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When the new 247Sports.com football recruiting rankings for the Class of 2022 came out this past Wednesday, it was easy to spot the usual suspects. Georgia? No. 1. Alabama? No. 2. Ohio State? No. 4. Oregon? No. 7.
Finding the CSU Rams?
That … took a little more work.
With eight weeks until the early signing period begins on Dec. 15, the Rams checked in at No. 117 on 247’s national rankings, with eight commitments. That nestled them between New Mexico at No. 116 and Eastern Michigan at No. 118.
If that ranking held, it would be the lowest for an incoming Rams class since 2015, which landed at No. 119 nationally and 10th in the Mountain West.
Still, Brandon Huffman, national recruiting editor for the site, wants to share two words with CSU faithful before blood pressures start climbing:
“I think the Mountain West as a whole has had a sharp decline in commitments,” Huffman said. “With the exception of Air Force, and two schools that have new coaches (Boise State and Utah State), only (four) other schools have more commitments than Colorado State. I think, like much of the Mountain West, (the Rams) have to wait for ‘their tier’ to start to become more clear.”
For one, Huffman said, he expects the 3-stars-or-fewer prospects who typically make up the bulk of Group of 5 classes to wait longer before making their collegiate decisions. For another, more FBS coaches are intentionally leaving scholarship slots free for experienced players to sign via the transfer portal.
Of the 22 players who started for CSU (3-4, 2-1 Mountain West) at Utah State this past Friday night, seven were transfers — and five of those transfers were on the offensive side of the ball.
“Unless you’re a top-tier program, you’re probably not signing big classes anymore,” noted Blair Angulo, 247Sports’ West Coast recruiting analyst. “(It’s a) safer bet to take a college-ready transfer than a low-to-mid-3-star (prospect) that will need a couple years of development.
“Unless you’re rooting for a big Power 5 program, you probably won’t see many commitments until closer to the early signing period … schools are waiting to see how rosters will shake out and coaches are strategically leaving some spots open for additions via the transfer portal. Recruits, meanwhile, are also being a bit methodical in their approach, especially within that pool of players that CSU is in on.”
The Rams headed into the weekend ranked No. 11 out of 12 MW schools in 247Sports’ composite ranking.
According to the 247Sports.com database, CSU’s last commit was July 6, via a verbal pledge from John Locke, a 6-foot-4 tight end out of Helotes, Texas.
“No school had more buzz in the Mountain West going into this year than San Jose State, coming off the MW title in 2020, and they have fewer commitments than CSU,” Huffman said. “So I think much of it is based on the screwy evaluation period and still after-effects of COVID.”
After an 0-2 start to the season, the Rams won three of their next five and lost narrowly — and painfully — against the Aggies this past Friday night, 26-24.
If there is a silver lining in FoCo, it’s that CSU plays three of its final five regular-season games at home.
Enrollment in Colorado’s K-12 schools has yet to rebound to pre-pandemic levels as 1,174 fewer students enrolled last fall compared to the previous year, according to a report released Wednesday by the state Department of Education.
The decline in enrollment is small – less than 1% – compared to the first year of the public health crisis, but places schools at risk of losing money and comes on the heels of the state’s public schools losing more than 20,000 students during the 2020-21 school year.
“It can be logistically challenging for districts that are staffed for higher numbers of students,” said Kate Bartlett, executive director of school district operations for the state’s education department. “You reach a point of “how do we manage this?”
There were 855,482 students enrolled in K-12 schools in October, which is down slightly from 856,656 students the previous year. By comparison, in fall 2019 the state had 878,537 K-12 students, according to the enrollment data.
There are multiple reasons for the decline, including the state’s declining birthrate; families moving out of state; and the fact that not all of the students who left last year for homeschool have returned, Bartlett said.
Students who are enrolled in online classes via their public school because of the pandemic are still counted in the district’s enrollment numbers.
Colorado is not the only state seeing public school enrollment declining and even the nation’s largest districts are being hit, including in New York City, Los Angeles, and Chicago, according to a recent report by NPR.
