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Grading The "4" Major Software Providers!!!

Discussion in 'Online Casinos' started by johnsteed, Mar 7, 2006.

?

What's the best of the BIG "4" software providers?

  1. Microgaming

    65.6%
  2. Cryptologic

    15.6%
  3. PlayTech

    7.8%
  4. RealTimeGaming

    11.1%
    Mar 7, 2006
  1. johnsteed

    johnsteed Ueber Meister

    Occupation:
    N/A
    Location:
    N/A
    ***



    Hello fellow forum members :) ,



    I was curious as to how others (as well as myself) view the various major software providers. I realize that MG is more than likely the KING around these parts, and I would imagine Cryptologic would come a distant second. But, I wanted to explore a bit more than that, my personal overall experience with each major software provider's casinos. IOW, I wanted to do a personal review about the "highs" and "lows" of each provider (and there casinos on a macro-level scale), and give them a final score.


    Here's a tutorial of how my grading system works.


    Report Card: Based on "10" specified categories. I'll then tabulate the overall results, and give a final grade/percentage out of 100% being the top score. I only went in increments of 5% and 10%.


    Fun Factor: Are the games fun enough or are they generally boring?


    Graphics: Are the games colorful, vibrant, and exciting to look at? Are they weak textures, or are they rich in detail and in depth. Do you dream of the colors when you're trying to sleep (hey, I keep thinking "BLUE" from Bejeweled after trying to fall asleep after a 3 hour session)?


    Game Selection: Is there a healthy variety of games to choose from? Or is it limiting and by it being limited, will eventually lead to boredom.


    Bonuses/Promotions/Comps: Do the casinos offer ongoing promotions/monthly match bonuses? Do those bonuses have reasonable playthrough requirments? Are the casinos promotions unique and fresh? Or are they the some-old-tiresome-thing that they've been offering for the past 2-years? Are the comps building-up quickly? Do they have too many vague or confusing T&C's, meaning there are too many ways that those T&C's can be understood?


    Advertising/Reputation: Reputation being more important than the other. But, what the casinos elect to advertise, is it false and truthful? How would you feel about going to those specific (software provider) casinos? Do they stay within ethical means of marketing their product?


    System Requirements/Loading Time: Is the software a pig on your hard-drive? Do the games load promptly? Can you uninstall everything once you're done with the program? Do you need a top-of-the-line Pentium IV with all the thrills in order to be able to run the games (minus the black-screen)?


    Banking Options: This category includes withdrawal methods on top of deposit methods. Do these casinos support a broad-range of credit card/internet banking options? When withdrawing, is there lots of red tape you have go through (via casinos bank/financial department) in order to claim your winnings?


    Withdrawals: Do they you if you win? I realize that I put the standard E-Cash/fax-back forms under the Banking Options category, because I'm trying to differentiate from the two. And realistically, getting your money AND how (and IF) you get your money is of significant importance.


    Customer Support: Do they respond to your queries? If they do (be thankful), do they actually respond to your EXACT questions? Are they kind, resourceful, and adroit (logical)? Are they useless, tiresome, and generally monster time-killers? Are they readily available? Are they easy to get a hold of? Do they offer a wide-variety of phones provided that you choose to call them?


    Resolving Player's Issues: Are the casinos so good that there are generally no player's issues that need to be resolved? If there are certain knots that develop along the way, do they take affirmative action and try to resolve the problem/task at hand? Do they offer lots of resources, or rather channels that you can go through to talk to the right people to fix these problems?


    So, on to the review...


    Mmicrogaming


    Excerpt taken from "casinoink.com"...


    Microgaming was established in 1994 and has shown tremendous growth as a technology developer. This growth and advanced technology innovations has help Microgaming to become the largest and most respect online gambling software provider.

    Microgming is estimated to retain approximantly 38% of the Online Casino market, offering over 70 differnt online casinos to choose from. With a game selection exceed 100 Microgaming Casino client base is growing considerably.



    So, MG dates back about the same time when rival Cryptologic was first being developed. Not sure if that 38% of the online casino market is actually retained by Microgaming though, because let's face it, there are a TON of dodgy no-name underground casinos (coming and thankfully going...) all the time.


    Nevertheless, it's obviously the largest (and most respected) software provider out there, linked-up with some of the deepest pockets in the world.


    The HIGHS


    - The "VIPER" graphics are still probably the best (and richest) out there.


    - Over 250 games to choose from (with many more always on the way). IOW, great selection. You won't get bored gambling at an MG casino.


    - Nevermind that they have +250 games, they probably have the greatest games out there as well.


    - While the other software providers are starting to improve their selections of slots, MG is still head-and-shoulders above the rest. One would have to think (through various polls conducted here at this forum) that "Thunderstruck", "Tomb Raider", "Mermaids Millions", and "Spring Break" are amongst the most popular games (EVER!!!).


    After reading several threads, I'd have to think that this is the most famous & popular online slot game out there.​



    - Payments that are generally met on time.


    - eCOGRA (e-Commerce and Online Gaming Regulation and Assurance) is probably the most respected establishments for dealing with player's issues (although, I happen to think that "Casinomeister & Friends" get the most done for the player). Regardless, it's known for being a relatively fair gaming advocate.


    - Their casino's marketing/advertising seems to be the most tasteful compared to some of the other casinos that carry the other software providers. I know that most of us love to see flesh starring right back at us, but personally, I don't find it to be the best marketing scheme. MG casinos for the most part (as far as I know), haven't gone down that road (yet).


    - I'd imagine that all the MG casinos are ranked within the Top-20% of all the casinos on the net, by webmasters/magazines/various publications/ect...


    - MG has a great system that supports it's casinos very well (AND the player). You'll rarely see an MG casino go under, or change it's license (excluding The Sunny Group of course).


    - Most forum members will list an MG casino as their favorite (although Cryptologic are highly ranked as well) casino in their "Profile", and rarely list any one of them as being the worst.


    - MG offers a wide-variety of payments/withdrawal methods. When considering recent news about paying some of the players winnings by check, that loses a tinch in my books.


    - Who doesn't like PlayCheck? One of the best auditing programs that keeps logs of all your gameplay data.


