Most online casinos don’t create their own gaming software, but rather license it from a handful of casino software companies. This is why you’ll notice many casinos with the same games – they’re using the software that they’ve licensed from one of these software creators.
Here we’ll look at some of the companies that produce the software used in hundreds of online casinos around the world and how the licensing system works.
OUR TOP CASINO SOFTWARE COMPANIES:
Established in 1994 Microgaming is a privately held company that released the very first online casino. It didn’t take long for Microgaming to realise they were better off focusing on the development of new games and leaving the running of their online casinos to someone else. Since the late 1990s, Microgaming has solely focused on creating games, which they then licence to the online casinos.
Microgaming is one of the largest software providers to the online gambling industry, supplying more than 2000 games to over 120 casinos including Ruby Fortune and Spin Palace. Their software powers the world’s largest progressive jackpot network, having paid over NZ$520 million.
Microgaming is best known for their slots games and they have hundreds of different titles in their catalogue. Their big name progressive jackpot Mega Moolah has been responsible for some record-breaking payouts to players and is one of the most compelling reasons why players choose Microgaming casinos.
As time goes on, Microgaming continues to innovate and make use of the latest technology to make their games even better and more feature packed than ever before. It’s no wonder they are the biggest supplier of casino games to the online casino industry.
Founded in 1999 Playtech provides software for online casinos, poker rooms, bingo games, and online sports betting. Playtech has grown to become the world’s largest publicly listed provider of software for online gaming, and is especially known for their Marvel licensed pokies games.
Like Microgaming, Playtech specialises in online slots but they also have a well-respected selection of table games. They run a number of different platforms including sports betting, poker and gambling. One of the unique features of Playtech casinos is the ability to switch seamlessly between different platforms so you can play a hand or two of poker and then spin a few reels on the slots without having to log out.
Cutting edge graphics also form a major part of Playtech’s appeal and they offer an excellent live casino experience. Versatility is one of Playtech’s strengths and most of their games are available in both download and instant play along with free play options for slots and table games.
Playtech also offers a number of progressive jackpots, which although they don’t quite rival the Microgaming progressives, still have some very exciting prizes. Playtech went public in 2005 and is now traded on the London Stock Exchange.
Based in Dublin, Cryptologic, now known as Amaya, was launched by brothers Mark and Andrew Rivkin in 1995. WagerLogic is a subsidiary of Cryptologic and is the entity through which the company manages its gaming software products, online payment processor ECash and customer care services.
Amaya is known for its really diverse range of games and it recently acquired Pokerstars, one of the world’s leading poker sites. As well as online poker, Amaya also provides table games, live dealer games and slots including progressive jackpot slots. While their catalogue is not quite as extensive as Playtech or Microgaming, they are still worth looking at and are featured in many online casinos alongside other smaller software providers.
Amaya has its headquarters in Quebec, Canada and is a publicly traded, billion dollar company. As well as their online casino games, Amaya is also involved in poker, bingo, sports betting and lotteries. They use the latest technology in their games to produce high quality graphics and animation and many of their games are multiplayer or networked including some of their table games.
You’ll find Amaya software in over 300 online casinos so while they’re smaller than others, their reach goes far and wide.
Founded in Sweden in 1996 NetEnt gaming launched their first casino in 2000, with a further four going live that same year. Net Entertainment sold off their casinos in 2005 to focus wholly on casino software development. This is a pattern that has been followed by a number of other casino software developers and forms the basis of the online casino business model we see today.
NetEnt has won a number of awards for the quality of their software and while they are not the most prolific game developer out there, the games they do produce are high quality and innovative. Players at NetEnt casinos can enjoy 3D graphics, world-class animation and some really creative bonus features on slot games.
One major point of difference with NetEnt’s software is that it is not available for download. All their games are created in an instant play format, which means they’re playable in any browser and are compatible with Mac as well as PC. This makes NetEnt a great choice for players on shared computers who can’t download and install anything to their machine’s hard drive.
Based in Sydney NextGen Gaming has grown in reputation and now sits alongside NetEnt as providing the most innovative and feature rich slot games. Also known as NYX gaming, Next Gen can be found in hundreds of online casinos around the world.
Established in 1999, NextGen gaming has been around since online casinos were just getting started, and like the other major players the company doesn’t run its own casinos, but prefers to focus on developing games that it then licences to the casino providers.
NextGen Gaming was acquired by NYX Gaming in 2011 and its head office moved from Sydney to London as a result. Best known for their great range of innovative video slot games, NextGen can be found at some of the world’s most prestigious and popular online casinos.
NextGen has over 600 games in their catalogue including slots and casino table and card games. They also offer some of the most innovative games out there including 3D video slots and social media games that can be played for play money over Facebook.
Founded in 2009, Zynga was one of the first to offer social gaming and it continues to lead the charge with favourites like Zynga Poker and Wizard of Oz Slots topping the app charts year after year. The social gaming market is rapidly growing and Zynga is already one of the biggest names in the industry.
Social gaming takes place over mobile and social media platforms like Facebook and while the games themselves are free to play, they allow for greater levels of interactivity and offer in-app purchases to players.
Zynga is based in the UK and they are a regular supporter of not for profit agencies, donating part of their proceeds to different organisations around the world. This focus on corporate social responsibility is one thing that really sets Zynga apart from most of the other software developers out there.
Because social gaming is so mobile focused, most of Zynga’s games are only available on a mobile format via apps for iOS and Android devices. You can find their games at the app store or on Facebook. Graphics are excellent, colours are bright and their games have a light fun feel that’s missing from a lot of traditional casino games. While social gaming may be relatively new, chances are we’re going to see a lot more from Zynga in the future.
Playtika is an award-winning software platform with a focus on social gaming, fun and interaction. From slots to casino games, social gaming has never been so exciting. Like Zynga, Playtika focuses almost entirely on social gaming and you can find their games at your app store or on Facebook.
Founded in 2010, Playtika was bought by Caesars Interactive Entertainment and then acquired by Giant for $4.4 billion. All the Playtika games work on a system of play money which you receive at certain intervals or for performing specific activities including interacting with friends, meeting goals or levelling up.
Because there’s no real money involved, you can’t withdraw your winnings from a Playtika casino so you’re not going to strike it rich but you can challenge your friends over Facebook and have a lot of fun. Some of their top apps include Slotomania where you can participate in contests, tournaments and just have fun playing the different games.
Playtika, like Zynga is emerging as a big player in a relatively new market and it will be interesting to see where their software evolves next.
The Modern Online Casino Software Model
In the 1990s when online casinos were first emerging, it was common practice for online casino companies to produce their own software. But it soon became apparent that creating software and running a high quality customer-focused service were two separate skillsets. Hence, many of the early casinos turned their interest to creating software, which they then licensed to dedicated casinos. This allowed the casinos to focus on marketing and customer support without having to worry about coding software. The end result is a large number of casinos using the software from a handful of software providers, which is fine because of the huge array of games being produced.