When evaluating online casino software providers for this 2019 list, I’ve tried to consider which gaming software offers both the best table games and the best slot machines. I’ve also tried to consider things like mobile casino apps and live casino dealer games, which also use software. One of the factors that doesn’t seem relevant to me is whether casinos using this software offer free spins. I’m more interested in a user friendly interface or instant play capabilities. I suspect most real money gamblers agree.
The gaming industry used to only have a dozen or so online casino games providers to worry about. At least, that’s how I remember it—I’ve been writing about the industry for over 10 years, though. Many of my readers are probably new to how all this works.
For them, here are some things to remember about online gaming as it’s contrasted with the land based casino industry:
If you go to Caesars Palace in Las Vegas and then follow up with a visit to the Winstar in Oklahoma, you’ll find Wheel of Fortune slot machine games in both places and not be too surprised. Knowing which online casino software you like is important when choosing a new casino at which to play, though, which is why I offer this list of the top 10 online casino software providers:
1- Evolution Gaming
Some people think that if you’re playing live dealer casino games, you don’t need software, but that’s not the case at all. Just because you’re using real playing cards, dice, and/or roulette wheel doesn’t mean that you don’t need software to power the rest of the experience.
And Evolution Gaming is probably the leading casino software provider for live dealer casinos.
What kinds of games do they offer?
- Live Dealer Baccarat
- Live Dealer Blackjack
- Live Dealer Caribbean Stud
- Live Dealer Casino Holdem
- Live Dealer Roulette
- Live Dealer Three Card Poker
Many of the best live dealer casinos only use Evolution Gaming for their games. The company is based in Latvia and employs over 3000 people. The company has seen an astounding growth rate of 51% over the last couple of years. Evolution Gaming is also a publicly traded company listed on the Swedish stock exchange.
If you like the live dealer casino game experience, I suggest looking for a casino that uses Evolution Gaming to provide their games.
2- Net Entertainment
One of the most famous online casino software providers is Net Entertainment, or NetEnt, as it’s also commonly known. They handle billions of online gaming transactions a year, and they employ over 700 game designers.
Over 100 different online casinos use their software, which offers over 200 different games. Some of their most popular games are slot machines like the following:
- Creature from the Black Lagoon
- Dead or Alive
- Gonzo’s Quest
- The Invisible Man
- Jack Hammer
- Planet of the Apes
- South Park
- Warlords: Crystals of Power
NetEnt’s biggest specialties are instant play games and 3D slot machine games. I’m not prone to hyperbole, but it’s hard for me to imagine a more entertaining online slot machine experience than the 3-dimensional games from NetEnt—they’re that good. They’ve seized the opportunity provided by mobile app gaming with a vengeance, too. When the company launched in 1996, everyone who play online casino games for real money did so on their desktop or laptop computer.
These days, though, most internet users are doing their web surfing on a mobile device. Luckily, NetEnt has that covered. Some online casinos handle their loyalty programs in house, but NetEnt casinos use software provided by Net Entertainment to handle the rewards programs. They call this aspect of their software NetEnt live rewards. They also have an interesting selection of online progressive jackpot games.
Playtech holds a soft spot in my heart, because my first online casino experience was at Golden Palace, which was powered exclusively by Playtech at the time. Of course, that was in 1999 or something like that, which is the same year Playtech first launched.
Like most casino software providers, Playtech offers more than just slot machine games and video game versions of table games. They also power sports betting platforms, as well as bingo and lottery games. Many of their games are also mobile compatible, which is a smart business move. Mobile gaming is big and only going to get bigger. Social games are becoming a more important niche for online casino software developers, too, and Playtech has already gotten their feet wet in that niche in a big way. They offer social games in multiple countries in multiple languages.
Playtech is a public company traded on the London Stock Exchange. As with most public software providers, they limit their activities to countries where online gaming is legal and regulated. This means most players in the United States no longer get to play at Playtech powered casinos.