    The LOWS


    - Actually, it's great that they're always bringing in new games, but that could conceivably hurt them in time. Too many games, means that you're downloading more software onto your hard-drive. More importantly, they could be diluting a great thing. I understand that they want to stay 2-steps ahead of the competition, but it's just too much at this point, introducing as many games as they have over the past year. There's a reason why "George Lucas" only introduced a new "Star Wars" flick every 3-years; it's called smart business.


    - Like the last sentence said, steep system requirements. Compared to an RTG or a PlayTech, it's a pig. I have to use the "FLASH VERSION" to play the newer slots (and gulp, some of the not-so-new ones). Still, better than InterCasino's loading time...


    - While I always feel secure in the fact that I will (eventually) get paid by literally ALL MG casinos, I'm not always so crazy about the overall availability of their customer support. Operations like Belle Rock, Vegas Partners Lounge, and Fortune Lounge, have proven to be rather lax in getting around to respond to queries. What I find most striking about those major operations not getting back at a reasonable time (IF they do get back to you that is), is that they should have the resources and manpower to get all of that done. I keep hearing excuses, but I haven't seen much improvement. It's odd that most of the smaller MG operations do a much better job of assisting the player.


    - Now, I know that most of the MG casinos are amongst the quickest for paying their winners, with Phoenician being the fastest, and a host of others generally paying within 24-36 hours. But to me, until the overall industry (including MG casinos) starts paying winners instantly, I could never grade any software provider an A+ in this department. For the record, MG relative to it's competition, is exceptional (Cryptologic being very good as well).


    - While MG casinos offer great initial deposit bonuses, and some have wonderful ongoing promotions, I think that the wagering requirements (as with most casinos out there) are still rather steep. As a whole, the average (factoring all MG casinos) times you have to playthrough the bonus, is about 30. Also, with MG being great in so many ways, how come they don't have an indicator on-screen (well, I know why they don't... but it's unethical), showing when the player has met the wagering requirement. In fairness, although I hate reading T&C's, MG does a better job at explaining their T&C's, compared to PlayTech.


    - And this next comment goes to some of the customer support/managers out there. Whilst I will be quick to agree that it's super that you come here to stay on top of things, it's best that you respond to player's queries directly BEFORE having to play damage control at this site. It's happened a few times now, where I had been waiting on a response (to my questions) and I saw that they (the very people I had been trying to contact) were trying to resolve other players issues here. I know it's impossible to keep everyone happy, so perhaps I'm out of line for saying so. But...


    - I think that most MG casinos have lousy "comps". This applies to literally ALL of them. I'm not too crazy about MG casinos promotions. There are only a handful of solid promos that I read about coming from them. While anyone who has an exclusive membership to one of the more noteworthy operations get the benefits, others pretty much only get the initial deposit bonus to play with.


    Report Card


    Fun Factor = A+ (90%)

    Graphics = A (85%)

    Game Selection = A+ (95%)

    Bonuses/Promotions/Comps = B (70%)

    Advertising/Reputation = A (80%)

    System Requirements/Loading Time = B (70%)

    Banking Options = A (85%)

    Withdrawals = B+ (75%)

    Customer Support = B (70%)

    Resolving Player's Issues = A (80%)


    Final Score = A (80%)​



    Side note: If I included a "LUCK FACTOR", I'd probably rank MG dead last ("D" grade or an "F"). I know that a good portion of you (forum members) do well at them, but they've ALWAYS (excluding Capital Casino) murdered my "gambling" bankroll. That's a part of gaming, and it's the player's choice (my "chance" and responsibility), but their games routinely go cold on me. But, luckily for MG, I have to exclude that based on that it's too much of a gray area to determine. Again, I know others could be doing well there.


    [edit of pages upon pages of screaming-out "I'm jealous!!!"]


    Top MG casinos/groups:


    - Trident Lounge

    - RoxyPalace

    - JACKPOT FACTORY

    - 32Red


    The BAD...

    There really aren't any GOD-awful MG casinos out there. Fortune Lounge probably ranks at the bottom for that whole debacle that went down (or may still even be going on for all I know) some time back. But, I would still think that they have a pretty good reputation for paying their players.



    PlayTech



    Excerpt taken from the "playtech.atspace.com" site...


    Playtech designs, develops and deploys unified gaming platforms for the online gaming industry. Founded in 1999 by a team of ecommerce entrepreneurs and multimedia specialists, and guided by seasoned land based operators, Playtech today has over 170 employees distributed globally, around two-thirds of whom are engaged in research and development of current and future gaming technologies. The success of the company's initial product offering - online casino software - led Playtech to expand its range to include Live Gaming, bingo and soon-to-be-released poker and games of skill, and to develop a universal platform into which these gaming activities could be freely incorporated, accessed and managed as stand-alone, plug-and-play applications. As a result, Playtech finds itself positioned favorably to capitalize on the growing market for multi-activity gaming operations.


    Excerpt taken from "playtech.com"...


    Playtech designs, develops and deploys unified software platforms for the online gaming industry. Founded in 1999, Playtech today has over 230 employees distributed globally, around two-thirds of whom are engaged in research and development of current and future gaming technologies.


    The 2nd excerpt is updated, so that's why there's been a change from 170 to the present "230" employees distributed globally (well... we'll never fully know if these statements are in fact true... :confused: ). PlayTech is still considered a "newer" software provider (in some circles), and has recently been making lots of upgrades on their software (good and bad). While we all know that most of those operators that use PlayTech shouldn't be in operation, there still are a number (although a relatively small percentage) of PlayTech casinos that are high quality (this cat thinks so). So before you arrange a town hall meeting, bringing your pitch-forks, torches, and rope to hang me with, please read the following.


    The HIGHS (gulp...)


    - The graphics for the newer games are good/very good. Actually, back in '02, I thought that PlayTech casinos were above the competition in terms of the layout of their websites, and of course, their games. I only started to change my mind when I started to play the newer slots over at Microgaming last year. Obviously the VIPER software is pretty darn sweet, but at a time PlayTech looked (in my eyes) to be the best. Since the arrival of some of their newer games, I think the graphics are quite good.


    - While they don't have as much of a selection of games compared to heavy-weight MG, they do have a fairly broad-range (70) of games.


    - "LIVE" games w/live dealers. For those (like me) who shy away from playing versus the RNG (for me it's BJ), playing "live" is a (great) alternative.


