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Fans of online gaming rarely care about the companies that are behind their favourite games, but there should always be some space for exceptions, especially when it comes to the true legends of the industry. That’s a category into which IGT neatly fit, as they were there when the first online casinos started to pop up.
That’s not their only accomplishment, of course, but it’s definitely something that makes them stand out from the rest of the competition. And, as you will see, IGT’s history is so long that these guys have definitely earned their right to be considered legends.
IGT – or, in full, International Game Technology – have been around since 1975, which makes them one of the oldest companies in the industry. This means that there’s a lot to talk about when it comes to the history. Early on, back when there was still no real Internet to be talked about, IGT were focusing on gaming machines, with their first big successes coming from their video poker machines. In 1984, IGT became one of the first gaming companies to computerize player tracking, a step that laid the foundation for all those loyalty and rewards programmes that we are all enjoying nowadays.
In 1991, IGT became listed on the New York Stock Exchange, a step that they celebrated by expanding to Europe just a year later. For the next few years, the company enjoyed tremendous success, with its incredibly popular Wheel of Fortune progressive slot seeing the light of the day in 1996.
Ten years after they were listed on the New York Stock Exchange, IGT also became a part of the well-known S&P 500 Index, although it needs to be said that they were dropped from that prestigious list in 2014. In any case, the first years of the new millennium were full of brave acquisitions – for example, IGT acquired Anchor Gaming in 2001 and WagerWorks in 2005. Those acquisitions also brought some significant expansions, with the company opening new offices in Russia, China, Macau and Mexico.
The year of 2013 saw IGT going through a managerial crisis of some sort, which in turn led to a sharp drop in the company’s value. In 2014, IGT started to negotiate a merger deal with GTECH, the world’s largest lottery operator. The merger was completed in 2015, with the new combined company still carrying the name of IGT.
As one would expect, IGT have a very long list of awards to be proud of, but let’s just mention some of those that they won in 2015. In that year alone, IGT won two prestigious awards at the Global Gaming Expo (Casino Product of the Year and Land-Based Gaming Innovation of the Year), while the company was also successful at the eGaming Review B2B Awards (Lottery Software Supplier of the Year) and the Casino Enterprise Management Magazine’s 9th Annual Slot Floor Technology Awards. To round things off, we’ll also mention that Jay Gendron, IGT’s Senior Vice President for North America, was inducted into the Lottery Industry Hall of Fame in the same year.
Today, the company has its headquarters in London, but its offices can be found in countries all over the world, including the United States, Italy, Russia, New Zealand and China. That’s hardly surprising considering that it employs more than 13,000 people, which simply dwarves the rest of the industry.
IGT have always been incredibly proud of their slot games, which they produce for both offline and online casinos. Their games library already features hundreds of unique games of all shapes and sizes, so you should never run out of games to play when playing at IGT-powered casinos, especially since new ones are being added to the catalogue on a fairly regular basis.
The constant supply of slot games is accompanied by IGT’s very own poker and bingo software, while all the traditional card and table games can also be found in the firm’s repertoire – and most of them even come in a number of different variations.
Lotteries are also among IGT’s fortes, with the company even developing a number of interactive lotteries that players can enjoy not only on their desktops, but also on their mobile devices and at retail merchants.
To round things off, IGT seem to be becoming increasingly active in the betting industry, offering complex solutions for both offline and online businesses. They’re an interesting choice in our opinion, as their stock solution seems to be much more complex than what many others offer on this front, but we also have to admit that we’ve never liked stock online betting solutions too much, as they tend to ruin the entire dynamic between the bookmaker and the bettors.
IGT are about much more than just games, however. As far as online casinos are concerned, they are also offering full-fledged back end solutions that allow online casino managers to have all the relevant data available at all times.
As one would expect, IGT’s games tend to be packed with exciting gameplay features that will glue you to the screen for long days and nights. Wild and scatter symbols are usually just the beginning – there are typically also free spins to be won and re-spins to be enjoyed. And we shouldn’t forget about the various win multipliers either – after all, those will always get your adrenaline pumping!
