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What do you get when you take a contentious casino brand, back it with one of the largest companies in the industry, and mix in a little bit of controversy?
Well, you get 21 Nova Casino.
I am going to give you a very honest review of this casino and by the end not only will you have an understanding of what that first sentence means, but you’ll also know whether you should spend your money there.
About 21Nova Casino
21 Nova Casino started its life in the online casino world in 2006, when it was actually known as 32 Vegas. Unfortunately for the casino, another casino with a similar name decided that there were grounds for a lawsuit, and after a pretty messy battle, the name was changed to 21Nova.
Another change happened in 2009 when the casino was sold to the long-standing player in the UK gaming scene William Hill. With that kind of stability and legacy in the industry behind it, 21Nova was able to grow by leaps and bounds, but then some complaints started to come in regarding slow payouts and horrible bonus terms and conditions.
Despite this trouble, the casino continues to thrive, and they seem to have sorted out the payout issues they were facing a few years ago. The casino is licensed in Gibraltar and by the UK Gambling Commission; that is a good sign for players as they can rest assured that both these regulatory bodies are going to keep a close eye on the casino’s business practices.
Let’s take a closer look at the casino from all sides and see if we uncover anything else that may cause concern.
Who Can Play at 21Nova Casino?
Being licensed in the UK and Gibraltar has its advantages for players when it comes to the security of their deposits and the gameplay. However, it usually comes along with restrictions on what countries are allowed to play for real money. This is definitely true of 21Nova; below is a list of the restricted countries:
- American Samoa
- Central African Republic
- Christmas Island
- Côte d’Ivoire
- Equatorial Guinea
- French Guiana
- French Polynesia
- French Southern Territories
- Hong Kong
- Myanmar [Burma]
- Netherlands Antilles
- North Korea
- Palestinian Territories
- Puerto Rico
- Saudi Arabia
- Solomon Islands
- South Africa
- S. Virgin Islands
- United Arab Emirates
- United States
With William Hill as the back company for 21Nova Casino, the company had their pick of which software supplier they wanted to use as a partner. They are a long time client of Playtech’s platform. I could not be happier about this; the folks at Playtech have built the best casino package on the market, and they continue to push the envelope when it comes to both front-end development and back-end reporting.
The Playtech games are available via both a downloadable casino client and through your computer’s browser. I was a bit surprised to find that 21Nova does not have a mobile app for you to download, even in countries like the UK. Perhaps this is something they are planning for a future release. For now, if you want to play their casino games on your phone or tablet, then you can do so again through the instant play browser games. The Playtech games have all been modified to work well on whatever size device you are using.
The Good Stuff
We will go into more detail about this during the Games review, but the fact of the matter is Playtech has some of the best game graphics in the business. On top of that, they did a content deal to acquire exclusive distribution rights to many of the entertainment brands you will know and love. The result is an excellent array of content for the 21Nova players.
Jackpots (and lots of them)
21Nova has tied themselves into the Playtech Network progressive jackpot games, which means that many of their slots games feature a bonus that can be won if your spin of the reels reveals the winning symbols! I like the fact that the casino features these jackpots prominently on their home page; they have a tote board which updates the total amount of jackpots in real time. At the time of writing this review, 21Nova players have access to over 8 million GBP of jackpots!
The Bad Stuff
I have done a lot of research into the player complaints that have occurred over the years. While there are some minor complaints with regards to slow paying and such, the larger issue came from a jackpot that wasn’t paid.
In 2009 at one of the sister sites, Joyland, a player won a $4.1 million progressive, which Playtech paid to the operator. The casino then decided to enforce some of their ridiculous Terms and Conditions on the player, dragging it out until the player finally gave in and accepted an offer of $2.3 million. To me this is absolutely unacceptable; this is a network progressive which was paid to the casino in full, so they basically kept half of it for themselves.
Now, as this happened around the same time as William Hill was acquiring the group, it’s hard to say how much they were involved. IN any case, since that time there haven’t been too many complaints, and I imagine the company is being monitored very closely by regulatory boards as a result of this past indiscretion.
No Tournaments or Leaderboard promotions
I will admit I am a bit surprised that the folks at 21Nova haven’t added any of these types of promotions. Tournaments and leaderboard-style promotions are great for creating loyalty and getting players to log in more often. Right now the casino seems more focused on their deposit bonuses, which I understand, but as someone who usually makes a very large initial deposit, I need more to motivate me. Tournaments are also an excellent way to get players to try new games that they may not have played before. I am hopeful that this is something the casino is working on and that we’ll see some new promos coming soon.
When I review an online casino, the first thing I do after making a deposit is head right to the video poker section of the lobby. I am a legitimate video poker junkie; I love playing the game and have many times gotten lost in a session that can last many hours.
