The online casino industry is positively booming these days. There are more casinos to choose from than ever, each touting hundreds of great looking games which often makes it tough to know which one to choose.
In this article we will highlight what types of games you are going to find within the casinos and how they will work.
Whilst we don’t go into detail about specific brands or games, we will give you a good overview as to how each of them operate and also how they work from an industry standpoint.
What Kind of Games can I Play?
The range of games that are on offer today is staggering. It’s not uncommon to see mid-range casinos boasting well over 500 games to choose from, with some offering more than 1000 and even the smaller ones will have at least 100.
Where on earth do you start?
The best place is probably the slots, even though this is the busiest game type. There are thousands of them and the upshot of this is that they cater for all types of players. The first thing that you could consider is the theme, with some popular ones including wild west, science, sports, movies, TV programs, mythical, cartoons, and so many more.
The king pin of the slots have to be the branded games, with some of the game developers teaming up with the likes of Marvel, Disney, Pixar, DC Comics and loads more. These are the games that often have the most resources thrown at them and so in turn have the best features and bonus rounds.
After trying a few slots you can look into the table games section, and this has grown exponentially over the years. There are two main games in the form of blackjack and roulette, but many others exist as well. The basic version of each game will be on offer and these will run the same way as they would in your brick and mortar casinos. However, you are also going to get a huge number of variations on each game, such as two ball roulette, French roulette, pontoon (blackjack), and premium blackjack.
The games mentioned above tend to be the main focus of all casinos, but there are often more niche games to, although their coverage will vary from one casino to the next. Other games that you will be able to play include baccarat, craps, red dog, pai gow, video poker, scratchcards, instant win games, Caribbean stud poker, and keno, to name just a few.
The progressive jackpot games are some of the most popular in any casino. The games are just like regular slots, but they include a jackpot that you can win if you hit a certain combination of symbols within that game. Others pay out randomly.
The games do run a little differently to your standard slot though, because to build the jackpot a percentage of each stake made on the game is taken out and placed into the pot. For example, you play for £1 per spin and the jackpot takes 10%, so the jackpot increases by 10p every time you spin the reels. They even themselves out for players staking higher amounts as the higher you bet per spin, the more chance you have of hitting the jackpot, theoretically.
The jackpots for some games can be huge. The biggest games at the minute are probably Mega Moolah, Major Millions, and Arabian Nights. With each of these games you can expect to see the jackpot easily cruise past the £1million mark and we’ve even seen them get as high as £10million, so it’s life changing money we are talking about.
One thing you need to be aware of with jackpot games is that they are run across the game developers server and not the casinos. So, if a game was developed by Microgaming then it’s them who would be issuing the jackpot on behalf of the casino, which allows for a much larger pool of players to access the game and thus feed into the jackpot. This is why you might see the same game on a number of different casino sites and also why the jackpot can build to such large amounts.
Game developers and casino software developers are now a huge part of the industry. These guys are the people who design and build the games that you see in each casino, from the algorithms to the art work. They then allow the casinos to use their games for a fee. As we touched on above, this is the reason why you might see the same games within different casinos.
The casinos go down this route instead of designing their own in house games for a number of reasons, but the main on is cost. They can pay a developer a monthly or set fee to use their software and have it immediately available. This means that they don’t have to pay a huge team of people to come up with new games that they would not only have to run, but also offer support for as well. Not to mention the time it takes to create each game.
Most casinos have more than one software company that they work with. In fact, we’ve seen as many as 30 game developers utilised by a single casino, which also gives you some idea of how many studios there are out there. Casinos need to offer their players variety and diversity, and partnering up with different studios is the way they do it.
It wasn’t all that long ago that casinos would work with a single developer or even try to create their own games, but this had massive limitations. Casino’s used to be provided as a downloadable package that was installed and loaded from your computer. These days it is almost exclusively browser based, and as casinos have incorporated so many different companies to provide their games this makes everything a whole lot easier.
The mobile sector is growing faster than any other in the industry. More and more people are switching to mobile gaming and whilst the uptake on this from casinos has been slower compared to areas likes sports betting, more and more of them are now recognising mobile as the future of their business.
At the minute, casinos aren’t quite able to offer a full range of games on mobile, which is why you might see a more limited range on an app compared to the online site of the same brand. A lot of games have been around since the early days and have remained popular, but they weren’t built for mobile gaming because it didn’t exist then.
As technology has advanced, developers are ensuring that all new releases are mobile compatible in order to stay competitive. They have even gone back to old favourites and tweaked them to enable them to cross over. It won’t be long before games that are non-compatible with mobiles are a thing of the past.
Are the Games Fair?
There are literally hundreds of articles online about whether online casinos are fair or not. There are conspiracy theories about casino games being rigged and also casinos forcing people to lose. In reality, this is not the case, people just don’t understand how these games work.
The first thing that you need to know is that the whole industry is regulated and tested to within an inch of its life. Each casino needs to be licensed by the UK Gambling Commission, a regulatory body set up by the government who work with casinos and game developers to ensure the consumer has a fair deal. Providing everything is in order, they get a big tick, but if something isn’t right, then they won’t be granted a license. We will say at this point, if you are suspicious or unsure about a casino or certain game, check them out with the Gambling Commission to make sure that they have a license and report them if they don’t.
Each game comes with a Random Number Generator (RNG) built into the framework. This RNG creates a totally random outcome for what will occur on that spin or hand of the game. It uses a series of algorithms to create these outcomes and dozens of mathematical equations are processed each second to determine what you see on the screen.
Each game will also come with a Return To Player percentage. This is basically the amount of money that is paid back over a huge sample of spins or hands. For example, a 97% RTP would basically mean that for every £1 staked, 97p would be returned. The RTP is based over millions of spins and isn’t accurate for each player’s individual play session. You are better off thinking of the outcome as totally random.
The upshot here is that for every £1 staked on a game with a 97% RTP the casino makes 3p. This is the edge the casino has in this game; some games have higher RTP’s, others have lower ones. You see, the casino needs you to win sometimes. If every time you staked £1 you lost 3p there would be no point in playing, you need to stand of chance of winning more than you stake for it to be any fun. The games are designed to allow for huge wins and also huge losses, but overall, over huge samples, the casino will always come out on top.