What is online casino software?

What is online casino software?

Our modern, digital-first world is controlled and run through software. Yes, there are the hardware components that we need to access the software – computers, tablets, phones, cars, and so on – but it is the power of the programme that allows us to live in this futuristic society. Everything, from your bank card to your car, has chips and circuits that allow us access to software and access to our bank accounts, our entertainment, our work, that make our cars go, and our aeroplanes take off and land, that run everything from utilities like water and electricity to the defence of our borders.

And online casinos are no different.

Whichever way we choose to log on to our chosen online or mobile casino, whether it be desktop computer, smartphone, or tablet, we are using our device to get into the software and play our favourite online casino games.

It’s what gives us the power to play our games from anywhere in the world.

But what exactly is this casino software?

It stands to reason that an industry as technical and technological as the online gambling industry would have more than one type of software. In fact, there are various types of software that perform various functions in the digital gambling world: software for the games, software for security, software for the website, even – and possibly most importantly – software for ensuring fair play.

While we are not going to go into every single software programme that allows an online or mobile casino to operate (we’ll be here all day and will have to start going into the history of the whole internet), we are going to try and explain those programmes that directly relate to your enjoyment of online casino games around the world.

In a nutshell: casino software is the software that allows players to play casino games for real money online or via mobile devices. It ensures the safety of players by providing security, it ensures the thrills and excitement by providing thousands of different games, and it ensure fair play by ensuring that all casino games give players a fair chance at winning.

There are three main types of casino software (excluding the operating systems and the security encryption programmes):

  • Downloadable software

This is an earlier version of the casino software that only really works with Windows Operating System. As the name suggests, it is software that you download to your chosen device and can then use to load up, log in, and start playing at your chosen online casino.

  • Instant play software

This software has gradually overtaken downloadable software as the preferred way to get into an online casino, and these casinos are sometimes referred to as web-based casinos. Instant play software allows players to go to, log in and play at their chosen casino directly from the browser on their device. Up until early 2021, a lot of instant play software was Flash based but, since the phasing out of Flash as a valid system programme, HTML has begun taking over.

  • Mobile software

While the basics are the same as online casino software, mobile devices do need to use specialised software to adapt to various operating systems, mobile device models, and screen sizes. Thankfully, in our modern digital world, this does not mean any noticeable loss of quality or performance.

The software at online and mobile casinos is what lets you play the games, but it also has an incredibly important role to play for gamblers: the Random Number Generator.

The Random Number Generator is the most important piece of software in an online casino game. It’s what make the game a game of chance rather than a game of skill.

Random Number Generators (RNGs) are specialised hardware units and software programmes that continually generate strings of random numbers – millions of them every second. These random number strings tell the game (online or mobile slots or table games) where the reels must stop, or which cards must be drawn, or where the ball lands on the wheel.

The RNGs are actually held by the games providers and not the casinos so there can be no doubt as to whether the games are truly random or not.

When you play an online or mobile casino game, every time you hit the spin button or the deal button, a command is sent to the casino’s servers, on to the games provider’s servers, to their RNG to get the random number, back to the provider’s servers, then to the casino’s servers, and finally to your game. It all happens in micro-seconds, so you don’t even know it’s going on.

Even Live Casino games use software to ensure fair play and to oversee the games.

Live Casino play is generally accessed through web cam technology. While there is a studio set up (complete with camera crews and directors) and there is real equipment and in-person and in real time dealers and croupiers, it is still the tech wizardry of the digital world that makes it all happen.

Apart from the web cam software and operating systems, Live Casinos have a critical piece of equipment that allows them to stage Live Dealer games for players around the world – the Game Control Unit (GCU).

The GCU is a small piece of hardware and software attached to each table that scans, analyses, interprets, and encodes each hand dealt or spin of the wheel as it happens. You may notice that Live Casino cards, for example, are a bit bigger than normal playing cards, and that the values are printed much larger. This makes it easier for the remote player to see what is being dealt, and for the GCU to scan and pick up each card.

Once the cards are scanned, the software interprets what has been dealt and works out who has won or lost. This information is encoded for security reasons and presented to the players (and the director in the control room for oversight). The GCU is also where all the gameplay is encoded and decoded for broadcast.

Not many people are aware that the software is not actually provided or held by the online or mobile casino. There are dedicated games providers who design and develop the games you play at the online casino, and these studios are the actual owners and holders of the software.

It’s the reason why you see a lot of the same games and providers across hundreds of different casinos. The casino is just the portal you use to access and play the games – which are housed by the providers.

Like the RNG, every time you choose a game and play, your gameplay is sent via the casino servers to the provider’s servers, and back to the casino for you to see what is happening.

There are a LOT of online and mobile casino providers out there, all with dedicated studios bringing us the latest and most thrilling casino games. Some of the top games studios/providers in the world include Microgaming, NetEnt, Playtech, Yggdrasil, Betsoft, Bally, Barcrest, Scientific Games, WMS, Play n’ GO, Pragmatic, Novomatic, Big Time Gaming, Red Tiger Gaming, IGT, and Blueprint.

These are some of the BIG players, pioneers of the online casino games and software market, but there are new and exciting providers popping up regularly. These indie studios are bringing fresh ideas and fresh games to us passionate players, and truly making the world of online casino gaming an international offering.