If you’re looking to play online casino games, it’s important to understand the difference between a top casino operator and a casino software provider. When you sign up and deposit with a casino operator, they are not usually the company who have created the brilliant online slot games that you are likely to enjoy thanks to becoming a customer. That comes down to the casino site’s partnership with a casino software provider.
It used to be the case that a casino operator would work exclusively with one software provider, something that was fairly restrictive and times have thankfully changed. Now it’s pretty common for a casino site to have games provided to them by a wide range of software companies, with Playtech, Microgaming and NetEnt among the biggest ones.
Please note that when you’re looking for a good casino software provider, this isn’t just restricted to online slots sites. It also applies to Live Casino and it’s fairly common to see Evolution Gaming as the mainstay of many casinos’ live dealer offering, with this company providing superb live-streamed action. The same also applies to video poker and table games.
Any first-class gambling site relies on forming strong partnerships with leading casino software providers. An operator could have a first-class casino interface, brilliant welcome bonuses and excellent customer service, although casino players want something beyond the shop window and the casino software companies are able to meet the customer demand thanks to unique lines of casino games.
You might notice that each casino software provider offers something slightly different to the gambling site. It might be a reputation of big money jackpots such as Microgaming or alternatively it might just be distinctive graphics which means customers can quickly tell that they’re playing a NetEnt slot.
Fantastic gaming software developers never stand still either. There is always a new release around the corner in the same way that people want to watch the latest blockbuster movie. After all, casino software providers are in direct competition when it comes to customers playing their games through the casino sites with which they work.
When it comes to rating the best gambling software providers, we use different pieces of criteria in order to come up with our ultimate ranking order. A good casino software firm will score highly across the board for different categories and one of the biggest reveals comes down to the casino software that operators choose to use on their own site.
Naturally, we will look at a software company’s history to judge them and that is a pretty good barometer when it comes to trust. A software giant that were one of the first to create online casino slots clearly trumps a new kid on the block in terms of trust, although it also helps if we see evidence that the software firm is UK-licensed and regulated. After all, it’s not just the casino sites which need to have a gambling license.
There are also many industry awards knocking around every year and you can easily find information relating to which casino software providers are successful on this front. The awards are generally down to an independent panel of judges who will look at the reputation of that software provider’s game range, while it’s also imperative that they adhere to the strictest standards when it comes to RNG so the games are fair.
While all of the above factors form a solid benchmark for how we rate casino software providers, the proof of the pudding is in the eating. Therefore, our experts take a firm look at each software provider’s range of casino slots and judge the strength of each portfolio. It’s no exaggeration to say that some of the leading firms have thousands of available games that can be hand-picked by an operator.
It always helps if a casino software provider has created slot games that have a Progressive Jackpot and that is generally made available on a network so that the amounts get bigger in a shorter space of time. We also look at the RTP (Return to Player) for each available game, with the higher percentage being more favourable in terms of the return that can be enjoyed along the way.
It’s important that the game play is first-class and that includes the layout of the game, the graphics and the sound effects. A casino provider will get extra marks for having the latest video slots which feature clips from popular movies, while we’re looking for the highest entertainment value possible. All this information can be found on Gambling.com in the software provider reviews and slot reviews.
You’ll do well to find an online casino that isn’t using NetEnt and they are rightly regarded as a giant when it comes to the provision of online casino games. Possibly the most iconic NetEnt slot of all time is Gonzo’s Quest although Starburst has been widely opted by online casinos wanting to provide Free Spins, while the Vikings video slot and Lost Relics have also proven highly popular and this is a company that also provides Progressive Jackpot games.
This Swedish developer are always creating new and exciting slots, with a Gordon Ramsay-inspired Hell’s Kitchen game soon to be launched, while jackpot slot Mega Fortune has created many millionaires and that includes the second-biggest win in online jackpot history. NetEnt pioneered the Mobile First approach when it came to online slots and the Mega Joker game has an RTP of 99% which offers a tremendous opportunity to win against the operator.
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While some casino players regard Microgaming as “old school”, they are still among the casino software market leaders, with this company having the reputation for offering the biggest Progressive Jackpots in the world. Mega Moolah is the flagship Microgaming title where world records continue to be broken, while Terminator 2, Jurassic Park, Game of Thrones and Bridesmaids are branded slots which show this company move with the times.