The Playtech video poker offering features 8 variants of the game, many of which feature being able to play a multi-hand version:
- Two Way Royal
- Jacks or Better
- All American
- Pick ‘Em Poker
- Deuces Wild
- Jokers Poker
- Tens or Better
- Mega Jacks
- Aces and Faces
Slots games are where the quality of the Playtech development team really shines. Not only are the detailed graphics on display in each of these slot machines, but the gameplay is fantastic, and the bonus games are very well designed. Here is a sampling of the games you will find in the slots lobby at 21Nova:
- Ace Ventura: Pet Detective
- Adventures in Wonderland
- Age of the Gods
- Britain’s Got Talent Star Struck
- Buffalo Blitz
- Cowboys & Aliens
- Funky Fruits Farm
- Funky Monkey
- Jackpot Giant
- Jekyll & Hyde
- Juicy Booty
- Jungle Boogie
- Jungle Trouble
- Little Britain
- Marilyn Monroe
- Monty Python’s Life of Brian
- Monty Python’s Spamalot!
- Party Line
- Penguin Vacation
- Perfect Planet
- Pharaoh’s Secrets
- Piggies and The Wolf
- Pink Panther
- Plenty O Fortune
- Purple Hot
- Queen of the Pyramids
- Queen of Wands
- Rock ‘n’ Roller
- Rome & Glory
- Safari Heat
- Sun Wukong
- Sweet Party
- The Six Million Dollar Man
- The Three Musketeers and The Queen’s Diamonds
- The Winnings of OZ
- Thrill Seekers
- Top Gun
- Top Trumps: Football Legends
- Top Trumps: World Football Stars
- Top Trumps Celebs
- Tres Amigos
- Triple Profits
- Wu Long
- Yu Huang Da Di – Jade Emperor
- Zhao Cai Jin Bao Jackpot
The Table Games at 21Nova have something for both the novice and experienced players. I am a very experienced Blackjack player, preferring to play the traditional version of the game. However, sometimes I like to switch it up, and when I am playing at a Playtech-powered casino, I tend to veer towards BlackJack Switch. If you haven’t played this game before, I would recommend you give it a try; the ability to switch out your cards makes the gameplay much more intriguing than the standard rules.
Here’s a list of the Table Games you can play at 21Nova:
- Casino War
- Red Dog
- Pai Gow Poker
- Single Deck Blackjack
- Caribbean Poker
- Sic Bo
- Around the World
- Blackjack Switch
- Casino Hold ‘Em
- Let Them Ride
- Poker Three
- Tequila Poker
- Blackjack Surrender
- Blackjack/American Blackjack/Perfect Blackjack
- Blackjack Pro
- Double Attack Blackjack
- Lucky Blackjack
Live Dealer Casino
21Nova offers a Live Dealer option for many of the traditional table games. If you haven’t tried Live Dealer game,s you really should; the experience is much “warmer” with a real dealer on the other end of the wire, and the gameplay is much closer to the speed you will find in a land-based casino.
Playtech have built their own Live Dealer studio for their licensees, and you can play the following games at 21Nova:
- Casino Hold’em
- 3D Roulette
For those of you who like games with more of an arcade-like feel to them, 21Nova offers a dozen or so Specialty Games. Take a crack at some of these skill-based games in which you could win some real cash!
- Penalty Shootout
- Wheel of Light
- Casino Reels
- Final Score
- Genie’s Hi Lo
- Wild Viking
- Rock Paper Scissors
- Roller Coaster Dice
- Mega Ball
- Derby Day Horse Racing
- Dice Twister
- Heads or Tails
- Jackpot Darts
- Bonus Bowling
With 21Nova Casino being owned by William Hill, you won’t be surprised at all to discover that you can indeed make all your sports bets from your 21Nova account. What may cause some confusion (as it did for this reviewer) is how they display that fact. As I was reviewing the site originally from Canada, I was redirected to a 21Nova site (21nova.com/ca) that did not advertise any sports betting at all. However, if I purposely went to www.21novacasino.com, there is a link to the sportsbook.
Within the Sportsbook, I found the ability to bet on many of the major sports around the world. I was surprised to see that many of the fringe sports do not have links via the site; perhaps it is an oversight but there isn’t even an “Other Sports” link from the main betting menu. Here are the sports that are listed:
- Rugby League
- Rugby Union
- Motor Sports
Also shocking is a lack of eSports betting options. Again, perhaps the menu is only updated with sports that are actually have activity, but if that is the case then this is a poor way to display that information. With eSports on the rise, I suspect we will see a link to betting options on 21Nova’s site in short order.
The 21Nova Sports section also has a series of sportsbetting-specific promotions. Many of these promotions involve insurance for your bets if something happens during a match, etc. You can find all the promotions via this link.
If you fancy a game of bingo while you are playing casino games at 21Nova, the company also allows you to use your account to play in the William Hill Bingo Network. That is advantageous for two reasons: first, you don’t have to create another account and make another initial deposit. Also, you are part of a larger pool of players by having the two databases merged; this means larger bingo jackpots and more game selection for you.
I am personally not a huge bingo player, but if I were to play, I would pre-purchase an hour or two’s worth of cards and just let them autodab while I am playing Blackjack. When I come back, hopefully I have hit a winner or two!
