Founded by Israeli billionaire Teddy Sagi, Playtech holds more than 140 licences globally and powers sites such as Paddy Power, Betfair and bet365. It holds licensing deals with some of the world’s largest entertainment brands, including DC Comics, Paramount Pictures and Marvel Entertainment.
Playtech is the largest online casino software developer in the world, employing more than 5,200 people across offices in 17 countries. It may have entered the sector a little later than its closest rival Microgaming, but through innovation, ambition, and a fair few acquisitions, it has rapidly risen to the top of its game.
The company was founded in 1999 in Tartu, Estonia, by Teddy Sagi and other entrepreneurs from the casino, software engineering and multimedia industries. Since then, it has swallowed up several smaller developers and tech platforms including Mobenga, Ash Gaming and, most recently, Quickspin.
It has a licence from the Gambling Commission, and is also listed on the London Stock Exchange under the ticker PTECH and with a market cap of £3bn+. Playtech launched its first online casino in 2001, but now powers sites for more than 130 online casino operators around the world, including Ladbrokes and Mr Green in the UK.
The supplier’s game portfolio is substantial, with more than 500 original and branded slots, table and other games on offer, with around 50 new titles added each year. Playtech also holds licensing agreements with global entertainment brands such as DC Comics, MGM, NBC Universal and HBO.
The power and might of the Playtech machine is impressive and unsurpassed by its rivals, and with a vast war chest of cash to dip into, ongoing development of its technology, products and games is to be expected. As is continued expansion through mergers and acquisitions.
Playtech’s game portfolio is as vast as it is varied, and it’s packed with more than 500 slots and table games. Its selection of branded titles is particularly impressive, as is its new live dealer product. The supplier offers some of the largest networked jackpots in the industry, too, with prize pools running into the millions of pounds.
Playtech has a reputation for designing and developing some of the most engaging and entertaining slots games on the market. Many of these have rolled off the production line of its in-house development studios; the most successful to date is its Age of the Gods franchise, which has been a huge hit with players.
There are several titles in the franchise, including God of Storms, Prince of Olympus, Furious Four, King of Olympus and Goddess of Wisdom, as well as Age of the Gods Roulette. All Age of the Gods games feature a progressive jackpot, some of which are networked for even larger prize pools.
Playtech’s recent acquisition of Swedish game developer Quickspin adds yet another string to its bow. Quickspin has made a name for itself by producing graphically rich, and mathematically strong, games that are packed with innovative features such as progress bars, tokens, missions, tasks and mini games.
When it comes to branded games, Playtech really flexes its muscles. The supplier holds licensing agreements with the world’s largest and most popular entertainment companies, including comic book giant DC Comics. This, in turn, has allowed it to launch a range of ‘hero slots’.
Titles in this category include: Batman and the Joker Jewels, Superman the Movie, and Green Lantern. Playtech previously held a licence with Marvel too, but that agreement was terminated in early 2017. Other branded slots include RoboCop, Monty Python, Ace Ventura, Top Gun, and Rocky.
Playtech joins the likes of Microgaming and NetEnt in offering some of the largest networked progressive jackpots on the market. Its branded jackpot slots, which include Deal or No Deal and Gladiator, are firm player favourites, while its proprietary Jackpot Giant title often boasts payouts of more than £5m.
To be in with the chance of winning the jackpot, players must hit five wilds on one pay line with the maximum bet, which is £4. Any other bet size still wins, but does not unlock the jackpot – players do, however, receive a reduced payout based on the amount they wagered.
In early 2016, Jackpot Giant held the record for the largest mobile-jackpot win in the UK at €5.9m (£4.5m), but later surrendered its crown to NetEnt, and then Microgaming, which currently holds the Guinness World Record for the largest mobile jackpot payout at €8.7m on its Mega Moolah slot.
While Evolution Gaming is undoubtedly the market leader when it comes to live casino, Playtech is certainly chasing after the number-one position. In early 2017, the supplier cut the ribbon on a brand new, cutting-edge, live casino studio in Riga, Latvia. At 8,500 square feet, it is the largest single studio space on the market.
