Skip to content

The Time2play Methodology

Written by

Our goal: To be the best, the most transparent, the most player-focused review site in the history of the internet.

Our reporters are dedicated to giving you the most accurate and honest reviews possible, with our in-depth scoring system that analyzes casinos and sportsbooks over 60 different criteria. We make sure to use data-based techniques instead of just going with our own opinion.

We’ve thrown down our entire methodology, where we break down exactly how we rate each gambling site. We’ve also put our money where our mouth is and given a full list of affiliate sites, to adhere to our editorial integrity and show you our dedication to transparency and the players.

How we rate US online casinos

When we’re researching, we use a comprehensive set of criteria with predetermined point values to find the best online casinos. We look at things like the number of games, bonus amounts and wagering requirements, and whether games come from top providers. This means two things: 

We rate each section separately, then merge the scores into one big expert rating at the end. Each section is weighed equally in the final tally so that online casinos that are strong in one place but weak in others won’t sneak their way to a high score. 

Below, we break down our rating criteria for each section, to give you an idea of where our numbers are coming from. The expert rating is based purely on our research, but we bring in other voices to keep us transparent. 

We also have our Playscore, which knocks together review numbers from competitors and presents them as one easy, average score. We think it’s useful for you to see but beware –  some of those numbers could be from less rigorous reviewers.

That’s why we bring in user ratings too. If an online casino pulls some shady cards, players will be the first to know about it. Make yourselves heard.

1. Bonuses

Bonuses are fantastic because they give players the best edge – is there anything better than scoring a huge win when you’re betting with the casino’s own money? 

The best online casinos should be offering a 100% deposit match that exceeds $750 at the minimum, although we love to see something higher than 100%. Adding in double or triple-tiered bonuses sweetens the deal. That’d mean augmenting the deposit match with a no-deposit bonus and/or some free spins.

Going over $30 for a no-deposit or over 100 for free spins gets a thumbs up from us. If a place can do all that and keep the wagering requirements at <15x the bonus amount, it’s probably one of the greatest online casinos in the USA. If you want even more options, head over to our dedicated page listing all the best bonuses.

So, what sort of things do we consider when rating a bonus?

Different bonus types

Deposit match — The quintessential online casino bonus for the USA. It’s pretty simple to understand. A 100% deposit match means that every dollar you put in will be, well, matched. If you put in $10, you’ll get another $10 from the casino, and land with a cool $20 at the end. A 200% match means if you put in $10, you’ll get another $20 from the casino, totaling $30.

What makes a good deposit match? By our ratings, anywhere that offers a 300% match is guaranteed an instant top score, but those mythical casinos are few and far between. Failing that, a 100% match that exceeds $750 will do very well. We consider other factors like wagering requirements too, but more on that later.

No-deposit bonus — Most people’s favorite. What’s better than playing at a real money casino with 0 risk? A $10 no-deposit bonus means that you’ll get $10 just for showing up, without having to put in any of your cash.

What makes a good no-deposit bonus? $20 is pretty decent, $30 is pretty good, and $50 is pretty amazing.

Free spins/chips — While usually a little less versatile than the free money from a no-deposit bonus, these still present risk-free opportunities to win. They’re just what they sound like. Free runs at the slots or the table games, depending on what’s offered.

What makes a good free spins/chips bonus? To us, that depends on whether or not you have to deposit to grab the stuff. If it’s no deposit, we’re content to give top scores to anything over 50 free spins. If you need a deposit to claim spins, that online casino best be knocking out at least 200.

What are the wagering requirements?

“There’s no such thing as a free meal,” so they say. Wagering requirements represent the only downside of the bonus game. For some reason, you can’t just claim a $50 no-deposit bonus, cash it out instantly, and spend it on groceries without making a bet. Casinos have you make a few bets with your virtual money before you can convert it into cold hard cash.

What do good wagering requirements look like? For deposit matches, we like to see anything under 15x the bonus amount, or 10x the deposit+bonus amount. Those numbers carry over well to no-deposit bonuses too, but casinos tend to be more lenient with those since the numbers are usually smaller. It’s not super rare to see wagering requirements of just 1x on no-deposit bonuses.

What are the cashout limits?

Sometimes, bonuses are capped. “You can only use your $1,000 bonus to win another $1,000, and no more,” a casino might say. 

What makes a good cashout limit? The only good cashout limit is a non-existent one. Ciao.

When does it expire?

Bonus cash is often fleeting and will disappear if not used within the time limit. 

What’s an acceptable expiration limit? If there’s no time limit, it’s wonderful. Otherwise, we consider 30 days to be generally decent, and 7 days is on the shorter side.

Is there any other fine print to consider?

It’s not rare to discover that an online casino’s bonus isn’t as juicy as it first appeared. The most common bit of fine print we regularly have to take into account is what we call ‘game eligibility.’ This refers to what games will contribute towards the wagering requirements of your bonus, and how much they contribute.

What game eligibility is considered good? For us, all slot games must contribute 100% to wagering requirements, and that’s just a start. To get a good score from Time2play experts, a casino must ensure that all game types contribute to the wagering requirements.

