The Setup of the Online Casino World
Many new players are surprised to find the same casino games at many different online casinos. With operators covering different countries with their own unique branding and bonus offers, it can be difficult to understand why they do not also have games of their own.
This page explains how the complex relationship between software companies and online casinos work. You will find out exactly why the same games appear at many different casinos. You can also get hints on how to spot which casinos have different games before you sign up.
Who Makes Casino Games?
Most casinos do not create their own games. Instead, this task is undertaken by specialist software companies – which then license the games to the individual casinos. There are some very big software houses, which somewhat dominate the market. These include MicroGaming and PlayTech, which power some of the biggest casino brands around. At the same time, there are smaller outfits, many of which still have 100+ games. These sometimes power entire casinos, and other times license their games as add-ons to for larger casinos.
Casino operators which make their own games are only the biggest outfits around. Casinos such as Party Casino and 888 Casino have the scale to make it worthwhile doing game-development in-house. They also license titles from many of the software specialists. While some software developers also operate casinos, this combination is rare. The more usual way is that a casino operator will decide whose games to go with and license their entire software suite from a single place.
How Casino Operators Work
The places you play at are run by operators which generally do not develop their own games. These are the big online casino brands which are competing for your custom. Their role in the system is as follows:
- Attract players and look after their deposits, withdrawals and provide customer services.
- Maintain a platform of games licensed from one or more of the big software houses.
- Offer bonuses and incentives to players, and manage promotions as applicable.
There are various ways in which casino site operators work. Some of these are big brands in other gambling verticals (for example Sports Betting). Giants like William Hill, offer casino games and Poker through their website, by licensing the software from PlayTech. Other operators are small outfits, with some of them operated in groups by holding companies such as NetAd management or Milore Group.
Operators need to be licensed in order to offer payment processing which allows them to run. The jurisdiction of this license depends on whether they are offering games to US players or only to international players. US friendly casinos are licensed out in the Caribbean. This means they have a smaller choice of software – only being able to use those companies which are also licensed offshore and whose policies allow US players (or rather, do not explicitly prohibit them). This page explains about US friendly casino software providers, which include Real Time Gaming, Rival Gaming and BetSoft.
International operators are often licensed out of jurisdictions like Malta or Gibraltar. The regimes are stricter in these reputable jurisdictions, and you will find many more casinos which use software from the big players including NetEnt, IGT, MicroGaming and PlayTech here.
Single Software Suites v Combinations
Traditionally, each casino operator went with a single type of software. This used to be made available via a download to your Windows PC or Mac. Nowadays, mobile and instant-play (in-browser) casinos are far more prevalent – and are fast replacing the old downloads in many cases.
This means that casinos are able to offer the games of more than one software house.
What you will find these days is the ‘download plus’ model. Casinos choose one dominant operator for their traditional download, and offer browser games from one or more operators alongside this. Bovada, the biggest US friendly (in fact US-only!) offshore casino, are a great example. Their main software is by Real Time Gaming (which comes as a Windows / Mac download). In addition they offer games by BetSoft via instant-play and mobile.
Internationally you will find even wider choices. Mr Green is a new generation casino which offers only in-browser games. The full NetEnt suite is available, along with extra games from MicroGaming , Aristocrat and more. Finally, BetFair offer PlayTech as their main download – with IGT games available in browser-only mode.
This is a positive development, which can only increase the quality of the games being produced. We will soon reach a point where casinos are able to select the best titles from each software house, and provide an awesome online casino experience for their players.
At least you’ll have a better understanding of the relationship between the casino software providers and the operators – which explains why you find the same games at many different casinos.