Download vs. No-Download: The Big 5 Differences
Once upon a time, to play casino games online you had to download a bulky piece of software to your desktop first. Like poker players on the net, a cumbersome client was downloaded first and opened in order to access a library of games (although playing and making transactions was still done over the Internet).
Today, however, many casinos offer both download and no-download options. With a simple username and password it's possible to log-in to a casino site and start playing slots and table games that load in a few seconds via your browser.
But what are the differences between download and no-download casinos, and what are the benefits of each?
1 - Accessibility
Most no-download games are designed using Flash, HTML5 or Java. These are secure platforms which allow games to be loaded up using the player's web browser.
Not only are modern HTML5 games slick and sophisticated, they can be accessed regardless of your machine. And the games are just the same as the download versions in both appearance and gameplay.
So, while a download casino client might only work on a PC/Windows, a no-download casino can work on Linux or Mac too. With the Mac growing in popularity in recent years, some downloadable sites provide a special Mac client but the no-download option is a solid back-up.
But where no-download casinos really come into their own is on mobile and tablets. If a mobile client isn't available, HTML5 slots and table games can be played on a touch-screen in minutes.
2 - Range of Games and Developers
Download casino clients offer a full range of games with full usability. The lobby will be packed with every game possible, including all table games and Live Dealer games.
With instant-play clients, though, developers who only specialise in non-download games will be available. As a result, you'll notice a much-reduced lobby in a no-download site. Players might be restricted to half the number of online slots and a fraction of roulette and blackjack.
3 - Memory Space
As a smart online casino player, you should have 10-12 accounts to benefit from all the games and bonuses.
But 10-12 software clients can take up a lot of memory space, not to mention potential malware if you don't have anti-virus set up.
With no-download sites all you need is a URL in your Favourites or Bookmarks, and a secure list of logins to hand.
4 - Security and Viruses
Installing malicious viruses like malware and spyware is a pain, and can be potentially damaging. That's always the danger with downloading a casino client to your computer's hard drive. But on the whole, as long as you stick to reliable, licensed casinos you shouldn't be in danger.
No-download sites just require a log-in, and games are downloaded in browsers, so you never have to expose your computer. Whichever site you choose, check the homepage for proper certificates to prove security measures. The SSL logo means the casino uses Secure Socket Layers to protect personal data and bank details.
5 - The Best Software Manufacturers
Although not exclusive, the newer software makers are the ones most likely to have no-download games. And new releases will also be available in no-download format too.
Developers like NetEnt only work with instant-play games, if you're looking for games from developers they'll be available at no-download casinos. This is a sign that the casino can be accessed via the browser without downloading huge programs to the desktop.
Similarly, respected casino games makers like Playtech and Microgaming produce games that work in Flash, Java or HTML5 and work directly via the browser or on a mobile phone.
Plus, no-download casinos that home games like that will work for players using Mac OS machines or Linux.