Online gambling has skyrocketed over the last decade. The result? A nearly endless list of casino sites and the impossible task of figuring out which best online casinos deserve our bets.
Yes, the variety is positive, but it also means there are more landmines to dodge in the form of fake promise promotions, dodgy site security, hardly-ever-there customer service, and worse.
That’s where we come in guns blazing – with a golden ranking methodology to sniff out top online casinos that offer fair games, exciting variety, and easy to earn bonuses.
Beyond this, we’ll be breaking the rankings down for all types of players. This time around, Red Dog took the crown for best overall casino, but we’re sure the rest are more than worth a spin.
Coming in at first place on our list of best online casinos is RedDog, a brand new gambling site known for its easy-to-use interface, attractive welcome bonus, and playful (and cute!) dog theme.
Fairness and Reputation: 4.8/5
First things first: Red Dog Casino is a new casino, so it doesn’t really have a reputation to speak of just yet.
On the other hand, we have absolutely no concerns regarding its fairness and levels of trust: a) it’s fully licensed, b) it’s owned by Infinity Media, which is responsible for several other online casinos, and c) all of its games are provided by the renowned developer RT Gaming.
Game Variety: 4.5/5
The site currently hosts just over 150 games, which isn’t a huge selection by any means.
But there are two things worth bearing in mind here: One is that Red Dog is currently working exclusively with RealTime Gaming, which means you’re essentially playing RT’s greatest hits (and they’ve produced some amazing games).
Two, Red Dog is still such a new casino that we expect it to expand its repertoire as the years go by.
Most of the games you can play here are online slots, but there’s still a decent selection of classic table games, as well as over 10 live games.
Oh, and did you know that you can play Red Dog’s games on mobile? It’s one of the best mobile casinos, too!
This is an area where Red Dog Casino excels. As a new player, you get to grab their show-stopping 225% welcome bonus that increases by 20% if you deposit using NeoSurf. The minimum deposit is $10 and wagering requirements are fair.
After that, regular players are treated like royalty, with Red Dog tossing you numerous bonuses as the days and weeks go by. These include frequent reload offers – namely, an original 24/7 deposit match bonus of up to $160 each time you make a deposit.
Payment Methods: 4.6/5
RedDog is also crypto-friendly and currently accepts Bitcoin, Ethereum, and Litecoin as payment options (credit cards are accepted as well). In fact, they’ll even give you an extra 20% on your Bitcoin deposits, so crypto lovers are well taken care of here.
Alternatively, you can deposit and withdraw fiat currencies via the likes of Visa, MasterCard, Discover, and American Express.
Interestingly, you can also deposit via Live Chat Deposit, or over the telephone. Disappointingly, NeoSurf is the only eWallet option.
For a new casino, Red Dog does so much right. We think players will especially enjoy its fuss-free user interface that’s incredibly easy to get used to.
The only downside to RedDog that we could find was that the $1,000 maximum deposit amount is a bit low for high-rollers.
Launched in 2013, Slots.lv is a well-established online casino that currently lists over 135 real money games, including popular titles like Golden Buffalo, Thunder Crash, and Fury of Zeus.
It scoops our award for “best deposit bonus” thanks to a mega nine-tiered $5,000 welcome package!
Fairness and Reputation: 5/5
Having been around for nine years, Slots.LV has proven itself to be one of the world’s most consistently highest-rated slots sites. With thousands of satisfied customers, a legit license and a watertight owner behind it, it’s as fair and trustworthy as modern-day online casinos come.
Game Variety: 4/5
Slots.LV is one of those casinos where the maxim “less is more” comes into play. Perhaps concerned that players would feel overwhelmed if they deluged them with thousands of games, Slots.LV has instead always focused on providing a high-quality gambling experience that consists of just over a hundred games.
That remains the case today. You can try your luck at 137 games at the time of writing, including 104 high-octane slots and a handful of classic table games. There are 5 live dealer games, too (blackjack and roulette), but you can’t see these as a guest.
The site also features a good collection of slot tournaments. These tournaments last anywhere from 10-15 minutes and offer a larger-than-average jackpot to the last player left standing.
