Playtech is one of the world’s top designers of online gaming software. The company is publicly traded,
listed on the Main Market of the London Stock Exchange. Playtech was founded in 1999.
If you visit Playtech’s website, you’ll read lots of stuff about their “fully-integrated product suite.” In fact,
you’ll read lots of corporate jargon that probably won’t mean much to you. Still, you have to admit it’s a
nice little website.
When the company talks about their product suite, they’re not just talking about games. Playtech, like
other online game design companies, has expanded from a designer of slot and video poker titles to a
provider of cross-platform software, meaning download, instant-play, mobile, and other forms of gaming.
It’s designed so that a player can use a single account to access all these features.
We’re not going to worry too much about all that. This page is focused on Playtech as a popular designer of online slot machine games. Besides creating
back-end management software and offering other assistance to gambling website operators, Playtech is a well-known provider of casino games, poker
software, sports betting, live gambling, and even bingo. Though this page is going to concentrate almost entirely on the company’s slot machine games,
we like to give a little background about these design companies before reviewing their games. It helps to give the reviews and other information some
Alan Jackson, Chairman
Alan Jackson has been a member of the Playtech Board of Directors since 2006. Mr. Jackson became Chairman in October 2013 after former CEO Roger
Withers retired. He earned his stripes in the leisure business as managing director of Beefeater Steakhouse. During his time with that company, he was
responsible for the creation of the popular TGI Friday’s brand. Mr. Jackson also serves as Chairman of The Restaurant Group.
Mor Weizer, CEO
Mor Weizer was appointed Playtech’s CEO in 2007, making him one of the longest-serving chief executives in the online gambling industry. Weizer worked
his way up at Playtech; having started his career in sales and product management at Oracle, he joined the Playtech team as CEO of one of their
subsidiaries, Techplay Marketing. Having improved licensee relations while in that role, Weizer was still a surprise choice for the role, being that he was
just 29 years old at the time of his appointment. Mr. Weizer is a qualified accountant and a man with a “deep understanding of the online gambling
industry,” according to Playtech’s promotional materials.
Ron Hoffman, CFO
Playtech’s policy of promoting from within has produced some valuable long-term executive relationships and strong leaders. Ron Hoffman, the company’s
Chief Financial Officer, is one of those. His career began at Ernst & Young, where he quickly rose to management level. Ron was offered a position as Vice
President of Finance upon Playtech’s founding. He served in that role for eight years, overseeing the company’s financial operations. His role in the
company’s listing on public markets – including spearheading the effort to move Playtech to the Main Market in 2012 – is probably responsible for his
elevation to CFO in 2013.
Andrew Thomas, Senior Non-Executive Director
The appointment of Andrew Thomas to Playtech’s Board of Directors occurred almost overnight immediately before the company’s listing on the Main
Market in 2012. Mr. Thomas has decades’ experience advising publicly-listed companies on tax issues. He’s also a Chartered Accountant, and a
non-executive director on a half-dozen major publically-listed companies. His presence on the Board is meant to give Playtech’s investors a boost of
John Jackson, Director
The most recent addition to the company’s Board of Directors is John Jackson, appointed in January 2016. Mr. Jackson has served executive and
non-executive roles in a few major publicly-traded companies, working as CEO of Jamie Oliver Holdings Limited from 2007 to 2015 and holding the Retail
and Leisure Director position at Virgin Group Limited from 1998 to 2007. Mr. Jackson has been a Chartered Certified Corporate Accountant since 1971. His
other Board positions include acting as Chairman of the Rick Stein Group, senior independent director for Game Digital, and a sitting Board member for
Wilkinson’s Hardware Stores Limited.
Paul Hewitt, Director
Paul Hewitt has served Playtech as a director since August of 2015. Mr. Hewitt’s experience includes a long stint at Arthur Andersen, where he worked as
an accountant and manager. Mr. Hewitt’s executive positions include time as Deputy Group Chief Executive and CFO of the Co-operative Group from 2003
to 2007, and years as Non-executive director and Chairman of the Audit Committee of Tesco from 2012 to 2014. His experience in multiple sectors has
led some journalists to wonder if Playtech is planning a big expansion into new markets. After all, Mr. Hewitt is more of a financial services expert, the kind
of tax accountant you call in when you’re anticipating a new regulatory environment.