That being said, most casinos limit the amount that table games and live casino games can contribute to wagering requirements – so the question is, how much? If all game types can contribute, and table/live games contribute over 10%, we won’t dock any points.

2. Games

What’s a casino without games? A bit like a fly without wings. 

US online casinos should be offering players a wide choice, both in terms of pure number, as well as variety. For top scorers, we’d expect a total of 700 at minimum, while the average crowd would be offering around 300-500. As for variety, we’d want to see the full suite from our high flyers – online slots, jackpots, table games and a live casino at least, rounded out with cherries like bingo, keno, scratch cards etc.

For the extra few points that separate the strong from the heroic, there are a couple of things we rate for. Good game filtering systems are super-underrated – both new and experienced players love them, and there’s no better way to discover new games. If you find brand new online casinos USA that have exclusive games, that’s some more points in their favor. Get the lowdown on our dedicated page for all things related to online casino games.

3. Software

There are a lot of different software providers out there, making all kinds of playable products we can win money on. 

What makes a good software offering? We like to see 20+ different software options for the best online casinos. If more than 12 are from top providers like NetEnt, IGT, and SG, then that casino is on the right track. The casino having its custom software is a nice check mark too.

Finally there’s online live casino accolades we look for – if it runs 24/7, and is streamed from inside a real casino – top marks. The reason that falls under online casino software is because it depends on the provider’s quality, their ability to land deals with physical casinos, and their capacity to handle 24/7 play.

  • inspired-logo
    Inspired Entertainment
  • konami-logo
    Konami
  • microgaming-logo
    Microgaming
  • netent-logo
    NetEnt
  • sg-digital-logo
    SG Digital
  • 1spin4win logo
    1spin4win
  • 1x2-gaming-logo
    1X2 Gaming
  • 2by2-gaming-logo
    2by2 Gaming
  • 3 Oaks Gaming logo
    3 Oaks Gaming
  • 888 Holdings PLC
    888 Holdings
  • ainsworth-logo
    Ainsworth
  • altea-gaming-logo
    Altea Gaming
  • amaya-logo
    Amaya
  • aristocrat-logo
    Aristocrat
  • aruze-gaming-logo
    Aruze
  • ash-gaming-logo
    Ash Gaming
  • authentic-gaming-logo
    Authentic Gaming
  • barcrest-logo
    Barcrest
  • Belatra Logo
    Belatra Games
  • beter live logo
    BETER Live
  • BGaming Logo
    BGaming
  • blazesoft-logo
    BlazeSoft
  • blueprint-gaming-logo
    Blueprint Gaming
  • Booming Games logo
    Booming Games
  • Booongo logo
    Booongo Games
  • Bragg logo
    Bragg Gaming
  • casino-web-scripts-logo
    Casino Web Scripts
  • Cayetano Gaming logo
    Cayetano Gaming
  • CQ9 logo
    CQ9
  • cryptologic-logo
    Cryptologic
  • Design Works Gaming logo
    Design Works Gaming
  • Digital Gaming Corporation USA
    DGC
  • DraftKings Inc.
    DraftKings
  • endemol-gaming-logo
    Endemol
  • endorphina-logo
    Endorphina
  • Evoplay logo
    Evoplay Entertainment
  • ezugi-logo
    Ezugi
  • Fantasma Games
  • Four Leaf Gaming
  • Gameart logo
    Gameart
  • gameburger-studios-logo
    Gameburger
  • gamesys-logo
    Gamesys
  • Gaming Realms
  • Gamzix
  • genesis-gaming-beyond-logo
    Genesis
  • Golden Hearts Games Inc.
  • Golden Rock Studios logo
    Golden Rock Studios
  • Greentube logo
    Greentube
  • Habanero logo
    Habanero
  • hacksaw-gaming-logo
    Hacksaw Gaming
  • high-5-games-logo
    High 5 Games
  • Igrosoft logo
    Igrosoft
  • incredible-technologies-logo
    Incredible Technologies
  • jama-games-logo
    JAMA Games
  • Ka Gaming
  • lightning-box-logo
    Lightning Box
  • Luckybird logo
    Luckybird
  • Mascot Gaming
  • netgame-entertainment-logo
    NetGame Entertainment
  • Netgaming logo
    Netgaming
  • nextgen-logo
    NextGen
  • novomatic-logo
    Novomatic
  • NYX-logo
    NYX
  • Odds Works logo
    Odds Works
  • one-touch-games-logo
    OneTouch Games
  • Origins logo
    Origins
  • pariplay-logo
    Pariplay
  • playngo-logo
    Play’n GO
  • PLAYNOVA logo
    PLAYNOVA
  • Playson
  • playtech-logo
    Playtech
  • playtika-logo
    Playtika
  • pragmatic-play-logo
    Pragmatic Play
  • Psiclone Games logo
    Psiclone Games
  • quickspin-logo
    Quickspin
  • red-tiger-gaming-logo
    Red Tiger Gaming
  • Red7
  • Reel Kingdom logo
    Reel Kingdom
  • reelplay-logo
    ReelPlay
  • Relax Gaming
  • Rising Digital logo
    Rising Digital
  • rival-logo
    Rival
  • roxor-gaming-logo
    Roxor Gaming
  • Rubyplay
  • rush-street-gaming-logo
    Rush Street Gaming
  • shfl-entertainment-logo
    SHFL Entertainment
  • shfl-entertainment-logo
    Shuffle Master
  • side-city-studios-logo
    Side City
  • Simbat logo
    Simbat
  • slingo-logo
    Slingo
  • Slotmill
  • slotopaint-logo
    Slotopaint
  • Slotopia
  • Spade gaming logo
    Spade Gaming
  • spin-games-logo
    Spin Games
  • spiral interactive logo
    Spiral Interactive
  • stakes-origin-logo
    Stakes Origin
  • Stardust live casino
  • Swintt
  • triple-edge-studios-logo
    Triple Edge Studios
  • TrueLab logo
    TrueLab
  • Vikings logo
    Vikings
  • wazdan-logo
    Wazdan
  • White Hat logo
    White Hat Gaming
  • wild-streak-logo
    Wild Streak
  • win-logo
    WIN
  • wms-logo
    WMS
  • woopla inc
    Woopla
  • yggdrasil-logo
    Yggdrasil

