Software

Ever wondered why you seem to come across the same slot games everywhere you look? It’s because most of the main casino websites use games from the same few software developers. These games are developed and created by the software platform and then licenced to the casino sites.

It might seem a bit strange at first but it’s actually a very logical and effective business model that works for the casinos and the software developers, and most importantly for us, the players.

There are five main software companies that make casino games for the online casinos:

  • Microgaming: Microgaming was established in 1994 and it was the first of its kind. These days it’s known for its great range of slot games, excellent graphics and big payouts, especially its big jackpot progressive slots. You can find Microgaming-run casinos absolutely everywhere, as they are probably the most prolific provider of online casino software out there.
  • Playtech: Another well established software provider, Playtech was started in 1999 and has developed a great reputation for all its casino games, especially its Marvel themed video slots. Today, hundreds of online casinos use Playtech software to run their games, from slots to table games, and much more.
  • Net Entertainment: This Swedish company used to run their own online casinos, but they sold them off in 2005 so they could focus on their own software development. NetEnt is not quite as big as Microgaming and Playtech but it’s still a major player with some really exciting slot games. They are known for their great live casino software that is designed to work really well on a mobile platform.
  • 888: 888 Holdings have been around since 1997 and they create their own exclusive games, which you can find at their casinos. 888 are particularly well known for their poker platform but they do also offer some fantastic slots. You’ll only find 888 games at the 888 casinos where they sit alongside licenced games from other providers.
  • Cryptologic: This company is now called Amaya and was launched back in 1995 by brothers Mark and Andrew Rivkin. Cryptologic was sold to Amaya Gaming in 2012 and now they produce gaming software and an online payment processor known as ecash through their subsidiary WagerLogic. You don’t find them everywhere, but they are featured on some of the most popular UK slots sites and have some interesting games on offer.

 

How does the licencing system work?

Back in the day when online casinos first got started, they mostly designed and produced their own games in-house. As online casinos grew in popularity, this became more difficult as coding and designing games is a very different skillset to the marketing and customer service focus the casino sites knew they had to take if they were going to be profitable.

This led to many of the online casinos selling off their websites and focusing on game design and development. Separate companies then set to building online casino websites and focusing specifically on marketing, promotions and customer service. This is how it works today.

The casino companies can focus solely on keeping their players happy, while the software companies concentrate on designing and coding new games using all the latest technology. Because of their ability to focus on the development and design of new games, the software companies are able to produce better quality, more innovative games than they would have otherwise been able to do.

The software companies licence the games to the online casinos for a fee – usually either a fixed monthly cost or a percentage based fee. Most of the main online casinos will use software from one of the bigger developers and this is why you will find the same games in multiple places. Some casinos will only use software from a single provider, while others will licence games from two or more developers, allowing for more selection.

888 Holdings is one of the very few casinos that still works on the old business model of creating their own gaming software that is then used at their online casinos. Other than that the business model of licensing games to online casinos that then take care of the marketing remains the main way that the industry is run.