21Nova follows the same methodology for their bonuses as many casinos do; start you off with an attractive Welcome Bonus, and then a series of ongoing bonuses designed to keep you loyal and to motivate you to be a regular depositing player. Let’s look at some of their current promotions:
The 21Nova Casino Welcome Bonus package is very attractive and quite realistic. For your first deposit, the casino is offering a 320% match bonus to a maximum of $320. That is an excellent return on your deposit; it is much higher than many of their competitors. Also, the amount isn’t so outrageous; capping it at $320 means that you don’t have to make a massive deposit to take full advantage of the offer.
The wagering requirement for this bonus is 12x the total of the deposit and the bonus, which is very competitive. The casino also weights how much bonuses are cleared per game. Here is the breakdown:
|Game Category||Stake % Contribution|
|Slots (excluding Wild Gambler, Wild Gambler 2: Arctic Adventure, Football Rules; these games will count as 25% contribution)||100%|
|Pai Gow, Red Dog, Let It Ride||25%|
|Blackjack (excluding Blackjack Switch & Pontoon)||20%|
|Craps, Sic Bo||20%|
|Blackjack Switch, Pontoon||5%|
|Lucky Wheel (Spin to Win)||5%|
|All double options on slots & Video Poker||20%|
|All Other Games||100%|
I like to see that some of the games I like to play like Blackjack and Baccarat still contribute to the bonus clearing; many casinos exclude table games altogether.
Second Deposit Bonus
If you need to make a second deposit (I hope you don’t!), then the casino comes right back with a nice bonus for you as well.
Receive a 60% bonus up to $500 on your second deposit. The same wagering requirements as the first deposit bonus must be met.
Extra Incentive for certain payment methods
This is the kind of promotion I like to see at a casino. I am fully aware that the processing rates vary from processor to processor; usually, credit card transactions cost the casino more money than those from a third party.
It is in the casino’s best interest financially to pay as little in processing costs as possible. Therefore, giving you a little something extra to use one of their cheaper methods makes total sense. At 21Nova, if you make certain deposits, you can earn between 10 and 15% in extra bonuses.
- 15% Extra bonus when depositing with:
- Neteller, PayPal, Paysafecard, Skrill, EcoAccount, Instadebit, WebMoney and Fast Bank Transfer.
- 10% Extra bonus when depositing with:
- Visa, MasterCard, Maestro Card, Visa Electron, EntroPay Card.
21Nova has many types of payment options for their players, ranging from credit and debit cards to many of the European-based third party payment processors. The withdrawal times and limits are comparable to other online casinos, and depending on which method you choose your payment could be expedited. One extra bonus for players in the UK is that you can make deposits and withdrawals from any of their William Hill betting shops.
- Wire Transfer
- Paysafe Card
- Diners Club International
- Todito Cash
- AstroPay Card
- Yandex Money
- William Hill cashdirect
- Wire transfer
- ECO Card
The 21Nova Casino uses the standard Playtech calculation for administering their Comp Program. As you gamble for real money, you receive points for every dollar you wager (different for each game). When you reach 1,000 points, you can redeem those points for $1. You can get an accelerated rate of accumulating points as you move into higher levels of their VIP program.
21Nova has a VIP Club for their players, sadly there is no information on how to attain VIP status on their website. I hate this kind of marketing. It is entirely too vague and subjective; this isn’t providing me with any motivation to reach an accelerated rate of play. I want to know the details of the plan as soon as I get to the site. Here is all the information I could find on their website (which itself needed some extra digging) on the program:
Get the VIP Treatment You Deserve at 21Nova Casino!
At 21Nova Casino, we enjoy rewarding our most loyal players with a wealth of special services through our invitation-only VIP Club. With exclusive promotions, exceptional treatment and specialized personal attention,
VIP Club members benefit from a vast range of services that include:
- Personal Account Managers providing red-carpet attention
- Select promotions, bonuses and special prizes
- Higher betting privileges
- Faster withdrawals
- Special events exclusively for VIPs
- Higher comp points conversion rate
To receive your invitation into 21Nova Casino’s VIP Club, keep playing and earning Comp Points; the more you have, the closer you get to club membership.
Discover the joys of being part of the VIP Club and get the 5-star treatment you deserve!
Customer Service at 21Nova is excellent, and this is no surprise. The William Hill Group have always had a focus on providing their players with efficient problem-solving, and players at this casino can access the Customer Service department via a toll-free telephone line or by email. The casino also has a Live Chat feature, but you have to have an account to access it through the casino lobby.
Would I Play at 21Nova Casino?
Yes, I know that the group had some shady past behavior, specifically with regards to the Joyland jackpot that was not paid in full. That happened 8 years ago; I am a believer in redemption, so I am going to give the William Hill folks a chance to show me that they are a more transparent organization. I would put this casino in the middle of the pack in my overall casino rankings. I can recommend this to our readers, especially since they use the fantastic Playtech games. However, I would say that you may find a casino with better promotions out there. If you try this casino, we’d love to hear your feedback; shoot us an email with your comments.
This review was made by: LegitGamblingSites.com Rating: 3.7 out of 5