4. Payment methods

Picture this: You’ve won $1,000, but the casino will only pay it out to one specific bank that takes 6 months to get an approved account. It shouldn’t be that hard.

So what do we like to see? Online casinos in the USA must float at least 10 payment options for an above-average score, and break 15 for the top. If 8 or 9 of those are from popular methods like Discover, MasterCard, PayPal, and Play+, even better.

Deposit and withdrawal limits factor in too – best when there aren’t any. When they do exist, we like to see minimum deposit limits of no more than $5 and maximum deposit limits of no less than $10,000. The best PayPal casinos usually do great in the deposit & withdrawal scores.

For withdrawals, minimums of under $10 and maximums of over $5,000 work for us. Operator fees shouldn’t be present, and the option to withdraw in cash from a real casino is a bonus.

The gallery has some top casino payment methods  that we like to see at the best online casinos.

  • PayNearMe
  • PayPal
  • paysafecard
  • Play+
  • Skrill
  • VanillaDirect
  • VIP Preferred
  • Visa
  • ACH Network
  • AstroPay
  • Binance logo
    Binance Coin
  • Bitcoin cash logo
    Bitcoin Cash
  • Boku
  • Cash at Casino Cage
  • CashtoCode
  • Check by mail logo
    Check
  • Crypto logo
    Cryptocurrency
  • Diners club logo
    Diners Club
  • Dogecoin logo
    Dogecoin
  • ecoPayz
  • EOS logo
    EOS
  • Ethereum logo
    Ethereum
  • GAME ON
  • Silver gift card
    Gift cards
  • google-pay logo
    Google Pay
  • Litecoin logo
    Litecoin
  • Luxon
  • Maestro
  • Meta Pay
  • MuchBetter
  • Neosurf
  • Pay by Phone
  • PayByMobile
  • Ripple logo
    Ripple
  • Safekeeping
  • Sightline Payments
  • Sofort
  • Stellar
  • TAPPP
  • Tether logo
    Tether
  • Tron logo
    Tron
  • trustly-logo
    Trustly
  • venmo logo
    Venmo
  • Visa test
  • Western Union Netspend logo
    Western Union Netspend
  • Wire Transfer

Payouts

When you’re looking to roll at the tables, a likely pair of questions will shoot through your mind: Which online casinos pay out the most? How fast can I get my winnings out?

So, who has the best payouts? Honestly – it’s near impossible to tell. The true return-to-player (RTP) percentage is rarely published by casinos, and theoretical RTPs are just that – theoretical. Even a good theoretical RTP score is impossible to calculate without knowing how much players are wagering in each casino game.

Fast cashouts? Far more measurable. It doesn’t take long to transfer money to accounts, but online casinos process their payments in a way that ensures money is being won fairly and by real people. 2-3 days is the average while processing times of <60 minutes score brilliantly. Instant processing is rare but does happen, especially in more established markets outside the US.

5. Safety

Safety is a prime concern for online casino players, and with good reason. Your casino’s going to have access to whatever payment details you deposit/withdraw with – it’s important to be sure everything’s above board. With US online casinos, the legal verification process means you’re often asked to share personal data, so a good safety rating is twice as valuable.

So where do we set our bar for safety? Adhering to state-mandated responsible gaming rules is the bare minimum. The best online casinos for safety will have their own responsible gaming platforms. Online gambling sites should be SSL-encrypted, and we dock points if they aren’t. Multiple state licenses mean more organizations are watching it, so points for that too.

We also score on accessibility. Is the casino’s auditing information transparent, clear, and easy to find? Are the responsible gaming tools (loss limits, timed exclusions, etc) simple to use? Further criteria include the casino’s reputation – whether it’s partnered with a prominent physical casino, and whether it’s an award winner. 

