When choosing an online casino, a basic knowledge of online casino software is a must. It may appear as though there is a lot of variation among casinos. However, most online casinos are supported by the same “inner circle” of casino software providers.
Ultimately, it’s the software, rather than the casino itself, that determines the variety of games, the casino graphics and features and the overall fairness of the casino.
If these features are important to you – and they should be – read on for Gambling City’s guide to online casino software.
Online Casino Software Providers: Realtime Gaming
Realtime Gaming is one of a few big names in the online casino business, developing software and creating platforms for sites like Bodog and Rushmore, which, prior to pulling out of the market in the wake of Black Friday, were the most popular sites in the US.
Established in 1998, Realtime Gaming prides itself on having “the best internet casino software available anywhere.” Its realistic graphics and fast reloads – Realtime holds the record for online blackjack game speed with an impressive 7 hands per minute – are its biggest selling points.
Realtime also boasts top of the line backend, casino management tools, as well as high-quality technical support for casinos and 24-hour support for customers. It is these services that have made Realtime a popular choice among start-up casinos. Thus, it is also these services that are responsible for the vast differences in the quality and credibility of the start-up casinos that employ Realtime software.
Realtime game offerings include Blackjack, Baccarat, Caribbean Stud, Caribbean Hold’em, online keno and Pai Gow, as well as over 18 different online slots and 17 types of online video poker. Realtime syncs the progressive jackpots from all its casinos, creating huge potential wins for those who play progressives.
In 2006, US officials established the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act (UIGEA), legislation that deemed online gambling illegal. Realtime has since taken a unique and profitable stance by continuing to allow its clients to play at its casinos. It is a gamble – pun intended – for the company and the player; both get what they want, but both risk severe punishment.
Online Casino Software Providers: Playtech
Playtech is the software company behind such industry giants as Europa Casino and Casino Tropez, and it currently maintains the largest collection of casino clients among all competitors. But Playtech didn’t reach these heights by chance.
The firm has been in business since 1999, and maintains a business philosophy that it established at its start. This philosophy is, in short, that every player is unique. With this in mind, Playtech creates distinctive sites, each with a particular personality and exclusive features.
Playtech has made a number of software innovations over the years. These include comp points programs that encourage play and live gambling via video feed.
What Playtech is most famous for, however, is establishing multiple interfaces within a single account. Playtech was among the first software providers to allow players to play casino games and place sports bets, or other such services like poker and bingo, all from the same account. This is a feature frequently sought out by gamblers and one that still doesn’t come standard in many non-Playtech casinos.
Playtech is also renowned for its user-friendliness and multi-lingual support. The software provider offers a number of international games such as Pachinko and Mahjong, in addition to standards like online keno, blackjack, craps and slots. It is so prolific that much of its revenue is derived from countries outside of Europe, most notably Asia and South America.
Playtech does not, however, accept American players. After the UIGEA was passed in 2006, Playtech made a difficult decision when it forbade software sales to any company that permitted US gamers. The company’s finances took a sizable hit, but Playtech insiders were reported to have said that security was the most important aspect of software development. They reasoned that security included insuring against players being fined or imprisoned for gambling.
Online Casino Software Providers: Cryptologic
Toronto-based Cryptologic Software got its start in 1995, and signed its first client just one year later. Since then, Cryptologic has become a formidable, well-respected software company. Currently, they are heading up one of gambling’s biggest enterprises, the Playboy Casino.
Cryptologic’s claim to fame is its games. Among these is the famous Millionaire’s Club progressive jackpot, a Slots game featured at all Cryptologic online casinos. Recently, the company gave away over $8 million to one lucky Millionare’s Club player.
Impressed? Don’t be, because Millionaire’s Club is not Cryptologic’s crowning achievement. That title belongs to its Marvel Slot Machines. These machines bring the world of Slots to an almost video game-esque level of complexity. They are loaded with all sorts of bonuses, including a special side game that awards huge payouts.
Anyone who has played Cryptologic’s Marvel Slots can testify to their excitement. Why? Because these Slot Machines require more thought than most Slots games and leave players waiting for their result in eager anticipation.
Their graphics and storylines are engaging and bring to mind Japanese Slot Machines, which are intricate and very video game-like. This, plus their 3 separate jackpots, make them some of the most fun Slots on the market.
Online Casino Software Providers: Proprietary Software
Proprietary software is generally the term you hear used for casinos that develop their own casino software platforms. Some of these casinos can be huge successes – take 888.com, for example. Others can be disastrous, with poor graphics and minimal game selection the result of a high-end endeavor being undertaken on a shoestring budget.
The real problems with lesser quality proprietary software, however, start with security. As the recent Absolute Poker cheating scandal shows, a company that makes its own software is far more prone to hacking and cheating, especially by employees. In the Absolute Poker case, the player who made millions by hacking into an account that enabled him to see his opponent’s hole cards was an Absolute Poker employee.
Where there is incentive (i.e. profits) there will be attempts to breach security. Proprietary software may not always be capable of thwarting those breaches. By separating the software providers and the casino operators, everyone is allowed to focus on his strength.
Ever wondered why there aren’t security breaches at big software companies like Playtech, Realtime and Cryptologic? The reason is that these companies are publicly traded. Should any software hacking or cheating scandal become public, the company would be crushed. The incentive to provide 100% fail-safe security is high.