Realtimegaming Review

Realtime Gaming (RTG) Casino Software Review

Opening its doors as recently as 1999, Realtime Gaming may not have entered the online gaming market as early as pioneers like Cryptologic or Microgaming, but it has always adopted a very different path to that of its rivals. Rather than signing up casino companies, and letting them use software suites only with significant restrictions upon them, RTG has preferred a more hands-off approach. Online casinos are left to define their own terms (payout percentages to customers, for example), and to ensure that they’re properly licensed. It’s this last approach that has led to RTG’s continued massive presence in the US. Other software providers have ducked out of that market, in the wake of the UIGEA legislation, but RTG still drives many US online casinos.

Hands Off Means Huge Diversity

It’s in the games themselves that you really see RTG’s hands-off in action. For most providers, the same version of blackjack would operate using identical parameters, regardless of which online casino was featuring it. With RTG’s standard version of blackjack, though, it’s the casino itself that sets, for instance, the number of decks. So you might see four, six, or eight decks being used. There’s no specific single-deck version of blackjack, which perhaps puts the company at a disadvantage to many of its rivals. In theory, there would certainly be nothing to stop casinos running a single-deck version of the standard blackjack game, although their reluctance to compromise on house edge means that few casinos are likely to offer such a game.

Quality Rather Than Quantity

RTG’s true brilliance lies in its wonderful collection of slots and video poker titles. However, blackjack players are unlikely to be too disappointed. At first glance, the company may appear to have rather fewer blackjack variations on its books than, for example, Microgaming or Playtech. However, those that are there are of considerable quality, and are also highly customisable by casinos, leading to more versatility than might be apparent. Most of the versions are relatively plain. However, Perfect Pairs is a nice variation that allows the placing of side bets on the nature of any pairs that should be turned up – a coloured pair, for instance, might pay out 12x, and a mixed pair 6x. Another nice version is Super 21, which dishes out extra prizes and wins for multicard 21s, diamond blackjacks, or six-card hands.

The game engines are strong, and rumours abound concerning the perfectionism that pervades RTG’s walls – the physics of the dice are supposedly the result of extensive simulations and experiments. Having said that, the graphics and sound are far from being the glossiest and heart-pounding you’ll find. But then, that’s not really what RTG is about. The interface has clarity, and extensive help is often easy to glean. The simplicity of the games leads to increased speed, and the standard blackjack game is blisteringly fast – more so than any other version we played on any other software suite. The company’s other blackjack games are also very swift, and if you prefer to skip the bells and whistles and get straight into the gameplay, RTG’s approach is likely to find favour.

More Innovation Needed

There are a few areas where RTG is falling behind its rivals, though. Support for mobile gaming is poor, and while many Android devices, for example, would work very well with the simple interface of many of these titles, it would be nice to see proper mobile conversions. Live Dealer games are also lacking, and with other companies forging ahead here, it’s important that RTG acts to catch up.

American casino-lovers are refreshed by RTG’s relaxed attitude towards UIGEA. European-based blackjack players will find this of lesser interest though. They may also be less enthused than the casinos themselves when it comes to the customisability of the games. RTG doesn’t police casino providers as closely as some of its rivals, and you always need to check out an RTG company before you sign up, just to make sure that it’s trustworthy. However, for the player who’s prepared to dig into a site to see exactly what the payouts are, the RTG software offers real benefits. Clear and easy to play, and often with considerable speed built in, RTG is a great choice for those who value fast gameplay over fancy graphics.

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