In the meantime, here are some tips our experts recommend for anyone wanting to gamble in a safe casino:

  1. Stick to licensed casinos
  2. Triple-check your state’s laws
  3. Familiarize yourself with your casino’s responsible gambling tools
  4. Try discover which organization audits your casino’s games for fairness
  5. Check for any awards won by a casino (or its parent company)
  6. Look at the T&Cs (are they clear and detailed, or vague and opaque?)

6. Mobile

In the 21st century, phones are synonymous with convenience – and most popular online casinos offer mobile options.

What makes a good mobile offering for US players at an online casino? Game availability is our biggest criterion. If a place is only offering 20% – 40% of its games on mobile, is it even a real online casino? 60-80% is about average, and the best places will offer at least 95% if not all of their games. We expect good casinos to have native apps for Android and iOS too.

We also rate an app’s quality. It’s got to be glitch and crash-free to get a top score and should be easy to navigate. Finding games shouldn’t cause problems, so a good search and filter system makes us happy too. If a place wants to crack into the top 10 online casinos list, at least when it comes to mobile, it’s got to do something special. Here, we look for mobile-exclusive payments and bonuses.

You can blast yourself with more info about top mobile offerings on our specified page for the best mobile casinos in the USA

Woman grabbing giftboxes and casino chips through a smartphone

7. Customer support

Problems are a part of life, and when they happen, the first stop for US online casino players will be customer support. 

If you want to find an online casino that’s doing a good job, here’s what to look for: All main support/contact options should be available. That’s email, phone, live chat, and a help/FAQ section. The best online casinos in the US will offer 24/7 support, usually as live chat. If they can’t swing that, they should at least have dedicated hours 7 days a week for a strong score.

Response time and quality is important too. If live chat can give accurate, detailed responses without needing any clarification for questions, that’s a good quality score. If they can do it in under a minute, or max 1-3, they’re doing fine on speed. Again, accessibility is important. Clicking through 12 pages to find contact details is bad form. Top-rated online casinos will have 1-click live chat on the homepage.

We’ve listed some specifics on what’s accepted at USA online casinos for customer support on the table.

MethodUS availabilityAvr. response
PhoneCommon1-3 minutes
E-mail / web formCommon24 hours
Live chatCommon1-3 minutes
TextRare5 minutes
Social mediaRare48 hours

8. Usability

Usability is based purely on accessibility – a casino might have the best payments and game libraries in the world, but you’ll never play there if the sign-up form looks like a Fort Knox blueprint.

So what do online casino sites have to do to get our seal of approval? First, an easy sign-up. If it takes more than 5 minutes, the top rating is gone. Second, easy bonus claim. The best places will apply promotions automatically, or let you activate them with one click.  

Navigation is also important. Different game sections and verticals should be displayed, and a search function goes a long way. The best website navigation systems include complex filtering options, which allow games to be sorted by everything from payout to theme. A floating live chat that sticks around when you change pages gets a nice bonus point.

Man navigating online casino interface

How we rate US sweepstakes casinos

As the popularity of US sweeps casinos rises, our reporters have been working double-time to make sure you have the latest coverage on this hot topic. Our experts have been hard at work analyzing the top sweeps casinos of the nation, and have altered the rating system appropriately to be fair to these unique casinos.

For the most part, a lot of the rating system has stayed the same. Nothing in the Safety, Mobile, Support, or Usability sections has changed, and we have all the same expectations there for sweepstakes casinos that we do for real-money casinos.

The changes come with our Bonuses, Games, Software, and Payments sections. Sweepstakes and social casinos don’t allow you to cash out, instead, players play solely for fun or to redeem cash prizes. Therefore, things like bonus cashout limits and withdrawals have naturally been removed. Sweeps casinos also have a lower market average of games than real-money casinos, so it would be unfair to expect 700 games when most sweeps casinos crack just about 200.

We’ve gone over a full list of the changes in our expectations in the accordions below:

Bonuses

Not much has changed in this section. All the most popular bonuses, such as deposit match, no-deposit, or free spin bonuses can be found in sweepstake casinos.

There are two main differences though. First, you can’t cash out with sweepstake casinos, so of course limits in that department are no longer taken into account. 

Second, and more importantly, all the best sweepstakes and social casinos have daily and weekly rewards, where players can be rewarded with in-game currency to spend on the available slots. The best casinos will have a combination of 3+ daily and weekly rewards, giving players many opportunities to earn the special currency available.

Games

The actual criteria for games haven’t changed, but rather the expectations within those criteria. Our experts don’t expect a sweepstakes casino to have the same amount of games as a real-money casino, and some game types like high-stakes games are just not possible either.

With this in mind, we’ve adjusted our expectations to better fit market expectations. Sweepstakes casinos with above 250 games will get the top scores from us, and casinos are not penalized so harshly for missing certain game types like live games.

Software

Just like the games section, there’s simply less in the market to go around, and so our Time2play experts have had to lower their expectations somewhat.

Social casinos with nine or higher software providers get top marks from us, whilst sweepstakes casinos only need 2 or more. We also don’t penalize harshly for sweepstakes casinos not having live providers, though the ones that do tend to find themselves at the top of our ranking lists.

