|Malta Gaming Authority, MGA/B2C/249/2013
Visiting the Europa Online Casino New Zealand you can’t help but feel like you’re stepping onto a continent … the digital playground variety. You tend to expect riches from any of the seven continents of the world, so why shouldn’t Aotearoa New Zealand gamblers have those expectations from Europa?
However, despite the baby blue-sky background, an Age of the Gods character’s image, standing next to a lion on a peak, and a modern spool of gemstones, the website comes across like it has got an eighth continent and wonder in the making. That is reflected in its welcome bonus of “100% up to $NZ100 plus $NZ2,400”. Smashing, right? It’s up there with the best online casino operators in New Zealand.
So why is the landing page making Kiwis feel like Europa Casino is slamming the door in their face? Despite an image of a reeling pokie (slot) machine, a revolving roulette wheel, and two “smoking” female croupiers in shimmering golden cocktail dresses promoting its live-dealer section, the Europa site has a minimalist look and feel about it.
The why will hit the New Zealanders straight away. The website has no drop-down windows or links to outline finer details that Kiwi players will want to pore over to decide if it’s their virtual sandpit. The opening subhead mentions “trusted online casino”, but there’s no reference to an independent watchdog, such as eCOGRA, to protect Kiwis’ interests. A quick scroll to the bottom of the page confirms the absence of eCOGRA’s stamp. However, some digging unearths evidence that Europa Casino employs the services of Gaming Laboratories International Europe BV to independently verify all its games for impartiality.
Kiwis, like anyone, want to know where they’re stepping onto, especially if they’re about to take a chance with their hard-earned cash. That means their index finger will hover over the golden “play” buttons, beneath the three images, that’ll take them straight to the registration details.
However, don’t let the confusing navigation throw you off your scent. It’s the seven golden phrases in the body of the blue text, in the form of hyperlinks, that’ll unveil the drop-down windows’ riches. You may find some of the hyperlinks offer a “404 Oops something went wrong” message. Try clicking any other golden hyperlink or give it a few minutes before returning to click. Once you find traction, select your options to explore.
Running the cursor over the image of any pokies, table, cards, or jackpot games will bring joy to New Zealanders that they can play demo versions of every game, before diving in. Still, struggling? Just click on the on-screen “Support/Help” widget for enlightenment.
Operating since 2004, Europa Casino has tried to keep up with the trend and latest innovations. Imperial e-Club Casinos Ltd owns Europa, which is waving licences from Malta Gaming Authority as well as the Antigua and Barbuda Financial Services Regulatory Commission.
Kiwis won’t need to blink on the pokies (slots) link. It isn’t an exhausting catalogue, but the Europa Casino boasts more than 400 pokie games. What may make you go “mmm” is that Playtech powers the online casino’s playground that provides online pokies, video pokies, table games, and jackpot variants. That, of course, doesn’t mean Europa Casino isn’t offering Kiwis enough choices.
Some of the games the online operator offers from the beaten track in the gambling industry include Asian-themed variations, arcade games, and online Keno, a Kiwi favourite. It offers a smorgasbord of themes — cartoons, ethnic (American Indian, Egyptian, Thai, etc), film, mythical, puzzles, seasonal, and sports, to name a few. Keep an eye out for that “exclusive” red label on the images. The progressive jackpot meters on individual pokies will put your heart through a wicked rollercoaster ride with the promise of jaw-dropping wins. However, Kiwis will be delighted to know they can bet from as little as NZ10 cents to a fistful of dollars.
Here is a blend of classic, exclusive, popular, and new titles that Europa Casino catalogues in its pokies library:
The card games at Europa Casino are partial towards online blackjack, with the odd online poker title and craps to break that monotony. Online roulette dictates the mood on the tables at the online casino with European, Asian, and horseracing variants. Just as New Zealanders would have done with pokies, they’ll be over the moon to learn that they can wager as little as NZ50 cents on most of the Europa Casino tables. Roulette will let them drop under that nominal sum but scale to the hundreds and thousands to feed their flutter.
Click on the “live” drop-down icon and Europa Casino will usher you to its virtual casino lounge. The catalogue is limited but the online operator offers variants, albeit roulette-heavy ones. The “Live Lobby” punctuates roulette with baccarat, blackjack, Sic Bo, and the TV game-show variety of wheels. What catches the eye, from the perspective of Indian immigrant fruit pickers — who used to hire vehicles from Hawke’s Bay to the brick-and-mortar SkyCity Casino in Auckland — is the “Hindi Roulette”, with a sari-clad croupier greeting gamblers.
For the record, the Europa Casino has established chat rules that make it abundantly clear that abusive rants against croupiers and fellow gamblers aren’t allowed. Furthermore, iGamers who adopt nicknames with “inappropriate” connotations also will be rejected.