The History of Playtech
Playtech was founded in Estonia in 1999 by a group of entrepreneur friends with a few years’ experience in the burgeoning online casino industry. The
majority of the company’s founders were software engineers and multimedia artists, a foundation in artistry of which Playtech is very proud. Within two
years, Playtech was licensing its first casino operator, early in 2001. Over the next fifteen years, Playtech would adapt to the changing market, introducing
live games, bingo software, the iPoker network, mobile casino games, and even a handful of land-based titles.
By the year 2006, Playtech was a growing provider of gaming software, but still not a major player. Their portfolio had improved to the point where they
were successfully listed on the London AIM, a minor (but still publicly-traded) market. Funding from the public launch led to a major expansion of both
Playtech’s services and its customer base. In early 2007, that expansion continued with the launch of sports betting software, and the company’s entry into
the new regulated markets of Spain, Italy, Estonia, and Serbia.
So how did Playtech become an industry leader? We’d pin that down to the year 2010, when the company began making low-level acquisitions and other
mergers to evolve into a multi-channel software provider. Within a year of the beginning of an aggressive campaign of mergers, the company was the
leading games aggregator, the largest single bingo provider in the UK, the leading mobile provider, and had acquired Ash Gaming to expand their gaming
library by a few hundred titles.
The listing of Playtech on the Main Market in 2012 was an acknowledgement of Playtech’s recent advances. Their recent acquisitions of the UK’s top sports
betting designer, a company called Geneity, is a sign that this growth is still ongoing.
The list below includes every country currently restricted from accessing Playtech’s servers. That means people accessing the Internet from these countries
can’t play any Playtech games, for free or for real money.
Antigua & Barbuda
We discovered that some Playtech-powered sites include a few additional restricted countries. The list above contains all the countries that are restricted
from playing Playtech games by the company itself. Check with your online casino before you sign up to make sure that you have full access to all Playtech
Playtech Slot Games
Playtech’s library of casino games, including all table and slot games, totals more than 500 titles. The company releases about one new game each week,
altering their overall library as games fall in and out of favor, and new features and other innovations become available.
One useful feature of Playtech’s slot designs is that every single game has theoretical return percentage information listed in the Help file. That means you
can see how volatile a game is before you ever play it. Keep in mind that the company’s average return on a slot game is 95%. We’ve included this
information for each one of the slot games listed below – you can get a general idea of a game’s volatility by seeing how far from the 95% it strays. Games
above that return are “loose,” games below it are “tight.”
We’re not going to cover every single one of Playtech’s 300+ slot titles. Instead, we’ve briefly reviewed 25 of their most-popular and most impactful designs.
We’ve included a representative selection of slots from their standard collection, the progressive library, and their popular line of licensed titles.
One of Playtech’s many classic-style slots, Cake Walk is meant to evoke an image of a simpler time, when vintage mechanical slots ruled the casino floors.
You’ll find a single pay line and three spinning reels, just like on the old frontier games. Playtech usually does a decent job of updating classic games for
modern audiences, but Cake Walk is pretty much a throwback to the early days of game design. No bonuses are available, no wild symbols of any kind
exist, and don’t even think about a scatter symbol. Cake Walk has the highest posted return percentage of any Playtech title, making it a boon for
advantage gamblers or people with bankrolls on the small side. This game probably also appeals to fans of simple games, or just gamblers looking for a
bit of mindless slot entertainment. The top prize on Cake Walk is 2,500 coins, a testament to its simple game play.