Payment methods

This is the big one, the one true change from real money to sweepstakes casinos. Social and sweepstakes casinos do not allow players to cash out, so naturally, anything regarding withdrawals needs to be excluded outright. 

Instead, sweepstakes casinos have a prize redemption system, where players can redeem in-game currency for real cash prizes. Social casinos do not have this and are therefore not judged for it.

For the sweepstakes casinos, we expect redemption times to be instant and easy to claim. Terms for these prizes should be clear and easy to find, and any fees will be penalized.

How we rate US online sportsbooks

We take US sportsbooks just as seriously as casinos, with our experts tailoring a comprehensive set of criteria specifically to uncover the best US online sportsbooks. This means that, just like with online casinos, the higher scores reflect the fundamental differences between online sportsbooks, and of course, we never change our rating to make places look better.

The format of our methodology as it the same as with our casinos, with only the individual criteria changing to better suit sportsbooks. This means that the separate sections are rated and weighted just like before, with everything being measured against market averages. 

The Playscore and user reviews are also fully present here, as we aim to bring in external voices and make ourselves fully transparent.

1. Bonuses

The bonuses found in sportsbooks tend to be a bit different from casinos. Nothing to give a ‘free spin’ to after all.

More commonly found are risk-free bets, where if your first bet loses then you’ll be refunded up to a certain amount, or first bet matches where you’ll get ‘betting cash’ according to your first bet or deposit. Sportsbooks aiming to get a top score from us will need to be generous with these bonuses here, with no minimum deposits or wagering requirements preferably. 

Our experts also take care to see if there are any odds restrictions, which can be a big tripping point. Sportsbooks can’t expect high marks from us if the odds restrictions are so high, you’d need to bet on Taylor Swift scoring a touchdown with a triple backflip in the Super Bowl. Our experts expect low to no odds restrictions, and transparency on any restrictions available. 

That covers the main points, though there’s far more than our experts look into to decide the best sportsbook offers. For more information, check out our sections below:

Different bonus types

Risk-free bets — The most common sportsbook offer; if your first bet loses then you’ll be refunded up to a certain amount. This does mean that you’ll only get a bonus if you lose, but it also means you can bet without too much fear of losing money. We expect the best sportsbooks to refund up to $5,000, though anything in the $1,000 range will get a decent score from us. 

Most risk-free bets refund the player in ‘betting cash’ that cannot be cashed out, however, some sportsbooks give a Cashback bonus that refunds the losses with proper cash. This is rarer, but any place that will give a 100% cashback will immediately get a top score from us

First bet match bonus —Here players are rewarded with ‘betting cash’ on their first deposit or bet. These are worded with percentages, for example, 100% up to $50, and means that if you deposit/bet $50 then you’ll get an extra $50 in special ‘betting cash’ to make wagers with. The best sportsbooks will have 100% up to $1,000, though we still rate highly for anything in the $500 range

These are similar to deposit match bonuses, with the caveat that the ‘betting cash’ cannot be cashed out and is lost on use, regardless of winning. This means that if you make a bet with $10 with $25 possible winnings. Some sportsbooks do have deposit match bonuses though, which work exactly like the casino ones, and we rate highly for 100% up to $500 or higher.

What are the wagering requirements?

Just like casinos, sportsbooks aren’t going to hand you anything for free. Most bonuses will come with some kind of restriction to give a slight advantage to the sportsbook owner. 

The most common types of restrictions are on ‘wager amount’ and ‘odds restrictions’. Wager amount would refer to how much you’d need to wager off, for example, you’d need to wager 1x the bonus amount to get it. This is the standard for risk-free bets, where you need to wager the bet to have a chance of getting the money back. We’d prefer to have no requirements here, but 1x is a market standard so we’ll allow it.

Odds restrictions limit you to what odds you can make bets on. This can be an especially big tripping point, as we don’t want sportsbooks to promise an incredible bonus only to give you impossible odds to overcome. Promos should have no odds restrictions, plain and simple, and any ones that do get harsh points deductions from us.

Any options for existing players?

Why should only new players get all the fun? Our experts are gambling veterans, and like it when they see bonuses that reward long-term players like themselves. 

Sportsbooks will snag a few extra points for any VIP programs, competitions, or exclusive bonuses. The main thing to consider though is the quantity of bonuses for existing players beyond the welcome bonus. We get excited when sportsbooks offer 10+ ongoing promos, as it means this is a sportsbook that rewards its players regularly.

Is there any other fine print to consider?

Transparency is the main keyword here. Our system catches all the common trappings of sportsbook bonuses, but there’s always some new scheme being whipped up. We get it, sportsbooks need to make money, but they also need to make their terms clear,

Any sportsbook that tries to find its terms automatically gets points deducted. Our experts are also flexible and can react to any new trick that a sportsbook might pull on-the-fly.

2. Sports markets

Sportsbooks don’t exactly work if you don’t have any sports to bet on.

For our experts, it comes down to quantity and quality. This means 30+ sports to bet on, with 50+ markets per sport to bet on (or 150+ for football). We also want 1,200+ markets per day, preferably with some unique markets to sweeten the deal. When it comes to sports, the more the merrier.