What Slots.LV lacks in live options it makes up for with its generous welcome bonus. New customers can enjoy a $5,000 welcome bonus spread out over the first 9 deposits – or up to $7,500 if depositing with crypto.
Existing customers aren’t forgotten about either and can take advantage of the Daily Double Up bonus which offers 100% up to $100. This increases to 150% up to $500 and is redeemable twice a day when Bitcoin is used.
There’s also a weekly double-up bonus for existing players, while Bitcoin gamblers get the chance to grab a daily double-up bonus.
User Interface: 4/5
Slots.LV largely goes for the classic slots site layout, where the games are splashed all over the homepage. Combined with a white background and some very on-point branding, it all looks really clean and professional (if not exactly spectacular).
The site is fully optimized for mobile play too, while to the left of the screen, you’ll see all the games categories very neatly organized.
There’s little doubt that Slots.lv falls behind its competitors when it comes to live dealer games, but it’s well worth mentioning that – as its name suggests – this is a slots-focused site.
What’s more, with free spins regularly on offer, 24/7 customer service, and an intuitive layout, it’s easy to see why players are still attracted to this casino after 9 years.
Ignition has been consistently rated as one of the best casinos in the world for poker for a number of years now.
It’s easy to see why: Its poker tournaments are always heavily populated, which means you won’t be left hanging around waiting for a game. Your score isn’t tracked, which ensures sharks can’t sniff around. And the 100% welcome bonus gets you started in the best possible way.
Fairness and Reputation: 5/5
There are two ways we can judge fairness at Ignition. One is in terms of how fair their electronic games are. For this one, we have to say that Ignition is very fair because they use RNG to determine the (random) outcome of their games.
Two is in how fair their poker games are to the average Joe. Again, thanks to the fact that this is mostly a soft poker site designed to keep the sharks at bay, we have to say that Ignition is as fair as they come. They give you every chance to enjoy competing fairly for the pot
Ignition is also fully licensed, and in its six years of existence, it hasn’t attracted any negative press or scandals.
Game Variety: 4.4/5
Where Ignition really shines is its collection of online poker tournaments. The ones we really had fun with were the 8-16 player Knockout SNGs that start as low as $3.30 a pop.
In this format, you win a cash bounty for every opponent you eliminate. The cash bounty is entirely separate from any tournament winnings and will be waiting for you – win or lose – once the event has ended.
Their cash traffic is also the softest online, owing to its rare anonymous-play poker room.
That said, this is a solid online casino in its own right. There are 100+ real money slots and you can enjoy over 30 live casino games with many variations of games like blackjack, roulette, and baccarat.
However, with 172 total games (plus 8 virtual sports), we can’t give Ignition a 5/5 on game variety, by virtue of the fact that rivals are able to offer more games.
When you first sign up at Ignition, you get to choose between a fiat currency welcome bonus or a crypto welcome bonus.
The former is a 100% up to $1,000 deposit match bonus, while the latter is a 150% up to $1,500 welcome package. Both are excellent and come with an extremely generous 25x wagering requirement. What’s more, you’re free to use the bonuses in either the casino section or the poker room.
Once you become a regular, you’ll see that Ignition has a VIP program – but you’ll also see that it isn’t the absolute best around. We think this might be because Ignition doesn’t want to attract pros who take advantage of climbing the VIP ladder in order to access more perks.
There are, however, regular casino promos, including cashback offers.
User Interface: 4/5
The thing about Ignition is that, while it seeks as much as it can to keep out the pros, its entire user layout and aesthetic are clearly designed with serious bettors in mind. It’s professional and tasteful, and some players will definitely appreciate the rather somber color scheme more than others.
For the most part, however, it looks and feels like a standard online casino, which means everything is at least easy to find.
If we had to be picky, it should be noted that credit card payments can incur a charge of 15.9% or higher depending on the type of card being used – so you’re probably better off with crypto if you have some coins to bet with.
Rake, meanwhile, is set at $0.01 for every $0.20 bet. That’s not bad at all.
BitStarz is certainly the poster boy of the crypto casino world, offering as it does a stunning collection of more than 3,500 games alongside its 6 different crypto payment methods.