    - Low system requirements. I've never had any problems downloading any PlayTech casino's software. And it downloads very quickly. Also... I never seem to run any problems AFTER I uninstalled any PlayTech casino (can't say the same for a number of non-PlayTech casinos). The screen/program rarely freezes up on me (although it DOES in fact happen... but again, rarely).


    - The "FLASH VERSION" is pretty slick. I may be off-my-rocker on this one, but it's easily on par with MG (for this feature anyway). I was playing the new slot games recently, and was surprised for how great it looked and felt (and the high number of options).


    - Customer support has generally been very accessible. Now, I know that PlayTech casinos generally don't have the reputation for having the best operators on the planet, and there are XXXXXXXX amounts of problems with withdrawals being processed, various players issues going unresolved, ect., but (to me) I find that most PlayTech casinos provide a long list of tel.#'s to contact them (depending where you reside, from all over the world). And I happen to like having the "LIVE CS" icon on screen (or chatting to a CS rep. while I'm playing). It may be a very small feature, but it's a nice one.


    - Customer support generally responds to my emails generally within the hour. Not what you'd expect from operations that generally stall on payments. They get my thumbs up on that.


    - Say what you will about PlayTech's older slots (the concensus is that they blow and are incredibly boring), but the one's that were introduced recently are exceptionally good. From 5 Reel/20 line slots "A Night Out", "Desert Treasure", to "Dr. Lovemore" (has anyone aside from the Casinomeister played this great game???). And for the "classics" (8-line video slots), I still finding "Chinese Kitchen" to be unique (and "Vacation Station" is just as solid). No, they're not MG slots, but they're making some nice strides here.


    - Aside from the majority of the older multi-line slot games, and those new "Arcade Games" that were introduces recently, I find that there's a good portion of PlayTech games to keep the player interested (I might not have said this a month ago though... funny what a few new solid games will do).


    - While I'm not a real fan of most PlayTech bonuses, PlayTech casinos offer a large scale of promotions, and their comps are great as well.


    The LOWS


    - Their newer "Arcade" games are different... I'll give them that. But who's really going to play them on a regular basis? It's pure novelty. And most of those games are yawners. I mean, when you use the words "Arcade" and "Games", you're generally under the impression that it will be difficult, but you do have control over the outcome. Playing bowling, there's nothing to it. You can gutter, or pick up a spare. Whooo... Yipee... Absolutely no suspense or control over the missing suspense. If somebody likes these games, it's probably the person who presented this idea/concept at one of those infamous PlayTech board-meetings. These games stink (interesting to incorporate a new idea though). These games are lifeless. "Rock Paper Scissors", there nothing to anticipate. Where's the fun in that? I play this game at least 20 times a day with my Korean students, and the only fun part about it is guessing what they're going to do by looking at their gestures. This PlayTech game... there's no thrill to it. Will we ever be able to go to "Wizard-of-Odds" to know what strategy to use?


    "Rock-Paper-Scissors" is fun to play with friends... if you're massively bored. Translated into online gaming format... what a bomb!!!​



    - Tracking down your results of your last 30 hands ONLY, is insulting. Upgrade that already. No one can possibly feel good about that.


    - Withdrawals. I could go on about this forever, but I won't. You know about their constant problems concerning that very topic (excluding the better PlayTech establishments out there), and all you have to do is research anything written by fellow forum brother "Caruso" over the past while.


    - No one can really be too crazy about having a $16,000 (sometimes only $10,000) withdrawal cap on how much you can withdraw on a monthly basis. Believe it or not, while I would most certainly prefer getting everything in one payment, I'd be okay with that if I won something in the $70,000-100,000 range. That's me though. I'm patient enough to wait for sums that are that large. I've had this happened to me before in my PlayTech glory days. But few of you would be okay with it. And really, there shouldn't be any kind of monthly withdrawal plan.


    - Flushing your withdrawal. I'm not privy to how EACH PlayTech casino works these days, but I've never really heard anything about a PlayTech flushing on request. I know a lot of the better operations don't either, but unless I'm incorrect, the fact that ALL PlayTech casinos don't flush, isn't very good.


    - Resolving players issues is certainly an ongoing problem with a majority of the PlayTech casinos. It's unfortunate, and while I know that eCOGRA takes some hits from time-to-time, they're doing an exceptionally better job compared to the IGC, the OPA, or whatever most PlayTech casinos are using (or not using) as their main gaming advocate for resolving player's disputes (or whatever it is that those groups do). That's probably a bit disconcerning to the player as well, that if you aren't familiar with a site like Casinomeister.com, who do you turn to?


    Excerpt from the "onlineplayersassociation.com" site...


    Approved - This is a standard level that is awarded at our discretion to casinos that prove to us they can and do provide players with excellent customer support and prompt payment of winnings...

    We wish to point out that we can not make any guarantees about the fairness of our Approved Casinos games as we do not have unrestricted access to their gaming logs.



    Is it just me, or do both paragraphs pretty much cancel each other out? :what: Okay, whatever... It's silly written statements like these ones that turn off the player-in-the-know from ever wanting to go to an OPA "approved" casino. Perhaps someone with the right sense of mind over at PlayTech HQ should consider hiring "managra" to write something meaningful for them.


    - Delays on payments. Again, this doesn't apply to ALL PlayTech casinos, but certainly with a HEFTY portion of them.


    - PlayTech T&C's. Boy, they sure are a headache.


    - Their bonuses at first glance look pretty good, but you have to analyze their T&C's with a "Microfische". Are they "phantom" or are they "sticky" bonuses (kudos to "chuchu59" for teaching me the difference between the two :thumbsup: )? Who wouldn't get exciting about a bonus that only requires 4 times playthrough? It's hard to get excited if you're not sure IF you're going to get paid, and if you do, how long you'll have to wait. Not ALL PlayTech bonuses are bad, there are good ones, but it takes some research (and then some more... and lots of waiting).


    - I don't have a problem with PlayTech's overall (meaning: all the casinos that use PlayTech) advertising, how can Golden Palace NOT smear their standing (again).


    Report Card


    Fun Factor = B+ (75%)

    Graphics = A (80%)

    Game Selection = B+ (75%)

    Bonuses/Promotions/Comps = C+ (65%)

    Advertising/Reputation = D+ (55%)

    System Requirements/Loading Time = A+ (95%)

    Banking Options = B+ (75%)

    Withdrawals = D (50%)

    Customer Support = A (80%)

    Resolving Player's Issues = F (35%)


    Final Score = C+ (68.5%)​



    While I've had awful luck (overall) at MG casinos, it's been the complete opposite for me at PlayTech casinos. My greatest online moments (I can see them now in the rear-view mirror) came at PlayTech casinos. So, if I counted the "LUCK FACTOR" here, I'd have to give them an A+.