Microgaming are based on the Isle of Man and were first established in 1994, with this company now supporting smaller developers thanks to their Quickfire online casino platform. In addition to regular multi-million jackpot payouts, they are also a huge poker software provider and you can get 100 different variations of the game. There is also the Playboy Live Dealer series available.
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Founded in 2007, Swedish software company Play’n GO have a slogan which is “We Are Game” and they have risen to prominence in recent years thanks their highly popular Rich Wilde series which includes the award-winning Book of Dead. More recently, Troll Hunters 2 has been released to wide acclaim, while Rally 4 Riches has also been an enormous success for a casino software provider who feature for all the leading online casinos.
This company have developed a reputation for offering slot games which are interactive, with characters within the game passing comments to the customer. You can also enjoy unique graphics, game play and sound effects which are highly unique. Wizard of Gems is currently the title with the best available RTP of 97.66%, while the omni-channel gaming tool provides a way of customers being able to enjoy games through desktop, mobile or tablet.
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Playtech have been a casino software giant for decades and they can often be seen forming the backbone to a first-class online casino. Playtech Live is one of the leading providers of live casino products in the world, while the company now deliver over 700 premium branded titles, including DC Entertainment titles like Justice League, Superman and The Dark Knight. There are film-themed favourites including The Matrix, Gladiator and Robocop, along with jackpot slots such as Age of the Gods and Jackpot Giant.
Founded in 1999, the company now has 5,000 employees and holds 140 global licences, while Playtech also have offices across 17 different countries. When you see software developers such as Ash Gaming and Quickspin, they fall under the Playtech umbrella, with some of the most popular classic slot games being Monty Python's Spamalot and Life of Brian, Frankie Dettori's Magic Seven, Plenty O'Fortune and Mr. Cashback.
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When it comes to playing Live Casino, nobody does it better than Evolution Gaming who have been market leaders in this department for several years. They have successfully pioneered a way to bring high definition live streaming from a land-based casino which allows customers to play roulette, blackjack, baccarat and a wide range of other casino games through their mobile or desktop device.
This was a company that was founded in 2006, with over 35 live games, over 300 tables and over 3,000 live dealers. It’s no exaggeration to say that they have casino bases all over the world including Latvia, Malta, Tbilisi, British Columbia, Atlantic City and New Jersey. This allows them to offer different language versions of the Live Dealer casino, with Evolution Gaming having secured EGR B2B Live Casino Supplier of the Year for over ten years.
Yggdrasil Gaming were only founded in 2013 although they have made enormous strides when it comes to the creation of leading slot games and that means forging significant partnerships with the leading casino operators. They have won several industry awards for their B2B service and their leading casino game titles include Blood Moon Wilds, Multifly!, Wilhelm Tell and Sahara Nights.
Yggdrasil are part of Cherry AB, with offices stationed in Malta, Stockholm, Gibraltar and Poland. When you see casino slot features such as Super Free Spins, Boost, Brag and Infinite API, they were pioneered by this software provider who have recently gone live with a Splitz symbol which provides customers with three ways to win. Vikings Go Wild, Vikings Go Berserk and Vikings Go To Hell are the loved Vikings slots titles, while Joker Millions is the progressive jackpot slot which shells out life-changing amounts of money.
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IGT stands for International Game Technology and this casino software provider boasts the biggest range of themed games in the industry. They have their roots in Las Vegas and continue to provide gaming machines in the gambling capital of the world, although customers can also enjoy over 1,000 online slot games thanks to their massive workforce of 12,000 people.
Some of the most famous slots include Cleopatra I and Cleopatra II, Wheel of Fortune, Da Vinci Diamonds, Texas Tea, Family Guy, Ghostbusters and Baywatch. The highest paying slot game is Texas Tea with 97.30% RTP, while the majority have an RTP of around 95% and there are opportunities to play for Progressive Jackpots through this network.
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Novomatic are a huge Austrian casino software provider who were founded in 1980 which well before online casino was even a concept. However, they’re very much relevant to the industry after moving from land-based slot machines to online, with several of their early concepts adapted and they can now be found with leading online casino operators. The Book of Ra slots series was how they really rose to prominence in the online world, although other famous games include Lord of the Ocean, Lucky Lady's Charm, Dolphin's Pearl and Sizzling Hot.
Gorilla is another popular online slot game and that currently has the highest RTP coming in at 97.1%, although there are several others with a Return to Player of 95% or bigger. While they largely remain an old-school provider, many customers value the simplicity of the games and they have a strong brand considering there are over 2,000 land-based casinos which include Las Vegas.