Fiat currencies aren’t accepted, but if you’re looking to play around with your digital currency at this top Bitcoin casino, BitStarz is worth investigating further.
Fairness and Reputation: 5/5
BitStarz was launched in Europe in 2014, but secured a license from Curacao. It was one of the original crypto casinos, it’s owned by Dama NV, which runs a number of other world-class crypto sites, and it’s won multiple awards in a very seasoned career.
Indeed, it’s often seen as the go-to site for crypto gambling, and we have no qualms at all where its reputation is concerned. It’s always treated its customers super well and withdrawals are processed instantly.
Game Variety: 4.9/5
With over 3,150+ slots and casino games to choose from, BitStarz easily has one of the largest game selections around and likely has almost ten times the amount of games of other online casinos.
It’s quite a selection, but don’t be tricked into assuming this is a matter of quantity over quality. It isn’t. Rather, BitStarz is just making sure that all the bases are covered, and that every type of player has something to play here.
From thousands of slots to hundreds of classic table games, BitStarz will appeal to slot fans, poker players, roulette gamblers – and so on.
During the registration process, you’ll be asked which welcome bonus you want – a no deposit welcome bonus that treats you to 20 free spins with 40x a wagering requirement, or a 100% up to 1 BTC welcome bonus that also comes with a mega 180 free spins. The wagering requirement for this bonus is also 40x.
Once you’ve blazed your way through either welcome package, you can then compete in the BitStarz weekly tournament. This is called Table Wars, and it gives you the chance to win a slice of the $10,000 prize pool.
What we especially like is that BitStarz has a helpful guide on its website that shows you how to ‘take control of your bonuses’ so that you’re able to rack up more loyalty points and get the most out of the promos.
User Interface: 4.5/5
BitStarz has always been at the forefront of modern taste and design and has recently revamped its user interface so that it’s more intuitive than ever.
It’s also really easy on the eyes, with BitStarz opting for some plush colors (think: lilac and gold) to really spruce the place up. It all creates the impression of an advanced, highly professional casino site, and it also leaves you asking the question – why can’t all online casinos look this good?
It should be noted that BitStarz is a 100% crypto casino, which means other legacy payments like credit cards and even e-wallets are not accepted.
While this may be seen as an inconvenience to some online casino players, the site has made it possible for customers to buy crypto via more traditional options like credit cards.
Naturally, another area where BitStarz truly stands out is its fast withdrawal times. Once a withdrawal is initiated, it’s processed instantly for all verified accounts.
With over 20 blackjack games to choose from, Big Spin Casino is an excellent option for 21 seekers looking to double down on the action. Indeed, however you prefer to beat the dealer, and whatever type of strategy you use, there’s every chance your best shot is here.
Fairness and Reputation: 4.8/5
Pardon the pun, but Big Spin Casino is sort of a spin-off of MyBookie. It’s owned by the mega-popular sports betting giant, and it kinda acts as its online casino sister site.
What’s the point of telling you all this?
MyBookie is one of the world’s biggest sportsbooks, and the fact that it owns and operates Big Spin Casino – which itself was only launched in 2017 – is a massive seal of approval. While Big Spin doesn’t quite have a huge reputation just yet, we have absolutely zero trust issues.
Game Variety: 4/5
We’ve already highlighted how Big Spin Casino fares when it comes to blackjack, but it’s worth reiterating: Here, you can play 16 ‘electronic’ versions of blackjack, as well as a further 6 live dealer versions.
Variants include Ultimate 5 Handed Blackjack, Single Deck Blackjack, and American Blackjack, with the only real source of frustration being that blackjack doesn’t get its own separate category (instead, the games are listed under general ‘table games.’)
The online gambling site also hosts an impressive collection of video slots (including 3D slots) and other table game options, all of which can be accessed with equal quality from a web browser or a mobile device.
Total casino games number 253 at the time of writing.
BigSpin offers a generous first deposit match bonus of 200% up to $1,000. The minimum deposit required to qualify for this promotion is $45, which is admittedly glaringly high. The wagering requirement is at least pegged at 30x.
