Real Time Gaming (RTG)

Published: 07/01/2013

Established in 1999, Real Time Gaming (RTG) quickly grew to be ranked among the leading providers of online casino software in the world. Currently, 73 gaming web sites are powered by RTG applications, most of which are under license in either the Netherlands Antilles or Costa Rica. A few are also based in Kahnawake, Canada.

From the very beginning, RTG set itself apart from other software suppliers as a “bad boy.” By going against the grain and refusing to follow the lead of major rivals like Microgaming and Playtech, the company adhered to a policy of allowing customers to have a great deal of freedom in using its software. For example, game settings were not preadjusted by the developer. Instead, they could be determined by the licensee on the web site.

Among the permissions given to operators was the ability to decide how high or low the payout percentages should be, and these could be set on a game by game basis. Because this feature wasn’t offered by competitors, Real Time Gaming rapidly attracted a clientele of web site owners, some of whom may not have had players’ interests as a priority. Soon, rogue operators took advantage of RTG’s lack of oversight. Even though every software developer has a few disreputable customers, RTG was getting more than its fair share.

Complaints began pouring in to Internet watchdog groups. Between 2000 and 2002, a leading reviewer of online gaming operations called CasinoMeister announced that it would be “proactive in discouraging the promotion of RTG casinos.” The critic named half a dozen RTG sites as “rogue,” citing non-payment issues as the primary complaint. RTG was increasingly called on to bring its clients in line with industry standards. Nevertheless, even today sites operating with RTG software still have a much higher than average incidence of improper behavior, and there are dozens of rogue RTG sites according to industry-watcher CasinoCity.

When co-founder and CEO Michael Staw became Chairman of Real Time Gaming in 2005, Chief Technology Officer Michael McMain rose from within the company to take his place. The two leaders saw that RTG continued to grow, and they were aided in part by the passage of the Unlawful Internet Gaming Enforcement Act (UIGEA) of 2006 in the United States.

UIGEA prohibited American banking institutions from conducting financial transactions with gambling web sites. This ban effectively destroyed the market for U.S. players. As a result, both Playtech and Microgaming immediately instructed their licensees to start cutting off relations with U.S. customers. On the other hand, RTG remained rebellious and gave no instructions clients. In fact, they began encouraging their competitors’ U.S.-facing casino sites to switch over to the RTG team.

Not surprisingly, U.S. authorities began watching RTG and its customers very closely. But even as the heat was being turned up, in January 2007 Real Time Gaming made a bold strategic move, allowing itself to be acquired by a licensee based in Curaçao, Netherlands Antilles—Hastings International. Subsequently, McMain resigned as CEO and relocated to Costa Rica. There, in 2008, he created a new organization to take care of RTG’s software development needs.

Hastings was quite aware of the need to protect players from abuse. That’s why they hired Central Disputes System (CDS) Corporation to act as the exclusive mediator between players and licensees of the RTG gaming platform. Also, since 2009, RTG software has been certified as fair and random by Technical Systems Testing (TST). In response to such improvements, CasinoMeister reversed its negative position, identifying at least 17 RTG sites that are now “worthy of accreditation.”

In 2008, Casino Titan became an RTG licensee. They were followed by the debut of Win Palace in 2009. Adopting the RTG platform in 2010 were All Star Slots, Manhattan Slots and the High Noon Casino. Then, in 2011, a number of other online casinos were added to the RTG line up, such as Aladdin’s Gold and Grande Vegas Casino, both of which are highly rated by industry watchdogs.

As the company continues to improve its reputation, innovation has become a top priority. Over the past two years, a new line of “Real Series” slot games has been introduced, featuring such popular functions as Auto Play. In 2011, RTG rolled out the animal-animated slot game called “Basketbull,” along with suspense-filled “It’s a Mystery” and vampire-themed “Count Spectacular.” In 2012, French Roulette was added to the table games line up, and the much-anticipated Polar Explorer slots game debuted as well. No longer a pure rebel, RTG can now be expected to deliver quality software for years to come.

Published on: 07/01/2013

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