Casino Software – The Basics
While playing your favourite slot, have you ever wondered where it came from? Who made the casino software? How did it end up on your favourite casino? How come the same slot can be found on numerous online casinos?
The reason the same slot can appear on multiple online casinos (have you ever seen one that doesn’t have Starburst on it?), is because the casinos do not create the games themselves. They leave it to the experts – the software developers who design and develop the games, package them into platforms and sell licences to the casino operators.
Some casinos stick with one developer’s platform, throw a bit of branded jazz over it (“a skin”) and chuck it out. However, the best casinos tend to offer a comprehensive range of games that are also in keeping with the feel and the brand of their online platform.
When playing your favourite online slots, it’s worth noting the developer, whose name will often appear as the game is loading. You may even begin to see a pattern developing. Once you’ve latched onto your favourite casino game developer, it’s going to be that much easier to keep track of its latest releases.
So who are the most respected online casino software developers? On this page, we feature some of the companies that you should really be aware of.
Based in Canada, Amaya was formed in 2004. You may have heard of the trials and tribulations of its ex-CEO David Baazov and you may also know that they struck a deal with Aristocrat games to bring their slot games online. However, you probably won’t know that they bought software application provider Cryptologic.
Games to look out for: Arthur’s Quest, Spin ‘N Win, Vampire vs. Werewolves, Wild Panda Slot.
Aristocrat is an Australian casino gaming company that’s based in Sydney. It’s been in operation since 1953 and is one of the largest manufacturers of slot machines in the world, second only to US giant, IGT. Known for its Reel Power system in which players purchase reels instead of lines, the company has successfully ported many of its land-based slots to the internet. Some of the best ones are listed below.
Games to look out for: Double Happiness, Goblin’s Gold, Mrs Kitty, Queen of the Nile, Red Baron,
Genesis Gaming was established in 2008 and was originally based out of Las Vegas. The company has grown considerably since then and now has offices throughout the world including London, Hong Kong and Vancouver. Beginning life as a supplier of casino games to major land-based establishments it now also develops online casino slots.
Games to look out for: Attack of the Zombies, Bloodlines, Gothic, Temple of Luxor, Will Space, Wu Xing
IGT (International Gaming Technology)
IGT is the world’s largest slot machine manufacturer. Born and bred in Las Vegas, it was bought by GTECH who in turn were bought by Lottomatic, an Italian lottery company. Over the years, they created an array of legendary slot machines including Wheel of Fortune, based on the classic American TV show, and Cleopatra, the most sought after online slot in the UK.
Games to look out for: Cleopatra, Da Vinci Diamonds, Icy Wilds, Kitty Glitter, Siberian Storm
Microgaming is one of the most storied developers of online casino software in the business. Formed in 1994, this famed Isle of Man outfit fashioned the acclaimed and widely-used Quickfire platform. It also claims to be the first company to release a bona fide online casino. Today, Microgaming boasts a massive range of titles and has forged a formidable reputation within the industry.
Games to look out for: Dragonz, Hot as Hades, Immortal Romance, Jungle Jim: El Dorado, Thunderstruck
NetEnt (Net Entertainment)
Founded in 1996 in Sweden, NetEnt is another major, well-established casino brand that launched its first casino way back in 2002. It features an extensive portfolio of casino games and has also developed an impressive Live Dealer platform as well as an assortment of progressive jackpot games – the most famous, Mega Fortune, entered the Guinness Book of World Records after one of its players bagged a jackpot of £15 million.
Games to look out for: Gonzo’s Quest, Guns n Roses, Jimi Hendrix, Motorhead, Starburst
NextGen Gaming (NYX)
NextGen is another Swedish casino software developer that’s garnered plenty of positive attention for its well-regarded multi-channel Open Gaming System (OGS). Veterans of game development having been founded 1999 the company continues to make strides in the creation and distribution of slots and traditional casino games.
Games to look out for: Dragon Wins, Foxin Wins, Jackpot Jester, Witch Riches, Merlin’s Magic
Playtech were founded in Estonia in 1999 and is now based on the Isle of Man. Considered to be one of the leading suppliers of online gambling software in the world, they feature a massive back-catalogue of casino games and have also developed cutting-edge bingo, poker and live dealer platforms.