As you could’ve probably guessed, there is a minimum card deposit of $45, which is nearly double that of most online casinos, though if you usually play with more, this shouldn’t be a big deal. What we’re trying to say is that Big Spin Casino accepts high rollers – and large bets.
The refer-a-friend bonus is tasty, too: It’s a 200% up to $200 and is the biggest version of this bonus we’ve come across so far.
User Interface: 4/5
While we would never go as far as saying that Big Spin Casino is a stud to look at, it takes as its cue a typical slot site. This means its homepage is splashed with the best online slots, and all other casino game categories are listed in a row at the top of the screen.
It’s pretty cliched stuff – but it’s impossible to complain about because the user interface is at least easy to get to grips with, and site speed is excellent.
One last thing worth mentioning is that Big Spin Casino has 8 different payment methods, and 5 of them are cryptocurrencies – Bitcoin, Bitcoin Cash, Litecoin, Ethereum, and Ripple.
Want to take Big Spin for a test drive but don’t want to ante up the min? Consider making the initial real money deposit in cryptocurrency as there’s just a $20 minimum for all coins.
The best way to determine the fairness of online casino games is to check whether or not real money gambling sites are licensed by a reputable regulatory commission.
Additionally, we only recommend casino sites that work with reputable game developers like BetSoft, Microgaming, and NetEnt.
Having a good selection of slots and online casino games to choose from is important to all players. When reviewing online casino sites, we always give preference to casinos that offer an impressive variety of games.
Real money casino games are more entertaining when bonus funds and spins are involved. Because of this, we always check to see what kind of casino bonuses are available for new and existing customers.
We also check to make sure that these online real money casinos impose fair wagering requirements.
Being able to easily fund your online casino account is equally important. With each site we review, we examine what kind of payment options are available and how long the processing times are – fast payouts are also important, so we keep an eye out for this as well.
Related reading: Best gambling sites in Canada
Yes. Any real money online casino site that’s been accredited by a reputable gaming commission can be considered safe to use. When reviewing online casinos and their licensing, look for reputable regulatory bodies like the Malta Gaming Commission and Curacao Online Gambling Jurisdiction.
Besides regulatory and accreditation issues, it’s also important to look at what kind of security measures different gambling sites employ. For example, the best online casinos use 128-bit or 256-bit encryption to protect the personal and financial data of customers.
All slot games come with a pre-programmed return to player (RTP) that determines how much the game will payout over the long term. For example, if a game has an RTP of 95%, it will – on average – payout 950 coins for every 1,000 coins wagered.
That said, each spin is entirely random and the results are determined through a random number generator (RNG).
An RNG is a software algorithm that produces a random set of numbers which the game’s software then uses to decide which symbols to display along the pay lines.
It’s also worth noting that individual online casino gambling providers don’t have any direct influence over how these games operate as they are simply hosting games developed by a third party.
To ensure fairness, always stick with casinos that use reputable game developers like NetEnt, Bally, Micro Gaming, and others.
Most online casinos have started to accept Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies as a form of payment for real money casino games – a trend that doesn’t look to be letting up anytime soon.
If you’re unfamiliar with digital currencies, the topic can be confusing, and it may not be clear what advantages this deposit method offers over card payments or wire transfers.
For starters, the majority of online casinos that accept Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies are offering much larger welcome/deposit bonuses to those who choose digital currency over traditional payment methods.
Moreover, anyone that’s been gambling online for any length of time knows that even some of the best online casinos can take as many as 5 business days to process a withdrawal. Additionally, some casinos will only pay you out in small increments.
When conducting a withdrawal using cryptocurrency, the transaction is usually processed within an hour and limits are typically way higher.
In short, there are a few things to keep an eye out for.
Some cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin and Ethereum have large transaction costs, meaning sending Bitcoin or Ethereum to your online gaming account can incur a fee of several hundred dollars.
To avoid this, look for online gambling sites that accept payments like Stellar, Ripple, Litecoin, and Doge, as these all have transaction fees of under $1.