Consolidation of companies is a reality in this niche just like it is in any new-ish business niche. Playtech has acquired multiple smaller casino game makers, including:
- Ash Gaming
- Virtue Fusio
The company offers over 600 different games, most of which are slot machine games. This includes an array of online progressive slots.
When I was first getting started writing about the industry, all my friends who were also interested in the industry were obsessed with the games from Microgaming. They had (and have) as robust a selection of slot machine games as you could imagine.Microgaming is one of the oldest companies in the niche. They launched in 1994, which was 5 years earlier than Playtech. They were well-known for having some of the biggest and best progressive games originally, but they’ve since expanded their specialty to include virtual reality gaming. They offer a whopping 850 casino games (or more). Of those, at least 40 offer progressive jackpots. Over 300 of their games are mobile compatible, too.
They’re rolling out new games all the time, so that number might have expanded to well over 1000 games by the time you read this. Most of them are slot machine games, and they have themes for these slots that should suit the temperament of anyone who likes slot machines.
Some of the more popular titles from Microgaming include:
- Immortal Romance
- Jurassic Park
- Thunderstruck II
Their games are available in both downloadable and instant play versions, although the instant play games selection is less robust. For the full experience, break out your old laptop.
My favorite thing about Microgaming casinos these days are the multiplayer games they now make available. If you’re an introvert, you might prefer not dealing with other people when you’re gambling. I’m an extrovert, though, and I want to interact with other people even if I’m gambling online.
5- Realtime Gaming
If you play casino games for real money from the United States, there’s a good chance you’ll encounter the games from Realtime Gaming (RTG). They’re one of the few software providers that still allow their licenses to accept real money players from anywhere within the USA. They’re a private company, so they have more flexibility when it comes to these kinds of risks.
They offer over 300 different casino games, most of which are slot machine games. They rarely offer licensed games, though, but one of the advantages of playing there is that you can find unique games with themes that aren’t available anywhere else.
I also enjoy the games they offer which demonstrate the cheeky sense of humor. Mid Life Crisis is a progressive slot machine game which exhibits this. The symbols include balding, middle aged men, sports cards, bimbos, and Viagra pills. This is a game I can’t imagine finding in a land based casino in Las Vegas. Realtime Gaming isn’t the fanciest or most visually appealing software provider, but their “flexibility” when dealing with customers from the United States is a huge selling point.
6- IGT (International Game Technology)
Up to this point, I’ve focused this list of companies on the ones who specialize almost exclusively on internet games. IGT, on the other hand, is also one of the biggest game providers for land based casinos. They have the biggest list of licensed slot machine games I’ve ever seen, too.
They’re a publicly traded company on the New York Stock Exchange, so you can forget about playing their games at a real money casino accepting players from the USA—at least now, in most states. They were exclusively focused on land based casinos until 2011, which is the year they acquired Wager Works, a company which specialized in offer games to online casinos.
I’ve seen at least one review which claims that the biggest weakness to IGT’s software is how slow the spinning reels are. To me, this is a feature, not a drawback. The slower the spins, the fewer bets you make per hour. And that means you’ll lose less money per hour, too, which is always a good thing.
7- SG Gaming (Scientific Games)
SG Gaming, like IGT, caters to both online and offline casinos. They also have a broader focus than just casino gambling games. They also offer arcade and bingo games. Their target audience is mostly UK-based. SG Gaming employs over 500 people, many of whom are game designers. Are they recruiting the best and the brightest? Let’s talk about what they offer and how it works before making a final judgment.
One red flag is their relative lack of mobile games. Sure, many of their games have been retrofitted, but it’s clear that their offerings aren’t as modern or mobile-focused as they could be. Their games are available in HTML 5, though, which is the modern standard for this kind of thing. If you find an online casino software company that’s still running a lot of Flash games, well, they might be too behind the times for words.
Their focus, which isn’t an unusual for an online software program, is largely on the internet slot machine market. These are mostly video slots rather than classic 3-reel slots. Some of their more popular games include:
- Anchorman – This slot machine game is based on the Will Ferrell comedy. This is one of the best franchises I can imagine for licensing to a slot machine game.