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If you have ever visited an online casino site and played The Slotfather, The Slotfather II, Good Girl Bad Girl, Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde, The Tipsy Tourist, the Sugar Pop series or Greedy Goblins, then you will have been enjoying a Betsoft release. While this casino software provider doesn’t carry as much clout as the bigger firms, they have been around since 2006 and have a solid range of 200 online slots which are acquired by many leading operators.
This software firm have pioneered ToGo which allows casino customers to enjoy the same dynamic experience through mobile as they were previously enjoying through desktop, while many of the slots offer a 3D cinematic experience which gives them an added edge over some competitors. The highest RTP slot is Good Girl Bad Girl with 97.79%.
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NextGen were founded in Australia at the turn of the millennium, with the company now having offices in London, Sydney and Stockholm. In 2011, they merged with NYX Interactive and that company was then acquired by Scientific Games. Some of the most popular slots include the Medusa Series, Foxin Wins series, Jackpot Jester, Gorilla Go Wild (considered to be a clone of Medusa) and Irish Eyes.
Several casino slot innovations have been created by NextGen including Slide a Wild where the Wild symbol moves to the right each time a customer unlocks the Bonus Round, with more winning combinations created as a result. There is also the Dynareel feature which has exploding reels, making more room for the symbols which are going to potentially land you the big cash.
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You will regularly see Quickspin providing their small but innovative range of online slot games to the big casino operators, with this software provider now falling under the Playtech umbrella. They were founded in 2011 by Swedish entrepreneurs, with Quickspin taking great care to provide high-quality games which have superior quality graphics and innovative features.
The award-winning Big Bad Wolf slot had a 'Swooping Reels' feature which inspired competitors to create their own versions of this feature such as Avalanche Reels, Cascading Reels and Tumbling Reels. Most of the time, you will find volatile slots available, including the epic Beowulf and Sinbad video slots, literary titles such as Treasure Island and The Three Musketeers and fairytale slots like Rapunzel's Tower, Goldilocks, Pied Piper, Royal Frog and Crystal Queen. The highest RTP slot is Joker Strike with 98.11%.
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Although Thunderkick aren’t a household name in the online casino space, this Stockholm-based software provider have released over forty unique slot titles and they are growing in popularity. This firm are not afraid to be different and many of their games have a quirky game play which offers a distinctive alternative to the blockbuster and movie titles that you will see with other software providers.
Esqueleto Explosivo is currently their flagship online slot game, with Carnival Queen, Well of Wonders, Birds on a Wire, Fruit Warp and Pink Elephants among the leading titles. Many customers looking for a high RTP will enjoy playing 1429 Unchartered Seas which comes in at a healthy 98.6%, while every slot is designed to be mobile-friendly which is now the platform adopted by most online casino players.
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Ash Gaming was launched by CEO Chris Ash in 2000. Eleven years later, the company was bought out by Playtech for £23 million which illustrates that they have been a massive success story and managed to create award-winning games in that time. If you’ve ever played X Factor or Who Wants to Be a Millionaire slot games, then the chances are that it was supplied by this provider.
Indeed, there are many UK-centric themes to the slots provided by this company, with Little Britain, Britain’s Got Talent and Life of Brian among them. Many of their slot games can now be found in the Playtech range when you visit a casino although you’ll find that there’s a common theme that binds them all.
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Fugaso have been around since 2001, although their entry into the online casino sphere only came about relatively recently, with the company originally being launched in Russia although they have their headquarters stationed in Cyprus. There are now over 130 slots that make up their online casino games portfolio, with a white label solution for operators often leading them to help smaller operators launch into the space.
The Trump it! series, Book of Tattoo, Yakuza, Sunset Wild, Sahara’s Dreams, Olympia, Mr Toxicus, Jewel Sea and NRG Sound are among the most popular titles, with jackpot slots also a specialty of Fugaso. Over 35 of the available slot games come with three level progressive jackpots, with mini, midi and maxi jackpots available.
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Branded slot games are the name of the game at iSoftbet, with 24, Basic Instinct, Rambo, Platoon, Paranormal Activity and The Love Guru the most popular titles to date. Other famous slots include Megaboy, Scrolls of Ra, Neon Reels, The Nutcrackers, Ghosts N Gold, Super Fast Hot and Hot Respin.
iSoftbet have three progressive jackpot slot titles which include Super Multitimes Progressive, Super Multitimes Progressive HD and Platoon Wild Progressive. This is a provider that is often known for providing a games aggregation platform and that provides content from not only their own stable but 50 other providers. This results in over 2,000 different games which can power an online casino all by itself.