    Side note: As I said before, I still believe that the PlayTech casinos that have been "Accredited" by the Casinomeister are exceptional operations. This grade reflects on the overall scheme of things, as casinos like the infamous BlackWidow, Indio Casino, Grand Banks, Swiss Casino, and Giant Vegas (to name only a few), will undoubtably knock down the overall score.


    Top "PlayTech" casinos/groups:


    - KIWI casino

    - Bet365

    - MainStreet Group/Affiliates

    - Sunny Group


    Worst "PlayTech" casinos/groups:


    Literally almost all of them, other than the ones I mentioned above and a handful of others. Surprisingly, there's been some mixed views about Golden Palace as of late (hmmm...). I guess the worst would have to be BlackWidow or Grand Banks, but... I've never actually deposited my own money at either one (though I did collect their no deposit bonuses back in the day). But for a PlayTech casino that I actually deposited at, I'd have to say that Magic Box or Swiss Casino would have to rank amongst the worst. They were generous with their "crap" bonuses, but I had no luck there (and I deposited hefty amounts there). And some of my worst contacts with CS came while dealing with these two operations.


    Side note: Amazingly, I've never really had any major problems collecting my winnings from years past (with PlayTechs). Actually, while I always knew about their awful T&C's and lengthy payment plans, I was always paid. I was in a bit of a shock when I first came to "Casinomeister.com", because I had always assumed that they were pretty much all legitimate operations, and MG casinos weren't (boy, was I wrong).


    CryptoLogic



    Excerpt below taken from the "CryptoLogic" mainpage.


    CryptoLogic was founded in 1995 by brothers Andrew and Mark Rivkin, who started with a unique Internet idea regarding communication protocols -- to settle transactions securely, reliably and quickly -- and the drive to turn it into reality.

    In November 1996, CryptoLogic's wholly owned subsidiary, WagerLogic, completed its first license; InterCasino went online, offering safe and secure play for real money on the Internet. InterCasino was one of the first "play for real" casinos on the Internet and the first to adopt client/server technology as a means of improving the gaming experience. Today, William Hill, Littlewoods Gaming and The Ritz Club London Online are some of the world-renowned brand names that have licensed WagerLogic's Internet gaming software.

    With more than US$30 billion of ECash securely processed since inception and approximately 400 employees worldwide, CryptoLogic has become a world leader.



    Although there are sometimes reports that InterCasino was not in fact the first online casino launched onto the internet, it has yet to proven otherwise. While there are relatively few Cryptologic casinos, I think based on their small base, they're in many ways on par with Microgaming. You won't read too many negative postings about Cryptologic casinos, compared to the other main software provider's casinos. I think I had may have underrated this group the most over the years, because I can't think of a really weak link amongst all the casinos that use Cryptologic software.


    The HIGHS


    - They carry more than 150 table & slot games (depending where you go), which would rank them 2nd behind MG as far as variety goes.


    - Overall, their casinos probably offer the best monthly (match) bonuses, with probably the best playthrough requirements. I'd also have to say that I find their comps comparable to PlayTech, by which they are both good.


    - I haven't read too many problems (here or on other message boards) concerning non-payments, or payment delays. I think that for the most part, Cryptologic casinos have a sterling reputation.


    - As I said earlier about PlayTech, their older slot games and Cryptologic's palled in comparison to MG significantly, until '05. I love "Marvel Comics", and I love the idea of introducing them with 9-line slots (to me, it was the most anticipated "slot" introduced since I've been playing online), and... well, at least they're trying (and I do like "The HULK" the most). Now with the introduction of Bejeweled, they probably won over a lot of slot fans (although I consider it seems more like a video game on the surface). Actually, that game alone probably gave Cryptologic a MONSTER boost in the "fun" category.


    - I think that there are a solid number of promotions offered by Cryptologic casinos, and I like the way most of their casinos market and advertise their products. As far as the layout of their casinos main sites, I really like Littlewoods, Ritz Club, and William Hill casinos chose to do theirs.


    - While I've never been a big fan of Crytologic's graphics (in times past, I was wondering if I was in fact playing at a G-FED casino), I think they made a lot of positive strides in '05. I just think (similar to PlayTech) that their older slots didn't look very enticing (amongst of few others games), but most of their table games look good/very good.


    - The Cryptologic "FLASH VERSION" is nice enough, which is nice alternative to all that unnecessary download time for the full installation (grrr...).


    The LOWS


    - Amazingly slow installation process, with what seems to be steep system requirements. I'm not sure why, but whenever I've played at Littlewoods, it loads swiftly, and I'm playing right away. With InterCasino, oh boy... it takes forever. It's totally unnessary, and I can't say that enough.


    - E-Cash to some may be a safe and secure method of withdrawing your funds, but I'm not crazy about it. Not in the least. The banking options are good enough, but again, always waiting around on PIN codes (in this day and age) is rapidly becoming archaic, or "pony-express'ish" if you will. It's probably no big deal if you live in the U.K., but if you're out on the other end of the globe... not a good thing.


    - While calling Cryptologic casinos directly, seems to be the best route to take, I can't understand why they're so sloppy (literally all of their casinos) at replying to queries. They pretty much all remind me of the way Belle Rock and Vegas Partners Lounge customer support teams handle their customer's emails. I know that they're great casinos, but this certainly deviates from the way they handle most things.


    - The Video Poker graphics have to amongst the worst I've ever seen (that is amongst the main software providers). They could certainly do a touch-up or two on them. I'd probably rank RTG VP as being the worst (on the eyes), but at least they resemble (and sound) like the VLT's down the street (back home... not here in South Korea ;) ).


    - The games (at least to me) don't seem fluid, rather, choppy and broken at times. That's something that I'll give MG software a big thumbs up for, their games generally run smoothly (clean and crisp).


    - I certainly "like" the Marvel games, but it's hard loving them if they don't show you enough love. Compared to games like "Dr. Lovemore" or "What On Earth" which can be forgiving if you're not hitting the Free Spin feature, the Marvel games might as well be progressive slot machines (all or nothing concept).


