Can Computer Science Students Develop an Online Casino? [In-depth Analysis]
Online gambling is one of the most lucrative Internet-based industries. With a market size getting close to C$70 billion, more people are looking for ways to start an online casino business.
You might be tempted to think that developing a gaming platform is an easy task. In reality, creating an online casino is more challenging than you might expect, even if you have a background in technology.
If you analyze the market data and look closely at top online casinos, you’ll notice some focus on fast withdrawals, others on player security, and some on game selection. Still, all of them have to integrate games and payment methods, because otherwise there wouldn’t be a casino. Then, you need at least a minimal responsible gaming toolset, and all the other defining features of a casino, all of which require a separate IT skill.
Our casino expert team has carefully researched the development of the leading online gaming platforms. After filtering all the information, we have identified the five tech skills that programmers should focus on if they want to create their casino site:
- Cyber-security and protection against hackers
- Web design and User Interfaces
- Back end development and database communication
- Integrating third-party software and payment methods using APIs
- In-house casino game development and design
This article will explain whether it is possible for a tech student to develop a gaming platform from scratch.
Let’s find out!
What tech students think about developing their own casino websites?
Even the most talented programmers consider that having a casino site up and running is a difficult task. There are many factors they need to consider before launching a functional version. And all this consideration takes time.
To find out how difficult it is for a programmer to develop a gaming site from scratch, our team went straight to the heart of the matter and interviewed several computer science students. Some of their answers weren’t too helpful, but we managed to filter out the biased inputs and made a crucial discovery:
Most tech students consider developing a casino platform an achievable task. Still, computer science universities don’t teach the necessary programming skills for such enterprise.
Over 80% of our respondents think getting a computer science degree has nothing to do with real-life programming. While universities help you understand how to think like a programmer and how complex algorithms work, only a self-taught developer will be able to deal with actual projects.
In essence, and that’s what our respondents believe, the difference between a top-quality programmer and a mediocre one is their experience in a real programming environment. A talented coder doesn’t need years of experience working for a corporation, as long as they work on their personal side projects.
How to develop a casino platform
In the eyes of a computer science student that has already developed dozens of applications and websites, creating a gaming platform from scratch is possible, as long as you have access to the right information.
Luckily, finding the appropriate resources for your project is no hassle. Thousands of free tutorials and ready-made programming interfaces can help you develop a gambling platform from scratch, but you have to dedicate this project a lot of time if you’re to succeed.
Understand the market and stand out from the crowd
To build a successful casino site, you need to understand the gambling market and find a niche that differentiates your product from existing competitors. Anyone willing to start an online casino needs to run competitive analysis and identify key components that all platforms have in common.
If you were to ask the big casino platforms their recipe for success, they would answer that focusing on user experience, and design plays a crucial role in converting casual players to loyal customers.
So, once you have a slight idea of how your website should look, you need to think of a way to differentiate it from your competitors without compromising user experience.
Usually, that means superior branding and better appealing welcome bonuses. You should strive to always offer better value to your players, and that includes having lower wagering requirements and offering larger bonuses than your competition. Still, make sure you don’t deplete all the company’s funds on bonus incentives!
Can you start a casino site if you have no experience with web development?
Even as a tech student, you might have little to no experience with creating websites. Most computer science universities won’t teach you how to create a website from scratch since they focus mainly on programming theory instead of actionable development practices.
No worries, there are plenty of resources available online which can teach you all the necessary web developer tools, including Design, Back end, working with databases, and integrating third-party software.
Make sure you have an in-depth understanding of all the web development technologies before you actually start coding your project.
Alternatively, if you have enough capital, you can consider going for a white label casino, which allows you to rent the operational and technological infrastructure from a well-known gambling operator.
It’s better to have a team instead of trying to do everything by yourself. The amount of work required for creating complex projects like a casino site can be overwhelming, and finishing it by yourself might take a long time.
Legal requirements for creating an online casino
Suppose you have every technical aspect out of the way, and you’re ready to launch your gaming platform. In that case, you will need to develop a thorough understanding of all the legal and regulatory factors involved in running a successful online gaming business.
The Canadian player base has come to distinguish legit online casinos from shady enterprises, so don’t even think about dodging the law. Based on our experience in the industry, these are the main legal pre-requisites, common to all platforms functioning legally:
- Integrating Random Number Generator software – All casino games must be powered by RNG software. Technically, it’s relatively easy to integrate.
- Obtaining a gambling license – Most countries require a license from a gaming authority to let you operate on their soil. Depending on the jurisdiction where you want to operate your online casinos, you will need specific gambling licenses.
- Having your games tested for fairness – To get approved by a regulator, your games need to be tested for hit frequency and RTP percentages. Balancing your games for profitability while respecting the law can be quite tricky. Still, it is mandatory if you want to run a legit business.
- Exercising due diligence – Do not attract any form of ill-reputation to your casino site, for example by employing unethical practices to lure new players in. It’s essential to ensure that every aspect of your business is abiding by the law.
If you’re on a tight budget, you might want to consider collaborating with cheaper regulators like Curacao or Kahnawake. Additionally, if you can’t afford to pay for premium software provider licenses (e.g., NetEnt or Microgaming), you can start with in-house casino games until you can pay for high-quality games. Still, it’s better to collaborate
Casino software license or in-house developed games
While hundreds of software providers allow you to use their games in exchange for a fee or percentage of your profit, you might not have enough money to afford a software license.
Luckily, as a programmer, you have a cheaper solution – developing in-house casino games.
Based on our analysis, we discovered plenty of game engines like Unity that support the development of in-house slot machines and casino games. In exchange for a fee, you will get access to the platform’s out-of-the-box features that allow you to create high-quality content, including 2D and 3D casino games.
Game engines generally support multiple platforms, including WebGL, Android, iOS, macOS, and Windows, meaning that your games will be optimized for all types of devices and even playable in the browser.
Even though you might be inclined towards creating your casino games – there’s a catch! If you want to release real money casino games, your platform needs to be licensed. However, once you join the casino game development community, you will get access to in-person workshops, complete documentation, and tutorials to help you get on the right path.
The benefits of dealing with famous software providers
While creating your own casino games is a cheaper alternative, most players are used to classic games from leading software providers. Thus, in the long run you might want to invest in software licenses.
Based on our market research, a large proportion of casino operators today promote specific titles from well-known providers. For example, Playtech bonuses are a popular choice for many no deposit casino bonuses. If want your casino to be competitive, you’d better start a conversation with famous providers.
Get their games on your platform as soon as possible. Usually, their titles are already optimized for mobile play, taking another task off your to-do list. Since you simply need to link them on your platform, you can focus on creating an optimized casino app. Canadian players may not download an app that doesn’t have Starburst, for instance.
However, if you decide to start your business with in-house games, we highly recommend collaborating with Unity. This end-to-end platform offers full support for gambling operators, allowing you to easily make dynamic changes to your games and quickly optimize for different screen sizes.
The bottom line
From our point of view, a tech student may develop an online casino, but we have to admit that creating it from scratch would be challenging. While the computer science degree won’t teach you much about casino technologies, you can become a self-taught gambling developer by learning from the correct resources, available online for free.
Remember that running an Internet-based casino requires a license and always comply with gambling regulations. If you’ve managed to get the budget issue and legal requirements out of the way, you can start building your gaming website. It takes time, but if you take note of our tips, you’ll turn it into a profitable business soon enough!