Games to look out for: Age of Gods Series, Fate Sisters, King of Olympus, Ultimate Power
Scientific Games specialises in the development of gambling products including casino games. Based in Las Vegas and established back in 1974, the company’s product portfolio comprises an extensive range of online slots. It also owns numerous big-name subsidiaries such as Bally Technologies and WMS Industries.
Games to look out for: Emerald City, Gold Fish, Frozen Inferno, Raging Rhino, Montezuma, Spartacus
Thunderkick is a relatively new developer that was launched in 2012. Their goal from the outset was to create unique online slot games. To this end, they’ve created hundreds of titles which can be found on a host of major online casinos including Casumo, 888, LeoVegas and Dunder. In the eight years since their inception, the company has developed a formidable pedigree within the industry for developing high-end casino games.
Games to look out for: Carnival Queen, Dragon Horn, Yeti: Battle of Greenhat Peak, Pink Elephants, Flux
These Swedish young guns (est. 2013) take their name from Norse cosmology and were one of the first online casino game developers to ditch Flash. Thus, their entire gaming portfolio is now built using the HTML5 framework which means that they can be played across all devices with a minimum of fuss. As the recipient of numerous industry awards, this dynamic company continues to make serious waves within the online casino gaming sector.
Games to look out for: Champions of Rome, Dwarf Mine, Trolls Bridge, Wolf Hunters, Ozwin’s Jackpots
Advancements in Online Casino Software Development
The technologies behind online casino software have undergone some major changes in recent years. The most significant of these relate to Flash and its successor HTML 5. Before we delve into the intricacies of casino game design, here’s some background.
History of Casino Software
The origins of casino game development can be traced back to 1992 when Cryptologic and Microgaming launched the first gambling platform. Consisting of a small collection of games, the platform was designed to securely store online transactions and personal details. Although groundbreaking, the software wasn’t made available for commercial use until online gambling was legalised in 1994.
The Advent of Adobe Flash
Towards the end of the 1990s, Adobe Flash was released. Able to run slick animations and video content on large screens, Flash was also capable of operating interaction-based, graphically intensive games. It was also portable and came bundled with internet browsers which made it accessible to around 98% of all internet users.
Flash was best viewed on web pages and included server-sided integration features which were ideal for online deployment. The ability to create vector graphics and compress sound files also meant that Flash-based casino games were extremely lightweight. So it was of little surprise that developers started to exploit the platform’s full capabilities. However, Flash was not without its problems.
For one thing, the platform was underpowered in a big way – this was because of Macromedia’s preoccupation with keeping the plug-in as compact and small as possible. While this didn’t present too many problems in the early years, it became a major headache as the demand for more sophisticated casino games grew.
Then there was the craze for ‘gaming on the go’, with players looking to play online slots and traditional casino games on smaller devices. While Flash worked on mobile devices, it wasn’t exactly smooth – an issue that caused Apple CEO Steve Jobs to declare it obsolete. In an open letter, Jobs criticised Flash citing its poor mobile performance, security problems and lack of touch support. He also identified HTML5 as being the future standard for the creation of online multimedia entertainment. Despite being derided by many industry commentators, Jobs was eventually proved correct.
HTML 5 was launched in 2014 and is the fifth iteration of the famed mark-up language used to create web documents. Offering improved performance, easier integration and refined visuals, it provides the ideal platform upon which developers can write online casino software.
As with Flash, HTML 5 allows users to play audio and video within web pages and can also be used to create scalable vector graphics. With regards to online casino software development, one of the major advantages is that it doesn’t require the installation of a plug-in on mobile devices. It’s also much easier to develop casino games.
Unsurprisingly, HTML5 has become the standard for the creation of online casino games and will remain so for many years to come. While there remain a few issues to rectify, it’s ideally suited to casino gaming, whether on desktop computers or smart devices.
Casino Software – Regulatory Requirements and Testing
Trust and fair-play are absolutely crucial for the success of online casino software. Thankfully, to ensure that players are protected there exist a variety of regulatory bodies which oversee the industry and which require all games to be thoroughly-tested.
UK Gambling Commission
In the UK, we have the UK Gambling Commission which, along with its foreign counterparts, requires all gambling software to meet sufficient standards of fairness. This is specifically stipulated in the Gambling Commission’s Licensing Conditions and Codes of Practice, Condition 2.3.1, relating to gambling software licences and remote operating licences:
“Licensees must comply with the Commission’s technical standards and with the requirements set by the Commission relating to the timing and procedures for testing.”