The return-to-player (RTP) percentage (also known as payout percentage) hovers between the 95% to 97% mark at Europa Casino NZ. New Zealand gamblers are advised to look at the variations within a particular genre of games. For argument’s sake, pokies (slot machines) tend to float from one variation to another. Goblin’s Cave spearheads the leaders at 99.32% while Rocky enters the online casino ring at the 95% level. However, card/table games tend to have more forgiving payout percentages that gravitate towards the 100% threshold because the “house edge” (what the online operator pockets) is significantly smaller.
For the mathematically challenged, the RTPs can feel like sitting algebra exams. Don’t worry. We’ll break it down here for you. RTP is the result of comparing the money paid out from wins against the sum of cash wagered at any given online casino. At Europa Casino, for example, an average RTP of 97% comes with the understanding that for every $NZ100 a Kiwi gambler wagers, the online casino will fork out $NZ97 in winnings. However, it’s vital to note this is theoretical and doesn’t happen religiously.
To round it off, New Zealanders must not forget that the wagering requirement (playthrough) of 30x is non-negotiable when claiming pokie wins.
Kiwi players can be excused for scratching their heads on what Europa Casino’s intentions are in sticking to one major game provider. But they must never overlook the pedigree of Playtech Ltd as the sole provider for the online operator. Having started its operation from a humble gaming studio in 1999, Playtech today provides world-class services across the cyberspace of Aotearoa New Zealand, Australia, Europe, and the United Kingdom.
Taking its mark on the company motto of “Source of Success”, Playtech has mushroomed into an iGaming conglomerate that employs thousands of Digi-wizards to fine-tune its creations. Although its reputation as a pokie software developer is signposted in the gambling industry, Playtech is no slouch when it comes to delivering on the card/table and jackpot platforms. It has more than 20 branches scattered across the world and brandishes more than 100 global licences to bolster its brand. Basing its HQ in the Isle of Man (the UK), Playtech has been making key acquisitions, such as Ash Gaming and Quickspin, to signal its intentions as someone that is in the iGaming industry for the long haul.
Considering pokies are a staple diet for New Zealand gamblers, it’s not an easy feat to select Kiwi favourites. However, this horse racing-loving nation will have taken to Frankie Dettori’s Magic Seven and the ever-popular Jackpot Giant (a Glasgow librarian won €4.5 million from a €4 wager on a mobile device in 2016), not to mention the Age of Gods series’ wishing well that never stops giving exciting new variants. Mr Cashback aside, the Kiwis’ love affair with British comedy is apparent in the form of Monty Python’s Spamalot, and Life of Brian. It’s also a snapshot of the number of resident Britons who gamble in New Zealand.
Needless to say, Playtech’s pulling power extends to more glamorous studios. Its software developers aren’t afraid to rub shoulders with Universal Studios in the creation of Gladiator (starring Kiwi actor Russell Crowe as Maximus), King Kong, and Robocop games. Add the TV shows and films of HBO and MGM, as well as Playtech’s project with DC Comics to develop The Dark Night to prove its commitment to wagering New Zealanders.
This is the section that truly tests how much an online casino rewards its clientele for keeping faith in its custom. Europa Casino Online NZ ticks this box without any hesitation if Kiwis are hesitating before rapping their knuckles on its virtual door. All New Zealand iGamers are required to do is to open a real-money account to start accruing loyalty points.
Europa Casino’s VIP loyalty programme falls under a five-tier structure (plus bonus), with every level specifying guidelines that Kiwis need to meet before they’ll be entitled to privileges:
Club member: $NZ25
VIP Silver member: $NZ75
VIP Gold member: $NZ100
VIP Platinum member: $NZ150
VIP Diamond: $NZ250
The mantra is similar to that of other online casino rivals — the more you play, the higher you’ll be able to scramble up the rungs of the VIP scheme’s ladder. Europa Casino guarantees ongoing weekly bonuses that are over and above other bonuses.
The promotions at Europa Casino are second to none in terms of daily, weekly, and monthly bonuses, special inbox sweeteners, as well as exclusive deposit bonus perks. For instance, the online casino offers a daily free-spin hunt to search for up to 50 spins the following day, provided the Kiwi player makes a deposit of €20 (or equivalent) the day before.
Europa Casino’s Mystery Monday invites New Zealand iGamers to partake in selected games with a view to snaffle a mystery parcel that contains cash and free spins. Real money and spins are up for grabs from the Daily Leaderboard (you’ll need to be logged in as a real money player to access this hyperlink) promotion with nominal wagering amounts that Europa Casino assures won’t break the Kiwis’ bank balance.
