Novomatic are a company found in 1980 in Austria by the now-billionaire Johann Graf, who has a personal worth of around seven billion dollars. Graf began his interest in gambling in 1974, when he founded a company to import Belgian pinball machines into Austria.
Graf eventually founded Novomatic in 1980 with the idea that the company would provide real-world slot machines to the Austrian market. They still do this, although they now supply gaming machines to over 1,600 outlets world-wide. They also have a software division that has created many popular online slot games.
Once Johann Graf had established his pinball empire, he decided his next move would be into slot machines. He founded the company ‘Novomatic Automatenhandels GmbH’ (‘Automatenhandels’ is German for ‘trading machines’). Johann released the first wave of gaming machines under the handle of ‘Admiral’.
Success came swiftly – not to Johann’s surprise – and only a year later he decided to expand into Germany, France, the Netherlands and Switzerland. By 1983 Novomatic’s gaming machines could be found in most casinos all over the globe.
By 1990 Novomatic were making slots and video poker games. The video poker machine ‘American Poker II’ swiftly became one of the most popular video poker machines on the market. Over the next couple of years Novomatic expanded yet again, this time into South Africa and former member states of the Soviet Union.
In 2008 Novomatic moved into new quarters in Gumpolskirchen, Mödling, Austria. By this time Novomatic had also begun to develop its line in online slots, in response to the growing market of fledgling online casinos..
Novomatic have over time created a significant number of online slots, and some very good ones at that. Most of the online slots that Novomatic produce are software versions of their real world slots, so such slots have been ‘tried and tested’ in bricks-and-mortar casino and arcades before they are released to the world wide web.
The company has not yet, however, fully utilised the available functionality of online-based slots, in that most of their games feature very basic gameplay. If you play a Novomatic slot, do not expect ground-breaking graphics and features, and don’t expect the kind of ‘3D engines’ employed by the likes of NetEnt and Betsoft. Novomatic’s remit seems to be to bring the world of real-world slots to your local web-browser.
Most of Novomatic’s slots are released via a UK-based company named Astra Games (which also goes under the name of Novomatic UK). Astra Games increased its slots portfolio drastically in 2010 when it acquired the majority shareholding in the Austrian-based online slots provider Greentube.
If there is one criticism of Novomatic it is that the company often seems content to trot out the same games with similar graphics, time and time again. If you play a Novomatic slot, then you will swiftly become familiar with/sick of the sound of the random electronic tune that plays every time you spin the reels, and the ‘coins and cash register’ effect whenever you achieve a tasty payout.
Novomatic’s most popular slot has been ‘Book of Ra’ which is incredibly popular in both real-world casinos and online. This Egyptian-themed slot bears more than a passing resemblance to a certain ‘adventure archeologist’ film franchise starring Harrison Ford. The adventurer’s quest in this game is to find the fabled ‘Book of Ra’ – an ancient tome with mystical powers. This slot has been so successful that it has spawned a few sequels – ‘Book of Ra Deluxe’ and ‘Book of Ra 6’, the latter of which has six reels.
Other popular NetEnt slots include ‘Amazing Stars’, ‘Ultra Hot Deluxe’ and ‘Mega Joker’. In total, Novomatic have released around two hundred online slots.
As of yet, Novomatic have not branched out extensively beyond online slots. Over time though, the company have produced a handful of casino games – one version of baccarat, one of blackjack, four of roulette and one of sic bo. They have also created four video poker games – deuces wild, joker wild and two versions of jacks or better.
The company does provide software solutions for sports books, though, via it’s subsidiary Admiral Sportwetten GmbH. The company runs over two hundred sports betting markets across the world, including unique ‘coffee house’ style betting shops.
Novomatic provides a white-label solution for companies seeking to build their own online casino yet whom lack the resources to be able to do so from scratch – all the company has to do is take the provided software and add their own branding.
One quirk of Novomatic casinos is that more often than not, such a casino will only use Novomatic’s software. Online casinos that use Novomatic’s software AND other software companies such as Microgaming or NextGen Gaming are few and far between.
Some of the best Novomatic-powered online casinos include Bell Fruit Casino, Star Games and Star Vegas. Some of the bigger online casinos that do use Novomatic software AND other software providers include BetVictor, Genting Casino and Grosvenor Casino.
Novomatic provides live casino action via another subsidiary called Extreme Live Gaming. This is a live casino studio based in London that provides five blackjack tables, two baccarat tables and seven roulette tables. In addition Extreme Live Gaming broadcasts from a real-world casino roulette table based in Gibraltar.
Many of Novomatic’s games are available via Greentube, by what the company describes as their ‘omni-channel’ technology – this simply means that Greentube’s games are written in such a way using HTML5 that whichever way they are played – real world machines, desktops, tablets or mobile devices – that they will work automatically ‘out of the box’. This makes Novomatic an attractive proposition for casino providers looking to enhance their customer’s experiences via mobile platforms.