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ToteSport Casino

I don’t generally play Playtech software-based online casinos (because most do not instill me with confidence!) but ToteSport is the exception and cashouts to my UK bank account were the fastest I’ve found anywhere, period (actually Virgin casino pushes it hard to be fair). I cashout out on Sunday and the money was in my bank on Monday night! It’s a relatively new online casino from “The Tote”, a household name in the UK known for its on-course betting at British racetracks. It is a very safe place to play with some 75+ casino games including all the usual favourites and some interesting bonus slots.

My particular favourite is “Desert Treasure”, a 20-line slot with 10 Free Spins feature where all wins are trebled. Although banking options are limited to credit & debit cards only, and there is an exclusion on USA players (like all Playtech casinos, ToteSport games offer a well rounded choice from games like European Roulette, Blackjack and Baccarat, through various video pokers and slots. The best thing about Tote is the instant cashouts and while the banking system is a bit confusing, it is like Ladbrokes, giving the player total control: no waiting for a “Reverse” period to expire. Be nice when they add Neteller to the options. The software has an excellent GUI and chilled music to accompany you and while some games are weird (8 line slots?!) they are immensely playable.

(Note: The main casino utilises Playtech casino software, however, the “games” section is powered by Wagerworks’ software.)

Slots Magic

Overview

Slots Magic is the new name for Jackpot Party, the former home of WMS slots online. So why change things? Well, for a start, the casino now has slots from other software providers, for example, Jenga from Cryptologic or Spartania from Sheriff Gaming.

Licencing and Security

Whilst the old Jackpot Party site was licenced by the Alderney Gambling Control Commission, Slots Magic is regulated by the Lotteries and Gaming Authority of Malta. Both jurisdictions are well regarded in the world of online casinos, so you don’t need to worry on that front – you’re still in good hands. Slots Magic shares its home in Malta with other top name casinos such as Betfair and Platinum Play.

The independent testing of the site’s random number generator has also changed, from Technical Systems Testing to iTech Labs based in Australia. The certificate is actually for Skill On Net, which may seem strange, but they are the new company behind the running of the casino.

Software and Services

As mentioned earlier in this review, Slots Magic is mainly home to WMS’s software, but they do have games from other providers. As before, this is just a pure casino offering – there aren’t any Poker or Bingo rooms here.

The casino is offered in either instant play or download options, though the downloadable casino won’t work on a mac. However, there are a large number of language options available to you as a player, on both versions of the casino – see the menu tab at the top right of the homepage for what languages are available.

Banking

There are a wide range of options for depositing at Slots Magic, but they don’t show you how long it takes to process withdrawals for each of these, or if they can even be used for withdrawals. You have to read the detailed terms and conditions to find what you’re looking for and even then it doesn’t give you an indication before you sign up.

The casino operates a withdrawal pending state that your request isn’t even processed by the accounts team until midnight the day following your request. We suggest you contact support to remove this ‘feature’.

If you’re a big player – there’s a restriction on withdrawals capped at €10,000 per 30 days. If you’re planning on being a VIP (see below) it’s well worth confirming with support that you will be able to withdraw before you put a large amount into the casino.

Customer Support

The customer support team availability has improved since transitioning to Slots Magic. At Jackpot Party, support was only available from 9am to midnight, but now the support team are contactable 24/7. Live Chat is no longer offered, but you can still call or email the team with your questions.

Geographic Limitations

Players from the Republic of Cyprus, Israel, Turkey, France, Mexico, Spain, Denmark and the USA are not allowed to play at Slots Magic.

VIP Program

The VIP program at Slots Magic has been significantly upgraded from the standard comp points system that was originally offered by Jackpot Party. Make it to the executive levels, and you’ll get invites to events, a VIP account manager and other benefits.

What’s great is that there’s a fast track route if you don’t want to wait around for an invite, though actual acceptance as a VIP is still at the management’s discretion. At the time of writing, if you;

a)    Deposit with the code VIP2500 you can get 100% match bonus up to €2,500

b)   Deposit with the code TRUEVIP and get a 100% match bonus up to €5,000, but the minimum deposit is €1,000.

c)    Or in any 7 day period deposit more than €2,000 (this doesn’t have to be in a single deposit).