Nothing bugs New Zealand gamblers on the move more than countless apps chewing up their data and juice. While Kiwis can dock on the Europa Casino site via desktop computers and laptops, it’s peace of mind to know the operator has dedicated apps for Android and iOS devices for mobile engagement. Having said that, it isn’t necessary for the iGamers to download because Playtech’s software makes it easy to find traction via the browser.
Nevertheless, should Kiwi gamblers want an app, they simply need to click on the download hyperlink to follow the instructions. Europa Casino provides another click point for the free software if it doesn’t do its thing automatically within a few minutes. The online casino emphasises its commitment to respecting and protecting players’ privacy on its website and software by using encryption technologies.
The mobile platform is compatible, snapping to a smaller portal’s viewer without losing its resolution or high-definition images and sounds. The razor-like graphics and robust animations provide instant gratification.
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The golden hyperlink on the Europa Casino website landing page is loud and clear. It says “24/7 SUPPORT”. But is it?
New Zealand gamblers will be disappointed to know that the online casino operator offers player contact with a support crew member between 6am and midnight, GMT. That translates to 6pm to midday, NZ standard time, and the seven-day interaction is spot on. Where it short circuits is that Kiwis can only chat with the affable customer service agents for 18 hours, not 24, so the online casino operator should amend that for credibility sake.
That said, the Gambling Readers’ Choice Awards had bestowed on Europa Casino the honour of “Best Online Customer Service” for three consecutive years (2012-14). It offers an international phone contact to Burundi. Clicking on the 24/7 golden hyperlink takes you to the "Help Centre". It’s one the most elaborate FAQs on any online operator’s websites in the New Zealand cyberspace.
New Zealand iGamers will find a green Support widget hovering at the bottom right corner on most Europa Casino website pages, in case they strike any potholes at the height of playing their favourite games.
If New Zealand players feel like a child struggling to mix and match in a lolly shop, then that’s understandable if you look at the deposit and withdrawal options Europa Casino offers its clients. The casino has a list of 53 options to deposit and an entire list of 15 to make withdrawals on the online casino operator’s website. In keeping with Europa Casino’s gold and navy-blue masthead colours, just click on the deposit and withdrawal buttons to see the business card-like displays.
Put in a nutshell, the payment method process is rapid, and doesn’t require the qualifications of a rocket scientist. However, in catering to numerous countries, the online casino operator has to make sure its payment providers possess a solid reputation, are efficient, and the website subscribes to tamper-proof encryption software.
Kiwis can rest assured Europa Casino has ticked all those boxes with a minimum $NZ10 limit and an open-ended maximum ceiling. Bank transfers, credit cards, debit cards, and e-Wallets are among its deposit options. However, New Zealanders must be mindful that while every one of them extends an instant-deposit service, only pre-paid card options offer the benefit of 10% to 15% of extra-deposit capacity. By the way, the “Qiwi Wallet” has no New Zealand flavour to it. It has Russian connections, based on a Visa pre-paid account. The minimum deposit is $NZ10 but if Kiwis activate bonuses, that amount will double to $NZ20.
Here are some of the 53 options more relevant to Kiwi gamblers:
We advise Kiwi gamblers to read Europa Casino’s elaborately laid-out terms & conditions before opting for any method. The iron-clad attitude the online casino operator adopts is to keep fraud at bay. For that reason it imposes a €20,000 ($NZ32,646 in currency exchange rate at the time of writing this) limit a month, demanding verification by sending the winner an email. Also, withdrawals take relatively longer than depositing because of the checks and balances. Note, e-Wallets are instant processes, but online banking options can vary from 1-3 days or 3-5, depending on which international payment provider New Zealand iGamers choose.
Nothing matches that glow when Kiwis are on the verge of claiming their windfall. Europa Casino makes it an idiot-proof ritual by putting a down-arrow six-step withdrawal process for elated Kiwis to follow to avoid drawing out their heightened excitement. It starts with the online casino operator’s cashier and ends with the confirmation of the withdrawal of winnings. The minimum withdrawal amount is $NZ20.
However, New Zealanders must note: “You can only withdraw using methods you have used to deposit with”. That is confusing because credit cards, such as MasterCard and Visa, are not in the withdrawal payment methods list, so it begs the question: “Why use them for deposits at all?”
Here are some of the 15 options more relevant to Kiwi gamblers:
Europa Casino doesn’t levy any withdrawal fees, but New Zealanders may find that the payment providers they use may do so, including exchange rate levies to convert to kiwi dollars. Every so often the online casino operator discloses that it’s offering extra bonuses to gamblers if they opt for a particular provider. It’s unclear whether Europa Casino will accommodate transactions during the weekends. They also can cancel withdrawals by following a five-step process, starting with a cashier and ending with a confirmation.
Copies of documents — including unexpired driving licence/passport, utility bill as proof of address, and bank statements — may be required to make withdrawals.
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