Reviews by Affiliates vs. Player Reviews
All reviews of online casinos definitely aren't created equal. On one side you have affiliates, which are sites or companies paid to promote the casinos. On the other, you have players, who may be able to relate real experiences but can also have an ax to grind. Both kinds of reviews can be helpful, but they also both need to be taken with the proverbial grain of salt.
What to Watch for in Online Casino Reviews
When you read a review of an online casino, you're hoping to get the opinion of a neutral party as to whether or not that casino is safe, fair and fun. Unfortunately, a truly neutral voice is hard to find, and many people who write reviews have either a personal or financial stake in the gambling sites – sometimes both.
The people most likely to have a positive bias toward certain online casinos are its affiliates. These are people or groups who make money when the casino makes money, either as paid online marketers or the beneficiaries of a referral program. The latter type can sometimes be sniffed out by looking for links to download casino software on a review site. If those links exist, there's a chance the site may be compensated if a reader follows the link and ends up opening a real money account at the casino. For obvious reasons, affiliates are going to have the nicest things to say about the casinos that employ them.
Player reviews can be a balance even when hosted on affiliate sites, as they are (or at least should be) written by people who have actually played at the casinos. Their stories can give a more well-rounded picture about things like technical problems, the speed of payouts and the accessibility of customer service representatives. However, players who have had a bad experience at a particular site can also be prone to get caught up in the emotion of that experience, unfairly coloring the casino in a negative light for what could be an isolated incident.
The key for dealing with both types of biases is to look for other reviews that support either positive or negative reviews. Search around for multiple sources, as it's likely that if you read good things about a casino at different sites around the web, it really is a good place to play – and vice versa.