Online casino software - NetEnt,
Rival and more
One of the most glossed-over topics in online gambling has to be the software that's behind every online casino in the world. Today we will take a closer look at this mythical creature lurking behind the beautiful graphics of every video slot machine, blackjack table or scratch-off card the casinos offer.
Online Casino Software - The Basics
While everyone can deduce that the online casino they've just downloaded and installed on their computer (or launched straight into their internet browser) is nothing more than a piece of rather sophisticated software, not much beyond this is known by the average online casino patron. But in essence, the online casino software doesn't differ much from the modern video slot machine found at any gambling hall. If you had the chance to look inside such slot machine you will find a monitor (or reels, if the manufacturer wanted to preserve that "old timely feel"), a computer board with wires running to said monitor and a device to take your money and pay out your winnings. On that computer board a software resides which determines the outcome of every spin of the reels (virtual or analog). The same is true with the online casinos, except that the software is hosted on the casino's servers and it drives the outcome of every game at the internet casino - video slots, blackjack tables, craps, poker, etc. Via a sophisticated algorithm, a payout percentage is set for every game, and this applies to both online games and those at the land-based casinos. For example, if the payout percentage is set at 95%, a common average, it means that over an extended period, the slot machine will pay back £95 for every £100 deposited, giving the casino a sizable 5% profit.
What many people fail to realize (or simply don't care) is that creating and maintaining such software is not only expensive but time and resource intensive. Therefore the actual fact is that the software is neither created nor owned by the online casino that's using it, rather by a third-party company, referred to as software developer, and the online casino, in turn, simply leases the use of the software from the developer. As a matter of fact there are only a few casino software developers in the entire world and the majority of the online casinos are powered using the four big ones:
Online Casino Software - NetEnt, RTG, Microgaming and PlaytechThose above are the most popular software developers in the world and if you've ever played at an online casino, chances are you've done so on one of them. Since here we are focusing only on the UK online casinos, we must immediately discount a couple of those names. Microgaming was arguably the top casino software until a few years ago - the best graphics, the most fun games, a lot of popular and honest casinos were using it, but a few years ago, following the introduction of higher taxation of online gambling companies in the UK, Microgaming decided to abandon the entire UK market altogether, so today there are no online casinos offering Microgaming-powered games in the UK. Another one of those developers mentioned, Playtech, while still available to UK players, is not recommended by us at this point in time. While there is nothing inherently wrong with the Playtech software, it seems that the requirements they have for their licensees are far from a level we consider satisfactory and a lot of sketchy online casinos seem to use Playtech software. If things improve in the future with this company, we may reconsider, but for now we advise people to avoid all Playtech casinos, just to be on the safe side.
Thus at this point we are left with just two big names here in the UK - NetEnt and RTG (RealTime Gaming). While this certainly limits the choice to the UK punter, luckily those two companies have really stepped up their game and are coming up with new and better games all the time. Both casino software developers put out a polished and fun product, but if we had to pick sides, we would rank NetEnt above RTG, both in terms of the number of new and entertaining casino games, as well as the fact that some of the best UK online casinos are indeed running on NetEnt. Popular casinos like Bet365 Casino and Coral Casino, two name a couple, run NetEnt-based casino games and those two consistently rank atop of our most recommended UK casinos year after year.
Technically, you can encounter other small-name gambling software developers operating in the UK, but for overall satisfaction and safety, we recommend choosing one of the big two, namely the casinos we have recommended on our casino review page.