Golden Cherry Casino is a gambling website operated by Netad Management. The site uses Rival Gaming software. Golden Cherry opened for business in 2012 with a gaming license from the jurisdiction of Curacao. The site not only accepts American customers, it makes a point of marketing its product to them. English is not the only available language; support for French and Portuguese are built into the site’s design. The US dollar is the only accepted currency.
Pros and Cons
Golden Cherry is a perfect example of a casino website that I have mixed feelings about. The pros and cons are listed below, with more casino details further down.
Pros – If you’re an American looking for a place to gamble online, the fact that Golden Cherry targets the US market is a big pro. It’s also nice (for US players) that English is the native language the site uses, and that American money is the native currency. The site’s use of Rival software makes it a standout among US-facing casinos. I like Rival’s games – they’re better-looking than RTG and Microgaming, and their slot games involve a lot more variety. More on the games can be found in the software section of this review.
Cons – Licensure out of Curacao is not very reputable. You’ll find lots of poorly-written reviews online that make it seem like Curacao is extremely reputable because it is technically part of The Netherlands. Technically, that’s not true. Curacao is part of The Netherlands Antilles, and retains the right to run its own government.
That means Curacao licenses are handed out by The Netherlands Antilles and have nothing to do with the (likely more-stringent) parent nation. CasinoListings.com’s review of Curacao as a licensing authority says: “Despite what their seemingly strict requirements for obtaining a gaming license would indicate, Curaçao takes little interest in player/casino disputes or mediation. In fact, their official dispute resolution procedure consists of telling the player to sort it out directly with the casino!” [sic]
Of course this doesn’t mean that all casinos licensed out of Curacao take “little interest” in player disputes. So I looked into Golden Cherry’s customer service record on my own. What I found wasn’t pleasant. Let’s start with the fact that Golden Cherry is listed as a “No Can Do” site by Casinomeister. The “No Can Do” list is just one rung up from the “rogue casino” list. The specific reason for the site’s “No Can Do” status is its lack of communication regarding player complaints, most of which are financial in nature.
For example, this complaint of an extremely stalled payment, taken from a Casinomeister forum post. The poster complains that it took almost a full month to receive a payment the site promises to make “within ten days.” There are also some disturbing points made about withdrawal limits and the supposed re-depositing of withdrawals back into the player’s account.
I found more examples on other forums. This post from the GPWA.org forum contains reports of all kinds of customer complaints, mostly involving delayed payments. The Golden Cherry rep, while seemingly quite professional, is clearly under a lot of pressure. His posts as you read through the whole thread seem increasingly desperate. I don’t want to play at a casino where a member of the support staff is this harried by what should be easily-fixed complaints.
Concerns about licensing and payment processing aside, I have a few other nits with the site. As a sometime-mobile player, I prefer a true application rather than a mobile-oriented website. Golden Cherry has yet to release a mobile-specific app, and their mobile service suffers for it, with a smaller and less-attractive game library than would be available via download. I also am none-too-keen on their bonuses and promos; details on that later.
Golden Cherry Casino Games Available
Golden Cherry Casino’s library totals 160 games, all made by Rival Gaming. Rival has been in business for ten years. Over the past decade, I’ve played at or reviewed only about a dozen casinos that license their software. It’s a nice treat for a guy used to an endless parade of RTG-powered sites. Having said that, some 52 casinos currently host their games according to their website, so maybe it’s not all that much of a rarity.
Golden Cherry’s game library is broken up into seven categories:
- 3-Reel Slots
- Video Slots
- Video Poker
- Table Games
- Specialty Games
- Bingo Games
Below is a description of each category and notes on some of the games within those categories. Rival Gaming might produce some above-average games in terms of quality, but they have a few tricks up their sleeves in terms of payout percentages.
The current roster of Rival-designed i-Slots at this site includes twenty-one games. i-Slots are among the best-reviewed titles in Rival’s collection because they involve extended plots and additional bonus opportunities. These are what I like to call story-telling slots. I enjoyed As the Reels Turn, which mimics cheesy soap opera plots and tells a story about intrigue in a real-world casino. i-Slots have a lot of replay value and the games use high-quality graphics.
Fourteen classic-style three reel games are available in this site’s library, but these aren’t the boring fruit machine classic slots you’ll find on other software platforms. I’m not a huge fan of three reel titles, but these games kept things interesting for a bit longer than usual. I played Milk the Cash Cow for a good ten minutes (on free-play mode) because I liked the inclusion of a Wild symbol and the simplicity of the game itself. Fans of classic slots have a decent selection to pick from here.
