Casino Gaming Providers
What do we all go to online casinos to do? Indulge in some gaming, of course! Otherwise, there’s little other point to becoming a member of such a site. Fortunately, many online casinos feature a wide range of games for players to access. This is always going to be appealing, considering we all like to have a good amount of choice with them. And we’re not just talking about the number of games overall here, either. We’re talking about the diversity of the games available within the casino lobby.
Of course, all of the games available have to come from somewhere, don’t they? Yes, indeed. And that’s why we must give our thanks to online software developers, because without them, we wouldn’t have any online casino games to play and enjoy. There are multiple companies that provide such games to our favourite platforms. Some of them have been around for a considerably number of years already and others are newer to the industry. However, one thing remains true – they’re all working effectively towards providing us, the gamers, with exciting and entertaining games.
History of Online Software Providers
Prior to online casinos becoming available, gameplay always took place at land-based establishments. Some of today’s game developers were around at the same time, providing these buildings with their range of casino games. Meanwhile, some other developers only started operating when the online casino sector took off. As it happens, the first online casino came about in 1994, which may be earlier than many people expected. The Internet wasn’t really available within many people’s homes at that time, which marks the query of why an online casino was necessary. Well, don’t forget that Internet cafes and the like used to be available prior to people having it installed in their households.
It was back in 1994 that the country of Antigua and Barbuda passed the Free Trade & Processing Act. With this, licences could be granted to companies looking to open online casinos. Before this time, the very first fully functional gambling software was actually developed by the popular brand known as Microgaming, an organisation based on the Isle of Man. It is because of this that Microgaming is often credited with being responsible for the very first online casino starting up. A couple of years later, the Kahnawake Gaming Commission began operating and regulating online gambling activity as well as providing licences to online casinos and poker rooms.
It wasn’t until the later part of the 90s that online gambling really started to gain traction, though. In 1996 for example, there were only 15 online gambling sites in operation, while by the end of the following year, around 200 of them were active. Over the proceeding years, numerous other operators opened the virtual doors to many new online casinos, while a variety of other game providers began creating software for these sites to incorporate into their lobbies. It was these proceeding years that gave birth to such companies as Playtech, Real Time Gaming, Bally, Giga Media and more. Those were just the start of the online gambling companies dedicating themselves to creating content for internet-based casinos.
Popular Online Gaming Providers
As mentioned, there are many online software developers today. More than can really be counted and verified. However, some of them remain as more popular than others, for various reasons. So, let’s take a look at some of the best online casino gaming providers here.
- Netent: Netent (or Net Entertainment) has been operating since 1996 and remains as one of the highly popular companies to this day. A big part of this could be due to the fact that Netent opts to use exceptionally high-quality graphics in all of its games. This has been the company’s route since it started out with online gaming. Furthermore, Netent games are known to feature exciting themes and unique inbuilt features to entertain anyone who opts to play them.
- Microgaming: As with Netent, Microgaming has been providing games for many, many years now. Responsible for such popular slot titles as Thunderstruck, Avalon, Agent Jane Blonde, The Dark Knight, Mega Moolah and more, Microgaming has certainly staked its claim as one of the best. However, Microgaming has chosen solely to create slot games, but also live dealer games, table games, video poker and many more offerings.
- Playtech: The online gaming world wouldn’t have got far without the creativity of the Playtech brand over the years. Founded in 1999, it remains as one of the key players in the world of online gaming. Playtech also has its foot in numerous pools, including the online casino, sports betting, live dealer and lottery sectors. It is partially due to this that Playtech is the world’s biggest gaming company, even being listed on the London Stock Exchange. A market capitalisation of £2.94 billion certainly works in favour of the developer.
- Novomatic: While Playtech may be the world’s biggest company, Novomatic is known as the number one provider throughout the continent of Europe. The company employs around 28,000 people throughout the world, and even continues making physical games machines for land-based casinos as it has done since it started operating in 1980. Around 80 countries get to benefit from the intriguing games crafted by Novomatic, which include slots, table games, progressive jackpots and more.
- Evolution Gaming: If live casino gameplay is your thing, then Evolution Gaming is one of those brands that should not be missed out on. It could be considered at the centre of the live dealer sector, creating not only live versions of standard table games, but its own unique offerings in this area as well. It is because of this that games like Football Studio, Dream Catcher and Lightning Roulette have come about. These titles are not something to be bypassed and Evolution has certainly managed to build its name up on them.
