Many try to claim title of “first company to launch an online casino” and Microgaming feel they should be considered for the crown. Their argument may or may not be legitimate, but this won’t be proven one way or the other any time soon, if ever at all.
Regardless of who first planted the flag, things apparently did not go as expected as they quickly had to pivot and formulate a better path to iGaming success. They decided the easier way to generate revenues was developing products and licensing them to third parties, rather than directly servicing end users.
To Microgaming’s credit, they were a founding member of the Interactive Gaming Council (IGC) that works to promote fairness and responsibility, an original advocate of corporate transparency. This was quite a rarity back in the early 2000s so this historical footnote should be respected.
Head offices are located in Isle of Man, holding a full U.K. Gambling Commission license.
Two decades after first opening, work is still cranked out with ease, boasting a catalog of more than 800 titles, definitely viewed as the “McDonalds of software providers”. Furthermore, the company is particularly prolific in developing electronic slots, unleashing over 1,200 unique machines over the years.
However, just like a fast-food giant, they don’t usually garner praise for a dynamic menu, but rather for delivering a consistent experience without deviations in quality. Releases always satisfy specific appetites, listing so many that licensees typically only include a fraction of them.
Historically, Microgaming has missed few trends, quite often emerging at the forefront. One strong area is branded creations, due to locking up such iconic movie franchises as Batman, Battlestar Galactica, and Terminator. Also, as male patrons are undoubtedly aware, this is a rare place to find Playboy-themed entertainment.
In 2004, they launched the first-ever mobile casino software, finally enabling legitimate claim to some trailblazing credentials. Not that they needed to do anything extra to impress the industry at that point, of course, now truly at the forefront of latest trends.
Games play fast, look good, sound good, and always leave customers craving more. That said, some graphics are a little stale, probably due to rushing them out to market. Their design team won’t celebrate any awards, nevertheless, it should be noted newer creations are every bit as good as competitors. This is presumably because software developers know that in order to maintain market share, creations must constantly be high-quality and appeal to the masses.
New slots games arrive each month in an attempt to remain on pace with adversaries. First to introduce 100 line machines and innovating 243 Ways to Win, hexagonal grids and payline profits for side-by-side symbols were unheard of beforehand.
Releasing Cash Splash in 1998, network progressive jackpots were birthed, awarding record prize amounts via bingo, one-armed bandits, and mobile. With hundreds of online casinos using their software, community-contributed pools obviously increase very quickly.
The proof is in the pudding, as licensees have made millionaires out of dozens of average people. Furthermore, they claim their progressive network is the best in the world, reportedly dishing out more than €848 million since inception. In 2015, Microgaming earned the Guinness World Record for
largest virtual slot machine jackpot, beating out NetEnt’s 2013 record of €17,879,645.12.
Not all efforts were placed into spinning machines and jackpots and as a result, a huge library of tables is offered. Popular 21 variations found in land-based operations pepper the list, professionals assuredly satiated at partner websites.
To start off, a solid version of Classic Single Deck is on tap, a traditional attraction exposing dealer up-cards. Most people are unaware this has a tiny House edge of 0.13%, making it an excellent option for those wanting to practice basic strategy.
Then Atlantic City and European is presented, both dealt from eight deck shoes with identical rules. Well, the sole difference is in European dealer second cards aren’t exposed until everyone seated has acted. It’s this possibility of after-the-fact blackjacks that wipes out all splits and doubles stakes, increasing House edge to 0.39% instead of 0.35%.
Some niche variants available are Bonus Blackjack allowing side bets on dealer or player 21s, holding a House edge of 0.39%, or opt for Double Exposure which reveals both dealer cards, giving reduced odds for the privilege. Also, dealers win pushes, with these rules combining to elevate House odds to 0.67%, making it a less profitable endeavour than others.
In addition, Microgaming produced Spanish 21 putting participants at a 0.38% disadvantage thanks to 48 card decks triggering fewer natural blackjacks. Finally, both Vegas Downtown and Vegas Strip provide slight twists, the former dealt from 2 decks and the latter from 4, ensuring House edges of 0.38% and 0.34% respectively.
Additionally, multi-hand creations permit up to five playable hands at a time, sites able to run tournaments and link progressive jackpots as desired.
Live Dealer Blackjack
Live streaming since 2006, studios are located in Canada, the Philippines, and Argentina. Operators select which streams to broadcast, including the fully-branded Playboy titles. Feeds are browser-based so no downloads are required, although partners may choose to permit live dealing only through download versions.
Microgaming Live Blackjack is primarily dealt to 7 seats via eight deck shoes. Dealers are appropriately dressed for an evening soiree and use a manual shuffle system. Tables fill up quickly at popular destinations but clients can sign-up for alert notifications when seats become available.
Like all output in general, streams are first-rate yet not overly exceptional. Pluses include the ability to stake multiple tables at once, functionality to bet behind others, and option to place side wagers on insurance.
Microgaming Practice Casinos
When examining final product list, more than 30 different types of blackjack are found. Thankfully, it’s not necessary to risk real money to get the hang of unfamiliar attractions, the bulk of operators offering practice modes.
If not interested in signing up an account, simply visit the official Microgaming practice area to play anything with complimentary credits, topping up fun balances as often as desired.