Where Do the Games Come From? If you look around the world-wide-web, or a brick and mortar casino, you will quickly find a selection of games that can make your head spin. Many of each kind of casino offer some of the same games, provided by the same manufacturers or software developers. Some of the key, long-term builders of casino games are International Game Technology (IGT), WMS Gaming, Novomatic and Aristocrat, although there are numerous other manufacturers. IGT is one of the premier manufacturers of gaming machines, beginning in the 1980’s. Some of their most popular machines include Red, White and Blue, Five Times Pay, Double Diamond, and Wheel of Fortune. IGT also provides games for online casino operators. WMS has been manufacturing gaming machines since the 1990’s, and their offerings include such casino favorites such as Zeus and Reel Em In. Like IGT, WMS also provides dozens of games for the online casino industry. Aristocrat manufactures such popular games as Queen of the Nile and Panda Paradise, and also reaches into the online presence with their offerings. Many high-technology companies that produce (or have produced) gaming machines have their roots back in the early days of pinball machines, growing into such markets as video poker machines and spinning reel slot machines. As technological advances in microcomputers and other electronics evolved, some early players dropped out of the industry, while others excelled. IGT and WMS are examples of companies who became innovators in high-resolution animated graphics, coupled with enhanced sound effects and bonus activities, which enhance the player’s experience. This works to the advantage of the casino, engaging the player with the machine’s level of action, and increasing the duration of play on that particular machine. Terrestrial vs. Online As the internet has become the destination for entertainment for many individuals, online casinos became a natural market for these companies. With the capabilities of today’s home computers, tablets, and even smartphones, the gaming experience online can provide players with every nuance of sitting in front of a physical gaming machine. Online casinos have now been patronized by an estimated 12 million individuals, and the number is growing. Over 4.5 million are regular players, with nearly half within the US. So Who Are the Players? Individuals from all walks of life report patronizing online casinos. This includes blue collar workers of all kinds, doctors, lawyers, and teachers. All levels of professional people, with every conceivable level of education participate in the excitement of casino gaming. All levels of income also enjoy the entertainment value of land-based and online casino play, as well. Age knows no bounds at casinos, either. Although most countries do not permit under-age citizens to patronize casinos (of either kind), beyond that limitation you will find individuals of any age bracket enjoying the pleasures of gaming action. People of many religious backgrounds gamble, as well. While some religions do frown on gambling, certainly, most are tolerant of gaming as entertainment or amusement (or even utilizing limited gambling to raise funds). Both men and women gamble, although they generally prove to have varying tastes in the games they select. Why Do We Play It’s safe to say that every player has the notion in the back of their minds their play could potentially be rewarded with a large jackpot payout, but most play for entertainment, social interaction, stress relief, and escape. What provides a better shelter from day-to-day problems than focusing on a card game, spinning reels, rolling dice, and flashing lights? Studies have indicated that many individuals gamble for the excitement and entertainment value, as well as the diversion from their other daily activities and responsibilities. While there are players who exceed their financial means in their gambling habits, casinos strive to educate patrons that help is available to assist them with problems such as gambling addictions. The vast majority of gamers plays responsibly, and considers gaming to provide them with entertainment value, much as going to a movie or other type of amusement. The essence of gambling is that it’s exciting, entertaining, and let’s be honest, it’s fun. It can provide a player with a social outlet, a challenge, an occasional payout, and even comps or perks from some casinos, terrestrial or online. When gaming is done responsibly, with a reputable operator, it can provide the player with an enjoyable experience for their entertainment dollar.