Whether it be a welcome promotion or a weekly reload bonus, every top online casino features deposit bonuses players can take advantage of. These bonuses come in the form of bonus credits, free spins, or a combination of both.
However, when playing online casino games with bonus funds, one must always be aware of the wagering (or playthrough) requirements.
In basic terms, a wagering requirement is how many multiples of a set of bonus funds a player must wager before they can withdraw any winnings.
For example, say a player was awarded 1,000 coins with a 40x play-through requirement. This means they would have to bet a total of 40,000 coins before a withdrawal can be made.
Most popular online casinos have playthrough requirements ranging from 25x-50x.
The most obvious difference between three and five reel slots is the layout. Three reel slots consist of three reels and a maximum of one pay line. Players win when three identical symbols appear along the pay line.
Five reel slots can have anywhere from 25 to 100 pay lines and feature five reels, usually three symbols deep. That said, five-reel slots can come in a five-by-five grid, leading to even more ways to win.
Five reel slots also offer much more opportunities for bonuses, and many of the best online casino bonuses can be found on five-reel slots.
If you’re looking to play online slots, deciding between three and five reels is the first major decision to make. If you prefer simplicity, then 3-reels may be the way to go. If you like having multiple pay lines and large progressive jackpots, 5-reel slots are the better option.
Here’s how to get started at Red Dog, our top pick:
1. Click “Sign-Up”
To begin life at Red Dog, click the “sign-up” button in the top right corner of the homepage (it’s located next to “sign-in”).
2. Create a Username
You’ll then be asked to create a username and password, while also entering your email address.
3. Enter Your Details
A second form will then pop up that requests some basic info from you, including your name.
4. Enter Your Address
Lastly, once you input your address, you’re ready to launch your account!
By now, you should be familiar with some of the best real money online casinos in operation.
Red Dog won out for their amazing combination of game variety, welcome bonus size, and all-around reputation. We’re sure, though, that whichever online casino you choose from above will be well worth your clicks.
That said, if you’re still unsure which option is best, you may want to consider picking a couple of sites with low minimum deposit requirements – like Slots.lv or Slots Empire.
Doing this will allow you to get a better feel for which option is the best online casino for you.
Remember, the chances of you finding everything you want in one place aren’t guaranteed, and while some casinos may be better for poker or table games, others may be better for slots.
Whatever you decide to do, make sure to have fun responsibly.
Gambling can be addictive. If you have a gambling problem or somebody you know does, then we strongly advise calling the National Gambling Helpline at 1-800-522-4700 to talk with a certified advisor. All gambling sites are 18+ only.
Some of the sites listed on our site may not be available in your region. Check your local laws to ensure online gambling is available and legal where you live. Our reviews are independent and reader-supported and we may receive commissions for recommendations made in our website’s guides.
Please, visit these organizations for free gambling addiction resources:
The news and editorial staffs of The Denver Post had no role in this post’s preparation.
This sponsored content article is governed by our Online Gambling Content Disclaimer (the “Disclaimer”) available here (or at the following URL: https://www.denverpost.com/online-gambling-content-disclaimer), and this sponsored content article constitutes “Gaming Content” as that term is defined in the Disclaimer. Among other things, the Disclaimer governs your access to, and use of, this Gaming Content. By accessing and using this Gaming Content, you expressly agree to the terms and conditions of the Disclaimer. The entire Disclaimer is incorporated herein by this reference. We strongly encourage you to please read the entire Disclaimer carefully.
SPRINGFIELD, Ill. – Gov. JB Pritzker said the state has made strides vaccinating new residents. This comes as Illinois also is seeing a drop in COVID hospitalizations since reaching a peak 7 days ago.
Gov. Pritzker said it’s not true that people can’t be persuaded to get the vaccine. He explained about 14,000 new people received their first vaccine dose each day for the first two weeks of the month. Gov. Pritzker said that is about 100,000 people a week.
However, Gov. JB Pritzker said there is still ‘great strain’ on the health care systems.
Today, state officials announced there were more than 26,000 new cases. Last Friday the state reported 207,203 new cases in the past 7 days.
You can see all the COVID data on the state’s dashboard here.
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