    I would consider this to be the best MARVEL game, but I think overall I was expecting so much more...


    Report Card


    Fun Factor = A (80%)

    Graphics = B (70%)

    Game Selection = A (80%)

    Bonuses/Promotions/Comps = A+ (90%)

    Advertising/Reputation = A+ (90%)

    System Requirements/Loading Time = C+ (65%)

    Banking Options = B+ (75%)

    Withdrawals = A+ (90%)

    Customer Support = B (70%)

    Resolving Player's Issues = A+ (90%)

    Final Score = A (80%)​



    When factoring and determining where E-Cash falls under in terms of grading, I elected to put that under the Banking Options category. As far as withdrawals are concerned, I think that as far as I'm concerned, Cryptologic casinos have an outstanding record for paying their players (and avoiding most Player's Issues). I won't forget the InterCasino debacle that happened some months ago, but Ryan Hartley DID respond and apologize. So, I would gladly overlook that incident. Again, I rarely see complaints about Cryptologic casinos, except for their streaky (oh-oh-oh so streaky) BJ.


    As far as the "LUCK FACTOR" is concerned, ignoring my brutal runs at Cryptologic (especially InterCasino) BJ, I think that I've been able to remain in the other games long enough. IOW, I'm on the right side of variance, specifically with their slots and VP (I've had decent luck with the HULK and Bejeweled). I'd give them a "B" (in my own "biased" opinion).


    Side note: I think that the players who are likely up overall since they first started to (and continually) play online, probably go to Cryptologic casinos first, and the other places 2nd. We don't generally see enough "Winner Screenshots" of Cryptologic games compared to MG games, but most who come here go to MG first, and those who go to Cryptologic (my guess) likely make good on their monthly bonuses and withdraw a small but profitable amount. Those who like to make a splash (we all at one time or another) go to MG, whereas the "grinders" go to Cryptologic. Something to think about...


    Side note II: Hahaha, geez, I was looking at one of my old threads (that gained some light recently... hmmm) recently, and I had stated that my worst experience came at the hands of InterCasino. Well, that was some time ago, and my views about InterCasino were a bit harsh at the time, and I've softened-up and thinking fondly of that particular outfit. I wasn't crazy about the streaky BJ then, and it's hard to change my views on it even today, but people like "Macgyver" have proven that they've done well on it. I made a major error at that, because being a majority (of-the-time) BJ player, I overlooked the other elements that made up a casino.


    I shouldn't backtrack, but I think that (at the time) I have never really had any poor experiences at the casinos I went to on a regular basis, and my money mysterious always seemed to last a good while (not anymore... '05 was the introduction of the new dance step called the "MG-slide"... watch my money go in under 10 minutes... hello/see-ya-later). Based on my losing swiftly, I had jumped the gun a bit prematurely. Again, my apologies to InterCasino. They have an incredibly long and much deserved reputation at being a Top-5 casino.



    The best Cryptologic casinos/groups are:


    - InterCasino

    - William Hill Casino

    - Littlewoods Casino

    - The Ritz Club


    Actually, I can't think of a "poor" Cryptologic casino, so I could probably list all of them amongst the best (depending on which bonuses you fancy the most I guess).



    RealTime
    Gaming



    Excerpt taken from the "realtimegaming.com" site.


    Founded in 1998, RealTime Gaming was created with a singular, uncompromising goal; to create the best Internet casino software available anywhere. In less than five years, we’ve realized that goal, and today, RealTime Gaming software powers some of the most successful casinos on the Internet...

    Marketing Measurement Tools – Coupon generation, multi-tier affiliate tracking, ad campaign tracking, player groups, comp programs, and more - just some of the tools integrated into our casino management suite. Operators can maximize their marketing dollars by measuring the effectiveness of marketing activities in order to build campaigns that work.



    Yes, "some" of the most successful casinos on the Internet. As far as that wonderful "Coupon generation", they're generally quite horrible. Let's not forget about the operators having the ability to alter their payouts (not sure how... but it's been said). There are "some" positives when inspecting and grading RTG casinos, so let's take a peep.


    The HIGHS


    - While some of their games can really do a number on the eyes, I find that the graphics are rich in color, and are fine. Not on that MG level, but in the same general ballpark as the other major providers.


    - They offer over 100 games, and boast that their BJ (7 hands per minute) is the fastest out there. I agree, although it speeds-up and slows-down all the time.


    - Their customer support teams (whomever I've dealt with) have generally been easy to reach (instant chat). Response times were reasonably good. I've had some rough spots, but I could say the same with various customer support teams at any of the major provider's casinos.


    - RTG has some great slots, and was nesting in the #2 position behind MG before '04, and are probably still in 2nd. I happen to think "Aztec Treasure" is their best slot, while "Ronin", "Cleopartras Gold", "Caesar's Empire", and "Prince of Sherwood" are in the same league.


    View attachment 2305
    This has to be the best RTG slot game out there, maybe anywhere... (not my win by the way)

    :(


    - When you're down to almost nothing, it's nice to know that you can take a crack at a Royal Flush by playing Video Poker at a nickel per throw. And as indicated to me (I believe by "Caruso"), the "DEUCES WILD" (only on a nickel) has the best return of any game out there. Is this still true (IOW are they still offering this game?)? Not sure, but I was playing it right before Christmas.


    - Something that MG and PlayTech should incorporate into their software as RTG and Cryptologic both have is a counter indicating how much you have to playthrough a bonus in order to fulfill the wagering requirements. I'm surprised, frankly, that RTG have this feature, but they do.


    - Not a bad comps program.


    - As far as the more reputable of the RTG casinos go, they do pay rather promptly. And for an "extremely" fast payment, "Casino Extreme" is right on par with "Phoenician".


    - Most RTG casinos offer a vast amount of banking options...


    The LOWS


    - As I just said about the vast number of banking options, like various PlayTech casinos, there's generally a cap on how much you can withdraw on a monthly basis (woof!!). As the Casinomeister said in one of his older webcasts (not word-for-word mind you), if the player deposits millions of dollars (or hundreds of thousands), he'd have to wait years before collecting on that money (IF the casino doesn't go under... which it likely would anyway).


    - I think the graphics for a good portion of the RTG games look fine, I do not feel that way about their multi-hand VP though. Yuck! Who designed that?