Holiday-themed slots are big on the Internet. No one has ever explained this phenomenon in such a way as to make it make sense to us – maybe it just
comes down to people enjoying what’s familiar. Whatever the reason, Halloween Fortune is a smart release on the part of Playtech, a game that looks and
acts just like Halloween itself. Featuring five reels, twenty pay lines, a gamble feature that gives you the option of double-or-nothing on all wins, and a wild
symbol to create even more winning combos, Halloween Fortune is your typical Playtech slot game, with well-animated witches and goofy black cats to
lighten up the atmosphere. Credits can be set to any value between $0.01 and $1, producing a low-roller game that can be adapted for players who want to
experience a little more risk. The top prize is 10,000 credits, which is pretty high for a game with a return percentage up above 97%.
Playtech’s slot library is stuffed to the brim with five reel twenty pay line titles. Lotto Madness is one of them, a traditional online slot game based on a
lottery theme. We like the lotto theme on this game because it does actually include a feature that you won’t find on any other Playtech title. This feature,
called the Dollar Bonus Ball, is basically a $1 side bet that you can place on each spin, which makes you eligible for the game’s top payout, worth 10,000
credits. This dollar side bet asks you to pick five numbers (or let the machine auto-pick), then performs a lottery-style drawing each spin. You win
something for matching any number of balls, from one to five. Lotto Madness is a unique title in Playtech’s collection, with a cool side game that we wish
would inspire the designers to produce some more themed bonus features.
Another five reel game with twenty pay lines, Captain’s Treasure is an example of a bad Playtech slot. Captain’s Treasure has a decent return percentage,
among the best in the company’s library, but that’s about all it has going for it. The graphics are static, featuring boring images of treasure chests, along
with playing card symbols and numbers. No bonus games exist to liven up the play, though a wild multiplier at least makes the game a bit more lucrative
than other classic slots. Basically, we think Captain’s Treasure is somewhere between an over-performing vintage fruit game and an under-performing
traditional video slot game. The top prize is 5,000 credits, which is nothing to write home about, even at a 97% return rate. We’ve seen better payouts on
vintage slots with a single pay line. Unless you have an absolute obsession with pirates, we recommend you skip this title for any of the others on this list.
Remember when we said earlier that holiday-themed slots are popular? We weren’t kidding. Santa Surprise is one of Playtech’s better-known games
outside of their licensed and progressive titles. It’s just a typical five reel and twenty pay line game, but it includes a free spin bonus (triggered randomly),
a cool gamble feature that’s a bit outside of Playtech’s typical design style, and a bonus pick’em game in which you can win large credit prizes, maxing out
at about half of the size of the game’s top payout. Since it’s above a 97% return rate, you already know it’s among the loosest games in Playtech’s library.
As for that gamble feature – you can choose to risk either half or all of each one of your wins for a chance at a double-or-nothing prize. We’re seeing this
on more and more Playtech games, and we hope it’s a sign of things to come, just for the added replay value this feature brings to their games.
We wanted to include some games that don’t use their typical arrangement, so we included this unique non-video slot with twenty-five pay lines and a
cascading wins feature that really does lead to more frequent jackpots. In exchange, Hot Gems is among the tightest of all of Playtech’s non-licensed slot
games. Those cascading wilds are really cool – and not that common in this company’s library. Basically, winning tiles shift and fall like tiles in a matching
game, acting like a re-spin feature on random wins. Hot Gems also pays out frequent free spins, based on a random trigger system. Wins of a single free
spin are far more frequent, though you’ll also record occasional wins of fifteen free spins.
Streak of Luck
Streak of Luck is an oddball game for Playtech in that it has a fixed-credit price – two machines are available, one with a $0.20 fixed bet, the other with a
$0.40 fixed bet. Either way, you’ll also make your pick of how many lines to wager on, between one and fifty. A special feature in the game will pay you
650x your wager if you manage to pull off ten wins in a row – they can any size, so long as you win something. This is the Streak of Luck mentioned in the
game’s name. Streak of Luck’s free spins feature is among the most lucrative in the company’s library, rewarding up to sixty free spins, and featuring
infinite retrigger capability.
