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Operating Platforms (Play Modes) – The different options for playing at US online casinos

Direct Download

Introduction to direct download online casinos

Online casinos were launched on the direct download platform about 20 years ago. For many years this was the only online casino platform. Almost all the older US online casinos continue to offer the direct download platform along with the later innovations. As the name suggests, the direct download platform requires you to download the software from the web site of the online casino and install it on your desktop or laptop computer. But you still need to be connected to the casino server via the Internet.

In this section we will highlight the advantages and disadvantages of direct download online casinos so that you can take a decision on whether or not to conduct your gambling on this platform. We will also take you through the process of setting up the direct download online casino on your computer and guiding you on what system requirements you would need.

How desktop download casinos work

You start at the web site of the online casino. On the home page there will be a link from where you can download the software. Click the download link and click on the Run option in the pop up box. Keep following the instructions as they appear on the screen till the software is installed. There could be slight differences in the mechanism at different online casinos.

While the software is downloading and installing you will be asked to complete the registration procedure by filling up the online form. It is extremely simple and should not take more than a few minutes. After that the online casino will send you a user ID and a password.

The installation process will leave an icon of the online casino on the desktop. You start the casino by clicking the icon and log in using the given particulars. The first step is to rest the password. Then you can access the games menu and select which game you want to play.

Compatibility and general system requirements

The most important issue here is that the download desktop software is not compatible with Mac or any operating system other than Windows. So if you are not using a PC then you will not be able to wager on this platform. The good news is that the instant play platform is equally good and compatible with all operating systems.

The detailed system requirements may vary somewhat with software providers. Given here is the requirement specified by Realtime Gaming at Club World online casino: Pentium II 300; 64 MB memory; 56K modem connection, Windows 98 (or above); Internet Explorer 5 (or above) or AOL 5 (or above). You will notice that desktops and laptops released in the last few years easily meet these requirements. The only thing you need to worry about is a reliable Internet connection. You will need cable or ADSL connections.

Quality of games and game play in download casino software

In the download casino software the games will be on your computer. Therefore there is minimum data transfer between your computer and the online casino server. As a result software providers can create high quality games with lots of special effects. Contemporary online slot games are the best examples of this with the win animations and rich graphics. Table games also have audio content like dealer’s voices. For the same reason the game play is also of high quality. You will not be suddenly disconnected from the online casino and will not experience jerky movement and freezing of frames. Once initiated the games load almost instantly without any lag or buffering. Live dealer games need greater interaction with the online casino server because the gaming action is video streamed. But because the computer storage is used, the game play is more stable.

Advantages of download casino software

  • The download casino software has the largest games portfolio of the three gaming platforms. It is the oldest and many of the earliest online casino games are available on this platform only.
  • If you happen to experience a drop in the Internet speeds, the quality of gaming will not be affected because the games are on your computer and minimum interaction is required with the game server.
  • Download casino software is more convenient to initialize. Double clicking the icon on the desktop loads the online casino. The individual games also load much faster.

Disadvantages of download casino software

  • The biggest disadvantage of download casino software is that it is compatible with only Windows operating system. Users of Mac or other operating systems cannot play on the download software.
  • The size of the software file gets massive after all the games have been downloaded and keeps increasing with every new addition. If you play at many download casinos you can run into storage space problems.
  • In the initial download only the default set of games downloads. The other games download later as you play. If a game you want to play has not been downloaded, you will have to download it manually.
  • Instant Play

    Introduction to instant play casino software

    Instant play casino software, which is also known as no download casino software, is a later development than the download casino software. It does not require players to download any software on to their desktops or laptops. This allows them to wager instantly. You have access the instant play software directly from the online casino web site. You can select the game that you want to play at the web site and it will open in the browser of your computer. You can play the game in your browser without any data or files added to your hard disc.

    This section explains the latest developments in the instant play casino software, which have improved the gaming experience tremendously. The section also highlights the advantages and disadvantages of instant play software so that you to make a choice based on your specific needs and preferences.

    Flash the dying technology and the phasing out of flash based games

    For many years instant play casinos were based on Flash technology and were therefore also referred to as Flash casinos. Flash technology has been developed by Adobe and Flash casinos required players to download the Adobe Flash Player. Without getting into technical details, Flash technology enabled online casino software providers to process visual, audio and textual information at high speeds within the browsers of the computers. Hence even complex casino games from technology point of view, like video slots with animations, could be easily handled.

    From about 2009 a new technology was developed that could carry out all that was required for instant play casino software without dependence on external plug ins like Flash. Online casino software developers began to use this technology first for mobile devices, which cannot use Flash. Since this technology worked for desktops as well, instant play casino software began to move to HTML5 from Flash.

    HTML5 games and the future of instant play gaming for desktop users

    When instant play casino games were first introduced using Flash, there were quality issues. Software providers had to downgrade the quality of graphics and audio in online slots to get free flow. With the upgradation of Flash technology these issues have been taken care of. But Flash could be a handicap for the next generation of online casino games and live dealer games. HTML5 can do everything that Flash can do and more.

    Another big advantage of HTML5 is its cross-platform compatibility. It works for desktops and mobile devices. Therefore software developers create games in HTML5 and are sorted for both platforms. Flash is an Adobe product and requires support from Adobe. There are indications that Adobe may discontinue this support in the near future. On the other hand HTML5 is under the oversight of W3C, an MIT based consortium involving giants like Google, IBM, Microsoft and others. For these reasons HTML5 will be the future of instant play gaming for desktop users.

