In the early days of the online gambling industry, there weren’t many competitors out there. That may seem strange, but you have to remember that this was a very new venture for anyone to take on, and few groups were willing to put up the time and money to get started. Any operators needed to create both the games and other software from scratch, make sure everything worked while navigating uncertain legal waters, and after all that, hope that this was something people actually wanted – after all, Internet casinos were an entirely untested idea at the time.
But many of the brave companies that decided to be the first innovators in this field were richly rewarded, with some of them still existing today. One example is Vista Gaming, a provider that has been around all the way since 1996. The company, which is today headquartered in Malta as a subsidiary of the CB Corporation, was actually responsible for the very first online bingo website in the world, known as CyberBingo.com. They’ve worked on many more sites since then, and remain one of the premier bingo software providers in the iGaming industry.
Like many companies, however, they have long since decided to spread beyond their initial niche and work on a wider variety of games. Vista now boasts a rather large library of casino games, ranging from a set of diverse slot machines to video poker machines, table games, and arcade-style options. This has made the studio a popular choice for many operators both in the bingo sector that want to offer up a more rounded selection of games to their user base, and more a few casino sites that have added their unique games to their collection.
A Diverse Game Selection with a Bingo Focus
As you might guess given their origins, Vista Gaming is still primarily focused on their bingo operations. Their various styles of 75 and 90 ball drawing games remain their flagship product, providing an entire platform on which operators can base their bingo patterns. The software supports dozens of custom themes and game types, side bets, mini chat games, and much more, making it a versatile and powerful platform from which to launch a site.
However, we’re more interested in the company’s casino operations. Here, their portfolio begins with a set of about 20 slot machines, which cover an interesting range of themes and gameplay types. These tend to be pretty solid games, and while they would never be confused for the games from some of the world’s top slots developers, they are a fine addition to most sites.
Let’s take a look at a few of these games in order to get an idea of what’s in store for players. First, there is Lost Vikings, a five-reel slot machine that comes with up to 21 paylines. This is a pretty standard format for a Vista slot machine, with most of these games also coming in 9 and 15 line formats, customizable by operators based on what they want to offer their players. As with most games from this company, you won’t be blown away by the graphics, which are a bit blocky and lacking in detail. However, the presentation still isn’t bad: sound effects are used to great impact, and there are some short little animations that let you know when you’ve won on one or more lines.
The game itself has quite a few innovative ideas in it. First, the symbols are all based on Viking runes – each individual rune comes in a different color, however, so you won’t be too confused when you try to piece together wins, as you can just look for all the red, green, or purple icons, for instance. What’s very different is the way wins are paid out. You don’t need to match left-to-right across the reels: anytime you hit three or more of a matching symbol on the same payline, you’ll win, regardless of where they are on the reels. That means that you can hit the same icon on the first, third, and fifth columns of the same payline, and you’ll win the 3x prize. Throw in a free spins round that is triggered by a scatter symbol and an instant win bonus where you’ll pick one of three ships, and there’s a surprising amount going on in this machine – certainly more than what you’ll notice at first glance.
Another popular title in this library is Games Bond, a machine that is, of course, based heavily on the James Bond series of films. The graphics here are a bit more cartoonish than in Lost Vikings, but they’re certainly thematic: while the gameplay area is made up to look like a slot machine on a casino floor (a popular motif when developers aren’t sure what to do with the background), the symbols themselves point to a Casino Royale style film, with dice, roulette wheels, and cards on the reels along with guns and secret agents.
Once again, while the art and animations aren’t super impressive, we were delighted to see a lot of effort put into the sound design of the product, since that’s an area that’s often overlooked in this industry. Once again, the three-of-a-kind, no matter where rule is in play, so you won’t have to make left-to-right wins in order to score prizes. A martini glass serves as the wild, while three scattered roulette wheels will earn you free spins, and an additional bonus game once again gives you a chance at earning some additional instant prizes.
