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Independent Slot & Casino Sites

A collection of slot and casino sites on lesser known and proprietary platforms – ideal if you’re looking for an independent slot site as a change from the likes of Aspire, Jumpman or Progress Play.

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Independent Slot Sites & Casino Software Alternatives

Independent Casinos

What is an independent casino and why should you try one?  To understand what an independent casino is, let’s start with a bit about what it isn’t!

There are probably more than a thousand online casinos and slot sites operating in the UK, but this doesn’t result in as much choice for players as you might think.  That is because in 2024, network white label sites dominate the market.  We’re talking  Jumpman Slots, Grace Media, Progress Play  AspireDragonfish, Skill On Net and White Hat Gaming.  Jumpman for example have around 250 domain names registered with the Gambling Commission and even though not all of them are active, that’s an awful lot of slot sites that are basically all the same as each other!

In a white label network like these, all of the sites operate under the same licence and have the same terms and conditions, and much of the management is done centrally even though they may all have different brand owners.  This means that if there’s something you don’t like about one site, there’s very little point trying a different site on the same network as you will almost certainly encounter exactly the same problem again.

Don’t like any of these networks of white label sites?  You need an independent casino!

Independent casinos have their own licence, their own terms and conditions, their own customer service arrangements and sometimes their own exclusive games. Truly independent slot sites that don’t share a platform with any other sites are pretty rare, however, and that’s because the operators of SUCCESSFUL independent casinos rarely stop at just one casino.

Small networks of house owned sites are essentially what happens when an independent operator decides to open more casinos.  L&L Europe for example are what you’d call a medium sized independent; they have 9 UK facing casinos and although they did experiment with a white label arrangement for one (Hyper Casino) all of the rest of their brands are in house.  Some very big operators including Gamesys (aka Bally’s) and Entain also fall into this category as they have their own proprietary platform, many exclusive games and a licence that covers all of their sites.  Gamesys for example started more than 20 years ago with just one site Jackpotjoy – in 2024, they have 6 UK brands (and more internationally).

Apart from the obvious of trying to get away from a casino platform or licence you’ve had a bad experience with, what are the benefits of independent slot sites and house owned networks?

Quite a few actually!

Advantages of Independent Casinos

Disadvantages of Independent Casinos

Advantages of Independent Casinos

Exclusive Games

An independent slot site won’t necessarily have different games to a skin site; unless the platform provider also writes their own games all of the slots will be sourced from external providers and for the most part, everyone uses the same ones – NetEnt, Light & Wonder, Play’n’Go, Microgaming, Pragmatic Play etc.  The differences arise when:

  1. An operator writes most or all of their own games, as seen at the now defunct Intouch group of sites.  You can’t get much more independent than that!  Intouch didn’t even have all the same games at all of their sites – each site had a different selection.
  2. An operator writes some of their own games and doesn’t let them be used on other sites.  Gamesys are a prime example of this; titles such as Double Bubble, Wonderland and Secrets of the Phoenix can only be played at Gamesys sites like Rainbow Riches Casino but they also feature games from NetEnt, Microgaming, Novomatic, Evolution and many others.  MrQ and Winomania also write some of their own games.
  3. An operator or platform provider showcases games from an external provider that are not commonly found at UK sites.  For example, L&L Europe sites such as Fun Casino have slot games by Amatic and Nolimit as well as a large selection of more familiar titles by Play ‘n’Go, SG, Blueprint, Microgaming, Net Ent etc.

Slot Games Return To Player

These days many slot games no longer have a fixed Return To Player, but are instead set up so the RTP can be selected from a range of possibilities by the casino (or, in the case of white label networks, by the casino platform provider).  To find out what it is, you need to check the in-game help files before you play.

It’s not just new releases either – some extremely popular games including Starburst, Sweet Bonanza and 9 Masks of Fire have been re-engineered to work in this way and can now have different Return To Player depending on where you play them.  Perhaps the most shocking example is Book of Dead; in 2024 this perennially popular game is available to play at award winning independent MrQ with its original RTP of 96.21%, but at one well known network of skins the very same game has RTP of just 87.25% and at two others, just 91.25%. 

You can find more information about variable RTP on our best payout casinos page.

Player Promotions

At most networks of skins exactly the same promotions run at every site (yes Jumpman, I’m looking at you and your monthly prize draw with just one prize across all of those dozens of brands!).  Trying out a casino or slot site on a different platform lets players sample innovative promotions like the daily free games at Gamesys sites and the tournaments at Videoslots, maximising entertainment value.  And in the case of something like a leaderboard or prize draw at an independent casino, you’ll be competing against far fewer other players than on a white label network site.