    How HTML5 games work and why the technology is superior

    Flash instant play casino games require Adobe Flash Player as a plug in. The software has to keep oscillating between the native coding environment and the plug in. In HTML5 this is not required. As a result, what is important to the online casino player, the game play is smoother, you can have more complex graphics and the animations are more fluid. The video streaming is faster which enhances the quality of live dealer games.

    Today there are a fair number of Flash instant play casinos alongside HTML5 casinos. The conversion from Flash to HTML5 is in progress. As a player you will not find very much difference in the way these instant play casinos work. In HTML5 casinos all the games are listed at the web site and can be loaded directly from there. If you want to play for real money you can log in. Most HTML5 casinos will let you play for free without having to sign up.

    Advantages of instant play casino games

    • Instant play casinos are compatible with all operating systems including Windows, Mac and Linux. So they can reach out to all users. Download software is compatible only with Windows.
    • Instant play software does not use any hard disc storage. So you can play on any number of online casinos without choking your storage space and therefore processing speed.
    • You save on the time taken for the initial download of the software package and of the individual games that is needed in the case of download casinos.
    • With HTML5, the erstwhile quality advantage of download casinos has been completely neutralized.

    Disadvantages of instant play casino games

    • Instant play casinos usually have smaller games portfolios, particularly in online slots. Many of the games in the older download software platform have not been converted to the instant play mode.
    • In instant play casinos there is far more transfer of information between your computer and the online casino server. This requires high speed Internet connections and processors, which may not be available on the older devices.
    • In some of the Flash instant play casinos, you may have to downgrade the quality of the graphics in order to get smooth game play.

    Android & Apple iOS Browser Games

    Introduction to Android and iPhone Browser Games

    Android and iOS are the most common operating systems for mobile devices in the United States. Android is used by a number of instrument manufacturers. iOS is used exclusively on Apple iPhones and iPads. Mobile gaming was first launched with Java based games that were compatible with all mobile operating systems. Later mobile gaming software providers began to create games separately for Android and iOS with a view to better integrate the casino software and the mobile device software. Separate casino apps could be downloaded for Android and iOS phones and tablets from Google Play and App Store respectively, in countries where these are legal.

    Developments in HTML5 eliminated the advantage of separate apps for separate mobile operating systems. Today mobile games are created with a common code and can be played in the browsers of the devices without any downloading. They work just like desktop casino instant play software.

    Why there are no app based games for mobile users at US online casinos

    A few US states explicitly hold online casino gambling as illegal. The other states and the federal government neither explicitly legalize online casino gambling nor explicitly declare that it is illegal. However, the UIGEA bans transferring funds to illegal online casinos, without defining what will make an online casino illegal. Certain big operators, including Google and Apple, have decided to stay away from online casino gambling because of the lack of legal clarity. Online casino apps are an insignificant component of their overall business. They cannot put at risk their credibility, reputation and profitability to the unforeseen legal ramifications of allowing online casino apps on Google Play and App Store.

    Therefore you will not find real money gambling app based casinos for mobile gamers in the United States. However, there is no problem of accessing these online casino web sites on your mobile browsers and playing there because Google and Apple are not involved.

    Registering and playing mobile casino games on your Android and Apple devices

    The procedure for registering at mobile casinos on Android and Apple devices is the same. If you are already a member of an online casino and want to play at the mobile platform of that casino then the simplest method is as follows. You go to the mobile gaming page of the online casino web site and scan the QR code with your mobile phone camera. You will be taken to the mobile gaming site of the casino in your mobile phone browser. You can log in using the same particulars as for the online casino. You will have a common casino account and can start wagering with the available balance.

    If you are not signed up at that online casino, then it is best to search for the mobile casino web site from your mobile phone browser. Register from your mobile phone, load the casino account using your preferred payment option and start wagering.

    How to get the most out of your mobile gambling experience

    The first step is to choose the correct mobile casino. It should be licensed from a reputed jurisdiction and be powered by a leading software provider. You could select from our recommended mobile casinos and you would be fine. Once you locate the mobile casino web site, bookmark it in your favorites so that you do not have to go through a search process every time.

    There are some safety practices that you should follow. When you are logging in at your mobile casino or transferring funds using your mobile device make sure that no one is able to watch you. Temptations to overreach while mobile gaming are greater because of its convenience so make sure that you follow responsible gambling practices.

    If you are using the latest mobile devices then all the casino games will run smoothly. But if you are on an older model it would be best to leave the feature rich online slots for desktop gaming.

    Advantages of playing mobile casino games

    • The biggest advantage of playing mobile casino games is that you can conveniently play from anywhere, even on the move. You use time normally wasted to complete your gaming quota for the day.
    • The tap and swipe movements used in mobile gaming process are more convenient that clicking and scrolling needed in desktop casinos.
    • Mobile casinos offer the complete package and even allow you to make deposits and withdrawals from your smartphones and tablets.
    • In order to encourage players to gamble from mobile devices, many US mobile casinos give special bonuses to players.
    • The latest casino games are almost invariably released on the mobile platforms.

    Disadvantages of playing mobile casino games

    • The biggest disadvantage of playing casino games on mobile devices is the smaller screen size. This is more of a constraint in smartphones than in tablets. There is a loss of visual appeal.
    • You may have to toggle screens to carry out functions, like adjusting bet amounts, which can be done on the main screen with desktop casino games.
    • There could be a loss of quality and functionality in some of the more feature rich contemporary video slots
    • Mobile casino portfolios tend to be much smaller than desktop casino portfolios, particularly in the online slots category. Many of the old favorites are likely to be missing.