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Number of games: 250
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Founded in 2007, Prime Casino is one of the youngest Internet casinos operating today. Still, in just two short years it’s managed to introduce enough industry-standard amenities to earn it place on AceHoyle.com’s 10 Best Online Casinos list. Foremost of these noteworthy offerings is a Viper software package with stellar graphics and a 280-game virtual gambling library—something you can only find at Microgaming online casinos like Prime.
But that’s not to say Prime’s other perks aren’t equally compelling reasons to consider it when choosing between Internet casinos. Things like Prime’s allowing anyone to download its free casino software and its highly secure money handling might not seem like a huge deal. But taken together they’re sure to make Prime Casino a major contender in the coming years.
Prime Casino’s Game SelectionThe main reason Prime Casino has become one of the best online casinos so quickly is that—like all Microgaming online casinos—its free casino software package offers over 280 of the most captivating games in the industry. This strength can’t be overestimated because when you’re choosing between several online casinos fun should be the No. 1 thing you look for.
In our own round of play testing, Prime scored highly for games like “Tomb Raider: Secret of the Sword” and “Hitman.” The Tomb Raider game, in particular, grabbed our attention when we calculated its average hourly payout rate at about 112.96 percent. That means over time we were actually able to win some of this online gambling casinos money. Better still, we here at AceHoyle.com got to walk around the office all day saying things like “Man, that Lara Croft slot is loose.” Now how many online slot machine games offer that?
Of course, we based our calculations for Prime’s “Tomb Raider: Secret of the Sword” on a $10000 play-money bankroll and played max bet every spin for only three hours (or 1200 spins). So we can’t really vouch for how loose the real-money version is; often enough, online casinos win over real-money players by upping the payout rates on play-money versions while leaving the real-money games’ rates lower. And since we couldn’t talk our accounting department into letting us risk ten thousand big ones, we have no clue whether this is the case at Prime.
Prime Casino’s Bonuses and CompsAs for player-rewards programs, Prime likes to advertise itself as one of the few Internet casinos to offer both bonuses and comps. But while this is entirely true it doesn’t mean players receive more money with Prime than with other online gambling casinos. In fact, they likely receive a little less.
The way this works is that Prime’s bonuses are among the lowest on our 10 Best Online Casinos list. Its $50, $100 and $150 first-deposit matching bonuses add up to only 10 percent of what Casino Tropez offers. And their terms and conditions require you play through 30 times the sum of your bonus and deposit before you can withdraw any winnings
Supposedly to bridge the gap, Prime offers its “Loyalty Club” comps program. Basically, Prime enrolls all its new players in the program and automatically credits their accounts with 500 “club points.” Then, for every 10 units of currency a player wagers he receives one club point.
Because a player has to accumulate 1000 club points before he can redeem them—and in redeeming them only receives 10 units of his chosen currency—Prime’s Loyalty Club is a bit of a trap. You see, albeit you only have to wager $10000 for every $10 you receive, you’re still not receiving much in return. For example, in trying to unlock your first-deposit bonuses you’ll have to wager $3000, then $6000, then $9,000, for a grand total of $18,000. If you only wager exactly that and add in your 500 introductory club points you’ll turn over a total of $20 in free Loyalty Club money.
Add that to your $300 in bonus money and you’re still only left with a measly $320—a pittance compared to what other sites offer.Of course, that’s not the whole story because the folks who put together Prime’s player-rewards program are some tricky critters: In addition to the Loyalty Club’s basic rules they also created a tier system that mimics the comps clubs many brick-and-mortar casinos offer.
According to this system, a player can receive a percentage match of his club points for moving up the proverbial ladder. If he earns between 2,500 and 4,999 club points ($2,5000-$4,9990 in wagers) he’ll receive a 10 percent match; for earning between 5,000 and 9,999 club points ($50,000-$99,990 in wagers) he’ll receive a 20 percent match; and for earning 10,000 or more club points ($10,0000 or more in wagers) he’ll receive a 40 percent match.
To be fair, Prime does offer additional matches for players who don’t redeem their points so that for saving 10,000 credits you receive an extra $20 worth of club points. But work that out, and you’re still basically risking 10 percent of $1 million to receive an assured $480. If you think that’s a sweet business proposition, maybe you don’t deserve your $100,000. But, then again, who are we—or Prime Casino—to tell you how to spend your money.
Final VerdictLike all Microgaming online casinos the fun factor of Prime Casino’s virtual gambling games has done quite a bit to push it to the fore. That plus the fact that it allows U.S. players to play its free casino software for play money and the fact that—like all Microgaming online casinos—its transactions are über secure make it a natural for a spot on AceHoyle.com’s 10 Best Online Casinos list.
And yet our biggest problem with the site is its player-rewards program. Offering more bonuses, after all, doesn’t equal offering more bonus money. And compared to those of other online casinos that regularly win spots on our 10 Best Online Casinos list, Prime’s rewards are pretty sad. Should this in itself be enough to bust Prime down a few spots? In our opinion, yes – especially when online gambling casinos like Casino Tropez, 888.com and Europa Casino offer similarly impressive virtual gambling experiences and thousands in free cash.
Updated :Sat, 10/07/2010 - 6:06