A Guide to Online Casino Software Developers
Let’s talk about casino software.
Hey, don’t roll your eyes – casino software is an important topic. Seriously.
Casino software impacts so much of your experience online: the games you can play, the odds you get, the rules you have to follow, table limits, and so much more.
That’s why it makes sense to have at least a basic understanding of online casino software. You should know who the top 10-20 software providers are, what makes them unique, and the types of games they offer.
Once you know this, finding an online casino will be so much easier. You can immediately skip a casino, since you’ll know they won’t have the games you want to play, or you’ll immediately join a new casino because they sport Microgaming software, and that means you get to play Mega Moolah.
We’re telling you, it makes this online gambling thing much, MUCH easier.
We’ll show you the most popular developers, tell you their biggest strengths/weakness, and then explain how they’ll impact your gambling experience online.
Let’s get to it.
The Most Popular Casino Software Providers
The following is a short list of the most popular casino software providers and a little about them.
We’ll list the tier-2 software providers afterwards.
RealTime Gaming got started in the late 1990s. They formed in the USA before moving their operations to Costa Rica.
If you’re a US casino player, then chances are you have or will play an RTG game in the near future.
- They power US-friendly casinos.
- They have a relatively large game selection.
- They have 7+ blackjack variants.
- They have 10+ video poker variants.
- They have a growing mobile game selection.
- They don’t do a good job of vetting operators.
- They don’t have live dealer games.
Playtech has also been online since the late 90s (1999). They provide software to online casinos, poker rooms, sportsbooks, bingo halls, live casinos, and more.
- They work with established operators such as Betfair, Bet365, William Hill, and Sky.
- They offer licensed slot titles, many of which revolve around Marvel Comics.
- They offer live dealer games.
- They’re widely considered to be one of the best in the industry.
- They’re unavailable to US players.
- They have powered entire groups of blacklisted casinos.
- The Playtech founder, Teddy Sagi, is an ex-con and – funny enough – was a one-time owner of some of the blacklisted casino groups mentioned in the last point. Coincidence?
Microgaming has been in the gaming business since 1994. They’re considered to be one of the best, if not THE best, software providers in the online casino industry today.
They also run an online poker network, and have even started working in the VR market with a focus on VR roulette.
- They’re seemingly selective about which casinos they work with. The list of blacklisted casinos powered by Microgaming is smaller than most.
- They’re the software provider behind Mega Moolah, a progressive jackpot that has paid out tens of millions over the last decade. That includes the largest progressive ever won on a mobile device to date.
- Their software is independently audited to ensure random results.
- They have a MASSIVE selection of casino games – hundreds of them.
- They boast lots of licensed slot titles.
- They’re unavailable to US players.
Net Entertainment has been in the iGaming space since 1996. They offer a wide selection of games that includes their own (in-house) live dealer games.
NetEnt is widely considered one of the best software providers in the online gambling industry.
- They have a large selection of casino games that includes slots, table games, live dealer games, and more.
- They have lots of licensed slots revolving around movies, TV shows, Universal Studios Monsters, etc.
- They’re available in select US states.
- They have a MASSIVE selection of casino games – hundreds of them.
- They power some top-notch casinos, including LeoVegas, Betway, 888, and 777.
- They’re unavailable to most Americans.
- The quality of casinos who use their software varies.
International Gaming Technology (IGT) is a staple in the gambling industry. They’ve been in this business since 1971, and they started out by supplying brick-and-mortar casinos with gaming machines.
- They’ve spent a long time in this business, and have lots of experience and a good reputation.
- You can play many of the same games offline that you can online.
- They offer licensed titles, such as Ghostbusters, CSI, Family Guy, and Wheel of Fortune.
- They’re unavailable to most Americans online (unless playing from a licensed online casino).
- They have relatively smaller selection of slots compared to most other (online) software providers.
The Stars Group
This Canadian-based gaming public company was formerly known as Amaya, Amaya Gaming, and Amaya Gaming Group.
They offer gaming products for the casino, poker, and sportsbook industries. Amaya bought the parent company of PokerStars and Full Tilt Poker in 2014 for $4.9 billion.
They changed their name in 2017.
- They have licensed slots around movies, comics, and games, such as The Italian Job, Superman, Wonder Woman, Jenga, Street Fighter, and more.