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Despite our extensive list of the main casino software developers, there are actually a huge number of other companies that either create new casino titles, provide features which are adopted by casino games makers or simply provide a way of transporting the gaming experience to the operator websites.
You may have heard of the likes of:
All of these software providers deserve recognition for helping to power those award-winning casino operators who sometimes have to just make sure that the games are plugged in and they’re available to play.
We should also note that the likes of Microgaming and Playtech have smaller software subsidiaries that form part of their company but also operate as separate entities, thus ensuring the likes of Quickfire and Ash Gaming are still recognised in their own right. As technology continues to move on at such a fast pace, we will see plenty of newcomers entering the market.
An increasing number of online casino players are using their mobile device to access mobile casinos and to play slots and that means that software providers need to find ways to create casino games which are highly optimised through mobile as well as desktop. Sometimes a casino game is made primarily for mobile play and there will be a focus on how a consumer interacts with a smaller screen, while sound is usually compromised considering that this works better through a desktop or even a tablet.
When it comes to casino games providers, some have games which aren’t available through mobile. That might be because they’re not adaptable to a mobile device or it might be that they are specifically designed for a PC or laptop. Sometimes, you might need to download a particular casino mobile app in order to access the full range of games software and this can usually be easily acquired through the Apple store or the Google Play store.
We’ve talked extensively about online casino slots and it’s true that they account for a high percentage of casino play when it comes to each casino operator. However, many customers are looking for more options when they visit an online casino and that includes some exciting Live Dealer opportunities. Indeed, it’s very rare to find an operator doesn’t have Live Casino games available, with customers wanting to experience the thrill that comes with this sort of experience.
It’s really no secret that Evolution Gaming lead the way when it comes to Live Casino and this software provider have a global operation in place. This means a customer anywhere in the world can access one of their products and find a language version that caters for them, along with a choice of game from blackjack, roulette, baccarat or many other alternatives.
NetEnt, Microgaming and Playtech also have Live Casino software that is utilised by casino operators and it’s a case of having a professional set-up at land-based casinos and then using advanced technology to live stream the game play through an operator website. That allows a customer to visit a particular game and see a professional croupier spinning the roulette wheel or dealing the blackjack cards.
The key is to provide the right look and feel so that customers completely trust the experience. It also needs to be fun, with small details like the sound and the lightning essential to the overall gameplay. It’s akin to running a successful television network, with the eyes of the customers on the house and there also has to be a reliability of the streaming at all times.
While Evolution Gaming continue to relentless march on with new live casino products like Crazy Time and Mega Ball, the bottom line is the vast majority of casino software developers are chiefly focused on slot machines development. Casino slots can make big money for an operator due to the repetitive play element which means customers are continuously spinning the reels, while even a high percentage RTP means that players are losing more than they are winning.
Therefore, NetEnt, Playtech and Microgaming are all aiming to come up with the latest slot release smash that is going to be snapped up every casino site under the sun. There is millions of pounds invested into creating something new, slick and highly playable which is going to catch the casino world by storm. Sometimes it will be the latest slot chapter of an ongoing series, while it might be a brand new theme which has mass appeal.
You will notice that some online slot games are trademarked and that is particularly the video slots due to the fact that movie franchises will sometimes sell the rights to create an online casino slot game to the highest bidder. Therefore, you might find developers are bidding against each other to secure the rights to adapt a movie to a video slot and that includes using movie clips as part of the bonus features.
Naturally, different online slots appeal to different customers and software providers have to therefore cater for a range of different tastes. Some will create new casino slots that have a very high RTP, although some customers want a high volatility slot where they can play for higher stakes and potentially land a bigger win than a high RTP equivalent.
When online casinos were first launched, there was no such thing as Live Casino and there were only some very basic slot games. Software providers might have been pioneering new releases, although they were also creating plenty of table game software so that customers no longer had to visit a brick-and-mortar establishment to play roulette and blackjack, games which are the mainstay of a land-based casino.
The leading casino software providers continue to develop cutting-edge table games with smart graphics that are highly playable, with the gameplay allowing customers to remain at the table for long periods of time. Many customers still like to keep things retro and play video poker, while scratchcards are another vertical where some casino providers work on products that serve as added value when added to a casino site.
