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Online casino software review


• Microgaming
• Cryptologic
• Real Time Gaming
• Playtech
• Net Entertainment
• Wagerworks
• Chartwell



Microgaming


Microgaming is probably the oldest casino software provider in the business, having started in the mid 1990s. It has remained a privately owned business while many of its competitors have gone public, and remains slightly shrouded in mystery as a consequence.

In its earliest incarnation the software was slow and clunky, but a super-fast version was developed in the early 2000s which has stayed the course of time and probably ranks even now as the best software available. The game play is extremely fast and smooth and there is a vast array of options to choose from.

Microgaming has carried its “Classic Blackjack” game since the earliest days. It remains the best blackjack game online in terms of player return, and there are several other good games available - the “All Aces” videopoker is also, as far as I'm aware, the highest-returning videopoker currently available anywhere. If slots are your preference, there is an absolutely bewildering array of them.

A very useful feature of Microgaming software is the “Playtech” function which precisely records your gameplay history and allows you to check back on all details of the hands / spins you played and the amounts wagered. The “Cashcheck” facility records the dates and amounts of your deposits.



Cryptologic


Cryptologic is another of the oldest software providers having started out in 1995. Their main licensee, Intercasino, was one of the most reputable operations in the business in the early days, and it remain in business today with a largely unsullied reputation.

In 2012 Cryptologic was sold to Amaya Gaming, who then sold them on to Goldstar Acquisitionco in 2014. They still provide software to Intercasino, although the quality is not what is once was and they don't appear to offer a download version anymore. Unlike its fellow long-timers Microgaming and playtech, Cryptologic has rather fallen by the wayside in recent years.


Real Time Gaming


RTG, along with Microgaming, Playtech and Crytologic, is the last of the “Big Four” software providers from the earliest days of the online gambling business. To a large extent they were the problem child of the group with a large number of not particularly reputable operators. One of their licensees, iNetbet, has stood the course of time and is still a well-regarded operation. RTG was originally based in Atlanta in the USA, but in the early 2000s they moved their operations to Costa Rica.

The gameplay has always been extremely fast. This was a unique selling point for RTG in the earlier days when the other major providers were to an extent struggling with clunky performance. Over the years the other providers have caught up and streamlined their software, with the result that RTG no longer stands out so much in this regard, but they probably still have the fastest-playing games in the business.

For a provider some of whose clients weren't particularly reputable, it was a creditable decision on the part of RTG to launch a dispute service, “Central Disputes System”, in the early years of the new century. I'm not aware of anyone using the service or having a positive outcome, but it's something that the majority of providers don't offer.



Playtech


Playtech was founded in 1999 by Israeli businessman Teddy Sagi and probably contends with Microgaming alone as having the most licensees of any provider. They found their way into the public arena in 2006 with a flotation on the London Stock Exchange. Playtech has the distinction of having "received" quite a number of clients from other software platforms. Golden Palace, which left Microgaming in 2000, found its way to Playtech in 2003. The Main Street casino group, once possibly the biggest RTG group, joined them in 2004. The Sunny group, also initially Microgaming clients, went to Playtech in 2002, as did another RTG, GrandBanks.

The software contends with Microgaming as being the best in the business - it plays very fast and the graphics are good. In around 2005 Playtech launched the unique “Blackjack Switch” game, one of the best quality and most unique blackjack games on the internet. They still run it today, although it's also licensed to non-Playtech casinos.

Playtech, like RTG, are the only provider to offer a player dispute service. As with the RTG service, I'm not aware of any players having either used it or had a positive outcome, but it's something they deserve credit for offering.



Net Entertainment


Net Entertainment was originally the online gambling arm of the long-established Swedish gambling corporation Cherry, which supplies gambling equipment to restauarnts and ships in addition to its internet business. Net Entertainment is still one of Cherry's software suppliers, but the connection these days may be one of supplier / licensee rather than actual ownership. They were founded in 1996 but didn't really come onto the gambling radar until the early years of the 21st century.

The software is non-download java-based with a decent selection of medium-paced games. In mid 2005, their software was submitted to the independent Canadadian certfication body Technical Systems Testing (TST) , and although I don't put much store in these certifications myself, I have to say it's my opinion that the software is entirely fair. All round, an excellent little software provider.


WagerWorks


Initially a subsidiary of slot machine manufactorer Silicon Gaming, WagerWorks was a stand-alone supplier of casino software to several large UK companies until they were taken over in 2005 by global slot manufacuring giant IGT. Since the takeover, WagerWorks's focus seems to be exclusively on developing slot games - understandably, since this is the parent company's business. They used to offer some good blackjack games, notably Power Blackjack. Sadly, these games now seem to have fallen by the wayside.

WagerWorks had the distiction of being the software of choice of MGMMirage, when they ran their short-lived online casino in 2003.


Chartwell


Originally a Canadian company and established in 1998, Chartwell supplies website-based software. There isn't a vast selection of games, but they do offer a decent single deck blackjack game" and a rather unique multi decker that offers an unusual form of surrender.

In 2011, Chartwell was bought by Amaya Gaming, and subsequently sold on to NYX Gaming Group.


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