It’s also always nice to see a few alternatives to sports. Esports is an up-and-coming market that we like to see sportsbooks include, and some sportsbooks even include entertainment like the Academy Awards, which always gets a few bonus points from us. 

It’s impossible to list all the sports a sportsbook can have, but here are a few of the popular ones we expect to see:

  • chess icon
    Chess
  • Cricket paddle and ball
    Cricket
  • Cross-country skiing
  • Cycling
  • Daily fantasy sports
  • Darts
    Darts
  • Gaelic football
  • golf icon
    Golf
  • Handball player in the middle of a throw
    Handball
  • hockey icon
    Hockey
  • horse racing icon
    Horse racing
  • Ice hockey
  • Jai Alai
  • Lacrosse
  • MMA
  • Motorsports
  • Rugby
  • Snooker
  • Table tennis
  • tennis icon
    Tennis
  • Volleyball
  • Waterpolo

3. Betting features

It’s not just about what you can bet on, but how you can bet on it. The best sportsbooks all offer plenty of betting features to help make your betting more exciting.

The most common and requested feature for any sportsbook is live betting. The best live-betting sportsbooks will have 50+ live events going at the same time, with a live stream running and in-depth data being regularly updated. Going along with this is the ability to cash out on the fly, with accurate quick cashouts regularly updated for the players.

We also want some quality-of-life features to help out with our betting, which means having a user-friendly bet builder, and multiple betting systems such as straight bets and parlays. Wrap it all up in a smooth and intuitive navigation system, and you’ve got a recipe for a highly ranked sportsbook

  • betting icon
    Bet builder
  • betting icon
    Cash out
  • betting icon
    Live betting
  • betting icon
    Live streaming

4. Odds

This is a big deal for us. We understand that sportsbooks need to make money, but betting odds also need to be fair. 

The main factor here is the Return-to-Player (RTP). This is the amount that a player gets back on average. So say for instance a sportsbook has an RTP of 90%, then that means players will get $90 back for every $100 wagered on average. Whilst sportsbooks never give out their RTP, our experts are equipped with tools to help them get as close to the real value as possible.

As a general rule, we expect all sportsbooks to be in the 97% RTP range for all of their markets, though 96% will still score pretty decently. The exception is live payouts, which always have a lower RTP due to the player’s advantage of seeing it all happen live. We’ll give top marks for 96% or above in this department. 

As for the rest, we’ll give extra marks for any boosted odds or parlay boosts. We also expect no delay on any odds displayed, so slow odds will be harshly punished.

5. Payment methods, safety, and customer support

These sections are for the most part identical to the casino sections, so we’ll keep it brief. After all, a lot of the best sportsbooks are partnered with casinos and will use the same payment methods, safety regulations, and customer support.

For payments, we expect lots of payment methods, with low transaction times and no fees. Keep everything fully transparent, and you’ve got a winning formula for us. We’ll deduct marks if the more popular payment methods are excluded, such as paying with PayPal. For more information on how sportsbooks may have unique betting payments, check out our sports payments page.

Safety is always a top priority, so any sportsbook aiming to hit the top of the ranks needs to have readily available terms, and dedicated responsible gambling pages with tools, relevant details, and links to organizations. Some extra points will be handed out of the sportsbook is an award winner, is licensed in 3+ states, and doesn’t immediately limit you if you keep winning.

Finally, customer support needs to be available 24/7. They need to respond fast, and with quality responses, and preferably be available to everyone including non-registered users. Alternatively, we’ll accept other support channels such as emails, phone, help sections, or FAQs, with these alternatives being easy to gain access to. Anything less than this gets a low score from us.

6. Platform

Just like the previous section, we rate the platforms of casinos and sportsbooks quite similarly. We hold sportsbooks to the same standards, with our experts expecting the platform to be user-friendly and easy to use.

This means we expect an easy-to-find and complete registration form, smooth navigation through the different verticals through search functions, and easy-to-claim bonuses. Preferably, there are other verticals aside from betting. Our experts also keep an eye out for a sticky button for live chat.

The main difference between sportsbooks and casinos is that apps don’t get their rating section, but instead the mobile app is rated in a category here. This is because sportsbooks have a much easier time with their mobile apps since they don’t have problems with software providers not allowing them to have certain games on mobile. Sportsbooks should have no problem creating an app with full access to all markets and bonuses, and any sportsbook that fails here will be judged accordingly.

woman-and-two-men-betting-on-mobile

Expert ratings dissected

The score for each section totals out to 100%, but to get to that 100%, criteria have different weights. These are assigned based on what we believe makes the biggest difference to players, in turn, based on our years of iGaming experience. Finally, the average of the scores becomes the overall Expert Score.

We go into more detail below, showing the percentages of what we rate for in each of the criteria outlined above.