Another five reel game with twenty-five available pay lines, Great Blue is built around the theme of the ocean,with whales and sharks and pirate ships
acting as symbols. Great Blue pays out random free spins, between one and fifteen, and gives you the option of gambling every win in a double-or-nothing
roll of virtual dice. If you land five of the game’s bright Great Blue logo symbols, you’ll get to participate in the slot’s bonus round, with credit prizes
available. The betting range is limited to between $1 and $10 per line, but there is no multi-credit bet system, so your total wagering range is between $1
Iron Man 3
The latest in Playtech’s line of Marvel Slots, Iron Man 3 is set to become their most-popular non-progressive title, as both editions of the Iron Man slot did
before it. Iron Man 3 is a twenty-five reel video slot featuring comic-style graphics and cut scenes adapted from the characters from the movies. Don’t
expect a fancy slot adaptation of the game – this is a pretty standard-edition video slot from Playtech, with three different free spins bonus games, a wild
symbol, and a re-spin feature that randomly re-spins a losing round. All the special symbols are Iron Man characters in different colors – the really valuable
ones kind of sparkle with energy, alerting you to their presence on the screen. Like all the Playtech licensed video slots, the maximum wager ranges from
$0.25 to $250, making this game adaptable to a variety of bankroll sizes.
Playtech does a decent job of selecting titles to license for video slots. Their Marvel line is tremendously popular. Another popular game is Rocky, released
to honor the Sylvester Stallone character after the last big reboot of the franchise. Released around the same time as Rocky is this title, in homage to the
cartoon character The Pink Panther. On paper, the pairing makes sense – if you don’t like Rocky, you probably like the goofy cartoon antics of this licensed
character. This is a five reel and forty pay line slot with four rows of symbols instead of the traditional five. That makes for a unique playing style and
scoring system – a nice touch for a company that’s sometimes accused of making the same slot over and over again. This title’s major appeal is the
four-tiered bonus game system, which rewards everything from a single re-spin to a free prize of 2,000 credits.
Featuring original footage, music, and character voices from the 1986 film, Playtech’s Top Gun slot is an example of their high-end licensed titles. This is a
rarity for Playtech – a 243 Ways slot that includes multiple free spin rounds and a special ‘Dog Fight Wilds’ system. When you trigger the Dog Fight Wilds,
not only do they substitute for all other symbols to form winning combos, but you get to play a bonus game in which you lock, load, and fire missiles at
enemy fighters to reveal a credit prize. Players can wager up to twenty-five credits at a time, and since only a max bet of twenty-five credits per line makes
you eligible for the top prizes, you probably should.
This five reel and twenty-five pay line game from Playtech expands their licensed comic book heroes collection to a few dozen. We love the innovative
X-Feature bonus game, in which you have to fight your way from a villain to a hero. Do so, and your rewards increase exponentially. X-Men is no different
from Playtech’s other licensed video slots in terms of its wager options, max bet, and top prizes. We were also a bit disappointed to see that X-Men has no
real scenes from the film or actor’s voices to make things really realistic. As such, it’s not one of Playtech’s better superhero games, and with a
relatively-low return percentage, we can see why it’s among their least-popular licensed games as well.
The Increible Hulk
The Incredible Hulk is another in Playtech’s Marvel series, a video slot that never quite meets fan expectations. Only a few Playtech licensed games include
real cut away scenes from the film or the use of familiar character and actor voices. The Incredible Hulk isn’t one of them. This game is more appealing for
its multiple in-game features than any resemblance to a popular movie. This title offers a wild symbol, a scatter symbol to trigger free spins and bonus
games, a special video game-like Hulk Smash bonus round, and an Expanding Hulk symbol that can trigger re-spins on individual reels, randomly. Wagers
are limited to between $1 and $10 per credit, for a total maximum wager size of between $25 and $250. The Incredible Hulk is one of Playtech’s most
expensive licensed themes, and with a middling return percentage of 93%, we’re not surprised to see more and more casinos dumping this game in favor
of other Marvel series titles.
Ace Ventura, Pet Detective
It’s a little weird that Playtech built a video slot based on a cult comedy from 1996. We’ll admit, it was a funny movie, but it’s not exactly a timely choice.