- Betsoft: If there’s one company that saw which way the industry was going and chose to take a completely opposite path, it’s Betsoft. Creating a unique brand of wonderful 3D slot games, Betsoft aimed to bring something new to the casino gaming world, which it did very successfully. That was quite the objective for the company, which began providing online games in 2005. However, the superior quality of the graphics in Betsoft’s games and the inbuilt specialities that slots contain make games from the brand completely irresistible.
- Yggdrasil Gaming: Starting as a sort of rebellion of former Netent employees, Yggdrasil Gaming is one of the newer developers included in this most popular list. Its headquarters are found within the country of Malta, and it has been responsible for some of the online world’s most impressive games. It may specialise in creating slot games, but these have been some innovative offerings throughout the years from Yggdrasil. Watch out for games such as Vikings Go Wild, Wicked Circus, Cyrus the Virus, Holmes and the Stolen Stones, Cazino Zeppelin and Legend of the White Snake Lady. These Yggdrasil games and more have proved to be popular at multiple online casinos, and it looks as though the developer will be around for many years to come.
Some of the Best Games from Online Providers
Not only is it great to see so many software developers operating today, but it’s always wonderful to see that they have found success with certain games. Naturally, there are going to be games that become more popular with others, which is why we thought we’d take a look at a few of the more popular offerings right here.
- Starburst by Netent: When someone is given the name of Netent, this is the slot game that automatically springs to mind. Arguably the most successful online slot game from this developer, Starburst takes you into space and provides you with symbols of gems and stars on its reels. Wins are able to be formed from both sides of the reels while wild reels can come into play and really enhance your wins.
- Mega Moolah by Microgaming: In the world of online progressive jackpot slots, Mega Moolah sticks out like a sore thumb. That’s because it has provided many gamers with huge pay-outs throughout its several years in operation. The game itself is fairly basic in terms of its graphics and gameplay, but with inclusive free spins and the potential for winning a huge jackpot, why wouldn’t you have a great time playing it?
- Thunderstruck II by Microgaming: If you have a preference for playing online games that surround the theme of ancient mythological gods, then Thunderstruck II is right up your alley. Centring on the thunder god, Zeus and several other gods, this one will really take you into the action. With 243 ways to win and a strong selection of inbuilt special features for you to trigger, Thunderstruck II will leave you feeling totally…struck!
- Cleopatra by IGT: Ancient Egypt will come to life on your screen with this IGT slot offering. Featuring a RTP rate of 95.02%, it stands out as being the most-popular game from this brand by a mile. With 15 free spins also able to be triggered while you play it and Cleopatra also appearing as a wild symbol, things may seem quite basic in it, but it’s a thoroughly entertaining slot offering from this brand.
- Gonzo’s Quest by Netent: Take a trip to locate the lost city of El Dorado in this slot game from Netent, and you just might be in for quite the treat. As Gonzo watches on from the sidelines, you need to spin the reels and watch out for the arrival of ongoing avalanches taking place. These will build up your wins, increase the multipliers of such and even lead you towards a free falls round in the end. This is one quest that you don’t want to miss out on.
- Iron Man 2 by Playtech: Basing itself off of the film of the same name, Iron Man 2 from Playtech stands out for various reasons. Not only does it incorporate some stunning graphics throughout, but it also allows you to trigger several special features during gameplay as well. One can find expanding wilds, scatter symbols and a free spins round. To add to that, it makes up a part of the Marvel Jackpot Network that Playtech is well-known for, meaning that you stand the chance of securing a hefty pay-out from the progressive jackpot function.
It’s true to say that some casino games can be easier to get the hang of than others. Of course, they generally all have the same sort of basic setup. A selection of reels or a table, varying bet options and a button that you press to set the reels off spinning or cards dealt. However, the inbuilt features and other perks of such games will differ depending upon the title that you’re playing. So, without further ado, here are some games that we’ll give you a bit of a guide on before you go ahead and play them.
When you know that a slot game is coming from the Yggdrasil brand, it’s bound to be something special. That’s certainly the case with the Reef Run offering. In this slot game, you’ll be taking a trip to the bottom of the ocean to spin a set of reels. While down there, you’ll come face to face with some exceptionally intriguing characters. From the decorative octopus and the pleasant sea slug through to the docile seahorse and vicious looking fish, Reef Run certainly ensures that you’ve got plenty to look at as you spin its reels.