- They work with other slot manufacturers, such as Aristocrat, to provide exclusive online slot titles.
- They’re unavailable to Americans.
- They have more in-house games compared to 3rd party games, which – according to other sources – is less than impressive.
Evolution focuses exclusively on live dealer games. They were founded in 2006. They work with many operators – a few of the best ones include Gala Coral, Party Gaming, William Hill, 888, and Paddy Power.
They have received several awards – including Game of the Year – for their live dealer products.
- They offer VIP studios for high rollers.
- They have an impressive selection of live dealer games.
- They offer mobile live dealer gaming.
- They have dealers from multiple backgrounds that also speak in different languages.
- The casinos they work with tend to be high quality and have a good reputation.
- The games are unavailable to Americans.
Williams Interactive go all the way back to the 1940s. They started off in the pinball industry, then jumped into the gaming industry, where they’ve been ever since.
- They have several licensed slot titles revolving around games, movies, TV shows, and more. For example, you can play Cluedo, Clue, Wizard of Oz, Monopoly, Star Trek, and Bruce Lee.
- They operated offline in licensed, legit brick-and-mortar casinos before moving to online. You know they’re safe and above board.
- You can play your favorite games both online and off.
- Their online games are unavailable to (most) Americans.
BetSoft has been in the industry for the last few years. They’re known most for their impressive selection of 3D slots and games, as well as for powering US-friendly online casinos.
- Some of their best 3D slots revolve around fun themes such as Las Vegas, mad scientists, monsters under the bed, the wild west, and much more.
- They are available to Americans.
- They’re compatible with many (newer generation) mobile devices, including some Windows and Blackberry devices.
- They refused to pay a massive jackpot based on a nonexistent rule, then added the rule after the fact.
- The tracking data of their progressive jackpots questions the fairness of their games.
- Their Alderney license was revoked in 2014.
- They were caught running rigged keno games in 2010.
- Many casinos continue to use their software despite their past issues.
2nd Tier Casino Software Developers
This wraps up the more popular software providers, though some of this is merely opinion. There are many others, which we’ll list now. Many of the following have excellent games and software you should check out, too:
- NextGen Gaming
- Aristocrat Gaming
- Rival Gaming
- Wizard Gaming
- Bally Technologies
- Big Time Gaming
- Play’N Go
- Euro Games Technology
- Thunderkick Novomatic
- Realistic Games
- Viaden Gaming
- NYX Interactive
- Top Game
You can see a more thorough list of casino software companies on this site.
5 Reasons Why Casino Software is Important
In case you’re still skeptical about how important casino software is, we want to show you the different ways software will impact your experience gambling online.
In no particular order…
One of the impacts you’ll feel right away is the platform you’re able to use to play the casino’s games. This includes any combination of the following options:
- Mobile – Can you play casino games on your tablet or smartphone? How many games do you have to choose from?
- Download – Does the casino offer a download? Is it compatible with Mac computers?
- Instant Play – In case you don’t want to download software, or if you have a Mac, does the casino offer an instant play casino (also known as a browser casino) you can access from your browser window?
- Live Casino – Some software providers specialize in live dealer games, and very few virtual game providers deal with live dealer games.
Platforms will be hit and miss because of who casinos choose to work with.
For example, RealTime Gaming – last we checked – does NOT offer live dealer games. So, if you play at a US casino, it’s likely powered (partially) by RTG, meaning there’s a good chance you won’t be able to play live dealer blackjack or roulette.
But if you can find a casino that works with Evolution Gaming or Global Gaming labs,or an all-around casino such as NetEnt, then you’ll be able to find at least a couple live table games.
And that’s just one example of how software will impact your experience. Let’s look at another.
We touched on this a little with the first reason, but another impact you’ll feel is game selection. Here are all the different ways software providers will impact your experience:
- The specific kinds of games you can play. That includes slots, table games, video poker machines, live dealer games, etc.
- The game variations the casino will have. This can be the difference between having 2 or 20 unique blackjack games, for example, like Atlantic City Blackjack, Single Deck Blackjack and European Blackjack.
