It’s easy to visit an online casino and simply assume that all of the games appeared there automatically, as if by magic. Of course, nobody really thinks this is how it works: the point is that players rarely put much thought into how it works at all.

But play at enough Internet gambling sites, and you’ll start to see a lot of the same games being offered by different operators. That’s because all of these titles – just like the ones you would see in a land-based resort – come from providers who have developed and licensed these games. In this case, we’re talking about online software providers, each of which have developed their own unique set of games for use at casinos and other sites.

Not all of these companies are created equally. Some only create slots, while others specialize in live dealer platforms, and still others can provide an entire collection of games. Many providers specialize in games, but others have developed complete gaming solutions, basically providing premade casinos for operators to use. And since each of these groups have their own artistic and technical styles, you may find that you have a favorite gambling software firm, even if you didn’t realize it before now.

The Content Creators of the Internet Gambling World

You can’t make a casino without any games, and somebody has to make those products. In the brick-and-mortar world, we talk about manufacturers that build and program machines and tables; for the virtual industry, that job falls to software developers who work to bring these games to life.

In some cases, these can be the exact same companies. Major firms like IGT have crossed over from the land-based industry to the Internet in an attempt to diversify their business. Along the way, they have frequently ported some of their popular titles for online play, giving them some very valuable properties that many players already know and love.

On the other hand, the growth of online gambling has also given rise to a host of new firms that specialize in creating virtual games. These developers may not have the long histories in the industry that their land-based competitors do, but they make up for it with a single-minded focus on their Internet operations, creating innovations that push the industry forward.

While there are dozens of developers that have created games for Internet casinos, you won’t see all of them in every market. Depending on where you are, some companies may not license their games to operators there, perhaps for a variety of reasons. The most common problem by far, however, has to do with laws and regulations. Many privately-owned companies are happy to develop games that can be used in grey markets around the world, allowing customers in countries where there is no clear regulation of Internet gambling (and perhaps even in some places where the practice is banned by law) to play for real money on offshore sites.

On the other hand, most publicly-traded corporations are a little more cautious when it comes to their approaches. These groups are likely to stick mainly to where they are 100% certain that they aren’t in danger of breaking laws of ruining their regulatory profile, which could keep them out of lucrative markets.

The UK is one such market, and these days, virtually all sites that operate here (and all those who do so legally) are licensed by the Gambling Commission. Given the taxation schemes involved, there are some firms that have abandoned Britain, deciding that they’re better off serving grey markets than paying for the right to attract customers in the UK.

What Separates Providers

With so many different companies creating games for the industry, it can be hard for groups to set themselves apart from the pack. In fact, it’s easy to make the assumption that all of these firms are basically the same, with only minor differences between them.

In reality, however, the style, quality, and variety of options varies dramatically depending on who created the games you’re playing. The following are just a few of the ways in which software providers can impact your gaming experience:

  • Game Selection: The number of games offered by various providers can differ dramatically. While a longstanding company like Microgaming or Playtech can offer hundreds of slots, table games, and other options, a newer firm might just focus on a handful of titles at first. Many developers have a clear focus on slots, neglecting their video poker, blackjack, and roulette offerings, if they have them at all.
  • Platforms: No matter how good a game is, it won’t matter to you unless you can play it. Providers offer their games for play on a variety of different platforms, but not every title is available in every manner. Today, virtually all developers make sure that their collection is entirely available in a no download, instant play format that can be accessed within a web browser no matter what operating system you are running. However, there are still big differences in the mobile solutions they provide: some may have apps, others may optimize their games for mobile browsers, and still others offer little mobile support at all.
  • Exclusive Properties: This is especially important for those who like to play slots and fruit machines. Some of the major developers have signed licensing agreements that allow them to create games based on films, television programs, and comic book characters. If you want to play games based on your favourite characters and franchises, then you’ll need to find the provider who holds that license.
  • Style: While we tend to value gameplay over graphics and sound, there’s no denying that excellent presentation can make a game way more enjoyable than it would normally be. But style is a matter of taste, and there’s no telling whose games you’ll find to be the most attractive. What is clear is that each provider offers products that look, feel, and sound different, and figuring out which company appeals to your personal sense of style will help you find games you’ll enjoy for a long time to come.

For these and many other reasons, it pays to understand what each provider has to offer. If you’re not sure which one is right for you, take a look at our provider pages, which break down exactly what you can expect to see from each of these companies.