While many of the Vista machines are pretty similar to the two above, there are exceptions. For instance, a more traditional mode of play is on display in Lucky 7s, a five-payline, three-reel game that is just like the machines you’d find in any brick-and-mortar resort. Despite the relatively small game space, there are plenty of betting options, as players can not only customize how many lines they play but also how many coins they bet per line, up to a maximum of five each.
The game itself is like so many you’ve seen before: players match cherries, bars, and sevens in order to score wins across the reels. There are no special bonus rounds, free spins games, or instant win features to be found in this game, but the top prize (the golden sevens) can still earn you a whole lot of coins, making this a fun machine for those who really love the classic, no-nonsense style of slots that were common in earlier decades.
Overall, these slots are fun and have some interesting features, even if they don’t tend to be impressive when put up against the top modern creations coming out of the industry today. Still, we enjoyed playing many of them, including the following titles:
- Princess of the Sea
- Mystery at the Manor
- Scary Night
- Frankie’s Place
- Disco Fever
- Havana Nights
- Rock Star
- Sands of Egypt
Vista Gaming has also created a decent library of table games, one that includes most of the basics without offering up much that you haven’t seen a million times before. That’s not really a criticism, as it allows sites to quickly integrate the most popular games in formats that are easy to play. Games offered include blackjack, baccarat, both American and European roulette, casino war, and a player vs. dealer version of Texas Hold’em. It’s nothing special, but a nice addition to the slots collection.
We can give a little more praise to the video poker selection, where the provider has actually put in a bit more work than most of their competitors. There are a total of 10 different machines you can choose from, each of which comes in three versions: single-handed, four-handed, and ten-handed. We were familiar with all of the variants on offer here, so you won’t find anything too exotic, but you’ll still get to enjoy all of the most popular machines you may have seen at other casinos. Options include:
- Jacks or Better
- Deuces Wild
- Bonus Poker
- Joker Poker
- Double Bonus
- Tens or Better
- Double Joker Poker
Finally, we also have to say a word or two about the arcade games section of the Vista collection. These machines offer up layouts that look a bit like a slot machine with a 5×5 format, but prizes can come in any combination of matching symbols that appear anywhere on the screen. In games like Tweet Tweet, you’ll be able to trigger rolling wins, as winning combinations will disappear from the reels and allow new symbols to fall into place, potentially keeping the action going indefinitely. With jackpots and other features also included in these games, they offer an interesting new dimension that will prove to be a unique addition to most casino sites.
Reputation Built on Strong Sites with Years of Trust
Even though they’ve been around for decades, Vista Gaming isn’t quite as prolific as you might expect them to be. For the most part, they’ve stuck with some rather well-known bingo sites, with only a few top brands in the casino side of the industry taking on their software. What we can definitely say, however, is that these sites are all rather well-trusted: if you find this software powering a website, or even just being a part of a larger package, you can feel pretty comfortable that you are at a reputable site.
While some casinos and sportsbooks use this software and the games collection in conjunction with those from other companies (including luminaries like Rival, Betsoft, and RTG), Vista is also known for offering up complete white label solutions that allow operators to build an entire casino from scratch in an instant. That’s why you’ll sometimes see bingo sites and other gambling rooms that heavily feature this software – it is truly all that is necessary for a site to operate on, from the games to all of the back end features that players never see but are critical to a functioning casino.
A Longtime Contributor Remains Relevant Today
While Vista Gaming may not have the flashiest software or the most impressive slots today, they are still a very important contributor to the iGaming industry, just as they have been since they first launched more than 20 years ago. Few companies have the clout that this provider has built up over their decades in the business, and even though players can’t tangibly see it, that level of trust and reliability is often more important than anything else a software provider can offer. We’re not sure that any casino players have to seek this firm out, but if you run into their games – which are mostly found in grey market regions, including the United States – you can feel confident that they are safe, fun, and reliable, and we’re happy to recommend them to our readers.