When we saw that the game offers a top prize of 540,000 credits (with re-spins), we stopped laughing. Ace Ventura, Pet Detective is a five reel game
featuring the 243 Ways to Win system that Playtech so rarely invests in. Rather than include clips from the movie (fans will be isappointed by the lack of Jim
Carrey in this game), the slot depends on 3D animations that we found a bit dated and repetitive. Choose a credit size between $0.01 and $0.40.
Rocky is a video slot with five reels and twenty-five pay lines. This slot is based on the original film in the iconic series that stars Sylvester Stallone. This
Rocky slot is fully-licensed, featuring audio clips and images from the original film, along with three cool slot features. The top prize is a 10,000 coin jackpot,
won for landing five Rocky Wild symbols across an active line. Max wagers range from $0.25 up to $250 per spin. One feature we really enjoy is the random
extra wild symbols added to the reels on max bet wagers during free spins bonuses. This leads to bigger wins, not necessarily more frequent ones. All
bonuses can be retriggered indefinitely for spinning three or more scatter symbols. Players can earn up to fifteen free spins on each bonus round.
Monty Python’s Spamalot
Monty Python’s Spamalot is a five reel and twenty pay line video slot, a loose adaptation of the hit musical of the same name. A progressive version is also
available. A scatter symbol (the classic Monty Python logo itself) triggers a reward of ten free spins, which is endlessly retriggerable. The total max wager
range is from $0.25 up to $250, making this yet another Playtech licensed slot that is adaptable to a wide range of player bankrolls.
Esmeralda has a unique theme – this video slot puts you in the life of a Latin American soap opera star. The game’s symbols are the usual plus a few
luxury items like jewels and piles of cash. This is a twenty-five pay line game with a free spins bonus round. With an average win of $120,000, Esmeralda is
the closest thing to an average Playtech progressive slot that we can find. Absent are the life-changing jackpots of games like Beach Life and Jackpot Giant.
But since half Playtech’s progressive games hand out an average prize of $50,000 or less, it’s safe to say that Esmeralda isn’t the cheapest game at your
favorite online casino, either. The game’s logo acts as a scatter symbol – spin five or more, and you’ll have your triggering jackpot multiplied between 2x
Cat in Vegas
Cat in Vegas is a five reel game with twenty available pay lines. It’s stuffed with special features, like the Wheel of Luck bonus game, which triggers
randomly, and rewards a prize of up to 2,500 credits. Two other bonus games (pretty much identical to the wheel but with a few different characters
running the show) also reward instant credit prizes. The game’s logo is a nudging wild symbol, which means it’s eligible for retriggering at any time,
randomly. Cat in Vegas’ average jackpot is just over $200,000, putting this game in the top ten of Playtech’s progressives. That top prize pays out about
every three weeks, according to Playtech. The largest jackpot ever won on a Cat in Vegas game was about $500,000.
Purple Hot is an odd little game. For starters, it’s one of the few true vintage-style slot games with a decent progressive top prize. Another odd feature –
an option to gamble either half or all of your most-recent payout for a larger prize. Playtech is not big on gamble features, so we were pretty excited to
see this. Besides those features, Purple Hot is a pretty boring game. It’s five reels and five pay lines, featuring traditional fruit and number symbols. You
could think of Purple Hot as Playtech’s attempt at a UK-style fruit machine, except with a large progressive payout to entice customers who may not
otherwise ever play such a simple title. Purple Hot’s top jackpot averages around $120,000, paying off about once a month. The largest jackpot ever won
on the game was $246,400 at Bet365 in 2013.
One of Playtech’s smaller progressives, Megajacks is actually a video poker game with a progressive top prize. We include it here as an example of the
company’s small line of progressive video poker titles, often categorized along with slot progressives at online casinos running Playtech’s Viper software.
Megajacks’ top prize pays off about once a day. The main reason for this is that all you have to do to win that top prize is land a royal flush with the max
bet of five coins. The average payout is $1,320, with a highest-ever prize of $7,000 recorded sometime in 2015.