    - Some of the all-time worst-of-the-worst of rogues use RTG. It's a shame that for the few that are of higher quality, that their reputation gets dragged-down by wave-after-wave of no-name and big-name rogue outfits. Similar to my feelings (and everyone else who plays online) about PlayTech, I can only hope that RTG keeps making improvements in the future.


    - Fax-back forms. I dislike E-Cash, and I REALLY dislike fax-back forms. Some casinos do waive this rule, but for the most part, you MUST send them those wonderful forms to their headquarters.


    - At first glance, the absolute greatest promotions on the net. Coupons after coupons, after coupons. "3,000% match bonus on $100 purchases!!!" Wonderful, if you finish off the wagering requirements AND are actually able to see your winnings. Too good to be true? Yes.


    - As I said earlier, the games speed-up and slow-down at the most suspect of times. Perhaps that can't be helped, with their servers on overload... still, that always seems to happen at the worst times though.


    - My general views about the way a good number of RTG casinos go about their marketing/advertising campaigns aren't good. I know that BoDog is probably an exceptional casino/group, but I'm absolutely appauled by the way they take the "WWE" approach of marketing. What ever happened to the sentivite males and females of the early/mid-90's? Suddenly the "WWF" blows-up, Britney Spears becomes Madonna, and everybody wants to get caught-on-camera taking their tops off down in New Orleans!!! I'm glad that the top-brass are getting laid all the time, really, but it's also depressing being on the other side. BoDog reminds me of the Rap+Heavy Metal concept, where everything needs to be louder and faster to be cool. James Bond (or John Steed ;) ) may have played at the casinos, and won, but he always had class. That's just BoDog, nevermind all the false advertisement from the other rogue (no-name) RTG casinos.


    - Always major problems with paying their players. While I was lucky enough to avoid this happening to me at any major PlayTech casino, that's certainly not the case with me and certain RTG's. I'll leave it at that. It's good to know though, that at least there are a handful of solid RTG operations (hey, I still don't mind their software for something different).


    - The RTG casinos that are relatively legitimate (that are somewhat trustworthy), generally don't offer much more than 20% bonuses on losses (or something of that nature). I don't think there are enough incentives to keep going back there on a monthly basis (only sporadically).


    - The overall outlook for RTG casinos may have improved (slightly) amongst those within the industry, but I'd have to think (PlayTech being in close proximity) that RTG's probably have the worst reputation. Say what you will about the long list of poor PlayTech casinos out there, but there is a MUCH longer list of RTG's that we don't hear anything about.


    Report Card


    Fun Factor = B+ (75%)

    Graphics = B (70%)

    Game Selection = A (80%)

    Bonuses/Promotions/Comps = F (35%)

    Advertising/Reputation = D (50%)

    System Requirements/Loading Time = A (85%)

    Banking Options = A (80%)

    Withdrawals = D (50%)

    Customer Support = B+ (85%)

    Resolving Player's Issues = F (35%)

    Final Score = C (64.5%)​



    I couldn't go lower than 50% for "Reputation", because as I said, there are a ton of unknown RTG's out there that aren't popular (so what kind of reputation can they possibly have if don't know about them?). I think that (gulp) casinos like iNetBet, Sci-Fi, Breakaway, and BoDog, are very well known, and are respectable "enough" outfits. The most popular crap RTG casinos that are out there are probably Connect-to-Casino, Windows, and Gold Key. Look at it this way, RTG's reputation couldn't have gotten much worse, so there should always be some signs in improvements.


    The best "RTG" casinos/groups are:


    - iNetBet

    - Sci-Fi Casino

    - Breakaway

    - BoDog (woof!!!)

    - VIP Casinos

    - Grand Aces/Geisha Lounge

    - Casino Extreme


    For the "worst", well, I truly only think there's a short-list of reputable RTG casinos out there. I suppose there are more, but I wouldn't be comfortable enough to actually name any of the others. Come to think of it, some of the reputable ones have been a bit dodgy at times as well.


    ***


    I also wanted to review Boss Media, seeing how they're likely considered to be one of the big players in the realm of online gaming software providers. But, I haven't really played at one in quite some time, and that wouldn't be fair for me to grade any of their casinos (because, they've probably made some changes in the past 2-3 years). I used to play at 2 of their casinos on a regular basis, and had no problems with withdrawals ect...


    ***


    I'd love to hear your opinions about how you view the major software providers, not necessarily individual outfits.

    Thank you for your time. :) I look forward to your responses.


    Steed



    ***
     
    Last edited: Mar 7, 2006
    21 people like this.
  2. Mar 7, 2006
  3. Pinababy69

    Pinababy69 RIP Lisa

    Occupation:
    Crusader
    Location:
    Toronto, Ontario - Canada
    Heeeee's baaaaacccckkkk!!! Hi JohnSteed....ahhh, this is what we've been waiting for, lol. Great idea (as usual). I have to run right this second, but I will be back, I promise. :)
     
  4. Mar 7, 2006
  5. spearmaster

    spearmaster RIP Ted

    Occupation:
    Devil's Advocate
    Location:
    Heaven
    Another masterpiece from the Steed :) No wonder he seems to disappear for days on end now... he's busy writing huge posts!
     
  6. Mar 7, 2006
  7. chuchu59

    chuchu59 gambling addict CAG PABnonaccred

    Occupation:
    EXECUTIVE
    Location:
    SOMEWHERE IN ASIA
    Excellent one, Steed. I would hate to be either your student or classmate though. Either you or my tutor would throw my thesis out of the window. Lucky it wasnt you who marked my final exam thesis on gambling ie "horse-racing in Hong Kong'. Iwould probably get a fat F.

    Back on topic, the gradings/comments you gave are mostly bang on target though I would like to add a bit. First, on the download time, I seems that you have to download each game individually at RTG casinos while for the other 3 ,the games can be downloaded simultaneously and you can play one game to your heart's content while waiting for the others. You cant do that with RTG, can you?

    As for playtech, it strikes me that there are quite a number of small glitches with their software especially for games that provide you with "House Way" as in paigow Poker. Actually,I asked 2 different casinos to contact the provider to have them rectified.

    Crypto provides the best multi-player games and I had a great time with their BJ and Carribean Stud chatting the whole night through. It's a shame that none of these software providers have conjured up any games relating to mahjong or paigow tiles. They are excellent games that require immense skill although I understand that ivegas has a defective version of the latter game.
     
