Random number generators (RNGs) are the heartbeat of the online gaming industry. Without them, fairness would be impossible in online casinos. At physical venues, dealers shuffle the cards. They do that either by loading a casino shoe with up to eight decks of pre-shuffled playing cards or by using a single deck after every hand. At RNG casinos, a mathematical formula guarantees that every wheel spun, dice rolled, or card dealt is entirely random.
As the name implies, an RNG is an algorithm that generates random numbers. It has different types, but the ones casinos employ are called Pseudo Random Number Generators (PRNG). These are unique in that they don’t need any external input (numbers or data) to generate an output. All they require is a seed number and an algorithm.
RNGs produce new seed numbers and results every millisecond. That is done merely by taking the last digit or two generated and utilizing a mathematic operation (addition, subtraction, multiplication, division, and whatnots) to yield a new random output.
However, considering that nothing is random about mathematic operations, e.g., 1+1 is always 2, a particular input will eternally produce the same outcome. Therefore, RNGs aren’t truly random. That also explains why they are hackable. Algorithms and their processes are set. Also, only so many known algorithms exist. If someone knew what seed number(s) and algorithm(s) casinos employ, they could use that info to their advantage.
RNGs first came into the casino realm as an innovative way to run slot machines. Before, slots create winning combos using psychical reels to determine which symbols would land on a payline. But online slots are now complicated and playable over multiple paylines. Conventional cogs and reels aren’t capable of handling this type of complexity. Therefore, the casino industry wouldn’t have reached this point in online slots without RNG.
Besides enabling developers to build a more exciting variety of slot games, RNGs are fundamental for making games honest and fair. From the moment you load an online slot game, it has been generating a series of random digits behind the scenes. The sequence will only stop moving when you hit the spin button. At that point, the random number will turn into a tangible outcome—a card being dealt, reels coming to a stop, the winning pocket on a roulette wheel, and whatnots.
Theoretically, yes. Since RNGs are computerized algorithms, they are susceptible to hackers. In practice, it is almost impossible for 99% of online casino players. In 2008, a player was able to develop a program capable of predicting the outcome of an RNG. As a result, he won a fortune playing Keno but ended up in prison. Now, third parties regularly test online casinos for fairness. They meticulously check the authenticity of their RNGs. In the current gambling realm, hackable or unfair systems hardly slip through the net.
Casino sites can only get an operating license if they pass the RNG test by independent regulators. These third-party companies perform all kinds of services and testing evaluations, including:
Once a casino site passes all that, it will receive a little badge and certificate that confirms their games are random and fair. Meaning, outside variables like VIP cards, the size of the (potential) pay-off, number of credits in play, etc. don’t influence their games. Moreover, it also indicates that the machines meet the minimum payout percentages set by local authorities and gaming commissions.
All present-day online casino games employ RNGs to deliver the luck element of their games. The RNG works in tandem with casino software to yield fair results. If you are playing blackjack, the RNG will feed the software a unique value immediately after you hit deal. The value is basically the outcome of the hand. Meaning, the order of every card dealt in that hand is random and pre-determined. For slots, the RNG dictates the result of each spin. And when it comes to roulette, the RNG value becomes a winning digit on the roulette wheel.
After playing a few rounds of RNG casino games, you’ll notice that they all boil down to the RNG, and the rest is plain decoration. The software produces the paylines or cards and gives you gameplay decisions and actions. And ultimately, the RNG decides whether you win or lose.
However, when it comes to liver dealer games, it’s impossible to employ RNGs to yield fair outcomes. That is because live games have real human dealers and croupiers, real tables, and real cards. Instead, live casino games utilize the same techniques as physical casinos to guarantee the randomness of every round of play and outcome.
Live card games utilize a newly shuffled deck of cards for every hand to prevent card counting and other exploitative practices. Of course, the outcomes of live games remain random, but not quite like a real RNG. Though, it will all look the same for the average player. Some live providers use multiple camera angles to reassure players of fairness. Furthermore, auditors also consider live dealer games when evaluating the authenticity and integrity of an online casino site. Therefore, you can be confident that an online casino with a legal audit certificate and a valid license is secure and safe.
RNGs select specific combinations of digits to attain a consistent return to player (RTP) rate. It is a requirement for online casinos to monitor the actual RTP of its games to ensure that the RNG isn’t faulty. They do that by dividing the overall payout value of a game or machine by the total turnover it has accrued. The outcome must be as close to the theoretical RTP as possible. Otherwise, the RNG must undergo review and modification.
Machines are continuously generating numbers, so the timing of hitting the spin button on a slot machine affects the result of that round. While the outcome is random, a split second could be the difference between a win and a loss. Also, because of the possibility of some numbers cropping up, these machines pay at specific rates, hence the label “theoretical RTP.” Moreover, operators usually publish real RTPs. The best online casinos employ RNGs where both figures are identical.
When playing online casino games, a card counting strategy is not the brightest idea. Counting theories depend on a pre-shuffled deck being utilized to completion to foretell the value of the remaining cards by retaining a mental record of everything that is already known. Take note that RNG games don’t work that way. Each hand is entirely random, making counting strategies irrelevant.
You can still use betting pattern strategies for roulette, e.g., martingale, in an RNG casino online. That is because they don’t depend on measuring the hotness or coldness of a table. Instead, wagering strategies rely on mathematical principles. Therefore, a random output from an RNG is advantageous to the system.
So that’s RNGs in a nutshell. They’re complex algorithms that guarantee your favorite online casino games are as random as programs can be. And they’ll always be like that so long as regulations are in place. For many people, RNGs are great for keeping games fresh and unpredictable. They are a crucial part of the gameplay in most modern games. You can find them anywhere, not just in casinos.
The RNG technology did great in making online casino gaming a fairer practice. Without the restrictions shuffling cards of moving-part machines, game developers can genuinely get creative with designs. That is knowing that RNGs indicate that an unpredictable outcome applies to virtually anything.