The online casino industry is as big as it’s ever been. There are a plethora of casinos to chose from these days and seemingly with each week that goes by, the numbers continue to rise.
The increase in numbers is a real positive for the punters as casinos are needing to work harder to just get you through the door, let alone hang on to your after that. What we have noticed is that casinos are much more user friendly than they once were, with things such as bonuses being much more transparent and casino games having to improve to meet demand.
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How do Online Casinos Work?
The general concept of an online casino is actually very simple; to provide games and gambling opportunities for their users. Casino these days often have a huge number of games to choose from, often ranging from the 200 – 600 mark for most, but increasing even further for some of the bigger sites.
The games are generally what draws people in and this is what we often judge most online casinos. Whilst 500+ games might seem impressive, we would much rather take a 200 game casino with quality throughout, rather than a 500+ games casino with a huge spectrum in terms of quality any day of the week.
The range of games these days include slots, blackjack, roulette, craps, baccarat, video poker, scratchcards lotto, punto banco and many, many more. For some new to the industry or limited on their experience of game types, it can seem quite daunting being faced with so many games.
Download, Instant Play or Mobile
The platform in which casinos are run has evolved massively over the years. Back in the, players were forced to download the casino software straight to their computer. It was essentially a separate program to the website and this is where the games were stored and run. The issue with this is that the programs were often more susceptible to hacking and often were riddled with bugs.
The next phase of the evolution was to come in the form of instant play casinos. This essentially meant that you were able to play the full range of casino games from the browser on your computer. There was no need to download the software at all, you simply need to open the webpage for that casino, sign in and then you get instant access to the games.
Mobile has been the next leap for the industry and this is probably seen the biggest technological advance. Pretty much all casinos now have some form of mobile option, which you can access from pretty much any smartphone or tablet. The downside to mobile is that not all games are accessible on the platform yet. Whilst not set in stone, as a rule of thumb you can look to get around 50% of the desktop casino games on your mobile.
One of the ways that casinos have been able to really move forward with mobile technology is the development of HTML 5. Now, it’s likely that you’ve never heard of HTML 5, but it’s essentially a design platform that a lot of websites and casinos are designed on. The reason why it’s been so successful is that it allows websites to be more fluid when used on mobile devices and in turn, allow for much better design and usability functions.
Whilst mobile is still someway behind the online sector at the minute, especially in terms of the number of games on offer, we fully expect that over the next 5-10 years, all games will be available on mobile and it will be the number one way in which users play online casinos games.
RNG (Random Number Generators)
The Random Number Generators are the brains behind the casino. They are the function that allows games to work in the way they do and also allow results to be pulled at ‘random’.
Except, these RNGs are truly random. We are being a bit pedantic here in that to 99.99% of people you’d never be able to crack them, but they technically could be hacked if you knew two key points; 1) The seed and 2) The algorithm.
But, we address that in a minute. The best way we find to explain an RBG is to imagine a roulette wheel spinning at 10,000 mph in a circle. Your job would then be to stop the wheel (think of wheel of fortune) on a specific number. You couldn’t. If you did, it would be pure luck. As the table is moving so fast there is no way that you could influence this decision.
The RNG isn’t actually totally random though. It’s made up of an algorithm, which would be impossible to work out, unless you knew the seed and the algorithm used, as mentioned above. The algorithm is mathematical equation, so if you think of it as 1+1 is always going to be 2, then the algorithm would take on the same affect. Hopefully, that makes sense!
If you are new to online casinos you may not be aware that for the majority of casinos in the industry, they don’t actually make their own casino games. In fact, there are a number of game developers who produce the games and then sell the rights to the casinos. This is why you will often see casinos using the same developers and in turn, having a high number of games the same.
The reason they do is so that they are able to choose from a higher quality range of games. You see, these game developers are solely there to design and make casino games. Whether that be slots, table games, jackpots or otherwise, their only job is to design.
Casinos have a huge number of things to take care of already, most notably their player database. By outsourcing their games it means they are able to invest more time into the day-to-day running of the casino and not have to worry about game design as well. This is one of the main reasons why you see so many online casinos in the industry at the minute, as they can simply pick from a few developers and they have the base of casino ready to go.
The vast majority of casinos will choose more than one developer, often with a mix of up to a dozen. This just means that they get a wider range of games and as some developers specialise in different areas (slots, table games, live casino etc.) it means the casino can then combine them to make much more appealing all-round product for their users.