As far as inbuilt features are concerned, Reef Run has its fair share. There’s a free spins feature that can provide you with up to 60 free games to play through whenever you spin three or more of the free spin symbol into view anywhere. During this round, whenever you create a win on any symbol, you’ll provide it with a multiplier of 5x or 10x on its next win.
You can also activate the Golden Bet feature of the slot during base gameplay. This costs an extra five coins per spin, but it triggers the Reef Run bonus round during free spins. With this, you need to select a sea animal to win the race and if it does, then you will be rewarded with a mystery win of anywhere between 400 – 25,000 coins by the end of the free spins round!
House of Doom
Would you dare to step inside the House of Doom? Well, if your answer is a positive one, then Play’n Go can certainly ensure that you take that step. This one brings all of the thrills and horror to your screen as you move through a series of scary symbols and setups. The game itself is a five-reel, three-row video slot, so everything looks quite basic within in this respect. You’re able to place bets of up to £100 per spin when playing it and there are 10 pay lines for you to win on, too.
Symbols are present in the form of the standard playing card additions, while the more-thematic additions start out with the pentagram. Then comes a chained down cross and a burning rose. The ram’s head comes next, while the highest-paying symbol (and also the wild addition) is present in the shape of the mysterious blind woman. As a wild, she is able to substitute for all other icons on the reels, meaning that she can be quite helpful with forming wins.
On each of your spins during base gameplay, a single reel is randomly chosen and highlighted. Any wild symbol coming into view on that reel will expand to cover the whole column. During the Doom Spins round, between two and all five reels go through this process. To activate the Doom Spins feature, you need to spin three or more House of Doom symbols into view on the reels. A total of 10 free spins will be given to you for doing so. During this round, the House of Doom scatter icon becomes an extra wild. Finally, there’s the skull scatter symbol which triggers this game’s bonus feature. 15 skulls will show up on the screen and you need to click on them to reveal prizes.
Live Texas Hold’em Bonus Poker
Being developed as part of a partnership between Scientific Games and Evolution Gaming, Live Texas Hold’em Bonus Poker is basically like a table adaptation of the classic poker game. Except, it comes with high-definition streaming from a casino studio with a dealer on hand to control the game. The game is played with a single deck of 52 playing cards and, as is the case with poker, you need to form the best kind of hand that you can from the cards dealt.
In this particular variation of poker, your hand needs to be better than that of the live dealer. Should you be successful with doing so, you’ll receive a pay-out from the dealer, which, of course, will differ depending upon how much your initial bet on the hand is. A single player hand is dealt in this Live Texas Hold’em Bonus Poker, but an unlimited number of players are able to join the table and bet on the hand.
Players start out by making an initial Ante bet, but you’re able to also go for two optional side bets, a bonus bet and/or a progressive Jumbo 5 bet. The dealer then proceeds with dealing two cards to the player face up, while two cards are dealt to themselves face down. You then have the option of making a 2x Ante bet or fold to go no further. The dealer proceeds with 3 Flop cards face up if you are continuing with the hand and you can then either bet again or check to continue without an additional bet. Dealer then turns the Turn card face up, you can then bet 1x or check and the River card is then dealt face up. It is at this point that the dealer reveals his own two cards and whoever forms the best 5-card poker hand is the winner.
Age of the Gods: Live Roulette
You can’t go far wrong with introducing players to a Playtech game, which is exactly what Age of the Gods: Live Roulette is. This live game was launched back in 2017 and has built up quite the following in the months since that time. Age of the Gods was originally released as a slot game series, but Playtech seemingly wanted to merge the theme with a live version of roulette, and boy does it work well.
With every spin of the roulette wheel, a small percentage of your stake is contributed towards a four-tier progressive Age of the Gods Mystery Jackpot total. Therefore, you’re able to win as part of the live roulette game and possibly be on the receiving end of a huge progressive jackpot pay-out. Jackpots across the four-tier setup proved to be popular with players from the very start, with one player even managing to secure a £40,000 prize in the early days of the game.
Of course, being a Playtech offering, the overall appeal of the game comes from its high-quality graphics and high-definition streaming from the casino studio. This merger of slot theme and live roulette was the very first of its kind, proving why Playtech remain as the world’s largest developer.
Planet of the Apes
You won’t get far without experiencing a Netent slot game, and fortunately, the developer chose to base one of its offerings on the popular Planet of the Apes film. This slot really does bring the film to life once more, but in a whole new way. Starting out with a video package that explains more about the story, it isn’t long before you’re catapulted into a world that features two reel sets. These are both five reels and three rows large and feature wonderful, high-quality symbols across them. Those sets are known as the Rise and Dawn reel sets.
