Real Time Gaming, more commonly known simply as RTG, has been with us for many years. The company was founded in 1998 and I honestly can't remember the online casino sector before they came along.
RTG is definitely one of the biggest software providers around, even if their product is a little different to most of the market. Some people see RTG casinos as a sub-par version of the likes of Microgaming because their games have poorer graphics, the sound effects and music are lower quality, and their progressive jackpot slot is on a smaller scale with smaller jackpots. On the surface, these points make sense, but any avid casino fan will know that the games we play are not always defined by logic. When I describe my favourite games it is not all about the RTP and the speed, but can be about things like a particular background I like, or a certain Ôfeel' of a game even if it represents less value than a similar game. For this reason RTG's games don't need to be super high quality; they are offering hundreds of alternative games to the market, and lots of us are enjoying them.
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Games on offer
Like many software providers, RTG are best known for their slot games. After all, these make the most money and it's probably one of the easiest sectors of online casino gaming to keep adding more variety.
What I like about RTG games isn't just the number of games (someone like Microgaming can offer many more slots, for instance) but the variety of the games. It is not just the same old same old with sequel after sequel, but instead players feel like they're getting a unique experience with each new game. RTG games feel like they were made by players themselves.
Megasaur is one of my favourite RTG slot games. It has 5 reels, 25 paylines and a whole load of dino fun! This to me is a perfect example of how RTG use minimal graphics and sound but still make the game totally immersive, with a jungle backdrop and some cool dinosaur symbols on the reels. Megasaurs are wild and volcanos scatter symbols give you the chance to bag up to 50 free spins in a row. There's also the small matter of the progressive jackpot, frequently sitting in the 7-figure zone.
I also like Aladdin's Wishes, which has 20 paylines and an RTP of up to 97% which is extremely respectable for a progressive jackpot machine. If you haven't played it it's quite similar to Microgaming's Flying Circus, or NetEnt's Bigfoot - but with an enchanting theme of exotic treasures.
Many players may like RTG's games but that doesn't mean they necessarily trust the company behind them. RTG have been littered with issues over the years and I am frequently speaking to people on online casino forums where the player feels they've been short-changed by an RTG casino. There have been some high profile instances as well where a winner of an RTG game has not been paid out in full. Back in 2004 one player won $1.3 million on Caribbean 21 and nearly $100,000 more shortly after, and the casino refused to pay out. The case was eventually settled privately, but it was just one of many times when a player was involved in issues after winning on an RTG game.
Objectively, I can see that RTG isn't exactly at fault here - it is the casinos using their product who are putting up road blocks to withdrawals. However, it would be nice to see RTG sticking up for their players and maybe offering financial help to such cases in order to move things along more quickly. It just leaves a bitter taste with all involved when we see a fellow player win fair and square and then the casino tries every trick in the book not to pay, and sadly for RTG that reputation has rubbed off on them a bit - rightly or wrongly.
What makes them unique?
To all of my friends across the pond, good news - RTG games are playable in the US! Whilst most software providers have played it safe by banning US players amidst a grey area of gambling laws, RTG have put their necks on the line to bring a leading online casino product to America.
One big thing that stands out for me when comparing RTG to some of the other leading software providers is the amount of space it takes up on your computer. I don't know about you but I hate clogging my laptop up with unnecessarily big files, especially ones that I'm only going to use now and then. Considering how many casinos I'm signed up with, I think downloading software for all of them would render my computer totally useless! The difference with RTG casinos is that the software takes up hardly any space and runs quickly and smoothly even on older models. There are no super HD graphics to speak of as there is with Microgaming or NetEnt, and instead the focus is on good old fashioned gaming. When comparing the flash and download versions of the games I didn't notice a great deal of change in appearance. HD graphics are important to some people and I'd be lying if I said they didn't factor in to my decision, but for people who care more about gameplay than aesthetics, RTG's streamlined software will be right up your alley.
RTG is never going to give us the prettiest games around and it doesn't have the quantity to match some of the industry leaders, but this is not its modus operandi. RTG is all about high quality gameplay and true variation, aiming to give its players hundreds of games offering hundreds of possibilities. Players who care a lot about ultra HD graphics and the like will struggle to get on board with the games but if you're just looking for a good time and maybe a few extra bucks, RTG is worth a shot - especially if you find yourself running out of new games to try.