It’s not easy to measure the performance of casino games. Sure, you’ll see vague reports in financial publications talking about the overall table revenues of Las Vegas or Macao, but that’s only one aspect of a diverse industry. Casinos rarely publish details of individual games’ popularity, and it’s not as if there’s a Billboard Hot 100 released every week. We do get plenty of informal information: Otherwise, how would players know what’s popular and what isn’t?
However, some auditing companies do look at these things in detail, and it was interesting to see the November 2021 report from Eilers & Krejcik. It terms itself a “boutique research firm”, but it’s becoming an influential figure in the iGaming industry. Statistics matter, so independent bodies like E&K are becoming more important in the fast-growing global online casino industry. Knowing exactly what’s popular gives games developers and casinos the information to provide players with better games.
Bonanza Megaways is officially the top slot
But we were interested to see the game that topped E&K’s overall list in North America – Bonanza Megaways. If you play online casino games regularly, you’ll probably know Bonanza as it’s one of the most influential games ever released (more on that later). If you don’t play casino games online, you can see it for yourself at this top Canadian site: https://www.genesiscasino.com/en-ca/. Bonanza was released by Big Time Gaming (BTG) in 2016. Yet, it’s not just another popular slot – its influence transformed the online casino sector.
Bonanza beat out 88 Fortunes (2nd) and Extra Chilli (3rd) to take the top spot. The former is made by SG Gaming, whereas the latter was also developed by BTG. That tells you a lot about BTG’s influence. It is a very small developer in terms of its output, but it has an outsized impact on the wider industry. BTG was formed in Australia, but it was acquired this year by Evolution Gaming, a much bigger rival that focuses on live casino software.
BTG has had huge success with the Megaways concept
So, what makes Bonanza so popular? Well, it was the first Megaways game to really become a smash-hit. Megaways is a concept created by BTG. It uses a shifting reel-set that can provide over 100,000 paylines in a spin. The games are high-octane and often volatile, but they are rarely dull. BTG has licensed the Megaways technology to many of its rivals, so they too have created this style of slot. 100s of online games are branded with Megaways today, and it’s not a stretch to say it’s now the most popular genre of casino games in the world.
As we mentioned earlier, knowing this stuff is important. If you play casino games, you will want to know what is organically popular. Our choices are often determined by the placement of games on the site – think of it a bit like Amazon’s sponsored products or Google search results. You are more likely to choose games on Page 1 than on Page 23. It’s a kind of nudge theory. And while casinos will often put the most popular games near the top, it’s not always the case. So, companies like E&K provide a crucial service in the burgeoning online casino sector for players and operators alike.