It’s not only casino operators that need to have a gambling license. Ultimately, they simply provide the framework for casino slots and Live Casino games, so it’s imperative that a software provider is also UK-licensed and regulated. It doesn’t matter whether they are regarded as “back office”, they are still responsible for providing the games software and operators have to make sure they are acquiring games which are legitimate and fair.
It also means that casino software companies have all their games assessed. When a new online slot is created, it needs to be independently tested to make sure that the RNG (Random Number Generator) is happening correctly which matches up with the RTP percentage. There also needs to be a thorough examination of the workings of a Progressive Jackpot to ensure that the pot is randomly triggered.
It’s usually possible to see the software developer that is behind the casino game, although the fact that your actual casino site adheres to UK regulations means that their games have consequently been tested. That means you can experience a secure game playing experience where there’s always a chance to win real money.
It is often the case that a casino software developer will have a “free play” version of the game that they have created. That means that a casino operator can plug it into their site and provide customers with the choice of trying out the slot game for fun money. Funnily enough, developers started out making free play casino games a lot more before realising that customers wanted to experience the thrill of playing for real cash. However, free spins are still part of new customer promotions.Customers in the UK should be made aware that due to restrictions from the United Kingdom Gambling Commission, free games are not available in that location.
Software developers can very enormously when it comes to the amount of resource at their disposal. It might be easy for NetEnt to create and release a new slot game, although a smaller boutique casino game developer might spend longer before it’s available. Some focus more on live casino than others, although the bottom line is that customers vary significantly when it comes to their preference.
Every casino software developer showcased at Gambling.com can be completely trusted with their product range. All reputable casino software companies have to hold a UK license and be regulated by the UK Gambling Commission. They all have their software tested on a regular basis and would be subject to an enormous penalty if it emerged that the RTP was lower for a particular slot game than was being claimed on the site.
Due to the dominance of Evolution Gaming in the online casino market, you will find that a lot of software developers tend to steer clear of creating live casino games, especially the smaller ones. After all, live casino is more of a niche concept which only appeals to a certain section of customers and you need plenty of real estate and trained staff in order to create a good live casino product. Therefore, you’ll find only a handful of software companies offering this service.
Any software developer that wants to work with an online casino which accepts UK customers needs to be licensed in the UK. That includes all the software companies that are featured on this page, although there are many other software developers around the world that don’t have a UK license because they create products for operators who target customers from other countries instead.
There are many leading software firms that make Progressive Jackpot slot games, with Microgaming having the reputation for the biggest jackpots thanks to Mega Moolah. However, Playtech and NetEnt both have a share of this lucrative market, while several others either have a Progressive Jackpot on a network or alternatively create standalone jackpots that can be won exclusively by a smaller pool of customers.
The leading online casinos want to work with the best software developers. It’s often the case that when you visit an online casino operator, you can actually search according to the software provider and hopefully you will find what you’re looking for from the dropdown menu. Alternatively, you can read the casino reviews at Gambling.com and determine which online casinos work with companies such as Playtech, NetEnt and Betsoft.
Trust is a big issue when it comes to online casino customers and we always think that an industry award or two never goes amiss in this respect. However, the bottom line is that every software developer has to be independently tested on a regular basis to ensure that they are completely fair with the games. You can also find information about each game provided by a software developer, while the online casino operators also should be UK-licensed to give you that peace of mind.
Each casino software provider has different strengths and we would urge a customer to consider what appeals to them most when playing at an online casino. There are some customers who want to dip in and out when it comes to video slots and Live Casino. Other players want to go for a big Progressive Jackpot on a regular basis, while others want to play new releases on a frequent basis. It’s worth trying them all out so that you can decide.
Typically, a provider will come up with a concept for an online slot game that might be original or they might alternatively make the next one as part of a series OR acquire the rights to adapt a movie into a slot game. Then comes the hard work of putting together the individual components and soft launching the game. Operators can then decide whether they want to pay to have this software as part of their product range and it then becomes available to customers.
It used to be the case where the download casino was the best option and provided the best experience, although nearly all the games are now Instant Play and that means you can be playing through your device in minutes. However, the best mobile experience can often be through a betting app and that will need to be downloaded which takes a few minutes before you’re ready to play.
The vast majority of leading casinos that are featured at Gambling.com work with a wide range of software providers. You often have the option to search for the casino slot games by provider or alternatively scroll down to the foot of the homepage where you’ll see some household software provider names featured. A good barometer can often be the Jackpots section where you can tell a jackpot by the provider and that gives you a real insight into how many deals a casino has in place.
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