Online Casino Software Testing
The testing of online casino software in the UK is rigorous and thorough. One of the most important elements of testing relates to the evaluation of a game’s random number generator. The outcomes of all casino games are generated by RNGs. Therefore, to ensure fairness, these numbers must be unbiased, unpredictable and have an equal probability of being generated.
Then you’ve got the pay-out percentages (RTPs) which is what the player can expect to win when calculated over the wagering of 100 credits. This area is especially important given that gamers pay particularly close attention to RTPs when choosing an online casino game. As with testing, a game’s RTP must be officially ratified by an independent agency before it can be displayed online. For UK operators, eCOGRA undertakes these tests.
What is eCOGRA?
eCommerce Online Gaming Regulation and Assurance (eCOGRA), is an independent and certified testing agency. Launched in 2003 and based in the UK it is considered to be one of the leading testing agencies in the world. It takes a holistic approach to auditing and requires that all casino games are fair. They must also be impervious to criminal tampering, ensure a secure environment and have a robustly tested RNG (Random Number Generator) and RTP (Return to Player).
Further Information about Casino Software Developers
For more information about the many casino software developers included on Inside Casino, check out the companies listed to the right. We offer detailed background information about each one included the types of games they offer, the online platforms which operate their games as well as the pros and cons of each developer.
Genesis Gaming is a casino slots provider which creates games for land-based, mobile and social platforms. Their customers include some of the most well-known operators in the world. As testament to their programming acumen…read more
Booming Games is a software developer for the gaming industry, whose slots and games have an extremely strong and unique aesthetic. By blending the art of design with a strong mathematical core, Booming games are secure, robust, safe, and highly entertaining…read more
Playson is a software developer for the gaming industry, designing content for both online and land-based casinos. The company is based in the gaming haven of Malta, and is well-established in the industry…read more
Skillzz Gaming develops skill-based casino titles for casual and serious gamers. Based in Tel Aviv and certified by the UK Gaming Commission, the company was established back in 2014. Unlike many of its competitors…read more
Yggdrasil Gaming may not have been around for very long, but they sure have the industry’s attention. The Swedish software developers have a entrepreneurial, start-up spirit. They embody many of the Millennial buzzwords of the minute…read more
Aristocrat is an Australian gaming company that has been active in the gambling industry for over half a century. Since 1953, they have been at the centre of innovation in the business. From designing…read more
iSoftBet are a software developer and gaming services platform provider based out of London and Luxembourg. The company designs a range of video slots and table games for the online casino market…read more
Thunderkick are a software company who design and create video slots. Their portfolio may be small, but they are part of a growing movement of exciting independent casino games suppliers…read more
Leander Games is an independent gaming content developer for the gambling industry. The company was founded in 2009, and is registered in the Bahamas under the trading name of Xterra Games Ltd…read more
Play’n Go is a slot and table game software developer based in Sweden. Many online casinos utilise Play’nGo’s high quality content. The company was founded in 1997, and immediately established themselves in the industry…read more
Quickspin is a Swedish casino slot and game developer. They operate in the social gaming, free play and online casino market. Though they are relative newcomers to the industry, they’re not short on confidence.read more
Extreme Live Gaming
Extreme Live Gaming, founded in 2013, are relative newcomers to the Live Dealer Casino game. However, they have made large steps in a small period of time. You can find their content on various casinos including Slots Magic, Leo Vegas, and Bet Victor…read more
NYX Gaming specialises in the creation and delivery of software for land-based and online markets. Considered to be among the biggest casino game developers in the business, it has offices in multiple locations around the world…read more
Scientific Games Corporation is one of the largest gambling organisations in the world. Based in Las Vegas, it specialises in three broad areas: gaming, lottery and interactive. Under these divisions it offers a range of products including lottery systems…read more
mFortune is a software developer and casino operator who, uniquely, design and release their own online casino and mobile slots for mFortune.com. mFortune’s games and slots are therefore exclusive to their casino…read more
888 Games Software
888 Games design and create slots and games content for 888 casinos and bingo websites. They are an inhouse studio who produce content for the Dragonfish platform. You will find 888 games on every Cassava operated online casino…read more
