments and KYC and AML/CFT procedures.
  • Hard data entry leveraging security and reporting tools to establish the health and safety of gambling sites and apps.
  • Third-party authorities on gambling industry standards, trends, and updates.
  • Third-party authorities on gambling companies, operators, and brands.
  • Third-party authorities on related operational fields standards, trends, and updates, such as customer care, web and native app development, and UI & UX.

Snapshot of Review and Rating Statistics

For transparency and tracking, we are open about what gambling sites we review and who our partners are. Following our ad disclosure, our operations are supported through affiliate marketing deals with select partners.

Such partnerships can never affect our reviews and ratings, and we minimize biases by leveraging benchmarked public data on key statistics of gambling sites and consulting the general opinion of players and punters.

Whether a gambling operator is a partner of ours or not, their ratings will reflect the quality of their products and services. If they are good, they’ll receive positive reviews and ratings. If they are bad, they’ll receive negative reviews and ratings.

Meet the Team Behind all Reviews and Ratings

Our reviewers excel in different areas, and key people in our organization have broad knowledge and expertise in all gambling verticals. The JustGamblers gambling expert review board consists of accredited iGaming professionals with a combined experience of over 80 years in key positions and areas of the industry.

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