Online Casino Software Companies
The casinos receive their software content from various gaming provider studios in the market, who use the latest innovations and technology to develop entertaining and engaging game titles from scratch.
It is the job of these software providers to make sure that the games they make play seamlessly on the casino platforms and they must ensure that the end-user experience is flawless so that the player will return to their client’s casinos and play more of their games.
Most popular casino software providers
While the market is becoming more and more saturated by game providers, there are a few main gaming groups that lead the industry. These big names often determine the trends and set the pace for the online gambling market as a whole.
Some of the most notable names in this category of developers include brands like:
- Microgaming: Microgaming is the oldest and largest online casino provider in the world. They started off in 1994 and now lead the market together with NetEnt and Playtech. Microgaming releases several games per month. It manages to do this through both its subsidiary companies and by partnering with other independent providers like Triple Edge Studios to produce first-class quality on an ongoing basis.
- NetEnt: Net Entertainment (NetEnt) was founded in the late ‘90s and almost went bankrupt towards the turn of that decade. Fortunately, innovation and a will to survive caused this gaming behemoth to find its feet. They are now commonly looked to as the benchmark in casino entertainment, producing a full array of games, from industry-leading slots, jackpot games, and table games, to a fine selection of Live Casino games. NetEnt also leads the world in VR gaming technology.
- Playtech: This software development company was founded in 1999 and has helped lead the industry for 2 decades. Having started in Estonia, the gaming giant now operates from the Isle of Man and is the international leader in gaming content. It often supports regions that other gaming software providers do not service.
Playtech offers a diverse selection of gaming software, including slots, table games, live casino and more and services some of the best blue-chip companies with their platform, including William Hill, Ladbrokes, Bet365, and other casinos.
- Novamatic: Novamatic is a German company that officially got its start in 1980. It has had a massive influence on providing gaming machines for the land-based market in Europe and abroad and is a German favourite. With the rise of online gambling, Novamatic decided to expand their repertoire to include online casino slot games and more. They have purchased various third-party companies and added them to their arsenal. They acquired Greentube in an effort to expand their online presence.
- IGT: IGT is now owned by Gtech, but was originally founded in 1975 as a gaming cabinet and software provider to Las Vegas and other US land-based casinos. It now offers digital gaming to online casinos as IGT Interactive. Many of their games are tried and tested brick ‘n mortar casino favourites that have been turned into online options. They are well known for the Cleopatra Slots, DaVincis Diamonds, Siberian Storm, and Wheel of Fortune slot games.
- Scientific Games: Founded in 1973, this North American based casino game provider started off by servicing land-based casinos with gaming content. Its SG Digital branch now services the market with just about every type of casino game possible.
Scientific Games has acquired a big selection of gaming studios that we all know and love. They all operate under the SG Digital banner. These include NYX, NextGen Gaming, Barcrest, Bally, WMS, and more. If you want to play some iconic Vegas slots, SG Digital will have the game for you.
- Blueprint Gaming: Blueprint Gaming started off in 2001 and remains to this day in Atlanta, Georgia, USA. 50% of the company is owned by the Gauselmann Group, which has given the company the necessary power to spearhead the market with some fine software.
While there are other gaming groups on the market, the above list of providers determine the direction of the industry and keep all of our favourite casinos stocked with classic games.
Small independent software studios
While the industry is held together by the market behemoths, some of the finest new ideas and innovations leak through into our casinos, compliments of independent providers.
The budgets are certainly more marginalized than at the big groups, the smaller companies get on by specializing in specific game variants. Many studios, like Thunderkick, Yggdrasil, Push Gaming, Stormcraft Studios Big Time Gaming (BTG), and others concentrate on slot games specifically. BTG is the brain behind the famous Megaways™ reel feature that has hit the market running.
The advantages of being an independent brand are that the studio can dictate its own trends, and can establish specific iconic styles that begin to form their brand.
