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Casino Random Number Generators or RNG as they’re known in the industry, have a significant impact on our online games. Yet many of us who enjoy playing casino or slot games don’t really understand what the RNG is or how it affects us.
The aim of an online casino is to attempt to replicate the experience of a land-based casino. Although some areas will never feel the same for players, the sites have done an incredible job of imitating the games. How realistic they feel to players is probably the most essential element for online gambling sites because they have lost the physicality of the card being dealt, the roulette wheel being spun, or the dice rolled. For online games, this action needs to be replicated artificially and this is where the Random Number Generators come in.
On most gaming sites you will find that they offer live casino, which will have a live dealer. These will work differently to the other online games as they are more like the land-based casino experience, so we won’t include them in the games affected by RNG.
Firstly, we’re going to delve into the importance of randomness in casino software, before we explain what exactly Random Number Generators are.
Why Do We Need Randomness in Online Gambling?
The thrill of online gambling is that we never know if we will win or lose, especially when we’re risking our money on the result. Most players see their wins as being lucky, but in reality, it’s all determined randomly and is based on odds. As you play, there can only be a set number of outcomes and the one you need to win may just appear at the right moment for you.
We are all aware that the casino itself, known as the ‘house’ will always have a built-in advantage, which is called the house edge. This basically means that the odds will be in their favour in the long run. But to ensure integrity and fairness to both sides, the results you experience will be completely random. Because the house edge is experienced over the long term, gamblers who play in the short term can find themselves evening the odds out and winning some money.
The idea of playing a game and working out the odds is simple enough for most gamblers. But the use of algorithms which are the basis of Random Number Generators, can make it all a little more complicated. How do they work and are they creating a fun and fair experience for the online gamer?
What is a Random Number Generator?
The RNG is created and implemented into the background of the slot or casino game during the design stage. It is an algorithm which creates results randomly and although there is various types of RNG’s, the ones used within the gambling industry tend to be pseudorandom number generators.
The key to this type of RNG is the fact that all it requires is a seed number and the algorithm. There’s no external influence or input such as numbers or data to deliver an output. Although the designers are constantly upping their game and increasing the security of their software, the algorithms can sometimes be hacked; but this is rare.
The algorithm is a fixed formula and as such the RNG is not completely random, but the seed will change every millisecond. It does this by taking the last number, or the last two numbers produced and then uses a mathematic formula to create a new random outcome.
The reason we mentioned above that RNG’s can be hackable is because some formulas will always yield the same output, for example 1 and 1 will always equal 2; meaning they’re not random.
How Online Gaming Sites use RNG’s
We mentioned in the beginning, that the only games not to use RNG’s are live dealer options. So, if you enjoy online slots or table casino, then your wins will be determined by a Random Number Generator. As explained above, this is to produce the effect that a player would see if they were to visit a land-based casino.
Whenever you hit play on your chosen game, the online software will initiate the RNG to generate a number. That number will determine a possible outcome which will then be displayed as a win or loss. For example, in blackjack, instead of the card being chosen from the top of the deck, the RNG will pick a number which will choose which card you will receive. Within roulette as the wheel spins the RNG will determine the landing number and in slots it will do the same for the reels. The key to all of this is the randomness provided by the RNG, which should lead to fairness on the gaming site.
Although we’re specifically focused on online gaming, you will find RNG’s in land-based gaming, more specifically video slot machines.
Can You Cheat RNG’s?
Cheating an RNG is pretty difficult and with the constant changes and upgrades made by game developers, it’s getting even harder. Many players are trying to determine patterns of the game by monitoring their volatility and variance over a long period of time. This may work, but it can cost you a lot of money to repeatedly hit that play button.
Are Random Number Generators Fair?
This for any online gamer would be a concern, especially because the algorithm is coded by the games designers and the assumption is that they would want the casino to win over the player. This opinion is unfounded as the reason the designers introduced RNG’s in the first place was to ensure consistent fairness. By the fact that the outcome is completely random, then the result of your play should correlate in line with their true probability over a number of spins.
In theory the designers could manipulate the slot or casino game and rig it in their favour. But the key question is why would they do that? The odds are already in the favour of the casino, more specifically the ‘house edge’ and once regular gamers realised there was an issue, no one would return to that particular site or play that specific game.
It should also be noted that games are regulated and as such they will be tested by third parties to ensure they are fair. Most casino sites will detail if they have been audited by an independent auditor or certification programme. This tends to be indicated by a Seal of Approval which will take you through to the site and you can view reports associated with the audit.
Summary of Casino Random Number Generators – What is an RNG in online gambling
Hopefully this has given you a little insight into what Random Number Generators are and how they affect your online gambling. The exact details of how the games are coded will always be a secret, and that’s exactly how we want them to be. The joy of online gaming is the thrill of not knowing if you will win or lose, so randomness is an essential aspect.
Overall, we know that sometimes you win and sometimes you lose, it’s all part of the game. Knowing about the RNG in online games should make you feel more confident that your gambling time is fair. Yes, there will always be dishonest sites and people, and that is why we would always recommend only playing on UK Gambling Commission licenced sites. Should you then have any concerns, you can contact them, and they will investigate.