Terms & Conditions

The underlying terms and conditions are normally the same at every site on a network of skins even if the welcome offer differs. Which games can and can’t be played with bonus, wagering requirements, bonus expiry, payment methods, fees and withdrawal processing times are just some of the things that are generally the same at every site on the same casino software platform.

As networks of skins all operate under the same licence, any Gambling Commission sanctions (such as the rather draconian affordability checks that were in force at Grace Media sites in 2022) will also apply to the entire network so again, the only way to avoid them is to find somewhere with a different licence to play at.

An independent casino or slot site on a proprietary platform will have its own terms and conditions.

Customer Service

It’s common with networks of skins for the customer service to be handled centrally, so if you’ve had a poor experience with customer service at a slot site that’s part of one of these networks and want to find a new place to play, another site on the same platform isn’t going to cut it.  At an independent slot site, you’re definitely not going to end up having to deal with the same team again and you’re very likely to get a more personal service.

Cutting out the middleman

White label sites are a bit like franchises.  The owner of the site wants a cut and so does the platform provider and this means that inevitably, players are going to get squeezed to extract two sets of profits instead of just one.  This could come out in the form of few and/or substandard player promotions at the skin sites or – as we have already seen – in the form of lower Return to Player on slot games.

It’s possible that the UK Gambling Act Review will put further restrictions on white label sites which will very likely lead to players being squeezed even more.  The White Paper which was published in April 2023 includes this passage:

‘White label’ describes a commercial arrangement whereby a licensee offers remote gambling under a brand provided by a third party which does not itself hold a remote gambling licence. While the risks are not fundamental to such arrangements and licensees are rightly held to account, there have been examples of non-compliance associated with these arrangements. The Gambling Commission will consolidate and reinforce expectations for operators on contracting with third parties, including white labels.

Play at an independent casino and you’ll be dealing directly with the operator.

Disadvantages of Independent Casinos

Fewer Games

Some independent slot sites have a smaller range of games than white label network sites, as bigger organisations are generally in a better position to negotiate with games providers.

Less Choice Of Payment Methods

Independent casinos also tend to have a smaller range of deposit methods.  This could be down to negotiating power or simply not having the resources to manage lots of different payment options.

Security

Smaller operators, historically, have been more likely to go out of business and may have a lower standard of funds protection so if they do shut down and you have money in your account you may not necessarily get it all back (to avoid this look for slot sites with medium or high funds protection; you can find this information in all our reviews).  When a white label shuts down, on the other hand, the network licence holder will return your funds (and possibly invite you to sign up at another site on the same network).

Stability

Independents are also more likely to stop operating in the UK and concentrate on other markets with less regulation to worry about. Over the last couple of years Novibet, Fansbet and Energy Casino have all decided to exit the UK market, while others have been pushed.  BGO and Genesis Global are examples of independents that eventually ceased trading after having licensing issues with the Gambling Commission. They weren’t tiny independents either – BGO had 5 casino brands and Genesis had 15.

Rogue Casinos

If you aren’t careful when searching for independent casinos, you might inadvertently sign up at one that isn’t licensed in the UK (needless to say you won’t find any of these on Best New Bingo Sites!).  Unlicensed casinos have NO player protection and there’s NO redress if you are unable to withdraw winnings.

You can avoid illegal offshore casinos very easily, though, with one simple precaution; all UK licensed online casinos are required to have a Gambling Commission logo or link in the footer of their website which links to their register entry at the Gambling Commission.  We make it even easier to check by including the UK licence reference number and link to the Gambling Commission register entry in all our reviews.

Independent Casinos – The Future

Independent slot sites are extremely popular with our users because they offer an appealing and genuine alternative to the large casino networks.  There’s clearly a place in the UK market for them.  The more stringent UK gambling regulation gets, however, the higher the barrier to entrance becomes for new licensees – so depending on how the post White Paper consultations that are currently taking place work out, we may see fewer brand new independent casinos than we have in the past.

Sue Dawson
Head of Content

Sue Dawson has been writing about (and playing) online bingo and slots since 2013, putting her unique spin on everything.  She has written pieces for iGaming industry news sites, appeared on panels at industry events and on podcasts, helped to judge industry awards and is a member of industry think tank Ampersand Plus.

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