Some independent studios have been very successful and offer massive games libraries like Play’n GO, Pragmatic Play, and Quickspin. While Play’n GO’s slot titles are always leading the market (like the iconic Book of Dead), Pragmatic Play has forged ahead and now provides a quality Live Casino experience that rivals the industry leaders like NetEnt Live and Evolution Gaming.
Yggdrasil punches above its weight regularly. One of the studio’s owners hails from NetEnt in the past, which is evident in the quality of the games the newer studio produces. Their new virtual table offerings are some of the best available on the market.
If we say the gaming groups are the foundation and backbone of the casino industry, the independent suppliers bring diversity and flair to the market.
Up and coming software providers
With the online gambling industry growing every year, more and more gaming studios are finding a place on the market. Among the many, there are a few rising stars that are gaining massive traction among players.
If slot gaming Is your thing, then visit the sites of Habanero, Ganapati Gaming, Hacksaw Gaming, NoLimit City, and Green Jade. The newer technology being used by these studios ensures that the quality of their games is of boutique quality. What these up and coming providers lack for in quantity of games, they certainly make up for in quality
Felt Gaming has been in business since 2013 and their games are also gaining traction. In a world of slot fanatics, they have chosen to go the virtual table game way and provide some of the most solid card games and roulette options around.
Booming Games is another contender to watch out for as they have dared to enter the cryptocurrency realms, providing play via Bitcoin.
Each studio (big or small) started somewhere, so it will be no surprise to see some of the aforementioned names rising to star status like Play ‘n GO in the next few years. Others may even get snapped up by one of the gaming groups before too long, as this is the way this industry works.
Software providers specializing in live casino games
While the slot industry gets the majority of the press in the online casino world, Live Casino gaming is very popular in Europe, Canada, and even India. The immersive world of Live dealer gaming takes the best of the brick and mortar world and combines it with the convenience of online play. It produces a gaming environment where live games are hosted by real people, filmed and then streamed to various platforms around the world.
The leader in this segment of the industry is Evolution Gaming. They have scooped up all the major awards for Live Dealer gaming for the last 10 years. Not only do they make available a host of traditional table games, but have moved to offer gameshow-like games for audiences to enjoy betting on. Some of their iconic options include Dreamcatcher, Monopoly Live, Deal or No Deal, and more.
Evolution Gaming isn’t without rival though and is pushed to remain innovative by competition in the industry like NetEnt Live, who is a definite heavyweight in this segment. While their gameshow options are not as impressive, blackjack, baccarat, poker, and roulette are offered in various versions. Playtech Live also compete heavily with Live Casino options, with many casinos opting to stay exclusively with a Playtech yield of games for both RNG based and live gaming.
Up and coming studios to watch out for are Authentic Gaming, Pragmatic Play, Extreme Live Gaming, and Ezugi. As you frequent more and more online casinos, you will see the odd title by these providers presented. This is good for the marketplace which was so heavily dominated by Evolution just a few years ago.
Pragmatic Play has only very recently launched their Live Casino games, but it has gone off without a hitch. Already, many of the games are becoming player favourites. They are set for great things!
Most popular casino games ever released
There are thousands of active online casino games on the market, most of which are online slot games. While new games are popping out every year, there is a class of offerings that stand out. A class of games that when you mention ‘slots’, regular players can sprout the brands off the top of their heads. These include, but are not limited to the following 5 games:
- Gonzo’s Quest by NetEnt: Launched in 2013, this game is still sought after. It has recently been reprised by Red Tiger (NetEnt) subsidiary, but you cannot take the magic away from the original adventure slot. It was the first casino game to implement a tumbling/cascading reel engine, setting it apart as an innovation marvel.
- Starburst by NetEnt: Also a NetEnt classic, Starburst is one of the most popular games tied to free spin bonus offers in casino circles. It’s an exciting game that harnesses unique feature traits and a bedazzling gemstone-theme that pops on the screen.
- Book of Ra by Novamatic: German audiences specifically love this Egypt-themed game and they will often not frequent a casino that does not have it in the library. The wild/scatter and expanding symbol feature is a big hit.