Real money casinos

Bonuses

What we look atScore weighting
The type and size of the bonus10%
Minimum deposit to qualify10%
Wagering requirements10%
Eligible games10%
Cashout limits10%
Convert above to a score /90 Above total x 1.8
VIP program2%
Bonuses for existing players2%
Transparency of bonus terms2%
Competitions and tournaments2%
Exclusive bonus 1%
Anything extra1%
Total100%

Games

What we look atScore weighting
Number of games42%
Variety of games41%
Game filters3%
VIP / High stakes games5%
Exclusive games5%
Demos available2%
Anything extra2%
Total100%

Software

What we look atScore weighting
Number of top software providers33%
Total number of providers33%
Number of live casino providers15%
Live casino quality15%
Download or instant-play1%
Exclusive software2%
Anything extra1%
Total100%

Payment methods

What we look atScore weighting
Number of top payment methods26%
Total number of methods25%
Deposit time10%
Withdrawal time10%
Deposit limits10%
Withdrawal limits10%
Fees2%
Are jackpots excluded from withdrawal limits?2%
Transparency of payment policy3%
Can you deposit/withdraw at a land-based casino?2%
Anything extra1%
Total100%

Safety

What we look atScore weighting
Transparency of terms10%
Transparency about game fairness10%
Responsible gambling operations50%
Award winner2%
Affiliated with reputable land-based casino2%
Licensed in multiple states2%
Well-reviewed by the overall market2%
Anything extra2%
Total80% (multiply by 1.25=100%)

Mobile

What we look atScore weighting
Game availability50%
Live casino availability10%
Native apps10%
Speed and smoothness13%
Mobile interface13%
Mobile-specific payments1%
Mobile-specific bonuses1%
Mobile-specific interface1%
Anything extra1%
Total100%

Support

What we look atScore weighting
Available hours30%
Number of options25%
Response time15%
Response quality15%
Accessibility10%
Live chat without sign-in3%
Anything extra2%
Total100%

Usability

What we look atScore weighting
Ease of registration30%
Ease of bonus claim20%
Navigation smoothness and clarity20%
How good are the search options20%
Other verticals3%
1-click support5%
Anything extra2%
Total100%

Social and sweepstakes casinos

Bonuses

What we look atScore weighting
The type and size of the bonus60%
VIP program2%
Bonuses for existing players2%
Transparency of bonus terms2%
Competitions and tournaments2%
Exclusive bonus 1%
Refer-a-friend program1%
Anything extra10%
Total80% (multiply by 1.25=100%)

Games

What we look atScore weighting
Number of games45%
Variety of games48%
Game filters3%
Exclusive games1%
Demos available1%
Anything extra2%
Total100%

Software

What we look atScore weighting
Number of top software providers35%
Total number of providers33%
Number of live casino providers4%
Live casino quality2%
Download or instant-play1%
Exclusive software2%
Anything extra3%
Total80% (multiply by 1.25=100%)

Payment methods

What we look atScore weighting
Number of top payment methods25%
Total number of methods20%
Deposit time10%
Prize redemption and withdrawals8%
Deposit limits10%
Fees2%
Transparency of payment policy3%
Anything extra2%
Total80% (multiply by 1.25=100%)

Safety

What we look atScore weighting
Transparency of terms30%
Transparency about game fairness10%
Responsible gambling operations20%
SSL encryption10%
Award winner2%
Affiliated with reputable land-based casino1%
Licensed fro, reputable regulatory bodies2%
Well-reviewed by the overall market2%
Anything extra3%
Total80% (multiply by 1.25=100%)

Mobile

What we look atScore weighting
Game availability55%
Live casino availability5%
Native apps10%
Speed and smoothness13%
Mobile interface13%
Mobile-specific payments1%
Mobile-specific bonuses1%
Mobile-specific interface1%
Anything extra1%
Total100%

Support

What we look atScore weighting
Available hours32%
Number of options25%
Response time15%
Response quality15%
Accessibility10%
Live chat without sign-in1%
Anything extra2%
Total100%

Usability

What we look atScore weighting
Ease of registration30%
Ease of bonus claim26%
Navigation smoothness and clarity20%
How good are the search options20%
1-click support2%
Anything extra2%
Total100%

Sportsbooks

Bonuses

What we look atScore weighting
The type and size of the bonus10%
Minimum deposit to qualify10%
Wagering requirements10%
Eligible markets10%
Convert above to a score /90 Above total x 2.25
VIP program1%
Bonuses for existing players5%
Transparency of bonus terms1%
Competitions and tournaments1%
Exclusive bonus 1%
Anything extra1%
Total100%

Sports markets

What we look atScore weighting
Total number of sports 30%
Total number of football markets20%
Total number of baseball markets15%
Total number of basketball markets15%
Esports availability6%
Entertainment availability4%
Markets per day6%
Unique markets2%
Anything extra2%
Total100%

Betting features

What we look atScore weighting
Cashout options30%
Betbuilder10%
Live data5%
Live stream5%
Live bettings30%
Different betting options5%
Quick bets3%
Betting navigation10%
Anything extra2%
Total100%

Odds

What we look atScore weighting
Payout percentages55%
Live payouts20%
Boosted odds5%
Displayed odds15%
Parlay boosts5%
Total100%

Payment methods

What we look atScore weighting
Number of top payment methods27%
Total number of methods27%
Deposit time10%
Withdrawal time10%
Deposit limits10%
Withdrawal limits10%
Fees2%
Transparency of payment policy3%
Anything extra1%
Total100%