- Your mobile game selection. We talked about mobile in the last point, but only about whether the casino offers it. But even if they have a mobile casino, that doesn’t mean they’ll have the games you want to play. Many casinos have a limited selection (< 50 games), most of which are slots. A very rare few will have 100+ games
Part of the game selection available to you is also determined by the laws/regulations the software provider needs to follow due to where they’re licensed. We’ll talk about that in a second.
The software provider will impact the rules you’ll need to follow. Take blackjack, for example:
The rules will, in turn, impact the odds of the game you’re playing. The more rules that favor the player, the better your odds.
We weren’t sure what else to call this. But the software provider a casino uses (or doesn’t) will affect whether you can play your favorite brick-and-mortar slots online.
For example, in Las Vegas, we’ve played Jurassic Park and Jurassic World. We’ve also played Monopoly, Iron Man, Spider-Man, 60’s Batman & Robin, The Flintstones, LIFE, and many other recognizable titles based on popular games, movies and celebrities.
You can play many, if not all, of these online. But you need to find the right software providers, such as IGT, NetEnt, and Microgaming.
Unfortunately, for a variety of reasons, not everyone will be able to play these games online (including us).
5Whether You Can Play
One of the biggest impacts you’ll feel regarding casino software is whether you can even play their games.
Probably the biggest reason (or only reason?) is where you live.
A good example is Microgaming. You won’t find a Microgaming-powered casino that accepts Americans. Not one. And if you do, we doubt they’re a legit casino, much less a safe one that will be in business for long.
Not if they want to keep their license, much less stay in business.
And this type of limitation impacts players all over the world.
If you check out many casinos today, you’ll find that they work with 5-10 different software providers. But you may find that games from only a couple of them are available to you.
And that’s because many software providers are prohibited from offering their games to players in specific regions, so casinos have to hide these games from users in those areas.
We cover this (when applicable) in our reviews. You can also read the terms and conditions of the casino you’re thinking about joining to see if there are any games prohibited to players in your area.
And there you have it.
There are probably other ways casino software will impact your gambling experience online. But the reasons above, whether it’s game selection, platform or rules/odds, will have the most impact.
Choose Your Casino (and Casino Software) Carefully
Before we wrap things up, we want to briefly talk about why you need to be careful when choosing the casino and casino software you use.
Because, even though software providers are more or less in the background, they run a business in an industry where billions of dollars are generated annually.
In other words, you don’t want to make the mistake of thinking software providers are angels and incapable of doing wrong. Or worse, ignoring them altogether.
Like casino operators, you will find software providers who do shady things. The most recent example that comes to mind is BetSoft.
You can go check out the entire story, but we’ll give you a quick rundown of their shenanigans:
- A player won a jackpot using free spins. However, both the casino and BetSoft refused to pay the player. They said that there were rules that said that progressives wouldn’t be paid out if won during a free spin. This rule wasn’t added until after the incident.
- For months, BetSoft’s progressives were locked (aka impossible to win).
- Their licensing and auditing is questionable at best.
You can also see VegasClick.com for a timetable of when these different shenanigans occurred.
BetSoft handled things so poorly that Casinomeister.com gave them their dreaded Head in the Sand award in 2016.
So, with that in mind…if a casino were only powered by BetSoft, wouldn’t it make sense to tread with extreme caution, while totally avoiding max bets on their progressives – and maybe even avoid the casino altogether?
And that’s one software provider of dozens, maybe more.
What’s more is that you cannot rely on either the casino or software provider to vet the other. A good example is RealTime Gaming and Playtech – you’ll find dozens of relatively solid casinos using both software providers.
However, you’ll find plenty of scumbags using them, too. It goes both ways – and that’s the point. You can’t rely on a software provider or casino to ensure the other is legit. Only you can do that.
The bottom line – you want to make sure the casino you’re playing at is legit from top to bottom… and that includes everyone they partner with – even software providers.
It bears repeating – software providers matter.
They impact nearly, if not every, aspect of your online gambling experience. The software a casino uses will impact the platform you play from, the game selection, the rules, jackpots you can play for, and much, MUCH more.
It’s in your best interest to know who the best software providers are in the entire industry and the casinos they power, as well as the software providers and the casinos they power that are specifically available to you (if they’re even different).
This is absolutely the fastest way to find the best online casinos with the games, variants, and platform you want… while simultaneously avoiding all those that don’t.