1×2 Gaming is a small, independent British software developer. Their biggest claim to fame is that they invented virtual football betting. These days, with the rise of e-Sports and daily fantasy sports, the company could be considered pioneers in the field.read more
Neo Games is a Luxembourg based software developer who specialise in iLottery products. Their portfolio has expanded in recent times to include iScratch games, instant win games, Lotto Draw Games, Bingo and Slots on top of their lottery offerings…read more
Realistic Games is a UK based software developer for the gaming industry, who have created content for both the physical and digital markets. Founded in 2002, they have a decade and half’s worth of experience in the industry. They pride themselves particularly in their in-depth knowledge of the UK slots market.read more
Gamesys is a casino game and software platform developer who have been around for over a decade. They started in 2002 as a single venture, Jackpotjoy.com, and since the business has expanded nationally and internationally.read more
High 5 Games
High5 Games began in New York City in 1995 and have gone on to design some of the most iconic video slots of the modern era. Like other great software innovators, it requires a broad church to devise brilliance.read more
WMS (William Interactive)
WMS have been an integral cog in the history of electronic gaming throughout the 20th Century. Experienced players may know classic titles like Montezuma and Raging Rhino are WMS slots.read more
Red Tiger Gaming Casinos
Red Tiger Gaming are an exciting new game development company who are making waves for all the right reasons. Though their video slots may not yet be household names, that popular recognition will surely catch up with their already impressive industry foothold.read more
Odobo, founded in 2011, was a Gibraltar-based igaming and games provider. In 2012, it launched its Development Programme and Marketplace, which offered developers the chance to build HTML5 games for the gambling industry…read more
Barcrest are one of the biggest British gaming success stories out there. Ever since 1968, Barcrest have been designing and bringing to life gaming terminals in Britain’s Bingo halls, arcades, casinos and, of course, pubs.read more
Cassava Enterprises is an operating subsidiary of the 888 Holdings company. To understand exactly what it is and what it does, requires an understanding 888’s convoluted corporate structure. In this short article…read more
Dragonfish is an independent arm of the 888 family and a highly sought-after software platform for Poker, Bingo and Casino websites. Founded by 888 Holdings, they drew upon a decade of market experience running 888 Casino.read more
Blueprint Gaming is a UK based game studio and developer with an impressive range of slots. You’ll find Blueprint games anywhere from 888casino to Bet365, Paddy Power and Ladbrokes to Betfred and Betfair; you’ll even find their content on PokerStars…read more
Amaya Gaming Casinos
Amaya Gaming is a Canadian software developer and operator who have extensive experience in many reaches of the iGaming industry. What you may not know is that they probably won’t be called Amaya for much longer.read more
Nektan is one of the most important brands in the online casino industry that you’ve probably never heard of. Nektan develop gaming content and provide white label casino platforms; a mix that means they are an important business in the online casino world…read more
Evolution Gaming have positioned themselves as the market leaders of live dealer casino games. And deservedly so; Evolution’s platform and game portfolio is really a cut above any other experience that the traditional software developers offer…read more
Playtech are the third member of the iGaming big three along with NetEnt and Microgaming. Casinos powered by Playtech are recognizable for their quality and for their well-known games and branded slots. They are also major players in the online bingo world.read more
Novomatic is a software developer in the gaming industry that has been around the block once or twice. Founded in 1980 by industrial professor and billionaire entrepreneur Johann Graf, Novomatic are one of Europe’s largest gaming technology companies…read more
NextGen Gaming, founded in 1999, is the Sydney based independent gaming studio of the NYX GamingGroup, which has offices located around the world…read more
Net Entertainment, or NetEnt to their friends, are a Swedish software developer who are at the pinnacle of innovative video slot and table game design. With continued excellent profit results, a successful expansion into the United Kingdomread more
Microgaming are one of the leading software developers, and if their claims are to be believed they are both “the world’s leading supplier of online gaming software,” and creators of “the world’s first true online casino in 1994.”read more
IGT (International Gaming Technology), founded in Las Vegas in 1975, are the self-proclaimed “world’s largest slot machine manufacturer.” The company has a rich history creating and producing electronic gaming terminals, and they have translated this success from the Vegas floor to the online casinos of today.read more