It is this fusion of elements that will provide the focus of this Carbon Gaming review. When an operator starts off with a single stream operation, whether it be sportsbook, casino, or in this case poker, the other elements can look like they have been bolted on and can seem like a bit of an afterthought.
The question for this review was to find out if this was the case here, and you can find out what we discovered when you read the rest of this Carbon Gaming review.
However, before we get started, we need to look at a few key points in the Carbon Gaming journey:
- 2004: Poker.com is launched
- 2007: Re-branded as Carbon poker
- 05/07/2021: Carbon poker becomes Carbon Gaming
- 12/07/2021: PlayersBest test the experience at Carbon gaming
The first question that this Carbon Gaming review needs to answer is: what is offered by the four different areas of this operator’s site? So, what we needed to do was to take a quick overview of each part individually to see if they compare favorably with what we have found in our other online gambling site reviews, or if they were poor additions that you really should avoid.
Carbon Gaming Sportsbook overview
It starts quite well. The sportsbook area looks very much as you would expect a sportsbook to look, with the sports listed on the left-hand side of the screen, like the one in this William Hill review. Then, moving right as you select the event and market, with the resultant bet appearing on the lip in the top right-hand corner of the screen. While this is comfortingly familiar, it does look very generic and doesn’t appear to have any real focus.
We’ll look later in more detail at the sports, markets, and bet types on offer a little later and see if this is more than just a convenient add-on.
A similar functionality seems to have been adopted for the casino area of the site which will come as a surprise to anyone who was expecting the same layout they would find at most other online casinos. Whereas you would normally see a range of games and select either one or a category from the menu at the top, here the categories are on the left like the sportsbook, and you select games from there.
We’ll further look at what is in each of these categories a little later on, but this is one area that might not have been designed with the right amount of thought.
A quick look at the racebook
This trend carries on in this part of the site as well, with races in the UK and the larger events in the US covered, but you do get the impression that the operator might not know what to do with this section of their site.
Poker looks to be the main focus
This might all be irrelevant, however, as it seems most people will be coming for the poker, and this section has everything an online poker player could want. This area of the site, which will be covered in more depth later on, looks like the focus of the operation and even a casual observer will notice this is where the operator’s expertise lies.
A range of bonuses are available
The bonuses on offer look to change regularly, but the first ones we found while taking a look at Carbon betting gave anyone making their first deposit on slots a 50% bonus match on up to $250. This comes with a 35x rollover requirement, which is the same for the sportsbook bonus, but the offer is a more generous 100% match on $500.
Again, poker seems to be the main focus with a bonus for deposits up to $1000, and while this doesn’t feature among the best offers we have seen (and certainly not as impressive as you’d get with a Resorts promo code), it could be replaced with a superior offer shortly, and if you are tempted – double check the T&Cs before signing up.
So far then, this Carbon Gaming review has found some outstanding areas and others that are more generic. Before you can look at any of these in greater detail, however, you will need to register.
There are certainly no surprises here and if you’ve signed up for anything online before this will pose no problems for you. There seems to be little in the way of verification at this point, however, we should mention that you will need to provide the usual identification before you can withdraw any funds.
Withdrawals, of course, are a little further down the line and you will need to make a deposit before you can play anything on the site for real money. There are limited options of credit card and e-wallet, with the cryptocurrency option allowable only to non-US and Canadian members.
There is a minimum deposit of $50 for credit cards, but to take full advantage of the bonuses we discussed earlier you would do better to deposit a bit more than that. If you choose to deposit Bitcoin from your e-wallet, you only have to start with the equivalent of $5, however, you probably wouldn’t want to go as high as the maximum limit of $10,000.
As mentioned above, you cannot make a withdrawal until you have verified yourself by providing the usual documentation. You may already be familiar with this process, but people opening an account for the first time will need to show a government-issued ID such as a passport or driving license. This might have to be backed by a recent domestic bill, mortgage, or tax statement, usually from within the last 3-6 months.
