The essence of any online casino lies in the games and the software, which drives the action and the experience for players. And, from the casino’s perspective, the software is not only the gaming content, which attracts and retains the players. It also includes the software that runs the business and manages the data essential to a profitable and sustainable gaming operation.
While some casinos simply add their branding and text to ready-made gaming platforms, an increasing number of casinos these days combine gaming software from several leading platform suppliers to create a larger and more diverse range of offerings designed to satisfy the needs and interests of every player.
The following casino software companies stand out from the pack and therefore often earn inclusion in the gaming suites of leading casinos:
- Microgaming, based in the Isle of Man and in the gaming business since 1994, offers a standard suite of more than 600 video slots and casino games available for download, in instant-play flash, and in browser-based HTML5 for mobile devices. The award-winning company stands out for its poker network and progressive slot jackpots.
- Playtech, founded in 1999 in Estonia and publicly traded on the London Stock Exchange, is one of the world’s largest designer and developer of application software to the digital gaming industry. It has partnered with leading entertainment content providers like Marvel Comics and Warner Brothers to create movie-based slots and is also known for its Poker and Bingo offerings.
- Net Entertainment, often shortened to NetEnt, is a Sweden based game developer formed in 1996. Well known for its quality video slots, table games, and live dealer offerings, this fast-growing group stands out for the originality and production values of its games. The company has also earned plenty of deserved attention for its record-holding progressive slot jackpots.
- 888 Holdings, founded in 1997 is a leading gaming software developer listed on the London Stock Exchange. With its Gibraltar-based subsidiary Cassava Enterprises, it provides gaming platforms primarily for its own network of 888-branded casinos. Its poker network is a stand-out, especially with its lucrative World Series of Poker featuring million dollar prizes.
- Cryptologic was founded by a pair of Canadian brothers in 1995 and evolved into a leading provider of casino software, based in Dublin. The company made lucrative deals with leading casinos in the UK and worldwide, then in 2012 sold its consumer-facing WagerLogic business to the Malta-based Amaya Gaming Group.
Typically, casino software developers create platforms comprising suites of multiple game products – slots, table games, bingo, video poker, live dealers and so on. Often, the platforms provide turnkey solutions, and with the competitiveness of the industry, this has grown to include the ability to quickly introduce, disseminate and update casino promotions and offers to players, as well as customer management and banking solutions.
These platforms are licenced to online casinos, which apply their own branding and provide the marketing and customer-facing support. Few casinos these days make their own games, although more established casinos like 888 or Mr Green have been known to have games developed exclusively for their casino. The software companies are paid a licencing fee by the casinos. In short, the online casino that players actually play at can be thought of as the skin that holds a collection of casino games together, with each casino adding a personalised touch in design and service. That’s why, for example, it’s not uncommon to see several online casinos with Microgaming games, which have proven to be one of the most popular choices for online gamers. Other casinos will choose one software as a primary platform for management, but then also work with additional software companies to source a wide collection of games to provide a greater choice for players.
From a player’s perspective, this may first appear to be many variations of the same thing – after all, when online casinos source their games from suppliers, rather than develop them in house, then there doesn’t seem to be anything unique left. But once you have experience playing at a few different casinos, you will quickly see how much of a difference style, service, promotions and so on can drastically affect the gaming experience. That’s why some casinos flourish while others sink, even when they offer the same games.