Born and bred on the internet, iGaming, along with everything else that has been developed in the last decade, can only exist because of the technology - in this case online gambling technology - that sits behind it. When you go to spin the roulette wheel or place your bet online on a live football game, it’s an iGaming platform and the services it supports that enables that action to take place.
As anyone in the iGaming technology world will know, online gambling hosting needs are complex. The iGaming platform needs to enable the delivery of thousands of different games - both virtual and live. And with the rise of new iGaming trends like live dealer studios, operators need to deliver these games seamlessly to ever growing audiences around the world.
And while we can’t see them physically, iGaming platforms don’t just exist in a vacuum - they must ‘live’ somewhere: this is where reliable, available, and secure server infrastructure provided by an iGaming hosting provider comes in.
In this blog, we’ll explore what online gambling technology looks like and what iGaming platform providers should consider when choosing an iGaming hosting partner.
Let’s first consider what technology is involved in iGaming platforms.
Of course, there are the games - thousands of them - from poker to roulette, slots to esports. You name it, iGaming platforms support it. But there is so much more involved in the player experience than just the games alone.
From registering on the site or app, to handling payments for placing bets, there’s a whole host of online gambling technology involved in building and servicing an iGaming platform. It’s a complicated set up and online casinos have two choices for how to develop it.
Either, they can work directly with multiple vendors for the various services that they deliver to players (including different game providers). Or, they can work with a casino games aggregator.
An online casino that chooses to work directly with multiple vendors will need to manually integrate its API with the game vendor or player registration portal directly. The downside of a multi-vendor approach is that the online casino must manage relationships and integrations with many different companies.
A casino aggregator is a one-stop-shop of everything an online casino needs to develop its iGaming platform. With just one API integration, online casinos get access to different game studios, player registration, user management, payments, and more.
Casino game aggregators take away the need for online casinos to manage multiple contracts and relationships with providers - the casino aggregator does it all for them. Perhaps most importantly, this includes games vendors.
This distinction is important because the content within an online casino needs to be constantly refreshed to keep players coming back for more. To continually update the content by working with a range of different games vendors is very time consuming and could result in online content that isn’t as up to date as competitor offerings. With a casino games aggregator, online casinos can easily introduce new games from multiple vendors in one go.
As a software solution, a casino games aggregator must also be hosted somewhere. So, whether an online casino works directly with vendors or with a casino aggregator, iGaming hosting plays an important role.
So, what’s involved in hosting for iGaming platforms and what should online casinos and games aggregators look for from a hosting partner?
As we discussed in our previous blog, which looks at iGaming infrastructure, latency is crucial for iGaming platforms. It’s what ensures players don’t experience a delay when playing a game or placing a bet online.
In the same vein, limiting downtime with stable infrastructure is vital. Downtime is hugely frustrating for players and might cause them to consider alternative iGaming platforms. This in turn causes a loss in revenue for the operator and can do serious reputational damage.
In 2022, online gambling giant Bet365’s website went down on two separate occasions. One took place just after the Aintree Grand National race in the UK with punters unable to withdraw their winnings. The other was during a UEFA Champions League football match between Manchester City and Real Madrid. While there are no reports of the impact of these outages on Bet365’s bottom line, we can take a guess at possible revenue loss.
More recently, online gambling platform Roblox, experienced significant game downtime and offline services leaving players unable to access Roblox content. The exact cause of the service disruption which began on October 21 2023 remains unknown but it is thought that the service disruption was localized to specific geographical areas.
Good server infrastructure for iGaming platforms and casino games aggregators will have powerful processors capable of running games and serving thousands of transactions per minute. To ensure the best possible experience, your iGaming platform provider’s servers should have the latest CPUs (backed by a large amount of storage capacity) and security built in.
Unsurprisingly, for an industry that deals with payments, player information and the games themselves, security in iGaming is important. In 2022 there were approximately 19 million online sports bettors in the U.S. - a number that is expected to reach 23.1 million by the end of 2023. And that’s just sports betting. It goes to show that iGaming platforms need to be capable of securely processing huge volumes of online bets.
Compliance is also crucial. iGaming is regulated at a sovereign state level meaning that different countries and states have different legislation requirements.
Both security and compliance were key considerations for our work with casino and sportsbook platform provider, Soft2Bet. Our multiple Uptime Institute certified data centers in Europe ensure that Soft2Bet can guarantee enterprise-level security and redundancy at a data center level.
For Soft2Bet it was the “great level of cooperation offered by servers.com during assessments and audit procedures which we undergo as a regulated business” that added value on top of providing “high-performance and reliable IT infrastructure at very competitive pricing and with great support”.
Because of the importance placed on security and compliance in the iGaming industry and with online gambling technology, some iGaming platform providers and casino games aggregators choose to host their solutions on dedicated servers in private racks. The benefit of private racks is that they don’t have to share it with other businesses – it is completely dedicated to that one iGaming platform provider. Some jurisdictions may even state that the iGaming platform needs to use a private rack for compliance.
Just as the iGaming market has grown, so has the number of hosting providers. Choosing who to work with to host your iGaming platform depends on some level what your specific requirements are. For example, you may want to start operating in one of the recently legalized states in the US which has localized legislation around online gambling.
From our perspective, regardless of what your requirements are, you should be looking to work with an iGaming hosting provider that doesn’t just offer simple delivery of servers but a consultative partnership. It’s easy to take a list of requirements and requests from a customer and implement them. A good hosting partner should ask ‘why?’.
Why do you want these specific requirements?
What are you trying to achieve?
What plans do you have for the future that might impact your hosting decisions today?
With answers to these questions, the hosting provider along with the customer can develop an iGaming hosting solution that meets the conscious and perhaps even unconscious needs of the business for today and for the future.
In our view, that partnership should also extend to ongoing customer support. When something goes wrong - say your iGaming platform goes down - the last thing you want is to be trying to contact the hosting provider via a bot or email.
In an industry that has its foundations online, being able to speak to an actual person when an issue arises makes a huge difference. So, look for a hosting provider that provides that personal touch.
For our customers, we assign an account manager for the duration meaning the team that onboards you, stays with you. Ready to solve any concerns or issues with you.
The proliferation and development of online gambling technology has enabled iGaming to become the billion-dollar industry that it is today. In many ways, however, it’s only just getting started.
Increasing numbers of countries and states - including the US and Canada - are legalizing iGaming. New iGaming trends like metaverse casinos are bringing fully immersive land-based casino experiences to the online world. Cryptocurrency is becoming a more widely accepted form of payment. These developments all offer iGaming platform providers and their hosting partners with new opportunities and new challenges.
Last Updated: 30 October 2023