If you do use one of the above, be sure to get in touch with the support team to let them know – this will prompt them to review your account for VIP status.

Summary

Slots Magic is an improved offering over the original Jackpot Party casino. Customer support is now available 24/7 and there are non-WMS games added into the mix. It’s licenced in a reputable jurisdiction, but a bit dissapointed that they make it difficult to see up front how long it takes to get your money out.

Robin Hood – Shifting Riches

Following a beautifully animated introductory video as we’ve come to expect from Net Entertainment, the Robin Hood Shifting Riches slot opens into the main play area. The game sports 5 reels and 20 paylines and characters from the Robin Hood legend (such as Robin Hood himself, Friar Tuck, Little John and a couple of others).

Shifting Reels

Hit a winning combination on a spin and all the reels shift one position to the right and will keep doing so each time as long as the shift results in another winning combination. Not only that, but with each shift, a multiplier is attached to the spin – from x2 up to x5 – get a good run with this feature and you can get a large win here – if you get beyond the first couple of shifts, it means you’re often getting wins of 4 or 5 symbols as you do so (since that first winning spin just shuffles over one reel).

Money Bags

As you play, the money bag symbol will appear randomly on the playing board. When that happens, Robin Hood comes along and places it in one of the chests at the bottom of the screen. You’ll need to collect four of these in one chest in order to activate the Free Spins feature.

Free Spins

The level of the bet when you won a money bag is recorded by the slot and you can see this when you click on a chest – the average influences the level of the bet when you eventually trigger the free spins game.

On triggering the free spins, you’ll be awarded with 10 free spins, but prior to that, Friar tuck appears and you’ll spin to see which character symbol will act as an additional wild throughout the duration of this feature. As with the main game, the Shifting Reels feature (see earlier in this review) still applies to your wins during the free spins round. Additional spins can be won if 2 or more “Free Spins” symbol appear during the free spins feature – 2 will award 5 additional spins and 3 will award 10 additional spins.

Creature from the Black Lagoon

The Creature from the Black Lagoon is the latest to emerge from Net Entertainment’s partnership with Universal to produce slot machines based on their extensive catalogue of film properties. It follows on from the likes of Frankenstein and Scarface and is based on the 1954 film of the same name.

Wild Symbols

There are 3 wild symbols in the game. These act as a ‘sticky’ wild in that they trigger a re-spin and whilst doing so, remain stuck on the board in the position that they appeared in. Should additional Wild symbols appear the original wilds will remain and respins will be awarded again as long as there are wild symbols appearing.

Free Spins

Three or more Free Spins symbols activate the free spins round (surprisingly). 3 symbols award 10 spins, 4 – 15 spins and 5, 20 spins. Additional free spins can be won during the round.

During the free spins feature, you will get random target symbols. When these appear, you get to take a shot at the creature and will reduce its life by one block on the meter at the bottom right of the screen. Get to a padlock symbol on the meter and you’ll unlock a “Spreading Wild”, though during our review play, we didn’t really see this appear on the playing area.

Wonderland

This 100-payline slot from Gamesys is an Alice in Wonderland themed video slot. It’s a five-reel slot, but the number of symbols on each reel depends on the number of paylines you choose to play with. Choose 25 lines and you’ll have a maximum of three symbols per reel, however, bump this up to 50, 75 or the full 100 and you’ll unlock 4 symbols per reel.

The symbols are all based on characters and objects from the book. The game’s artwork has been designed to resemble a pop-up storybook and it looks fantastic.

Bonus Features

Wonderland is jam packed with bonus games – there are 4 mini games in total! If three “Drink Me” symbols appear in the playing area, three small doors will appear, choose one to enter one of the features below (though you don’t know which door leads to which feature).

