Online casinos need software, which for the most part is referring to the games provided. Other tools are available, which are usually developed in-house or with the web developer an operator employs. We’re talking about account login tools, banking tools, safety and security as well as player protection tools. When we refer to online casino software here, we are referring to the games.
A lot of online casinos will provide a number of different software developers, meaning they signed deals with them to distribute their content at their casinos. Depending on a casino’s clientele or business model, you’ll find just about any combination of software providers at casinos, though some also have exclusive contracts (or used to in the past), where they only provide software from one developer.
Often software developers are picky with whom they work. They want to ensure to work with reliable casinos, because their reputation is at stake as well, if fraudulent activities take place.
On the other hand, online casinos try to work with software developers who offer games and services that cater to their customers. Thus online casinos may wish to work with developers that offer a range of products such as slots, table games, poker, live games and more. Depending on the quality of the games, however, online casinos will also work with developers that specialise in slots, for instance.
Online gambling software has been around for over 20 years now. It was Microgaming who produced the first free-to-play games back in 1994, though in order to actually play those games, CD-ROMs had to be purchased, which held the required software. Needless to say that dial-up internet speeds were less than ideal to actually play those games in a satisfying manner.
Money wagers became only available at online casinos in 1996, after the very first gambling commission, the Kahnawake Gaming Commission, had been established. It ensured fair regulation of real money wagers and licensed the first games and online casinos. Technology soon improved and with the advent of flash technology, players no longer needed CD-ROMs to download software. Internet speeds slowly improved as well, making for a smoother gaming experience.
1998 was a busy year with Microgaming launching its first linked progressive jackpot and Planet Poker launching the first poker client.
By the end of that year already several hundred online casinos existed. It was the introduction of Java that revolutionised online gambling, because it made ‘in-browser’ play possible and did away with the necessity to download software.
Still, ‘in-browser’ play didn’t replace the download option just yet. Even today it’s possible to choose one or the other, though many modern online casinos offer ‘in-browser’ play only.
Game developers obtain licenses from gambling authorities such as the MGA or Alderney or other regulating bodies, because they need to be monitored for safety and fairness. The most common tool employed to ensure fairness in online casino software is the so-called random number generator.
In reality this is a ‘pseudo random number generator’, because no microprocessor can actually truly generate random numbers. In many games you will encounter the Mersenne Twister as the PRNG that is being used. It’s been around for 20 years now and has originally been developed by Makoto Matsumoto and Takuju Nishimura. The Mersenne Twister can produce sequences that are 219937 digits long, which is very long indeed.
The algorithm thus generates not only very long numbers but many streams of them that make the outcome appear random without actually being random. All numbers are pre-determined, which is why we get a pay-out percentage that is pretty much set in stone. Needless to say that any software, which includes algorithms, can be tampered with.
Hackers could feasibly add code to a software that produce false results or even report false results, showing player something that didn’t actually happen. Quite a number of regulating bodies, among them eCOGRA, regularly monitor games and developers and ensure that the PRNGs do their work as expected and that no fraudulent activity is taking place.
All reputable software developers will work with eCOGRA or similar regulating organisations.
As we’ve already mentioned, different software providers offer different products. NetEnt, for instance, makes slots, table games (including a few ‘other games’ such as keno or scratch cards) and live games. Microgaming additionally has a poker client they have developed, whilst also making plenty of slots, casino games and live games.
There are other developers that concentrate on slots alone, however. Here you have Thunderkick, Yggdrasil Gaming and Elk Studios. All those providers are still relatively new (generally only a few years old) and may eventually expand their product range. But since they do what they do exceedingly well, online casinos like to add their games to their portfolio to please customers, who simply love those games.
Or take Evolution Gaming, a provider that concentrates on live games and does it so well that a majority of online casinos works with them.
It’s quite unnecessary for a casino software provider to cover a range of products as long as they provide excellent quality. In the end most casino customers will have their preferences which games they like to play and which developer they like above all. Online casinos know that they can’t please everyone and usually decide to cater to a particular audience.
In all honesty, we’re not here to decide which casino software providers are the best. We’re here to present you with the information on who is out there. Of course we have our own preferences, but we won’t impose them on you. Instead we’ll aim to cover as many providers as we can, giving you an overview of each one of them, games they make and casinos where their games are available for play.
Of course, we will concentrate on those providers that actually make good games and are considered reputable companies, because there are a few crooks out there and we wouldn’t recommend playing their games.
Let us know, if you have suggestions or wishes on who you want us to cover on top of the ones you find here.