No Download vs Download casinos

When online casinos were first created, there was only ever one option for potential punters. To connect to an online casino, users had to download and install specific programs to their PC.

Fast forward twenty years and these days very few online casinos offer downloadable versions of their software. Instead, players simply open up the casino in their chosen internet browser, and off they go to gamble.

Some players prefer the convenience of ‘in-browser’ casinos, while others miss the ‘good old days’ of casinos that they could download and install. Here we take a look at the pros and cons of each.

Below, you’ll find some of the very best ‘no download’ online casinos the internet has to offer:

5/5
Exceptional
  • Gamification feature
  • Mobile friendly
  • Broad range of game providers
Casino review
  • First Deposit
  • Up to £300 + 30 spins
  • Welcome Bonus
Max bet £5. 30x wagering. New UK customers only. Game weightings apply Click here for Full Terms & Conditions.
5/5
Exceptional
  • Fun, modern approach to casino entertainment.
  • Provisions in place to protect problem gamblers.
  • Certified as fair by reliable Swedish auditing body.
Casino review
  • First Deposit
  • 20 spins on sign-up
  • 100% on first deposit
No-deposit spins valid on Starburst. After first deposit, wager of £20+ required to unlock spins, at 20 spins per day for 5 days. Bonus spins can be redeemed on Starburst, Asgardian Stones, Gonzo's Quest, Finns & the Swirly Spin, Aloha or Fruit Spin Click here for Full Terms & Conditions.
5/5
Exceptional
  • Easy to navigate, intuitive design
  • Daily cash tournaments
  • 100% welcome bonus up to £100 + 100 spins for new players
Casino review
  • First Deposit
  • 50% up to £150
  • and 150 spins
18+. New players only. 50% bonus on first deposit up to £150 plus 150 free spins. Free spins are playable on Berryburst at 15 spins per day. Min. first deposit £20. Max bonus bet £5. Max bonus cash-out £500. Free spins expire after 48 hours. Bonus expires after 30 days. Cash balance must be £0 to use bonus. Wagering requirement of 40x to cash out bonus and free spin winnings. Game restrictions apply. Full T&Cs apply. Click here for Full Terms & Conditions.
4.5/5
Very Good
  • Clean, user-friendly interface.
  • Lots of variety when it comes to games.
  • Imaginative promotions, such as winning a trip into space!
Casino review
  • First Deposit
  • 100% up to £100
  • Welcome Bonus
Bonus cash can only be used on casino games. Max bet £5. Game weightings apply Click here for Full Terms & Conditions.
5/5
Exceptional
  • The Grosvenor brand has a stellar reputation.
  • £20 free if you're a member of a Grosvenor live casino.
  • Manual flushing available.
Casino review
  • First Deposit
  • £20 bonus cash
  • Welcome Bonus
Wagering requirements must be met within 30 days. Click here for Full Terms & Conditions.
5/5
Exceptional
  • Backed by one of the world's leading gambling companies
  • Roulette counts 50% towards WR on the bonus...
  • Novomatic games, such as Book of Ra
Casino review
  • First Deposit
  • 100% bonus up to £300
  • and 20 spins
New players only. Deposit Match Bonus: Min 50x wagering (% game weightings apply), play restrictions apply. Max bonus bet £5, 15 days to accept & 30 days to complete wagering. Deposited funds locked to casino platform until wagering met. Real money funds used first. Free Spins: Available after deposit bonus is redeemed/lost, Dreamcatcher only. 1x wagering, Max bonus bet £5, 7 days to accept & 7 days to complete wagering, maximum withdrawal from winnings is £200. Bonus funds used first. Full T&Cs apply. Click here for Full Terms & Conditions.
4.5/5
Very Good
  • Transparent about responsible gambling and fair pay-outs.
  • Excellent slot game catalogue.
  • Intuitive user interface and great user experience overall.
Casino review
  • First Deposit
  • 100% up to €200
  • plus €10 extra
To activate your bonus, go to "My Profile" -> "My Bonuses". Your bonus funds will be available for withdrawal when you have wagered your deposit 20 times within 7 days. Jackpot games do not contribute to the bonus conversion. Your bonus money will be paid out in 10% increments. The bonus expires upon withdrawal if the qualification requirement is not reached. Full T&Cs apply. Click here for Full Terms & Conditions.
4.5/5
Very Good
  • NetEnt games!
  • Clear and concise casino design
  • Decent payment options and no withdrawal limits
Casino review
  • First Deposit
  • 100% up to £100
  • and 100 spins
Max bet £2. Bonus spins are wager-free. Number of spins awarded depends on amount deposited. Free spins expire after 7 days Click here for Full Terms & Conditions.
4.5/5
Very Good
  • Over 200 mobile games
  • Paypal deposits permitted
  • All major providers + live casino options
Casino review
  • First Deposit
  • 10 no deposit spins
  • Up to £200 on first deposit
No deposit spins are wager-free. Players must verify account via mobile to qualify. Max bonus bet £5. Game weightings apply. Skrill/Neteller deposits ineligible. Bonus cash can be used on 30 selected slots only. Click here for Full Terms & Conditions.
5/5
Exceptional
  • Big, bold, brassy site
  • Bonus wagering conditions are perfectly reasonable
  • 20 Free Spins on Starburst
Casino review
  • Welcome Package
  • 20 bonus spins on sign up
  • Up to £100 + 100 spins
Min deposit £20. 1st dep 100% up to £100. Then 50 spins in Book of Dead per day for 2 days after first dep. 20 spins in Book of Dead upon registration. Max bonus bet £5. Wagering: 30x on bonus spins, 60x on 1st dep bonus. Game weighting and T&Cs apply. Click here for Full Terms & Conditions.

