Slot Machine Providers
In the dim and not so distant past before the Internet took over the world, slot machines were still very much a thing. In fact, the first gaming machines date all the way back to the 1890s with the first video slot making its debut in the late 1970s.
Old slots were often rather simple affairs but they still proved hugely popular with players in land-based casinos, pubs, clubs and even chip shops. It’s with these old school, brick and mortar casino slots that slot developers like IGT, WMS, Novomatic and Ainsworth first cut their teeth.
You’ll still find games from these slot providers if you go to an arcade or betting shop today. Many of the most popular slots from live venues have been converted for online play. That familiarity is one of the main reasons why certain slot games are still so popular today. These include:
|Rainbow Riches (Barcrest)||Book of Ra Deluxe (Novomatic)|
|Cleopatra (IGT)||Zeus (WMS)|
They might not be overly flashy but the simple design and gameplay remains massively popular with online and land-based players alike.
Top Slot Providers
If you’ve ever played an online slot before, you’ve probably played a game created by one of these top slot providers. They have become big names in the online gaming industry for good reason by creating games that combine classy design with innovative gameplay. Here are our best 7:
Probably the industry’s biggest current slot provider, NetEnt are the people behind smash hit slots liked Starburst, Dead or Alive 2 and Gonzo’s Quest. Founded in 1996, their graphically rich slots are very easy on the eye and often come with cracking features to match.
NetEnt technology was involved in over 58 billion online gaming transactions in 2019 which gives you an idea of just how popular their games are. They also offer over 200 slot games to choose from.
Microgaming are an Isle of Man-based provider that launched way back in 1994 and is probably best known for its collection of progressive jackpot slots including the Mega Moolah, WowPot and Major Millions networks. Microgaming’s Mega Moolah slot holds the Guinness World Record for the largest payout, awarding a whopping €18,915,872.81. Their jackpot slots have paid out over £1 billion to date!
Microgaming has also created a host of branded slots including titles based on Terminator 2, Game of Thrones, I’m a Celebrity Get Me Out of Here and many more. They also have over 750 slot games in total.
Big Time Gaming
The biggest innovation in the online gaming world over the past couple of years has been the rise of the Megaways game mechanic. Sydney’s Big Time Gaming is the slot provider behind this massively influential game engine. The game that started the Megaways boom was Bonanza Megaways. BTG is also behind the likes of Extra Chili Megaways and Who Wants to be a Millionaire Megaways.
The Megaways technology has been licensed to other developers so there are now plenty of other slot developers that have put their stamp on BTG’s original technology. BTG isn’t resting on its laurels though. They’ve also launched Megaclusters and Megaquads game mechanics.
Launched in 2014, Nolimit City has made a name for itself by creating superbly designed slots that come with rather unusual gameplay. They’re often massively volatile too. Prime examples of that rather enticing combination include the anarchic Punk Rocker and the hip hop-themed East Coast vs West Coast.
They are also responsible for the San Quentin slot which pays up to 150,000 x stake wins. If you like slots that offer something a little bit different as far as gameplay is concerned then Nolimit City slots are well worth investigating thanks to their xWays, xNudge, xBomb and xPays mechanics.
Play ‘n GO
If you like slots that are packed full of design flair then look no further than Play ’n GO. Regardless of the theme or style of slot (and they offer plenty of both), you can guarantee that a slot from the Play’n Go catalogue will be easy on the senses. Their games aren’t all style over substance either. They often pack a very volatile payout punch too.
Play ’n GO is the slot provider behind the hugely popular Rich Wilde character who stars in slots including Book of Dead, Amulet of the Dead and Pearls of India. With a new Play ‘n GO game every week, they have a great selection of Cluster Pays slots.
Playtech has been creating slots for over 20 years now and you’ll find their games at hundreds of online casinos and slot sites. They’re probably best known for the graphically rich and feature-filled Age of the Gods series. Inspired by ancient Greek myth and legend, they also offers players the chance to land potentially enormous progressive jackpot prizes.
Playtech are also the brains behind the fantasy-themed Kingdoms Rise series as well as a massive collection of branded slots including the DC Comic Book Super Heroes and Sporting Legends series. They’re also the creators of the Fire Blaze Jackpots collection.
US slots developer IGT started life as a provider of land-based casinos slots way back in the 1950s. The IGT catalogue includes fan favourites such as Siberian Storm, Da Vinci Diamonds and Cleopatra as well as the series of slots based on the hit TV gameshow Wheel of Fortune.
They still create content for brick-and-mortar venues but also have an extensive portfolio of slots aimed at online players. Many of their Las Vegas slots have been revamped for online play too.
New Slot Providers
Online gaming has exploded in popularity in the UK in recent years which has prompted more and more slot developers to enter the market. Advances in computer technology mean that it’s much cheaper to create content for online rather than big box live casino slots. More slot game providers mean more innovation. The nifty new arrivals make sure that the big guns keep on their toes if they want to remain at the forefront of the business.
The likes of ELK Studios and Thunderkick have created collections of graphically rich slots that are packed full of innovative features and gameplay. These exciting new slot providers have proven so popular in some cases that they have made the reverse journey to the norm: online slots being converted for use in land-based venues.