Apart from that, IGT have also come up with the fabulous Dual Play feature that puts another set of reels on top of the original ones in order to make every single spin twice as exciting. It’s a truly thrilling ride that you simply need to check out if you’re serious about your gaming – we can only hope that IGT will start including it in more and more games.
Those who like having millions at their fingertips should certainly know that IGT have a line of progressive jackpot slots going under the name of MegaJackpots in their arsenal. They all contribute to the same pot and the games will surely impress you with their compactness and simplicity, although it needs to be said that the jackpot has never hit any extreme heights.
Top Online Slot Games
IGT really have a lot of games in their repertoire and virtually all of them are worth a spin or two. Going through all of them might not be everyone’s cup of tea, however, so we’ve prepared a short list of the true highlights for those of you who simply don’t want to spend much time looking around.
Siberian Storm, Da Vinci Diamonds and Wheel of Fortune – those are the slots that have put IGT into the spotlight and that every single fan of online casino gaming must play. Not only are they full of fabulous features that feel fresh even after a couple of long sessions, but they are also incredibly addictive.
If branded games are what you like the most, then we simply have to point you in the direction of the Sherlock Holmes: The Hunt for Blackwood slot game, which is based on the famous 2009 flick and which well and truly showcases IGT’s game-making skills. In case Sherlock Holmes starts to bore you a little bit, you can always give The Hangover a go, while those who prefer sci-fi themes might be interested in the Star Trek and Star Trek – Against All Odds online slots.
As we’ve already mentioned, there’s also the MegaJackpots line of progressive jackpot online slots to care about if big wins are what you’re after – and we have to say that the three games that contribute to the pot are all worth playing. We like MegaJackpots Monopoly the most, but you should certainly give MegaJackpots Cluedo and MegaJackpots Cleopatra a spin as well.
Mobile games are all the rage nowadays, but that doesn’t meant that IGT have already abandoned the desktop platform. If anything, they’re just splitting their attention between the two platforms, which is good news for all the players, as it means that they can choose how they want to play their favourite games. On the mobile side of things, IGT are supporting both iOS and Android devices, which covers virtually the entire market.
Additionally, IGT certainly realize how important it is to stay on top of things in the technological department, which is why they’ve already switched to the HTML5 platform as far as their mobile games are concerned. Since HTML5 is widely regarded as the replacement of the somewhat-obsolete Flash technology, we simply have to applaud IGT for that decision.
Finally, we would also like to mention that IGT are quite popular among owners of land-based casinos, so you might encounter an IGT slot or two when you next visit a brick-and-mortar casino – and it’s practically guaranteed that you’ll be in for a thrilling ride!
Since IGT have been in the business for more than forty years now, it’s only logical that they’ve already had to deal with a couple of problems and issues. Thankfully, most of them stayed well away from the players, as they concerned investment, marketing and human resources decisions.
Just to give you an idea – in 2012, there was a scandal involving one of IGT’s chief executives, Patti Hart, who was accused of padding her resume with inaccurate data. Meanwhile, the year of 2015 saw IGT becoming embroiled in a bitter dispute with a number of lottery associations after IGT discontinued support for a certain programming language used in video lottery machines. This meant that lottery providers had to either purchase new machines or pay for special conversion kits despite having already paid for long-term licences. At the time of writing, the case was still ongoing and new lawsuits were still being filed, but the important thing is that such issues don’t affect online players in any way.
Online casinos going rogue do affect online players, however. Fortunately, IGT don’t have a problematic past in this regard and we were unable to find any noteworthy recent cases, so it’s safe to say that players shouldn’t have much to worry about when it comes to playing at IGT-powered casinos.
As you can see, it’s simply impossible to ignore IGT’s accomplishments. These guys have been around for so long and made so much that they’re basically part of the industry’s history. Although online casino games aren’t the company’s only focus, the sheer amount of resources that’s going into them guarantees their quality and that’s something that we all definitely have to appreciate.
Right now, there probably are brighter and more energetic prospects in the industry, but we have nothing but words of praise for IGT, who have always been incredibly stellar from all points of view. Keep an eye on these guys – chances are that they haven’t said their last word yet.