- Himalayas – A huge 5-reel slot with 10 symbols stacked atop one another—it’s a mountain of a slot machine game. Himalayas has 100 paylines.
- The Legend of Bigfoot – This is a simple enough idea for a slot machine. Everyone knows about Bigfoot.
- Mighty Black Knight – This one is similar to Himalayas, with the 5-reels and 10 symbols.
- Monopoly on the Money – You’re certain to be familiar with the board game, but it’s also one of the most popular slot machine franchises in existence.
- Wizard of Oz Emerald City – I love a game with a Fairy Godmother, although I don’t remember much from the movie about fairy godmothers. The wicked witches made more of an impression on me.
- Zeus God of Thunder – This is a progressive jackpot with an obvious theme.
This is just a small sample of the games available from SG Gaming.
Other than IGT, Novomatic is probably the oldest casino game company on this list. They were founded in 1980, before internet casino software providers were even a thing. Novomatic is an Austrian company that focuses largely on video lottery terminals (VLT games).
They have a division specifically devoted to online gaming—Greentube. They have a huge selection of games that fit into some of the following categories:
- Bingo games
- Classic slot machine
- Live dealer casino games
- Poker games
- Social casino games
- Sports betting applications
- Table games
I’ve read that you can expect high variance and volatility on Novomatic’s online slot machine games. You’ll know better than I how comfortable you are with that aspect of their games, but I don’t mind volatility. I like the idea that I might get lucky and win big.
9- Big Time Gaming
This is one of the newest companies on the list, having launched in 2011. At first, they worked as an outsourced provider of games for bigger companies like Microgaming. The company has expanded recently and now powers a few dozen online casinos outright.
Like most online casino software companies, they’re focused largely on slot machine games, but they focus on innovative features for their games. Some of those features include:
- Feature Drop
- Unlimited Multiplier
Some of their more popular slot machine titles include:
- Bonanza – A themed game about parade horses.
- StarQuest – Obviously, this is a science fiction themed game. I like the idea of keeping the word “quest” in the title of their games, which they’ve done with several slot machine games.
- Viking Quest – A historically themed game based on Vikings. I’m not sure how historically accurate it is, but the game sure is fun.
- Temple Quest – This one calls to mind exploring ancient ruins, Indiana Jones style. This is a common theme among slot machine games, probably because of the implications involving finding hidden treasures.
They only offer a few dozen slot machine games, which is a dramatically lower number than what you’ll see from other providers like Playtech or Realtime Gaming. But the quality of their games is unsurpassed by any of those other companies.
One of the problems you’ll sometimes run into with other casino software companies is their reliance on a single game with multiple variations that are billed as different games. Microgaming offers hundreds of slot machine games, but the game-play features and pay tables are identical on dozens of them. The only real difference has to do with the sound effects and the reel symbols, but even those are often only marginally different. Not so with Big Time Gaming. Each slot machine seems carefully crafted, and all their games are different and individualized.
10- Blueprint Gaming
Blueprint Gaming is one of newest software games on my list. They specialize in creating both online and traditional brick and mortar video slot machines. The company is owned by Gauselmann Group, a German company that also owns Merkur. They focus largely on games that appeal to a UK clientele. They also offer games to Germans.
An example of this is Blueprint’s “Top Cat” slots. These are based on an old cartoon show I used to watch when I was growing up, Top Cat. The graphics on this game are incredible and call to mind many hours spent enjoying the TV show as a kid. An example of a themed slot machine from Blueprint Gaming is King Kong Cash, which is, of course, about a giant gorilla named King Kong. It’s not based on any specific movie version of the character, though.
There’s my list of best online casino software providers in 2019. These are the companies offering the best slot machine games and the companies offering the best table games. Whether you’re into live dealer games or mobile games, the companies on this list have you covered. I’ve tried to focus on the companies which provide software with both instant play games and user friendly interfaces.
If you’re reading this from the United States, try not to get too disappointed if a specific casino software provider doesn’t allow its licenses to accept real money players from your jurisdiction. That’s just how things are these days, but that will probably change over time, too.