Safety

What we look atScore weighting
Transparency of terms20%
Responsible gambling operations50%
Award winner2%
Speed of getting limited2%
Licensed in multiple states2%
Well-reviewed by the overall market2%
Anything extra2%
Total80% (multiply by 1.25=100%)

Support

What we look atScore weighting
Available hours30%
Number of options25%
Response time15%
Response quality15%
Accessibility10%
Live chat without sign-in3%
Anything extra2%
Total100%

Platform

What we look atScore weighting
Ease of registration25%
Ease of bonus claim20%
Navigation smoothness and clarity20%
How good are the search options20%
Other verticals3%
1-click support5%
Desktop and mobile sites5%
Anything extra2%
Total100%
Two Time2players composing the Expert rating on a laptop

The triple-tiered Time2play technique

We mentioned triple-tiered scores. As you can see on this page, our Expert Ratings are super-comprehensive, so what do we add to them? Here’s the breakdown:

1. The Playscore

What it is — An overall score of all the reviews our little bots can lay their hands on. We scan the internet for other review scores and average them out into one easy number.

Why it’s cool — Possibly our most unique feature, it gives you an entire market overview score in one little number, right up there next to our Expert Rating. You get all the info at once, and you can compare between what our experts are saying, and what everyone else is saying.

2. User reviews

What they are — Unfiltered, unedited, uncompromised opinions from you, the players.

Why they’re cool — They help you find the best stuff and see-through scams based on dozens of accounts of first-hand experience. Our experts can know their casinos better than anyone, but they’ll never know as much as 5,000 players put together.

Our affiliate partners

We can’t be the kings of transparency if we aren’t open about how we make our money. As an independent operator, we are supported through affiliate casinos and sportsbooks.

To put it simply, gambling sites will provide us with affiliate links to their sites. We’ll write a review about them, and display the affiliate link at the top. When readers click on the link and make a deposit, we get a small amount of cash. 

We must stress that this partnership has never and will never affect the honesty of our reviews in any capacity. Sites make it to the top of the rankings because they’ve earned it, and likewise will fall to the bottom if they are found to be lacking, regardless if they are affiliates of ours.

We’ve decided to put our money where our mouth is, and we’re displaying every single one of our affiliates here:

Real money casinos

Stardust, PartyPoker, BetMGM, Borgata, BetAmerica, Golden Nugget, Virgin Casino, Tropicana, Mohegan Sun, Resorts Casino, Caesar Casino, Harrahs Casino, Unibet, Bet365, 888 Casino, BetRivers, SugarHouse, Wynnbet, Betway, Parx, Scores Casino, FireKeepers Casino, Four Winds Casino.

Social and sweepstakes casinos

BetRivers, Gambino, Fortunecoins, Stake.us, Pulsz, WOWvegas, Funrize, FunzPoints Casino, Caesarsgames, WSOP, BestFriends, HouseOfFun, Slotomania, Poker Heat, VivaSlots, My Choice Casino, WebSweeps, Global Poker, Chumba, LuckyLand Slots, Scratch Carnival Casino, Golden Heart Games, SugarHouse – Casino4Fun, Rush Casino4fun, Hard Rocks Social Casino, Twin River, Double Down, Win Star, Play Jack, Big Fish Casino, high5casino, Live Casino Social, Seminole, Huuuge Casino, Parx Social Casino, Bspot, Zynga, Skillz Casino, Jackpot Planet Casino, Firekeepers, FourWinds Casino

Sportsbooks

Borgata, SugarHouse, BetMGM, Wynnbet, Maximbet, Sports Illustrated (888), Unibet, BetRivers, Pointsbet, Golden Nugget, Bet365

FAQs

How did we come up with the Time2play expert rating system?

We’ve been in the iGaming industry for years, and we’ve got tons of experience in affiliate markets. We have access to tons of great data and loads of great experts who know an insane amount about the global casino scene. The team got together and took a long, hard look at the US casino market, and put together this points system based off our expectations for the market. Most of it is based on stuff that’s already present in the US, but we do keep other, more established industries in mind too.

Who rates the sites?

Our experts, of course! Our team of trained reporters scroll through every last scrap of a site’s offering in order to hunt down all the little details needed to check every box on the rating table.

How are the ratings calculated

Our Business Intelligence team have automated the calculation process, meaning our experts can fill in all the details, and the numbers will be churned out instantly, free from human error.

Is the Time2play rating system impartial?

The Time2play rating system is 100% impartial. No matter how famous or huge a site is, and no matter if it is affiliated with us, numbers don’t lie. Whether it’s the world’s most famous casino or it’s owned by Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson, a poor site will still get a negative review from us.

How often is the rating system updated?

We constantly update the system. Whenever we spot something new, or there’s an update in regulations, or we see that operators are changing their offerings in an area (either new and improved bonuses, or a new top software provider starts bringing its games to the US market, etc.), we review the system, and make any alterations we believe could improve it. 

Our trusted partners
Copyright ©2024. Time2play.com. All rights reserved.