Downloadable Casinos

When companies such as Microgaming and InterCasino first offered online casinos, internet connections were not the super-fast broadband and fibre optic options we are familiar with today. Most people had a dial-up connection, which meant they connected to the internet using a phone line.

Such connections were not noted for their speed. In fact if you wanted to download something as simple as an image, you had ample time to start the download off then go and make yourself a cup of coffee before the image had finished downloading.

The methods used by casinos to run their internet-enabled software were not very technical – in fact they still aren’t, as they do not need to be. It is a simply a case of you sending numbers to the casino’s server, and the casino sending numbers back to you. Of course, without all the bells and whistles of slots reels or roulette wheels spinning, this would be a very dull affair!

Therefore software is needed to interpret these numbers, which is where the software for online casinos comes in. In those fledgling days of online gambling, your only viable option was to spend time downloading the casino’s software. Once downloaded, you could then open an account with the casino, then each time you wanted to play you simply logged on and played all your casino favourites.

The only real downside to downloadable casinos was the fact that the casino software took up valuable space on your hard drive. When the available byte-sizes of hard drives began to grow, and their prices fell, this ceased to be an issue. The only remaining annoyance was the need to download a piece of software for every casino at which you had an account.

One issue with downloadable casinos is (and still is) that online casino companies are usually only concerned about providing software for computers that run Microsoft Windows. As Windows is far and away the most numerous operating system in the world, it made sense for companies to concentrate their budgets on creating Windows executables. This left people with PCs and laptops running alternative operating systems such as Apple’s OSX or Linux out in the casino wastelands. Users could take special measures in order to get Windows software to run under OSX or Linux, but the results were generally a little haphazard.

No Download Casinos

The internet changed the world, and several applications have changed the internet, but none more so perhaps than Adobe Flash. By using Flash, websites could become interactive. Small programs called ‘applets’ downloaded temporarily when a user viewed a web page. As internet connectivity speeds increased, so did the complexity and scope of these small applications.

Online casino software companies began to offer games that were written in Flash. This meant that online casinos could now create sites that included games that they did not create themselves – they simply used applications licensed from other providers.

This benefitted online gamblers as well, as the range of games available to them at any one online casino now increased hugely. Additionally, some software companies started to offer complete end-to-end casino solutions, including payment processing and customer handling. All a business wanting to operate an online casino had to do was to provide the webspace and bandwidth, and to the deal with marketing (if they wanted to be successful).

Eventually, most online casinos began to offer both no-download and downloadable versions of their software. For the latter option, the site itself would be written in HTML, while the games would be programmed using either Flash or Javascript.

Slowly though, Adobe’s Flash began to fall out of favour. This was largely due to the rise of mobile devices, spearheaded by Apple and the release first of the iPhone, followed by the iPad. Apple were not fans of Adobe’s software, and would not permit Flash to be installed on iOS-based devices.

Casino companies were keen that their software worked just as well on mobiles and tablets as it did on PCs and laptops. They did not want to have to spend excessive amounts of their budget on developing two different platforms. In addition, Adobe announced that they were going to cease development on their ageing Flash platform, and would eventually withdraw support for it altogether.

HTML5 arrived in 2014 to provide a neat and much more efficient alternative to Flash. Online casinos and internet software gambling companies quickly made moves to release their games using HTML5.

One of the key benefits of HTML5 is the fact it is largely browser and platform independent. This means than an HTML5 game played using Firefox on a PC running Windows will run in much the same way as the same game played using Chrome on a laptop running Ubuntu. Additionally, HTML5 games run perfectly well on iPhones, iPads and Androids.

The only real downside to ‘no download’ casinos is that they are not as resilient as software that is downloaded and installed separately. Because they rely on browsers and operating systems, there is never any absolute guarantee that the games will run one hundred percent perfectly. The last thing a punter wants is for a game to crash on a big win, but usually there are plenty of safeguards in place to prevent such a thing from happening.

So, which is your preference, download or no download (that is the question)? You can find out which casinos are available as downloads and which are not via RightCasino.com, as we continue our quest to provide the right casino for you.