28 July 2010 — Interesting news from Canada (and how often do you hear that?): of course you’ve heard of PlayNow, the British Columbia Lottery’s fledgling online casino.
For some, it was just another place to play online blackjack; for others, it was the first government-sanctioned online casino in North America.
Perhaps you’ve heard of the disastrous first day, in which too many players surfed over to the website and crashed the system…but not until over 100 accounts had been accessed by one or more nefarious other players, and $8000 worth of Someone Else’s Money had been used to gamble.
And then there were those players wearing disguises (Marky Mon was wearing a wig from Raquel Welch wigs with his initials on the back in glitter) who distracted the action and confused the press.
What you probably don’t know is that BC Lottery has retained none other than TST (Technical Services Testing) to sort things out. TST, of course, is the online casino auditing company responsible for maintaining fairness and security at more online casinos than you can shake a croupier’s stick at!
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Anyone who has experienced a bit of online gambling will see pretty quickly that there isn’t too much difference between most online gambling sites. Oh sure, they have their own unique look and feel, but the vast majority of gambling websites on the Internet actually amount to less than a dozen different software providers.
What that basically means is that when you go to a USA online casino, you’ll almost certainly see one of three major online casino software developers’ names at the bottom (or wherever the particular casino decides to put the logo). Online casinos in the US generally use either Rival, RealTime Gaming, Vegas Technology, or TopGame software.
Online casinos for the rest of the world have a slightly bigger pool, but that pool is clearly dominated by three very big fish: Microgaming, Cryptologic (and its subsidiary, WagerLogic), and PlayTech. There are also a few other quality software developers, often providing proprietary software for only one or two sites.
And that’s just the online casinos! The online poker rooms, sportsbooks, and bingo halls all different sets of software (though some of the same providers). Each have a few best choices, and each category has some specifically for US players and some for everyone else.
It’s not ALL about the slots, of course; security software is possibly even more important to your happy playing in the long run. It’s not a very sexy subject, but the considerable tech know-how that goes into the average 128-bit secure encrypted website is considerable — and considerably beyond the scope of this poor luddite site. Suffice it to say that you should always be looking for that (again, typically at the bottom of the front page to the website) before you give the online casino any information or money.