Interview with Bojoko’s Ville Saari on How Casino Experts Evaluate Online Casinos

Expert reviewers wield significant influence in the iGaming industry, guiding players towards the most rewarding experiences while assisting operators in refining their offerings. These experts often work for affiliate sites where their reviews and ratings directly impact which casinos their readers sign up with.

Today, we’re honoured to be joined by Ville Saari, Head of Content at Bojoko, an award-winning UK affiliate platform revered for its insights into the iGaming industry. In this interview, Saari will provide a glimpse into the inner workings of casino evaluations, shedding light on the criteria experts value and the strategies employed to identify top-performing casinos.

How would you describe the role of casino experts in the iGaming world?

Ville Saari: Casino experts play a pivotal role in the iGaming ecosystem. We are often the first point of contact a reader will have with a casino. It is generally through us that discerning players find out about new brands, and our reviews and ratings are used to establish the foundation of their research before signing up for their next brand.

Our job is to shape player perceptions and hold operators accountable, driving industry standards towards excellence. Through rigorous evaluations, we aim to provide players with unbiased insights into the strengths and weaknesses of various casinos, empowering them to make informed decisions. 

Delving into the evaluation process, what specific criteria do Bojoko’s casino experts prioritise when assessing a casino’s quality?

Ville Saari: At Bojoko, our evaluations are comprehensive and multifaceted, covering a spectrum of criteria that collectively define a casino’s quality. We start by meticulously examining the brand’s licensing and regulatory compliance, and if they fail here, they will not even be reviewed. We only list UKGC-licensed and compliant websites on Bojoko.

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Once we have established that the brand is safe, we start going through and testing the game variety, bonuses user experience and interface, payment methods and transaction speed, and the speed and helpfulness of their customer support team. Each element is scrutinised to ensure a thorough and unbiased assessment, and we have a strict guide to ensure consistency in our ratings from one expert reviewer to another.

With numerous online casinos competing for attention, how do casino experts identify the standout performers, and what attributes do they value the most?

Ville Saari: The best casinos are distinguished by their unwavering commitment to excellence across key areas. It is rarely a case of re-inventing the wheel, though some concept casinos, for instance, those with unique gamification, can and do find ways to stand out by just how different they are. However, if you look at Bojoko’s choices for the top 20 online casinos in the UK, you will see that the large majority of them simply do the basics well. 

What you need is a rock-solid core product with great bonuses, not just a tempting welcome bonus but distinctive features that ensure that players want to come back. That means recurring bonuses, tournaments, campaigns, cashback offers and more. And no, you can’t get away with a high wagering requirement. A diverse and high-quality game selection is also crucial. You can’t be the best if you are missing key games, and you certainly need to have all the top jackpot slots. 

Finally, you must have a seamless user experience, responsive customer support, transparent terms, and efficient payment processes. The last aspect is more important than many think, as Brits value their niche payment methods and missing them is a big minus. Another big minus is fees. We pay very close attention to everything related to deposits and withdrawals.

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In your experience, Ville, what are some common pitfalls that casinos fall into during the evaluation process, and how can they avoid them?

Ville Saari: One common pitfall is neglecting to prioritise player-centricity. Casinos that focus solely on profit margins rather than enhancing the player experience often struggle in our evaluations. There are so many casinos that clearly have not thought through how to keep players happy long-term and have close to zero retention focus. This is a big problem. 

Another big mistake many casinos make is sticking to the basic payment methods and not including popular niche alternatives. There are even UK casinos that don’t allow big, popular methods such as PayPal and Boku. This is not just a negative for reviewers; it will also cause them to lose out on many potential players.

Finally, Ville, do you have any advice on how casinos can do better?

Ville Saari: One of the most effective ways for casinos to improve is simply to form close relationships with their affiliate partners and approach us for advice. Affiliate sites serve as valuable intermediaries between casinos and players, driving traffic and generating leads. By reaching out to our affiliate team and engaging in collaborative discussions, casinos can gain valuable insights into player preferences, market trends, and effective promotional strategies. 

Our team at Bojoko is dedicated to supporting our affiliate partners every step of the way. We provide tailored assistance and share insights on what bonuses resonate with players and how to optimise promotional efforts for maximum impact. Building mutually beneficial relationships with affiliate partners can not only enhance a casino’s visibility and credibility but also cultivate a loyal player base that is essential for long-term success in the competitive UK iGaming landscape.

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