    3 people like this.
  8. Mar 7, 2006
  9. johnsteed

    johnsteed Ueber Meister

    Occupation:
    N/A
    Location:
    N/A
    ***

    Spearmaster




    That might have something to do with the Korean Secret Service busting down my door each time I post one of these large threads. :cool: It has to do with their fight against online gambling, and anyone who supports it. :rolleyes: Oh geez, I shouldn't have said that. :confused: Damn it! :eek: They're at my door now... I was too busy editing, I couldn't finish my Kimchee Soup!!! See you in a couple days everyone... Off to the nut-house (hey, I'm a great actor... I ain't going to jail). I hope they can't read this... oh yeah, they can... :oops: :D


    [As Steed is tossed to the ground and beaten by officers using their bobby clubs, while not giving away the true identities of any Casinomeister.com member. They pick him up, and carry him off... Steed's last words before he exits stage right] "M-m-m-u-s-s-t p-p-p-o-s-s-s-t-t-t... it-t-t's n-n-n-e-s-s-s-s-a-r-r-r-y-y...". :p


    Steed

    ***
     
  10. Mar 7, 2006
  11. chuchu59

    chuchu59 gambling addict CAG PABnonaccred

    Occupation:
    EXECUTIVE
    Location:
    SOMEWHERE IN ASIA
    LOL. That could happen to you if you are in North Korea.
     
    1 person likes this.
  12. Mar 7, 2006
  13. johnsteed

    johnsteed Ueber Meister

    Occupation:
    N/A
    Location:
    N/A
    ***

    chuchu59




    Actually, I guess there was an oversight on my part. There could have been another category for screwy software, but the report card wouldn't be as "sexy" having 11 categories as opposed to big round and even good 'ol #10. Actually, "11" would have been perfect. The whole "Ocean's 11" thing... darn it, that's "sexy". Maybe those at BoDog are really onto something.


    I've never experienced any glitches, although I'll certainly take your word for it. Come to think of it, I think GrandMaster started a thread recently which talks about an error in the software (WARNING!!!: stay away from "blackjack switch" for the time being).


    cont...



    Not 100% sure on that at the moment. I'd say no, you can't, but I'm not 100% positive on this. Although, while I agree that MG and Cryptologic allow you to play while downloading other games (at the same time), I always thought that PlayTech downloads were pretty much instant.


    Steed

    ***
     
  14. Mar 7, 2006
  15. spearmaster

    spearmaster RIP Ted

    Occupation:
    Devil's Advocate
    Location:
    Heaven
    Can happen even in South Korea... LOL...

    Your mistake was not writing a post about online gambling... it was scarfing up their kimchee... you should have had the bulgogi instead...
     
    1 person likes this.
  16. Mar 7, 2006
  17. johnsteed

    johnsteed Ueber Meister

    Occupation:
    N/A
    Location:
    N/A
    ***

    Spearmaster.




    Moahahahaha!!! Classic stuff Spearmaster. :notworthy :D


    Kimchee: Pickled-cabbage sauteed with the ripest hot peppers, and burried underground anywhere from 6-months to a year (hence "pickled"). Doesn't it sound delicious (actually, you get used to it... and are brainwashed... and will eventually love it!).

    A wonderful way to get constant heart-burn and lose tons of sleep (and weight from constant diarrhae). I was told by the doctors that my constant heart-burn was due to over-indulging in mandarines (X-mas oranges to some) and MAXIM (instant) coffee, but the fire in my eyes could only indicate that it WAS the Kimchee. I think once Kimchee takes off in Western Society (and IF it does indeed take off), I think it would be wise for Kimchee marketers to join forces with TUMS.

    "Buy a jar of Kimchee... and get a free, that's right FREE 10 lbs box of TUMS". :thumbsup:


    Steed

    ***
     
    Last edited: Mar 7, 2006
    1 person likes this.
  18. Mar 7, 2006
  19. KasinoKing

    KasinoKing WebMeister & Slotaholic.. CAG MM PABnonaccred webmeister

    Occupation:
    House-Husband and Casino Advisor
    Location:
    Bexhill on sea, England
    Jeeeze - another mega post from Steed! :notworthy

    I admit I have not read it yet - it looks like War & Peace! :eek:

    My vote goes to Cryptologic, which is much better than the rest for the following reasons:
    1. Nearly all (if not all) Crypto's offer 100% monthly bonus (or equivalent).
    2. They allow virtually all games to be played in WR.
    3. The game logs leave you in no doubt of how much you've wagered on what - incredibly easy to see if you've met WR.
    4. No reverse withdrawal facility (which does not matter to me - but does to many others), and money always hits Neteller within 48hrs.
    5. Innovative games - like Bejeweled & Marvel slots.
    6. The best muli-player games.

    2nd: Microgaming - great slots!
    3rd: Playtech I guess (Very rarely play due to dodgy operators & Phantom bonuses).
    4th: RTG - play only slightly more than Playtech, but some operators even more dodgy!
    Hate the ludicrously fast dealing on card games - needs option to slow it down!
     
    4 people like this.
  20. Mar 7, 2006
  21. Slotster!

    Slotster! I predict a riot. CAG

    Occupation:
    al Hazard
    Location:
    Location, Location!
    That Rock Paper Scissors is one of the funniest things ever!... That surely can't be real!!! Brilliant! :D
     
    1 person likes this.
  22. Mar 7, 2006
  23. Westland Bowl

    Westland Bowl Tin Foil Hat Club Member CAG PABnonaccred

    Occupation:
    not applicable
    Location:
    America
    Yes, the dis-embodied hands looks creeeeeepy! Shudder!!!
     
  24. Mar 7, 2006
  25. jetset

    jetset Ueber Meister CAG

    Occupation:
    Senior Partner, InfoPowa News Service
    Location:
    Earth
    Another solid gold effort, John Steed - thanks for taking the time and trouble to put such a balanced and carefully considered post together - I hope that the members here will give it the additional value it deserves by voting in the poll and by adding their own opinions and experiences - good and bad.
     
    2 people like this.
  26. Mar 7, 2006
  27. Simmo!

