The Crucial Role of Random Number Generators in Real Money Online Casinos

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Real-money online casinos have enjoyed a surge in popularity over recent years. This is especially so in countries like Australia, where traditional land-based gaming saw a wholesale shift towards cyberspace during the unprecedented events of 2020 and 2021. Although the land-based casinos have long since reopened for business as usual, their online alternatives have seen no diminution in their appeal.

In Australia, and to a lesser extent elsewhere, slot games, or pokies as they are known Down Under, represent the most popular casino game. While there are hundreds of games with dozens of themes, they all center around spinning reels and landing matching symbols to win a prize. Winning or losing depends entirely on the Random Number Generators that dictate which symbols appear and when. But how do they work, and can we be sure they are random?


From physical reels to a computer algorithm


To answer the first question, we should first go back to the earliest slot machines. These contained physical rotating drums with different symbols printed on them. Some lower-value symbols were more likely to appear than jackpot symbols. So, to use a simplified example, a drum might have six symbols in total, three “oranges” two “bells” and one “star”. For each reel, there is a 50 percent chance of an orange, but only a one in six, or 17 percent chance of a star. The likelihood of revealing a star on each of the three reels is 0.17 x 0.17 x 0.17, which is about one in 200. From this, the makers can set prizes that allow for a house edge – for example, offering a 180-coin jackpot for three stars, assuming a one-coin wager. 


Fast forward to today, and with the multiple reels and numerous symbols, physical drums would have to be enormous. But if a set of numbers is assigned a numerical value, we can use an RNG instead. In our simple example, we would set the RNG from one. to six. Numbers one, two, and three would equate to “orange”, four and five are “bell” and six means star. 


This concept can be extended to 100, 1000 or 1,000,000 numbers to make the games and the “ways to win” incredibly complex, with pre-defined probabilities but completely random outcomes.


RNGs in modern online casinos


When you play on the pokies in casinos for real money in Australia or anywhere else in the world, the pokies, roulette and other Australian online casino games are all dictated by RNGs. As suggested above, pokies present the best example of RNGs in action. But a virtual roulette wheel works exactly the same way and is even simpler, as it is simply a case of 36 numbered beds plus one or two zeros, each with equal probability.


Digital versions of other traditional table games like blackjack and poker also employ RNGs. For example, in blackjack, the RNG ensures that cards are dealt completely at random, just as if a human had shuffled and dealt from a physical deck. 


Ensuring fair play and integrity at the online casino


It goes without saying that when real money is at stake, fair play, credibility and integrity are of paramount importance. Reputable online casino platforms undergo frequent third-party audits. What’s more, they are invariably proud to share the results with players to demonstrate their commitment to integrity. 


Having said that, in such a competitive environment, there are always going to be a few rogue operators. There have been instances of unscrupulous platforms seeking to manipulate RNGs to their own advantage. This is why it is so important to use a platform that is licensed by a recognized body, that shares the details of its regular audits with pride and that uses technology to ensure fair and safe play

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