Aspire Casinos – A Player’s Guide
- Who are Aspire?
- Are Aspire casinos all the same as each other?
- What’s good about Aspire casinos?
- What’s not so good about Aspire casinos?
Who are Aspire?
Aspire Global was founded in 2005. They specialise in the European iGaming sphere and this includes the UK. The company is based in Malta and also has offices in Tel Aviv, and is publicly listed on the Swedish Nasdaq. They have over 200 employees worldwide from more than 30 different countries, and the Aspire Global platform powers more than 60 sites, with licences in the UK, Malta, Denmark, Portugal, Ireland and Sweden. It is a fully featured casino solution with payment processing, age and ID verification, customer service via phone, email and live chat in multiple languages and other management functions handled by Aspire. As well as the B2B casino platform, Aspire have some of their own casinos; probably the best known of these is Karamba.
Karamba is actually where it all started, and it looks very different today to the way it did back in 2005. It originally specialised in scratchcards and instant win games and it wasn’t until many years later that the range of slot games from different providers that you see today was added. Karamba still has a sizeable selection of scratchcards, most of which can also be found at other Aspire casinos (but nowhere else).
Aspire is not just a casino platform – they also offer sportsbook, which comes complete with an exciting tournament feature (although not many Aspire skins have the sportsbook add-on). Aspire have had a UK licence for online bingo for some time now, but have yet to launch a bingo product. The bingo project reached the point where Karamba Bingo was being publicised at industry conferences as the next big thing, but nothing has been heard since; word is that they were going to go with Microgaming bingo but this was scuppered when Microgaming decided to phase out their bingo network. It will be interesting to see whether the bingo plan is indefinitely shelved or whether they go with different software (the obvious alternative to Microgaming bingo would be Pragmatic Play).
Are Aspire casinos all the same as each other?
Operators who decide to open an Aspire casino can choose from many options; for instance, they can have a bespoke lobby design or use an off the shelf template. They can also choose which management functions (e.g. player promotions, VIP scheme) they want to carry out themselves and which they want Aspire to provide. There are even some operators that have their own licence and just use Aspire for games content via Pariplay. This means that Aspire casinos can look quite different from each other, as well as not all having the same games.
Aspire work with a pretty comprehensive range of slot suppliers and even own one (Pariplay). However, not all games from all providers are available at all their UK facing casinos. For example, at one casino we visited Golden Goddess and Pixies of the Forest are available from IGT but Cleopatra isn’t, and there’s even a few omissions (Gemix for instance) in the line up of the Play’N’Go slots they do so well. The reason for this is that only the Pariplay slots actually come with the platform, with 3000 third party games available (at a cost) as extras – so it’s up to the operator to pick and mix.
One thing that is reportedly very much the same from casino to casino on the Aspire network is offers & promotions; these are all handled by the network leaving little scope for skin operators to tailor offers to individual players. Customer service is also centralised.
What’s good about Aspire casinos?
With 3000 third party games to choose from, most Aspire casinos have an excellent selection of slot games.
The Live Casino area at Aspire casinos is powered by Evolution Gaming and is particularly well appointed, with many gameshow titles such as Deal or No Deal, Crazy Time and Mega Ball as well as a big selection of blackjack, roulette and baccarat tables.
The wagering requirements, at 35x, are low compared to some other casino networks.
Aspire’s approach to responsible gambling is informed by their experience as both an operator of their own sites and as a platform provider. They have a suite of responsible gambling tools including time limits, deposit limits, reality check and 24 hour cool off as well as the usual self exclusion facilities.
What’s not so good about Aspire casinos?
The promotions page at Aspire casinos is often out of date as they don’t seem to be very good at removing promotions which have expired.
There don’t seem to be many progressive jackpot slots.
Aspire casinos have a clause in their terms and conditions which says you are not eligible to claim a welcome bonus (whether it be casino or sports) if you’ve previously done so at any other Aspire casino. We’ve been given to understand that this is rarely enforced.
There are also various anti bonus abuse clauses which it’s advisable to read before starting to play, to ensure you don’t inadvertently fall foul of them. For example, betting more than £4 a spin or 50p a line while a bonus is active is not allowed.
There is an extremely long list of games that only contribute at 50% to wagering requirements including the vast majority of games you might actually want to play – you’ll basically be left with half a dozen older NetEnt games and a selection by Play’N’Go if you want to go for 100% games.