Playing Cards Feature

This is a high/low game played with the Queen’s soldiers, who are handily enough, playing cards if you remember the book. In this game, Aces are high, and in order to win the Progressive Jackpot, you’ll need to find the joker before you find the Queen of Hearts – she shows as one of the playing cards, rather than making a personal appearance as in some of the other bonus games. If you lose, you’re still in the game – only if you find the Queen does the feature end.

Paint The Roses Feature

This is a ‘pick one of those’ type game. You’ll be presented with a bush of white roses that you have to ‘paint’ red without getting caught by the Queen of Hearts. Each rose has to be painted three times before it will turn fully red, each successful part painted will award a cash prize. If you manage to colour in all of the roses completely, you’ll be awarded the Progressive Jackpot total.

Croquet

Play a quick game of Croquet as either Alice or the Queen. There are three rounds where you have to choose a hoop to aim for. Get your hedgehog through the hoop before your opponents, and you’ll be awarded a cash prize. At the end of the round, you’ll get to free the hedgehogs, to win additional prizes. In this game, there are 5 hedgehogs, and these may have a number on their belly. To activate the Progressive Jackpot, each hedgehog will need to have a golden star on their belly.

Mad Tea Party

In this game, you’ll attend the Mad Hatter’s tea party. It’s a “pick one of these things” type bonus game. Initially you’ll choose teapots to win cash prizes, then from a tray of cupcakes. Find a progressive coin in a cupcake, and you’ll have won the Progressive Jackpot total!

Merlin’s Millions

Merlin’s Millions is a slot from Microgaming that closely resembles a Net Entertainment slot, in that they have an interactive character to the left of the playing area, in this case – Merlin, rather like Gonzo’s Quest or Jack and the Beanstalk. The game itself has a fixed 50 paylines in play, but you can alter the level of your bet to suit your style of play.

Superbet

So the Superbet is an optional additional bet that can confer additional advantages when you hit a special feature. You’re effectively choosing an additional multiplier for “Merlin Substitution Wins” – Merlin is the Wild symbol in the game, so this feature basically applies the chosen level of multiplier to each winning combination that includes the Wild. The multiplier also is active during the free spins feature (see later in the review for more info on that).

The catch is how much extra it costs you to bet with the Superbet feature active. This starts at the relatively low 50x your current bet per line for the x2 multiplier, up to a huge 300x your current bet to activate the x10 multiplier. This means that activating the higher bonuses is more costly (x10 is five times the multiplier of x2, but at a cost of 300x your bet it’s six times the cost of 50x your bet at x2!)

Owl Bonus Feature

The Owl acts as a scatter feature in the game. If three or more appear in the play area, then the Owl Bonus game is triggered. This is a ‘pick one of these’ game, where you choose from the owl symbols displayed on the screen to reveal prizes, until you find a “collect” symbol underneath one. All prizes won in this feature are multiplied by the triggering bet, however the Superbet amount is excluded from this.

Free Games Feature

When 3 Orb symbols appear, you’ll be awarded 5 free spins. During this feature, the Merlin character will randomly turn symbols wild – handy if you’ve got the Superbet feature activated when you trigger this as the associated multiplier carries through to the free spins. The feature can be retriggered.

Our Play

Although the Merlin wild appears fairly regularly to complete wins, it felt like in regular play, having the Superbet feature active was very expensive and it will wear away your wallet quite quickly. When we played, the special features took a while to activate, however, you can get some large wins off of these…

Summary

If your wallet can sustain play, this slot has the potential for some great returns. Graphics feel a little dated, but we can overlook that given the return we got in our review play (though it may have just been our lucky day!) – make sure you take your winnings whilst you’re ahead, because if you keep playing, the nature of this slot will eat that all back over time!

Rubik’s Riches

Rubik’s Riches – Playtech

Rubik’s Riches from Playtech is an unusual slot in that it doesn’t have a conventional playing area. Like the Jenga slot machine, it reflects the game that it’s based on – the Rubik’s Cube.

So how does that work then?