Due to the developers pouring 100% of their efforts into the games it means the standard of casino games are much better. There are actually one or two casinos that still make a handful of their own games, but to be honest, they are miles away in terms of quality as compared to some of the mainstream developers.
There are four main developers in the industry at the minute, including Microgaming, IGT, PlayTech and NetEnt.
Microgaming are probably the biggest and arguably the best in the industry. The company are used by more casinos than any other with over 450 brands using their software. The platform is probably best known for its sheer volume of games, with over 850 to choose from.
The slots section is particularly impressive and they have some of the most innovative games that you can find, often spearheading the use of new technologies within bonus rounds and features. They are able to provide a huge number of branded games as well, such as Terminator 2, Playboy, Jurassic Park and Game of Thrones, to mention a few. Mega Moolah within their progressive section is the highest grossing jackpot game of all time, paying out millions with each jackpot that is won.
IGT is undoubtedly smaller than Microgaming, with over 150 games to choose from, but there is little doubt that the company is one of the most innovative. They were one of the first developers to really integrate HTML5 into their software, which allows their games to be fluid on both desktop and mobile devices.
Their games come with state of the art HD graphic and the majority of them look superb. Some of the standout games within the IGT network include Family Guy, Ghostbusters, Maya Gold and Pharaohs Fortune.
PlayTech are a company that just keep on expanding. They are constantly acquiring new businesses within the sector and as such, have a huge range of new technologies available to them. Their game portfolio of over 500 is rivalled by only that of Microgaming and as such, have been a firm fixture with many of the top casinos.
The developers are best known for their link with branded titles from well known movie entertainment companies such as Marvel, MGM, NBC Universal and HBO. This has allowed them to design games such as Robocop, Superman, Spiderman, Wolverine, Thor, Sopranos and Incredible Hulk.
NetEnt are probably best known as the design kings within the industry. Their games are able to take not only design to the next level, but also user interaction. There is something about the games that make them feel more of a story than a casino game, and we can assure you that this is not an easy trait to achieve.
NetEnt have also been huge innovators within the live casino sector. In fact, the majority of casinos that are offering live casino are likely doing so from the NetEnt platform. They’ve been able to make games that are available in full HD, but also from several places around the world and with dozens of different casino game variants.
Casino Games you can Play for Real Money Online
The range of games that are on offer these days is pretty incredible. They way surpass that you will find from a brick and mortar casino, often devising new formats of classics such as blackjack and roulette just to keep things feeling fresh.
Blackjack is able to take on many different game types and is probably the game that we know best within the casino, but fail to see a wide variety of games. Your standard blackjack game is going to be on offer in pretty much every online casino, but other variations can be extensive and include the following:
- Atlantic City
- Atlantic City Gold Edition
- Gold series
- High Streak
- Multi Hand
- Vegas Downtown
- Hi Lo 13
- Vegas Strip
- Super Fun
- Vegas Downtown
Roulette is probably as, if not more popular than blackjack. The aim of the game couldn’t be easier, just pick a number or area on the board and spin away. But, we bet you weren’t aware of all the different game types that were on offer? Including…
- Diamond Edition
- Multi Wheel
- Multi Wheel Gold Series
- Three ball
- Two ball
Video poker is actually quite a popular game in land casinos, but the range of games is often very limited. The online world has not only taken this form of casino game and turned it on its head with the range of games, but we think enhanced this ageing game into the 21st Century.
- Jacks or better
- Deuces wild
- Double joker
- Aces and faces
- Joker poker power
- Tens or better
- Bonus poker deluxe
- Deuces and joker
- Aces and eights
- All aces
The slots section of any online casino is always the most important in our opinion, mainly because it’s always the biggest. There are thousands of games to choose from across the board and whilst many are fairly similar in terms of game type, it’s only by design that you can really see any differences.
- 3 reel
- 5 reel
- 6 reel
- 7 reel
- Video slots
- Classic slots
- Fruit machines
- 3D Slots
- AWP Slots
Live Dealer Games
Live dealers are a fairly new addition to the online casino industry, but the concept is that it brings the interaction of being in an actual casino, straight to your home. These games have improved massively over the years and now often include HD images, great chat communities for each game and also well-polished casino layouts, which adds to the authenticity of it all.
- Casino Hold’em
- Hi Lo
- Punto Banco