    Simmo! Moderator Staff Member

    Occupation:
    Web Dev.
    Location:
    England
    Another Steed essay :) :thumbsup:

    I think largely the "other 3" are playing catchup to MG. Each have their plus points that are better than MG but as an overall experience, there is only one for me right now. I like the Playtech GUI; i like Cryptos instant withdrawals as KK points out, i used to like Crypto's DB Video Poker til they downgraded the paytable.

    Maybe things will be different in a couple of years. :confused:
     
    2 people like this.
  28. Mar 7, 2006
  29. spearmaster

    spearmaster RIP Ted

    Occupation:
    Devil's Advocate
    Location:
    Heaven
    Love kimchee myself, especially with bulgogi, or as a fried rice... or a soup...

    Back to the subject - online casino software has come a long way in the last 5 years... when we still had HTML and Java casinos in abundance... but Microgaming continues to run away from the pack - even if Playtech and Wagerlogic have improved in leaps and bounds. Haven't played an RTG for a while so can't comment on the newer slots, but a couple of years ago I thought they weren't bad either.

    Regarding Rock Paper Scissors... some 15 years ago I used to play video strip rock paper and scissors... no kidding :) The problem was, that game was definitely rigged, you could never get past getting the top off :D Don't know if I'd play it for money, but it's probably better odds than most of the other games out there unless it too is rigged...

    By the way, I should also point out that Cryptologic is an ecash service provider. The casino software manufacturer is Wagerlogic - yeah, I know it's more or less the same thing, but they have distinctly separated these operations for some time now, I think it's around 4 years...
     
    1 person likes this.
  30. Mar 7, 2006
  31. Mousey

    Mousey Ueber Meister Mouse CAG

    Occupation:
    Pencil Pusher
    Location:
    Up$hitCreek
    JohnSteed said:
    [​IMG]
     
    1 person likes this.
  32. Mar 8, 2006
  33. johnsteed

    johnsteed Ueber Meister

    Occupation:
    N/A
    Location:
    N/A
    ***

    KasinoKing




    Hahaha, I should be so lucky to have my post mentioned in the same breath as Tolstoy. :D


    cont...




    Thank you for the list KK! :thumbsup: More importantly, your reasons as to why you think Waterlogic/Cryptologic are the best. Seeing how you're one of the players (and Macgyver being the other) who generally states that you consistently win, I'd have to think that Cryptologic/Waterlogic might be underrated by many people. Actually, looking at the poll, I'm surprised to see (as of right now) that it's almost neck-and-neck with RTG!!! I'm not surprised that PlayTech hasn't received any votes, but I'm VERY surprised that RTG already has 4!!! But, I'm sure with good reason.

    I fancy your 3rd reason as to why you prefer Crypto/Waterlogic.





    Spearmaster



    All jokes aside, I'm with you on my "love" for Kimchee. And yes, with bulgogi (Korea's answer to Kobe beef I suppose), and certainly mixed-in with fried rice. At first glance, I don't think Westerners are going to take to it. And I've always been a very ordinary "meat & potatoes" only kind of a guy. Because I hate eating cooked fish (the raw stuff is fine, but truly is more of a Japanese phenomena), all that was left to eat with my rice was the Kimchee. Got used to it quickly, and my refrigerator is loaded with the stuff (thank you student's mothers :thumbsup: ). Actually, if guests come over and my fridge isn't stocked with Kimchee, I think they'd (potential "mole") contact to the local authorities and put me away in the slammer. :confused:

    Hmmm, methinks that the Korean food is readily available all over Asia (these days)? Is that a correct assumption Spearmaster?


    cont...





    They have the coin-op/token version out here in Korea (I'm thinking this may be the exact same one that you're talking about), and it's totally rigged. It pays out only after it's chewed-up so many credits/tokens. One of my students cleans-up on it, because he waits for a certain amount of credits to go through, and then he plays it... cha-ching!!! My student has a large box full of the tokens he's won, estimated price would be about "100,000" won (roughly $100 USD), but (and here's the best part) he can't redeem those tokens for cash (not even for reduced credit) at any of the toy shop/stationary stores that HAVE the game. Every time he asks the person working behind the counter, they yell at him to get out of their shop. What's the point?! Perhaps these owners secretly belong to the cult known as "G-Fed"...

    cont...




    Oops, you're quite right. :oops: Thanks for the heads-up Spearmaster. :)


    Jetset



    Yes, I'd love to read about the details as to why people have their preferences towards a specific software provider. The poll is one thing, reading about it in detail is more significant. Thank you Jetset. :)


    Simmo!



    The instant withdrawals is a great "plus" for Crypto's.


    Note: Thank you for the screenshot of "Dr. Lovemore" Mousey.


    Steed

    ***
     
  34. Mar 8, 2006
  35. caruso

    caruso Banned User - repetitive violations of 1.6 - troll

    Occupation:
    Casino apologist
    Location:
    England
    LOL, first thing that crossed my mind, too.
     
  36. Mar 8, 2006
  37. spearmaster

    spearmaster RIP Ted

    Occupation:
    Devil's Advocate
    Location:
    Heaven
    Not a fish fan either, except for Filet O' Fish at Mickey D's :) Or a good Fish & Chips in the UK.

    Don't know that I would equate bulgogi with Kobe beef... bulgogi runs the gamut from horrible like cardboard to spectacular, but there ain't anything in this world that comes close to Kobe beef (and I'm a beef lover, I'd kill for good USDA Prime as well).

    Honestly, I have to say that Korean food is probably almost as common as Japanese food in most parts of Asia. But not quite as many places, which is why they generally cost a lot more for dinner. Kimchee is stocked in most supermarket shelves, which should give you some idea... not many varieties (only the standard one) but still...

    LOL! He should know better than to play if they won't let him cash out...
     
  38. Mar 8, 2006
  39. johnsteed

    johnsteed Ueber Meister

    Occupation:
    N/A
    Location:
    N/A
    ***

    Spearmaster




    Hahaha, I should have been more clear about that statement. :) Korean's answer to Kobe beef, not necessarily (and not by a long-shot) Kobe beef's equal. I really like bulgogi, but no way does it match Kobe beef. I'm in complete agreement with you there. Actuallly, the "sum-gyup-sol" (fried pork) is their best "meat". :thumbsup: I was never really a pork fan back home, but the pork is much better than the beef out here. It's Korean tradition (and good business sense) to have "sum-gyup-sol" and a bottle of "So-Ju" (Korea's answer to Saki) for dinner and get-togethers.


    Steed

    ***
     

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