The bandit is the most diabolically constructed gambling machine ever invented, huffed Swedish parliament member Sven Andersson as he was spearheading a campaign in 1977 to banish slot machines from the Scandinavian country. Andersson’s years of anti-gambling sentiment were then ultimately rewarded when Parliament voted 239-59 to ban slot machines from Sweden. Job done.
This was very bad news for the country’s restauranteurs who used the income from the machines to keep their food prices down. However, it was an even harsher verdict for Bill Lindwall and Rolf Lundström who started Cherry in 1963 and distributed most of the gaming machines in Scandinavia. Within a month of the ban, Cherry’s business was shuttered.
Down, but not quite wholly out, the ownership group re-emerged in the 1980s and began purchasing the rights to a number of former Swedish gaming companies, and as a result provided gambling machines to eastern European countries. In 1994, gambling returned to Sweden and Cherry went all-in on the Swedish gaming market, closing down most of their foreign operations.
Pontius Lindwall, son of Bill, saw the future of gambling on the Internet, and in 1996 started Net Entertainment to design virtual games and run its own online casinos. “NetEnt” got out of the casino business after a few years and has concentrated solely on software development ever since, becoming one of the world’s leading software developers and more recently, became a member of the World Lottery Association.
The original vision of Pontius Lindwall was scuttled because he was not happy with the software that was available at the time, so NetEnt decided to just create its own games. That drive to deliver only the highest-quality gaming software has propelled the company forward for more than two decades.
The game design on NetEnt releases looks first-rate on both downloadable and instant games, regardless of whether you’re on an iPhone, Android, tablet computer, or anything in between. They’ve been leading the high quality, flash-based 3D animation push in recent years, as well as now offering Live Casino and land-based gaming machines.
Most of their slot machines have a certain look and feel, primarily because the user controls are always in the same spot so you don’t have to go searching for anything. They’ve found a winning design formula and they’re sticking with it.
The slots games, which were the prime beneficiaries of those new, sleek, 3D graphics, are the flagship products for NetEnt and there are now more than 100 different titles available worldwide. Their first platinum video slot game was Gonzo’s Quest and it’s the standard bearer for their line of entertainment and story-based releases. More recently, NetEnt has released the popular Vikings, as well as Jumanji and Guns’N Roses.
The company is also strong in movie-branded slots games, teaming up with Universal Studios to bring out heavy hitters like Aliens, The Creature from the Black Lagoon, and The Invisible Man. Players can also tap into progressive slots linked across every NetEnt-powered casino or play for locally contained jackpots, depending on the game.
With a few small exceptions, if you can bet on it in a land-based casino, you can bet on it in a NetEnt casino. Punto Banco, Casino Hold’em, baccarat, and every different style of roulette are on offer, with their Caribbean Stud Poker and Red Dog both being linked to progressive jackpots. There are also tons of video poker games, virtual scratch cards, and mini-games for punters to sort through.
In Bonus Keno players can chase a progressive jackpot with the appearance of a random joker character. The “jump-off-the-screen” graphics of the newer games like this can make the traditional ones sometimes appear stodgy, but there is always a player-pleasing mix of new and traditional releases at every operator who’s partnered with them.
As for excitement, in 2013 the NetEnt progressive slot Mega Fortune Dreams paid out one of the highest jackpots on record, €17,861,813 – and from a tiny €0.25 bet, (although Microgaming ended up surpassing this total and were listed in the Guinness Book of World Records). Regardless, in 2017 a total of €30.4 million was paid out via the Mega Fortune Dreams slot, which is obviously nothing to turn your nose up at.
There have been a bunch of different blackjack variants released by Net Entertainment ranging from the traditional to the more extravagant, but you’ll find nothing shocking or ground-breaking in their offering. Which versions you can play will of course depend on the online casino you’re at, however, most places will have the vast majority of these popular ones below.
- Single Deck Blackjack
One deck, one hand, and table stakes from 1 unit to 40. This classic version of blackjack is also offered in a fast-paced mini-version you can play while waiting in line at the store, or for the results of the next horse race to be posted. The house edge is 0.44%.
- Blackjack Pro
Gamblers can play up to 3 hands at once and bet as a Low Baller, Standard Punter, or High Roller, with wager amounts ranging from 0.10 units to 500 units. A Double Jack side bet on whether the first card is a jack offers a maximum win of up to 100 times the bet. The house edge is also 0.44% but the take on the side bet is 4.93%.
- Double Exposure Blackjack
This variant has the player competing against two dealer up-cards which reduces the opportunities for doubling and turns the blackjack payouts into a normal win. However, it offers new experiences for the player such as hitting on a 19 if need be. The Return to Player is listed at 99.33%.
This is a British version of blackjack where the player will “twist” and “stick” rather than “hit” or “stand”, and the biggest win comes for a 5-Card Trick with a 2:1 return. Also, you can play 3 hands per deal but no dealer cards are exposed. The house edge is a scrawny 0.34%.
- Live Dealer Blackjack
Net Entertainment offers two versions of blackjack in its Live Dealer product which attempts to mimic real life casino action. The dealing takes place in their Malta studios and tables are open around the clock, every day of the year. State-of-the-art gaming equipment such as six-deck Shufflemaster dealing shoes insure fast-paced action from snazzy dealers in black evening wear.
The high-definition video streaming is infused with “low latency”, a technology created to reduce the transmission lag during play, and the footage is always different depending on the game that you’re playing. For example, in Common Draw Blackjack, with the dealer standing on all 17s, the camera focuses only on the dealer and the hands. However, in Standard 7 Seat Blackjack the player can see all of the hands in play.
Most of their live tables also offer the ability for tournament style play.
- NetEnt Practice Casino
All NetEnt blackjack games can be experienced for free at the netent.com website with the action being intuitive, quick, and sharp, with high-definition graphics. You can start out with a 5,000 unit bankroll and test out the rules for each game that will appear in a pop-up screen to see which ones are your favourites.