- Book of Dead by Play’n GO: Almost the clone of Book of Ra by Novamatic, Book of Dead by Play’n GO is probably played more nowadays. It boasts better graphics, but the features are basically the same. Free Spin bonus users will be very familiar with this game as it is often a qualifying slot on such promotions.
- Mega Moolah by Microgaming: This safari-themed classic has probably made more multi-millionaires than any other game on the market and holds the standing World Record for the highest payout by an online slot game. It then surpassed this record amount in September 2018 to payout a whopping €18, 915 Million to one lucky player. The Mega Moolah jackpot network now extends to several Microging titles currently, but none is as iconic as the original.
- Cleopatra by IGT: This is the Egypt slot of slots. IGT’s Cleopatra slot and its sequels were all made popular on Vegas casino floors. While the graphics and sounds are quite dated by today’s standards, it maintains a strong following of players.
There are many more games we could have commented about in this section, as more and more titles are setting new standards in the industry. Keep your ear close the ground and keep up to date with the latest in the industry to catch them as they arrive.
Can I trust all software providers to be fair?
When you mix gambling with gaming a question of trust always arises. Fortunately, many regions are tightly regulated these days. Most software providers must qualify for licensing to trade in these regions, which means that they must meet the industry standards.
Before licenses are granted, their software is tested. Then, on a regular basis, the online casino offering the software regularly have it independently audited to ensure that it is operating randomly and fairly. These auditing houses include brands like eCogra, TST, and iTech Labs.
In short, licensed and audited software is safe software.
How does RNG work and can I trust this technology?
RNG or Random Number Generator software is the software that providers use in slots and virtual games to render the results of each round. Because cards can’t be shuffled and mechanical reels can’t be rolled, some sort of tech must provide this ‘randomness’.
RNGs are developed to provide unbiased results that no one can guess or decipher. If the software is regularly audited and the game in question is licensed, then there is no reason to question the fairness of the software.
Which are the safest software providers?
It’s always best to stay with well-known gaming software that you know has been licensed and is therefore regularly tested. If there is no license on the software – stay away from it!
Every now and then you may stumble across a casino that owns its own brand of gaming software. Unless it can be proven that this software is certified, stay away from it as it could be rigged in favour of the house.
Can software providers rig their games on purpose?
It is possible for online providers to rig their games, but there is a good chance they will be caught if the game comes before an auditing house.
Sometimes, the provider will stipulate a much higher RTP than the game will play out at, which is deceiving and is considered to be rigged. Othertimes the software is tampered with to produce favourable outcomes for the house.
GTech, the present owners of IGT were caught in 2013 for rigging two of their games. Both Reel Deal and Hi/Low Gamble were dishonestly advertised as being far better payers than they genuinely were. While the fines were high, the gaming giant is still in business.
Why are free spins only available on certain games?
You may be wondering why at casino after casino the free spin bonuses offered to players are valid only on a selected group of games. In certain markets, the game selection will often be the same series of games over and over. For example, in Europe, Book of Dead and Starburst are probably two of the most popular games with free spin bonuses attached.
There are two reasons for this:
- The providers often incentivise the offers themselves to give themselves exposure. This is a tactic that both NetEnt and Play‘n GO are famous for.
- Certain games work better for bonuses because of their variance levels.
Regardless of the tactic, many of the slots used frequently on free spin bonuses are entertaining and worth playing.
Does a software provider have anything to do with my payout speed?
For those that do not know, software providers get a portion of the profits for the games they produce and supply to online casinos. While casinos must pay them out, this should have no reflection on how quickly a casino will settle what they owe you in withdrawals.
To be sure of this make sure you play at fast-withdrawal casinos, where you will seldom have to wait longer than 24 hours for a casino to process your withdrawal request.
A final word on casino software
Without the variety of casino software on the market, online gambling would not be as popular as it is today. The constant competition drives up innovation and game quality ensuring that the demands of the playing public are satisfied.
We can thank the stalwarts in the industry for keeping the market stable and cheer the newbies and smaller providers for the level of diversity we can enjoy daily.