Online casino games are governed by random number generators, which act in order to preserve the chance aspect of the game. It's natural to worry about the integrity of a computer system and the ability of that system to determine a truly fair outcome, especially while real money is exchanging hands. That said, multiple testing agencies exist purely to be sure random number generators produce nothing but unbiased results.
Random Number Generators Defined
Random number generators, or RNGs, are exactly what their name implies: they generate random numbers. These generators are used in cryptography gambling, statistics, and computer simulations to produce unbiased outcomes that cannot be previously predicted. Two types of RNG exist: physical and computational.
A physical RNG is a method that exists in the real world to generate a random result. This includes coin flipping, dice rolling, spinning of wheels, and other chance games. Computational RNGs, on the other hand, are results that are generated by a computer system.
Online casinos use RNGs that are bits of software routines. This software chooses a random number based on a complex coded algorithm. This algorithm is encoded into gaming software of all types, including slots, roulette, craps, blackjack, and baccarat. Every game of chance that you can play on the Web, whether real money is at stake or not, uses these random number generators to ensure fairness.
RNGs are legally required to ensure the fairness of games in which the stakes are real money. Because of the way the software is coded, it's impossible to predict or tamper with the results.
How do RNGs Work?
In the context of online casino games, the only relevant RNG is a pseudorandom number generator, otherwise known as a PRNG. Because of the cost of operation, online gambling operators use PRNG instead of RNG. PRNG is defined as ‘pseudo' due to the mathematical formula it uses for its results, which is always the same. True RNGs constantly shift the mathematical formula that they use. Since PRNGs pick numbers according to an algorithm, the choice is never 100% random.
The starting value in the algorithm is known as the seed. The PRNG works through the application of the algorithm to the seed. This generates a new number, followed by another new number. After this, a randomized sequence of numbers is generated. Millions of possible numbers are drawn on, which means predicting the next value in the sequence is almost impossible. Even if a user knows the seed, the next set of numbers cannot be predicted.
The only games that don't use a random number generator online are live dealer games. These games use real people to handle bets and equipment via a live-stream and therefore do not involve the use of the software.
How Is Testing Done?
Multiple testing agencies exist to probe the outcomes of online casino games and make sure that their progression is truly unpredictable. One of these organizations is iTech Labs, which monitors source coding of the number generators to make sure they're truly random.