The largest category of games at Golden Cherry, fifty-four Rival-produced slots are available under the Video Slots tab. These remind me way too much of the run-of-the-mill Microgaming and RTG slots that all start to look the same after a few sessions. The i-Slots and even the 3-reel titles are more interesting, if only because they involve a lot more variety.
Fans of video poker will be unhappy with the variety produced by Rival and hosted at Golden Cherry. At the time of this review, only seven games were available:
- Aces and Faces
- Deuces and Joker
- Deuces Wild
- Double Joker
- Tens or Better
- Jacks or Better
- Joker Poker
Video poker is Rival’s weakest area. For starters, when you play the game you’ll notice that the sound and video effects aren’t sync’d properly. This isn’t just a problem at Golden Cherry, either – it seems to be an issue with Rival’s design. Payout percentages, as conveniently listed in the rules for each game, range from 98.1% (Double Joker Poker) to 99.54% (Jacks or Better).
Here’s the list of table games available for play at Golden Cherry:
- Roulette – European
- Roulette – American
- Multi-hand Blackjack
- Paigow Poker
- Red Dog
Six of these games are casino classics, or variations of the same. The other two (Paigow Poker and Red Dog) are card-based games with long odds for the player that are best avoided altogether.
I want to take a second here to point out something about Rival’s software. According to Wizard of Odds, Rival is not open about the number of decks used in its blackjack games. That means players can’t pick a game based on its theoretical payout percentage. It’s also not a great sign for a casino game designer to hide details about the games.
This is hardly a category at all; Golden Cherry hosts six scratch card games under the “Specialty Games” tab, along with Sudoku Box Game, Keno, and Vegas Jackpot Keno. There is no payout percentage or odds info on any of the scratch games, and Keno is a notoriously-bad game for players. Smart bettors will ignore this category altogether, unless they are just that into scratch-off cards or Keno.
Four bingo variations are stored under the site’s “Bingo Games” tab: 30-ball Bingo, 80-ball Bingo, European Bingo, and American Bingo. Online bingo can’t be as much fun as the real-world game, where cheap beer and nachos mix with some of the more unique people you’ll ever meet. Why a player would want to take the social element out of the game, I’ll never understand, but here are the bingo games if that’s the kind of thing you’re into.
Golden Cherry Casino Bonuses and Promotions
Kudos to Golden Cherry for offering a small but specific collection of bonuses. Their promos are easy to understand, collected in a single place, and they each have a clearly-identified Terms & Conditions link embedded in the description. At the time of this review, the site offers four promotions. Here’s a quick look at each of them, along with some details on their T&C’s.
1. $3,000 Slots Bonus
Aimed at slots players, this offer is good for a 300% match rate up to $3,000 on a player’s first deposit. All slots on the site count towards clearing this bonus, as do scratch cards and keno games. But a look at the terms and conditions make me a little suspicious of this offer. First of all, there’s this little tidbit from the site: “In order to withdraw winnings from this bonus, players are required to wager the bonus and deposit amounts according to the full Terms and Conditions of the promotion, available to the players review at the time of redemption.”[sic] To me that means that the finance department can set (and change) a player’s rollover requirement at any time they want – “at the time of redemption,” meaning each time bonus cash is rolled over. That’s disconcerting, since basically every casino I’ve reviewed has a specific rollover requirement spelled out in the T&C’s that isn’t only made available at the time of redemption. It’s a weird clause.
2. $888 Welcome Bonus
This is really two offers rolled into one, aimed at people who play games besides slots. Players who opt in to this bonus can earn up to $444 at a match rate of 100% on each of their first two deposits – that’s where they get the $888 in the name of the bonus. This bonus has a 40x rollover requirement, meaning I’d have to bet forty times my total deposit plus bonus before clearing all my free bets. In order to earn the full $888 bonus, I’d need to place more than $70,000 in bets.
3. Weekly Bonuses
The site emails members new deposit codes (all of which are redeemable for special deposit-match offers) on a weekly basis. I’ve seen a few different weekly offers from the site, and they usually have multiple weekly promos aimed at different games.
4. $50 Refer-a-Friend Reward
Golden Cherry Casino will give you $50 in free bets for each friend you refer, provided you both make a cash deposit. This offer has a rollover requirement of 15x, which isn’t bad considering the 40x rollover (and the totally unknown rollover) from the above bonuses.
Golden Cherry Casino isn’t good enough to recommend or bad enough to condemn. The complaints discussed in the Cons section above are enough for a lot of players I know to avoid it and all the other Netad Management casinos. But I like Rival games, I like the accessibility of Golden Cherry (via tablet, smartphone, laptop, instant-play, or download) and I like that they have such a big variety of fun slot games. Players considering opening an account with Golden Cherry should know going in that they may have to deal with long delays for payment processing.