So you own a Mac. Congratulations, you are using the best personal computer available, right? You have also bought into the Apple ecosystem and are used to a closed world of products designed to run only on Macintosh computers. In today’s iPhone-obsessed world it is sometimes easy to forget that before mobile computing Apple was a niche player at best in the desktop computer universe.
Consider that in 1997 the Mac faithful numbered about 20 million. At the same time there were 340 million PCs running Windows. In 2003 Apple clung to a minuscule 2.06 percent market share of the desktop computer market in the United States. Since the introduction of the iPod, iPhone and iPad the market share for the Macintosh OS X operating system has risen to over 14 percent – an impressive climb but still the numbers of a minor player.
Converts to the Apple ecosystem from the mobile platform – where almost all products are designed for iPhones first – may have experienced culture shock when searching for Mac-compatible software. One group that has generally ignored the Macintosh operating system is online casino developers where most of the downloadable program files are written as executable (.exe), a language that is as recognizable by the Mac OS as Swahili is for gamblers.
What are the options for the Macintosh online gambler?
Emulators. The tried and true method of running non-compatible programs on a Macintosh operating system is to fool the software into thinking the Mac is friendly to alien products. Since the 1980s this has been accomplished by emulators that enable Windows programs to run on a Mac without installing an entirely new operating system. Some of these companies have been providing this cross-over technology since the days when Atari was a major name in personal computing.
Many companies build emulator software, with price points ranging from less than $50 to around $150. The price is usually connected to the depth of adjustments made to the operating systems. When installed, a high-end emulator that creates a partition for Windows in the Macintosh operating system allows the user to switch back and forth between Windows and Mac with the press of an Option key. Free emulators can also be found that run specific Windows applications on a Mac but these will seldom accommodate an online casino.
Flash Technology. For those who do not wish to burden their machines with two operating systems there is the option to patronize no-download online casinos powered by Flash technology. In the feeling-out days of Internet gambling this was an inferior option offering a much more limited selection of games and poor quality graphics. These days you would be hard pressed to pick out the differences between an online casino designed to be downloaded and a no-download casino accessed from a browser on a Macintosh computer.
In fact, online gamblers oft times prefer the no-download versions. This is especially true in the United States where the only way to play online games for money is through a browser. You can also access the casino from any computer, not just the machine where the casino is downloaded. And since nothing is put onto your computer there are fewer security issues.
To keep pace online casinos have poured more resources into developing the Flash technology for their customers with more games and a better online experience, although it is not uncommon to find casinos that do not work as seamlessly with the Apple operating system as the advertising claims. But it is rare for a well-respected operator not to have a quality no-download casino option for Mac players.
To use this software the latest versions of Flash and Java must be installed on your Macintosh computer. You will need to use the Safari browser (pre-installed on your Mac) from Apple or the Firefox browser. Online casinos make it easy to get started at their tables by automatically downloading these system requirements in many cases along with the casino software.
Macintosh Online Casinos. Some of the biggest online casinos are rolling out the red carpet for Mac users even further and designing no-download software specifically for the Macintosh operating system.
One of the first thing you will notice about Macintosh-compatible online casinos is that they offer more extravagant welcome bonuses for Mac players. This is not an accident. Apple computers have always resided comfortably in the high end of the personal computer market. So while PC users often encounter bonuses for several hundred dollars the incentives shown when the “Play Now” button is clicked at a Macintosh casino will often be in the thousands of dollars.
Even at a Macintosh-friendly casino players will still not enjoy a full suite of game options but the numbers on offer are up to 75 and more – plenty enough to find an exciting gambling game. And there is a full-range from popular branded video slots to the fastest action on the blackjack, roulette and baccarat tables. Macintosh online casinos also support tournament play and big-money progressive jackpots. Live dealer games are still in their infancy on a Mac but no doubt this exciting online experience will be ever-expanding.
Free poker software that is 100 percent Mac compatible is available at several online casinos. Access to these virtual poker rooms is usually accompanied by a bonus and allows buy-ins at tournaments and a bevy of poker games including Texas Hold Em’, Omaha, and 7 Card Stud. Technology will not let you down in Mac poker rooms either – you can find options such as table hopping that allows players to ante into new games as soon as a hand is folded.
It is still not a perfect world for Macintosh casino gamblers and never will be. But that is a concession made long ago when the decision was made to toss your chips into the Apple ecosystem.