It’s easy to forget how far the world of online casino has come in the past two decades. From the arrival of Cash Splash, the world’s first online slot from developers Microgaming; to virtual casinos that transport you to a Las Vegas casino in the blink of an eye.
Today, Microgaming remains at the top of its game. Alongside, a clutch of highly successful software developers that continue to innovate and shape the future of online gambling. It’s a ferociously competitive market and worth billions of dollars.
Here is our instant guide to the five most influential companies creating casino games today.
If the name hints at something small, don’t be deceived. Microgaming is the Grande Dame of online casino game creation; a betting behemoth that was there from the very beginning. The business was founded by South African entrepreneur Martin Moshal, in 1994. Its goal: to create the first online casino.
In 1998, Microgaming debuted Cash Splash. The three-reel, retro-styled, online slot was a sensation. It would later be followed by a five-reel, progressive jackpot, version of the game.
Today, Microgaming continues to innovate; often, by simply collaborating or partnering with the next generation of creative minds. The company’s rock-solid reputation has made branding deals easy, resulting in some high-profile online slot franchise deals like Terminator, Game of Thrones, and Jurassic Park. Finally, it’s huge user base ensures that Microgaming progressive jackpot wins are always in the online casino news cycle.
Playtech is the company behind some of online gaming’s most memorable and enjoyable slots, including the hugely popular Ugga Bugga. This 10-payline game has one of the highest Return to Player payouts of any online slot at 99.07%. It’s also a blast to play.
The company has been developing online casino software since 1999; making it one of the true pioneers of the industry. From the launch of its first casino product in 2001, the company now has nearly 6,000 staff working in 19 countries around the globe.
One of Playtech’s most successful products is the Age of the Gods franchise. Launched in 2016, the original online slot, based on ancient gods and mythology, has spawned scores of spin-offs, including Live Casino, Bingo, Poker, and a multitude of slots. Playtech’s reputation for high quality output prevails.
In comparison to the two companies above, NetEnt was a relative latecomer to the online casino software development market. The business has its roots in Sweden and started trading in the mid-1990s.
It was the arrival, however, of a certain Spanish explorer that really put NetEnt on the map. When the online slot Gonzo’s Quest launched in 2010, it was a revelation. Pixar quality animation opened the game and was integrated into the gameplay; giving players an immersive slots experience. It was unlike anything before.
Today, NetEnt continues to innovate, entering into a partnership to launch a new live casino. Earlier this year, the company released Street Fighter II: The World Warrior slot; a branding deal with Capcom that brings the classic video game to life.
Not all online casino software developers are building slots, Blackjack, or Roulette. Evolution Gaming arrived in 2006, as a B2B set up, to help online casinos deliver a live version of their product. The business focused its efforts on Europe and currently has more than 300 casino operators using its Live Casino software.
Live Casino is one of the fastest growing segments in online gambling. It gives players a true Las Vegas experience; the croupier adding a human face to any game of blackjack or roulette. Evolution Gaming must be doing something right. In July, the company won the Live Casino Supplier of the Year Award for the eleventh year running, at the EGR Business Awards.
International Game Technology IGT
Once upon a time, we lived in a world without personal computers. In the mid-1970s, a Las Vegas company called IGT was behind two of casino gambling’s greatest modern innovations: video poker and the multi-casino progressive jackpot.
From the 1980s onwards, IGT would forefront the development of electronic slots and games, with some of the world’s best-known brands, including Wheel of Fortune, The Price is Right, Joker’s Wild and the progressive that started it all: Megabucks.
In 2005, IGT bought WagerWorks to acquire its online gaming technology. Since then, IGT has released 100s of games, including online versions of its evergreen classics, as well as baccarat, roulette, stud poker, and video poker.
To follow the five giants of online casino software creation, we have Pragmatic Play. The multi-award-winning iGaming software company was founded in 2015. In just five years, it has created more than 200 games in multiple currencies and 31 different languages.
The Company’s trophy cabinet is bursting with awards and the Pragmatic Play portfolio is quirky, impressive, and popular. Top games include, Da Vinci’s Treasure, Peking Luck, Madame Destiny, and the ‘EGR Game of the Year’: Wolf Gold.
In 2019, it added a live casino to its rapidly expanding portfolio. Innovation, collaboration, and motivation are making this young business one to watch.