One of the critical factors to consider when choosing an online casino is the software that casino uses to power its games. Today, there are several major software providers that are behind the majority of online casinos, along with a number of minor companies that also create games for other sites.
In most cases, every casino that uses the same software will provide you with a very similar experience – at least in terms of gameplay. For instance, if you play at one Microgaming casino, you can expect to see most of the same games if you move to a new casino site that also uses Microgaming. Of course, there will be some cosmetic differences, and the game selection may be slightly different, as casinos are not required to purchase every single game a company has created. However, for the most part, all casinos powered by the same software should be very similar.
The software being utilized by a given casino can affect your playing experience in several ways. For one, not every software company has access to the same game selection. Sure, just about every online casino has the most popular table games, along with the most common forms of video poker and a variety of slot machines. But more exotic games will vary depending on the software being used. Some companies choose to focus on creating solid games that are similar to the versions you’ll see in a brick-and-mortar casino, while others are more adventurous, pushing the limits of what is possible in the online world. In addition, some software providers have exclusive access to different licenses that allow them to create games based around popular movies, comics, or other franchises.
Despite these differences, most online casino software programs share a few features in common. These days, it’s become an industry standard to provide two versions of the casino software: a downloadable program that usually features the entire selection of games available at the casino, and an “instant play” browser-based casino that can be played on the go from your favorite web browser. These instant play clients are especially useful for those who use a Mac or a Linux operating system, as these players usually can’t use the downloadable casino client.
Below, you’ll find information on each of the five major online casino software providers. While all five of these companies produce quality games, the specifics of their software are different enough that you may find one or two you prefer over the others. If you want more information on each of these casino groups, simply click on the links below to read full reviews of each software brand.
RTG Casino Software
Real Time Gaming (known as RTG) has been in the business of creating casino software since 1998. Around 90 different online casinos use RTG software, which provides similar games in both downloadable software clients and in browser-based formats.
One of the most notable features of RTG’s software is the level of customization operators can take advantage of in their games. While most software providers set the payout levels and other features of their games, RTG allows operators to have the final say on exactly how well their games will pay out, or – in the case of table games like blackjack – exactly what rules will be used at their casino, such as the number of decks in the shoe. This means that different RTG casinos can actually have better or worse odds than average, depending on the settings chosen by the casino operators.
Rival Casino Software
Rival Gaming is one of the newest casino software companies in the business, having been launched in 2006. However, they have already made a remarkable impression on the industry, quickly establishing themselves as having some of the best slot machine options of any online casino provider.
The most obvious example of this comes in their “i-Slots” line, which is made up of games that were designed to be as interactive as possible. These slot machines have plot lines, video features, and interactive bonus games that make playing these games a truly unique experience.
Microgaming Casino Software
Microgaming has been providing casino software since 1994, making them one of the oldest companies in the online casino business. With over 400 games in their collection, they offer an incredible variety of options for both players and operators alike, as each individual Microgaming-powered casino can choose to use hundreds of games on their website, yet still have a much different selection than that of another casino using the same software! Currently, over 120 online casinos use the Microgaming software to power their games.
One of the biggest attractions of Microgaming casinos is their selection of slot machines – and in particular, their progressive jackpots. With over $280 million in jackpots having been given away in progressive jackpot wins, Microgaming is one of the industry leaders in awarding huge prizes to their players.
Playtech Casino Software
Founded in 1999, Playtech provides software not only for online casinos, but also for poker rooms, bingo games, sportsbooks and other gambling sites. The focus, though, is still on their casino operations, where the company has made a number of clever branding deals that give it access to many exclusive games, particularly when it comes to their slot machines. Examples include numerous movie licenses like Gladiator and Rocky, along with a full line of slot machines based on Marvel Comics characters.
Among other innovative features, Playtech casinos have been at the forefront of offering live dealer games, allowing players to play their favorite table games like blackjack and baccarat with a live dealer using real cards over streaming video.
Cryptologic Casino Software
Cryptologic is a software company that was founded back in 1995 and has been providing online casino software since 1996. Dozens of the world’s largest online casinos use Cryptologic’s award winning software.
Cryptologic is known for continuing to produce newer, more exciting games year after year, creating over 20 new games per year for their casino partners. Like other companies, they have reached licensing agreements with popular brand names that give them access to many exclusive games, such as games based on the Call of Duty franchise, the board game Jenga, and SpiderMan.