You can’t blame Carbon Gaming here, as this process is almost universal, so would have to be done wherever you opened an account. Once it is done, however, Carbon Gambling will email a pin which you can then enter on your account page, so you can withdraw funds via your preferred payment method
Carbon Gaming on mobile
While you will find poker, sportsbook, casino, and horses at Carbon Gaming, one of the things you won’t find is a mobile app. When we see this while carrying out a review, it can be for one of two reasons. The first is that the operator simply hasn’t bothered, and you have to try and navigate a site made for desktop on mobile which is far from ideal.
The second option is where the operator has created an interface for mobile which can make the need for an app unnecessary. This also bypasses any possible problems with users being able to access or having to ‘sideload’ an app which is generally frowned upon by the powers at both Android and iOS.
Looking at what we have seen during this Carbon Gaming review, this operator falls very much in the second camp, with mobile use every bit as easy as navigating the site on desktop and maybe part of the reason behind the unusual casino design we may have been unfairly critical of earlier.
While we were taking a closer look at the website, however, we did have questions regarding the domain name. Normally the operators we look at will be a .com – however, Carbon Gaming has a .ag domain. Despite everything else we’d seen, the first thing that occurred was to ask is Carbon Gaming is legit?
This is probably because we were unfamiliar with the operator (after all, we would never ask the question ‘is Betstars legit?’ If their domain ended .ag) but we had to check it out anyway. A quick online search found that this meant the site was registered in Antigua and Barbuda which is not commonplace for a site to be registered but it did not set off any more alarm bells.
Looking at what we have seen so far, what we had on our hands was a pretty standard operation with just the slight ups and downs (good mobile design as a plus, poor bonuses as a negative). What we needed to look at next, was to see if Carbon Gaming had anything that was innovative, or made it stand out from the crowd.
With the rise in live or ‘in-play betting within the last couple of years, this is normally a good place to start. As this (along with esports, which we’ll look at in a moment) is a fast-growing area, any operator that is serious about their future would be looking to have a strong presence with live betting.
With around half the betting on many sporting events now taking place after it has started, having the structure in place to cope with this demand is something an operator needs to get right. From what we have seen here, while the live betting element at Carbon Gaming is quite strong, it is still a work in progress.
Much of the focus seems to be not on NFL or NBA or any other sports close to home but on European soccer, which means that the site could benefit from upgrading in this area. You’ll be able to see when this happens though, as a greater number of events will be displayed when you click on the ‘live betting’ tab on the left-hand sportsbook menu, straight below the cash out a parlay bet buttons.
Unfortunately, there is currently not the same focus on esports, which is another expanding area of sportsbook betting. This currently just sits much lower on that same menu, between politics and table tennis, which is a further indication that this operator is not quite sure what they are doing in this area just yet.
Another area that appears to be a work in progress is the social media presence. While there are a few left-overs from their days as Carbon poker, not much appears to be going on for the last 5 years. This is confusing, as the obvious expansion that this operator has made in that time could have only benefited from the fanfare that a social media presence brings.
There also seems to be very little feedback about this operator on those platforms, and with there being obvious name clashes with other companies of the same name (perhaps a reason for the odd domain?) it seems that users of this service are not talking about it here.
Mobile poker room
Carbon Gaming customers are using their mobile devices for something though, and it’s probably this. While the mobile interface for the suite was rightly praised earlier, the real focus of it was, as you might expect, poker. The poker room is designed for an on-the-go poker experience, and this is where the expertise of the operator is shown. You can access Texas hold-em and Omaha cash games, ‘sit and go’s and tournaments. If there is any part of the site that the rest seem to orbit around, it is this – and it makes the operator’s overall approach much easier to understand.
Help and support
There is also a focus here on betting trends, which doesn’t really do the job of an FAQ section by any means but is a useful tool to those starting out or with a continuing interest in the betting world. There is a ‘help’ option that does take you to a FAQ section of sorts, but the process is a very circular one that many people might find frustrating.
Support is almost entirely focussed on email, which does mean there is 24hr help, but it might not have the same immediate results as live chat or pick up a phone.