The number of slot game providers now runs into more than 100. In recent years, the likes of 4ThePlayer, Fantasma Games, ReelPlay and Iron Dog Studio have come to the forefront. We have guides and reviews of slots from over 50 providers here at Online-Slot.co.uk.
Mobile Slot Providers
With devices becoming ever more powerful, smartphones are taking over many of the functions previously played by desktop computers. According to StatsCounter Global Stats, mobiles (54.25%) had overtaken desktops (42.9%) in market share in March 2021.
Slot providers have recognized this shift with more and more of them creating content aimed at mobile phone users. You can play virtually all slots on a smartphone or tablet as well as a desktop. The likes of ELK Studios and 4ThePlayer have taken things further, thinking mobile first when it comes to creating slots. As technology improves still further, we expect this trend to continue.
What makes a good slot provider?
With so many online slot games to play and lots of providers creating them, we look at the factors that make the slot studios good:
Portfolio of Slots
Does the slot provider have an extensive and high-quality back catalogue of games? The likes of Microgaming and Play ’n GO release slots on a weekly basis. Browse through their portfolio and you’ll have a pretty good idea of the type of thing you can expect.
Other, smaller slot providers aren’t usually as prolific. With a focus on quality rather than quantity, there’s usually a bit of a gap between releases from the likes of Push Gaming and 4ThePlayer. Content from these niche slot developers can be worth waiting for though.
With more and more of us using a smartphone as a primary device, does the slot provider create content that’s fully optimised for mobile and tablet play? Most slot games are developed using HTML5 technology, so they run smoothly on all devices.
Veteran land-based developers like IGT and Novomatic often retrofit their classic titles so they’re available for play online and via mobile. As mentioned above, some slot providers are mobile-first which helps with players who play on the go.
There’s really no excuse for a slot not to be easy to understand and play. The paytable should be clear and simple to follow and the design clear and crisp. Some slot providers like Play ‘n GO have an in-house style when it comes to user interface and that familiarity makes their games nice and straightforward. Others, like IGT often require a little bit more effort.
Online casinos need to be licensed in order to operate and there are regulations in place for slot providers too. The UK Gambling Commission is the regulator in Britain. Slots available at UK slot sites are licensed by the UKGC.
You will also notice that slot developers have licenses in Alderney, Malta, Gibraltar and US states where online gaming is legal. If you see slots you’re unsure about, check out the provider’s license credentials to see if they are legit or not. Saying that, all slots found at UK licensed slot sites come from a licensed and reputable developer.
Return to Player (RTP) rates vary widely from slot to slot. The average RTP rate comes in at around 96%. Some developers like Play ‘n GO have different RTP rates for different territories. For other slot providers like Big Time Gaming, the RTP rates are uniform regardless of where you’re playing.
The better slot developers will offer higher RTP rates in general, especially in the UK. It can also vary from casino to casino. You want to be playing the highest paying version of any slot game to get the most back (on average). If you want to play games with the highest return rates, check out our list of slots with the highest RTP rates.
Players expect more from slots than just vanilla gameplay and payline wins. More and more slot providers are creating innovative mechanics and bonus features.
The iconic Avalanche feature first appeared in NetEnt’s Gonzo’s Quest slot and proved wildly popular. Likewise, the Megaways mechanic from Big Time Gaming which is now on offer in hundreds of slots with a massive variety of themes.
It’s not just gameplay that’s ripe for innovation. Design is too. Many of the graphically rich slots are a world away from the simple fruit machines of old.
There are slot developers like Nolimit City that have managed to innovate on many fronts. The unusual design and theme in the likes of Punk Rocker comes with the provider’s innovative xNudge technology. You’ll find similarly high-class design in San Quentin which is played using the xWays mechanic. Design flair and innovative gameplay are a pretty enticing combination.
Safety + Security
The first thing a slot should be is safe and secure. Reputable slot developers have their games tested and audited by external operators to ensure they are fair and their RTP rates are accurate.
The best known of these testing bodies is the UK’s eCOGRA (eCommerce and Online Gaming Regulation and Assurance). Other high-profile testers include Australia’s iTechLabs, BMM TestLabs (which was founded back in 1981), TST and Gaming Laboratories International.
Are slots from a particular developer available at a wide variety of online casinos? If they are, that’s usually a good sign and means they have a good reputation. The top online casinos will have content from a wide range of developers. If they’re rubbing shoulders with the top name providers at a slot site with instant name recognition, then that’s a good sign of reliability and trustworthiness.
Slot providers (sometimes known as slot developers) are the software companies that create the slot games that are found at online casinos. There are over 100 slot providers in business at present.
The biggest and best-known slot providers include the likes of NetEnt, Microgaming, Playtech, Nolimit City, Play’n Go and Big Time Gaming. With so many to choose from, check out our top 7 slot providers for UK players.
Virtually all slots are available to play using smartphones and tablets. Some developer’s focus their efforts first and foremost on mobile rather than desktop players. Mobile slot developers include ELK Studios and 4ThePlayer.
A good UK slot provider will be UKGC licensed and certified by an external testing agency for starters. The slots should be well designed, be full of visual flair and packed full of quality gameplay and innovative features. Check out the 8 factors which determine if a provider is good or not.