Another five reel, five pay line progressive video slot from Playtech, Diamond Valley is all about the bling. There’s not much of a plot – just lots of symbols
and animations and sound effects related to diamonds, jewelry, mining, and the good life. The game’s top non-progressive prize is worth 3,000 credits – if
that seems low, understand that this game has a pretty high return percentage for a Playtech progressive, so limiting the top prize was probably the
easiest way to make this game a bit looser than their other titles. All that’s required to play for the game’s progressive jackpot is a five-coin max wager.
Diamond Valley is a below-average progressive game in terms of payouts, handing out an average of $20,000 to winners every three weeks or so. The
game’s scatter symbols (a giant red ruby that bounces around the screen) triggers the Rescue Bonus game, where you pick from one of five gems for a
random credit amount.
Don’t let the three reel and one pay line arrangement fool you – SafeCracker is a unique and addictive progressive by the company that’s best-known for
releasing awesome progressive slot games. Unlike other single line games, SafeCracker is not for low-rollers. Credit size is fixed at $5, and the progressive is
only available to players who wager the maximum three credits, for a cost of $15 per spin. If you’ve never seen SafeCracker, you have to check out a free
play version right now. It looks like no other game in their library, with bright and sleek graphics and an inventive bonus round. In that bonus round,
ou’re shown ten wires. Seven of them reveal prize amounts, three lead to an explosion and the end of the bonus round. You’re allowed to keep cutting
wires until you blow up the bomb, at which point you go back to regular play. SafeCracker’s top prize isn’t all that impressive by Playtech standards – the
average payout is $53,000, with a record payout of $83,000 in 2014.
One of Playtech’s three most-lucrative progressives, Funky Fruits pays out an average of $1.9 million every three months. The game’s largest prize ever
record was just under $3 million. This is a weird little five reel and five line video slot that may not attract much attention if it weren’t for the life-altering
jackpot. To earn the progressive top prize, you’re looking to spin twenty-five cherry symbols at a max wager of $10. No need to choose a number of lines
to wager on – each spin includes all available lines. The trick is to wager the $10 maximum, then wait for those lucky cherry symbols.
Beach Life is Playtech’s next-to-biggest progressive jackpot game, paying out an average of $3.2 million per jackpot, which occurs about twice a year. The
largest-ever progressive win on Beach Life also happens to be Playtech’s largest-single payout ever, a total of $8.3 million in February 2012 to a British
player at BetFred Casino. As you can probably imagine from the title, Beach Life is all about luxuriating on sandy shores, with symbols of beach balls,
umbrellas, and marine life to boot. It’s a five reel twenty pay line slot. To be eligible for that huge progressive, you have to place a max bet on all twenty
lines, which is an expensive proposition.
Jackpot Giant has a progressive top prize that rewards winners an average of $6.4 million every five months. The largest-ever prize paid out as part of
Jackpot Giant’s progressive system was $6.4 million, won in 2015 by a Scottish bettor playing at Gala Casino. Jackpot Giant puts you in the role of a giant
demigod ruling over a tropical island. This fifty pay line title requires a max wager on all fifty lines plus a lot of luck for a randomly-triggered top prize.
Playtech Slots: A Summary
Whether or not you like Playtech’s slot games, you’re likely to run into them if you spend any time playing online slot games. Playtech provides their slot
titles to hundreds of online casinos, including some big names, like Paddy Power, Sky, Bet365, and Betfair. Their games are fun, they’re ubiquitous, and
Playtech’s been in the business almost as long as any other game designer.
One of our favorite features of Playtech slots is their adaptability. If you like licensed games, Playtech offers them in spades. If you are a high-roller,
Playtech has a decent lineup of high-cost slot games for you. If you prefer penny slots and simple line and reel arrangements, the company designs games
like that, too. That’s one of the benefits of playing on a game library produced by one of the oldest names in the business – Playtech knows what works
and what doesn’t, and their library of hundreds of slot machine games is a result of decades of fine-tuning.
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