Well, instead of paylines, the ‘slot’ pays out for lines on the cube that have matching colours. Rather than paying out per line, the amounts for each number of lines are displayed to the left of the playing area. (So, for example in the screenshot below, the prize for achieving a total of three lines on the cube would be £1, rather than adding up £0.20+£0.50+£1.00 or having specific amounts tied to specific lines).

Additionally, there are bonus amounts should you get a complete face of a matching colour and are awarded on top of line wins. These are displayed at the top right of the screen.

Bonus Game

This is where the money is! As you play, the letters in “Rubik’s” at the top of the playing area will light up randomly. If all 6 letters are lit up, you’ll access the bonus feature. You’ll be presented with the same Rubik’s Cube, but this time you’ll be invited to peel off some of the stickers.

Peeling off a sticker will reveal additional free-plays, additional cubes or will start the free-plays. As you might be able to guess, you keep going until you reveal a start symbol. During the game you can be awarded with additional free plays or additional cubes (up to a maximum of 9!).

Rubiks Riches Bonus Game

Because of the way the payouts work, the more cubes that you manage to activate into the playing area multiplies your wins massively. Each time we accessed the bonus round during our review play, we always managed to get a big win from it, particularly when we hit a face bonus (or two faces on one occasion!).

Summary

We really like Rubik’s Riches! It’s different in a way that’s not just a set of new symbols and backgrounds overlaid on the standard system, which gives it a nice breath of fresh air, and while relatively simple it manages to keep you delightfully entertained. It’s also possible to get some big wins here on the bonus round, which also (for us anyway) didn’t take too much time to trigger.

If you’ve not played it before, definitely worth giving it a try!

Worms Slot

Worms is one of those games I grew up with (I’m old!) so this slot machine holds a bit of nostalgia for me. Loading up the game for the review, just seeing the graphics brought a smile to my face. Unlike some WMS games, the graphics here are a bit more polished.

Bonus Features

There are three bonus features to unlock during your play.

Free Spins Battle

Reveal the Sergeant Major in the bonus crate and you’ll get to play the free spins battle feature. During this feature you have unlimited free spins BUT a limited amount of health. The centre reel is key here. If a worm dressed as a pirate appears, your health will be reduced, a worm dressed as a nurse restores part of your health and the Sergeant Major appearing again will award a cash prize. The feature ends when your health reaches zero.

Space Trail Bonus

Revealing the Cosmo Worm (he’s got what looks like a fishbowl on his head) starts the Space Trail Bonus game. There are a trail of planets leading to the big prize – a cash award of 1000x your original bet! Each planet awards an increasing size of multiplier.

You have to pick toolboxes from the right hand side of the screen that will do one of two things: Move your worm forward, or launch an attack. If your worm gets hit, the feature ends. You can win big on this feature, provided you get far enough along. During our review play we hit a teleport which got us up to a x30 multiplier fairly early on – we got up to a 50x multiplier before our worm got taken out by a mine.

Crate Escape Bonus

Reveal the Scot Worm (he’s in a kilt) to get to the Crate Escape. Again you have a worm with a finite amount of life – choose crates which will reveal a cash prize, a weapon which will reduce health, or a first aid kit which will restore some of the health. You keep going until your worm runs out of health.

Summary

The game looks great and plays well too. The bonus games are where you’re going to have the big wins – as you’ll have seen earlier in our review, during our gameplay, the Space Trail game gave us our biggest wins. Definitely recommend you give this one a try!

River Nile Casino

An underrated Microgaming Viper casino that has generally lived in the shadows of it’s peers and is currently offering a $1,000 & 60 minutes free play promotion to all new players with no deposit required. Aside from over 300 games in the download software and a Flash casino option, there are several types of signup bonus and the short reverse time means cashouts are generally processed within 24/36 hours. Additionally, River Nile is one of the few casinos that process cashouts 7 days a week. It gets all the new games as soon as they are released and with slots tournaments added in December 2007, River Nile is a decent casino that is steadily growing in popularity. One thing that used to let it down was the poor loyalty scheme and slow support, but it sounds as if these areas have been attended to and improved. Read the rest of this entry »