Grand Reef Casino Review
Grand Reef Casino is an online casino established in 2010 with games supplied by Playtech. It is operated by Rand Logic Gaming N.V. and is registered under the jurisdiction of Curaçao. Last updated: March 2, 2014.
Review of Grand Reef Casino
Billing itself as "Australia and New Zealand's #1 online casino", Grand Reef Casino is a downloadable casino that boasts a full complement of Playtech games, access to the networked Playtech progressive jackpot pools, and a bunch of promotions and bonus offers for players to enjoy. Unfortunately it has earned a reputation for extremely slow withdrawal payments that are often strung out for months in small instalments.
Blacklisted due to owner's theft of jackpot winnings
The operators of this casino, Rand Logic Gaming, acquired two blacklisted casinos, African Palace and Indio Casino, from its former owners in 2011. African Palace was blacklisted by us due to the case of South African grandmother Marie Van Wyk who won an 8.5 million Rand jackpot (over US $1 million at the time) on the progressive game Beach Life. After an acrimonious bust up with the casino owners she only ended up receiving around a quarter of her winnings. Even intervention by South African television news program Carte Blanche could not get Ms Van Wyk her money. As you can read in our review of African Palace, we are now convinced that the new owners are merely the same ones using a different company name. Until such time as Ms Van Wyk is paid what she is owed, this casino will remain blacklisted.
Grand Reef, saying no to Aussie kitsch
Before you read any further bear in mind that I am an Aussie myself and the usual reaction I have when I see an Australian themed online casino is to laugh at how inappropriately the obviously non-Australian website editor has splashed the words "pokies", "down under", "g'day" and "mate" all over the website, not to mention stock photos of kangaroos and koalas. Its like they think we're all kangaroo riding Crocodile Dundees or something. In this respect Grand Reef is refreshingly restrained, and the website is simple, uncluttered, and straight to the point. Obviously the casino has styled itself on a Great Barrier Reef theme.
Pokies and Games at Grand Reef Casino
The Playtech games offered by Grand Reef are plentiful in both quantity and quality. Among the numerous poker machines (slots for the non-Aussies) available for play, the casino offers a full selection of Marvel comic games such as Blade, Hulk, X-Men, Fantastic Four, Elektra and more if you are so inclined. There are also a wide selection of progressive jackpot games which are tied into the Playtech-wide progressive jackpot pools. This means the jackpots grow as people from numerous different casinos contribute to them every day, and the big ones like Beach Life are often won in the millions (see below for a full list of current jackpots on offer). In addition, Grand Reef sports a bunch of traditional casino table games including various games of Blackjack, Video Poker, Roulette, Craps, Caribbean Stud as well as more exotic table and parlour games that you probably won't find at Crown Casino or Star City.
While I am comparing things to local casinos, a point worth mentioning is Grand Reef's payout percentage statistics. Each month the casino is audited by an independent company called Technical Systems Testing which is located in Canada and it publishes a report showing the exact payout percentages across the various games on the site. The average looks to be a shade over 95% which immediately tells you that your money should last longer here than at your average pub or RSL club where the pokies are usually set to pay back in the mid 80s. Chalk one up for online gaming.
So why would an Aussie or Kiwi play at Grand Reef?
Aside from the excellent games and deposit bonuses you are entitled to upon joining, Grand Reef has a few things that set it apart for locals. The casino supports play in both Australian and New Zealand dollars - something that will no doubt appeal to those of you becoming accustomed to the sharply diminishing value of the U.S. Dollar (peso?) which we are usually required to transact in. In addition the regularly run promotions have a distinctly local flavour - for example there have been Ashes Cricket, Australian Open, Waitangi Day, and Queensland Flood Relief Appeal promotions among many others.
On the operations side of things, toll free telephone support and local fax numbers are available in both Australia and New Zealand and the casino supports direct bank deposits from local banks using your "Pay Anyone" internet banking facility. The casino originally opened with an unlimited withdrawal policy, but this has since been changed to a maximum of $25,000 per month. However in practice we have found that the casino regularly attempts to pay players in weekly or monthly instalments of as little as $500 at a time. The money gets there in the end, but its a far cry from what is advertised on the website, and there is no way that they will pay you as frequently or in the amounts that they advertise. Just read the comments below if you need any further corroboration.
Initially we liked what was being offered here at Grand Reef, especially for Australian and New Zealand players. Local support numbers and deposit options are great, as are the regular promotions. However as you can see below in the comments on this page, many players are complaining of slow and irregular payments so it would be remiss of us not to warn prospective players of this problem. In addition our recent discovery that the owners of this casino have a history of defrauding a jackpot winner is more than enough reason for us to warn players to avoid this casino.