Both of them spin at the same time but feature different symbols. Both have differing versions of the playing card symbols, whilst also featuring various characters from their respective Planet of the Apes films (Rise of the Planet of the Apes and Dawn of the Planet of the Apes). You’ll also see wild symbols appear on both reel sets, substituting for all standard symbols upon their respective reel sets. The same is true of scatter symbols, with each set having its own specific addition for this.
You can also trigger a free spins round on each of the reel sets, which is done by spinning three or more of the relevant scatter symbols into view on them. Each free spins round comes with its own extra special perks, such as the wild collection during Rise Free Spins and the meters for multipliers during Dawn Free Spins. Stacked Wilds can also come into play across both reel sets, and a bonus feature can be triggered at either side, too.
Microgaming has long been affiliated with the Playboy scene, and that is something that hasn’t changed over the years. Even in 2019, the developer has united with the popular magazine to create this Playboy Gold slot offering. Naturally, it features various Playboy bunnies to keep you entertained, although the symbols upon its six reels are relative to gambling in general, offering imagery of poker chips and playing card suit icons.
A wild symbol can also make an appearance during gameplay, which will substitute for all other symbols on the reels, with the exception of the Playboy logo. That’s not all though, because the developer has cram-packed Playboy Gold with extra special features. These include a Wheel Bonus, which is triggered by the appearance of three scatter symbols. This can award you with a cash prize, a match bonus or the free spins round. The latter of these three offers up 10 free spins, while the cash prize can be anywhere up to 100x your stake.
The other special features that appear within Playboy Gold include the Re-spins function, which sees a Jumbo Block expand to 4x10 in size. Reels one and six then re-spin up to four times. Finally, there’s the Jumbo Block Feature, with these huge symbols covering a 4x6 area on the central four reels.
Stacks o’ Gold
It’s the iSoftBet brand that is responsible for this online slot game, and it’s bringing that wonderful Irish theme to its reels. It’s got a staggered layout consisting of five reels, but a row setup of 3x4x3x4x3, and these reels have some impressive symbols upon them. They include the leprechaun’s green hat, the four-leaf clover, several coins with a pig, rabbit and harp on them, a horseshoe and more. Naturally, iSoftBet utilises some amazing graphics within the Stacks o’ Gold game, ensuring that you have a visually appealing time while playing it.
You’ll have the ability to trigger various special features during gameplay, too. For example, the game’s own logo operates as its bonus symbol. Three of these coming into view will award you with 15 free spins. Meanwhile, a wild symbol is also present, which is that of the pot of gold. Wilds can substitute for all other symbols, with the exception of the previously noted bonus addition. During free spins, a golden wild symbol will show up on the reels and help you fill pots even faster.
Something else that you’ll find in action during free spins is Sticky Stacked Wild Reels. You just need to collect six wild icons to transform reel one into a sticky stacked wild for the remaining free spins. An extra two free spins are also awarded at this point. Collect a further 10 wilds to transform reel three into the same and get another 2 free spins. Finally, if you collect another 10 wilds, then reel five becomes exactly the same. This is one iSoftBet game that you won’t want to miss out on!
Other Provider Games
Many of the games that have been mentioned here focus on the slot market, which is of course a large market. However, it’s not the only one out there, as many players do enjoy accessing table games, card games and video poker, amongst others. Because of this, some developers cater to all areas, creating titles that fans of such can access with ease.
As far as table games are concerned, it’s quite common to see providers creating various forms of roulette to enjoy. These include possibilities like European Roulette, French Roulette and the more unique offerings like the aforementioned Lightning Roulette or Automatic Roulette. When you also factor in card games alongside these, such as blackjack, baccarat, table poker and more, you can usually find quite the nice choice of titles to enjoy at online casinos. As with roulette, you can usually find variations of each of these, like Common Draw Blackjack, Single Deck Blackjack, Mini Baccarat and Oasis Poker.
Video poker also exists in various forms, such as Deuces Wild, Joker Poker, Aces and Eights, Jokers Wild and Double Double Bonus. These provide you with a sort of machine-style version of poker, where you need to make up the best kind of poker hand as you possibly can from the cards dealt.
You’ll also sometimes get the chance to play games like keno (a sort of bingo game) and arcade games at a casino. Furthermore, some sites incorporate virtual sports into their casino lobbies, giving you a bit of a crossover between sports betting and casino betting.