Playtech broadcasts all the classic table games, including blackjack, baccarat and roulette, with plenty of variants offered such as unlimited blackjack, double-screen roulette and exclusive Casino Hold’em. There is also a separate VIP room – The Ruby Room – for high rollers.
The supplier’s live dealer solution can be accessed via desktop, and it has been fully optimised for mobile and tablet devices, including those operating on iOS, Android and Windows platforms, and for both in-browser and native.
Playtech is first and foremost a technology company, and since its inception has been a frontrunner in developing state-of-the-art platforms, games and products that players access today. A big focus has been omni-channel, and giving players access to its slots and table games across retail and online play.
They receive the same seamless experience regardless of platform, and can play games via a single account and wallet. It’s something most of the larger suppliers do, but Playtech does it best.
The company has also pledged to continue investing in its technology, bringing new games, formats, tools and features to market in the coming months and years. So, expect some exciting launches in the not-too-distant future.
Playtech has positioned itself at the forefront of mobile casino software. Its Mobile Hub was designed and developed by Mobenga, which it acquired in 2011. It allows operators to launch the supplier’s entire portfolio of desktop games on smartphone and tablet devices.
Playtech also provides native mobile applications on iOS and Android. Bet365 Casino became the first operator to launch on its most recent native app technology in 2016, which offers instant gameplay and improved speed and performance. Players can also favourite and group their most-played games.
Our top three Playtech games
Playtech has a varied and exciting portfolio of games, and it is worth trying as many as possible. But with such a large number on offer, it can be difficult knowing where to start. Here are Jackpot.co.uk’s top three:
1. Age of the Gods
The game is one of the most popular in the Playtech portfolio, and is themed on Greek mythology. It features Athena, Hercules, Poseidon and Zeus as its main characters and reel symbols. There is an Age of the Gods bonus feature in which 20 coins appear on a wall. Players must match three coins to a particular God to unlock the corresponding free spins feature – Athena, Zeus, Poseidon and Hercules. Players start with nine free spins, with each God offering a different multiplier or bonus.
25 pay lines
Desktop and mobile
Comes with a progressive jackpot
2. Superman the Movie
The slot is themed on the 1978 movie starring Christopher Reeve as the Man of Steel. Its boasts vibrant graphics and an authentic soundtrack, and comes with a number of bonus rounds. This includes a bonus feature that awards 20 free spins with locked wilds, a pick-me round and a one-in-four shot of hitting the networked progressive jackpot, which runs across all of Playtech’s DC-Comics-branded games. The minimum stake is 60p and the maximum stake is £80.
100 pay lines
Desktop and mobile
3. Funky Fruits
Funky Fruits features six fruit symbols – cherries, lemons, oranges, pineapples, plumbs and melons. They are arranged in a 5×5 grid, and instead of spinning, the reels cascade. Players win on groups of fruit rather than straight lines. A group is where the same fruits are touching each other above or to the side, but not diagonally. The game is hooked up to a progressive jackpot, which, on average, pays out every three months.
243 pay lines
Desktop and mobile
Jackpot pays out every three months on average
Playtech is firing on all cylinders, and is the go-to software supplier for some of the largest and most successful online casino sites in the UK. It has reached the top through innovation and ambition, but also via some very smart acquisitions that have allowed it to expand rapidly.
It employs some of the brightest minds and creative talents in the industry, reflected in the superior quality of its slots and table games. Playtech also holds licensing agreements with an unrivalled number of brands, allowing it to roll out titles based on popular franchises such as Space Invaders, The Flintstones, and The Mummy.
The supplier is brave and bold, and is fearless when taking on its rivals. Its new state-of-the-art live dealer studio in Riga is a warning shot to Evolution Gaming, with Playtech’s sights firmly set on the growing live table games sector.
When it comes to offering players a varied, engaging, and exciting online casino experience, Playtech sets the standard.