One of the key questions that most players want an answer to when it comes to playing at online casinos is whether or not the games are fair. In essence, this is a really easy question to answer because they are fair and if they weren’t then the casino that offered them wouldn’t be able to gain a licence to operating from the United Kingdom Gambling Commission. Of course, not all casinos are registered and licensed, so there is a chance that the casino that you’re playing with is not always playing by the rules.
The best way to avoid this is by always ensuring that your online casino of choice has a licence from the UKGC. However, this doesn’t necessarily stop people from questioning whether the games that they’re playing are rigged. With a fair, licensed casino they definitely won’t be, with Random Number Generators used to decide the outcome of the majority of games that you’ll find yourself playing. Of course, quite what makes up the criteria of a ‘fair’ game isn’t always clear, so it is worth having a look at in more detail.
Random Number Generators
Online slots, table games and other offerings from casinos work thanks to the use of Random Number Generators. Often referred to by their acronym of RNGs, these are tested regularly by independent companies in order to ensure that they are safe and reliable. It is a legal requirement of companies to ensure that such tests are carried out, so if you’re placing your bets with a licensed casino then you can be sure that their systems are being checked out regularly. This is how you can now things are secure.
How They Work
The machinations of RNGs can be complicated to get your head around, but in essence they use a seed number to generate a random number thanks to a computer algorithm. The seed number can be generated from anywhere, including the time at which the player attempts to play the game or the date. It will always be a random, uncontrollable and unidentifiable thing that sparks off what follows. The RNGs decide the outcome of what cards will be dealt, what the number on a dice will show or what symbols come up on a slot game after the spin has taken place.
Virtually Impossible to Hack
Though it is technically possible to decode an RNG, it is impossible to do so without information about the original seed number. Given the fact that nobody can find out what the seed number is or was at any given moment, that means that the system is as good as impenetrable. When you also consider that Random Number Generators run all the time, day after day, you can see how it would be virtually impossible for them to be hacked by someone that doesn’t have some sort of inside information that they can use to their advantage.
One thing that is worth bearing in mind, should you still be a little bit unsure about RNGs and how they work, is the fact that land-based casinos will almost certainly also use the same Random Number Generator system to operate. If you’re happy to trust the slots that you can play on in a physical casino then there really is no reason not to trust slots and games in online casinos. The system works in much the same way, with many online slots even offering the same games that you can play on casino slots.
Provably Fair Games
Since the launch of BitCoin and other crypto currencies, there has been a desire of the people that use them to be able to play casino games and pay with crypto. This, in turn, has opened up the ability to use a different method of ensuring that the games that they offer are fair. If you think the use of RNGs sounds complicated then the world of provably fair games will be even tougher to get your head around. In short, it is based around the idea of the blockchain that is used to verify crypto currencies and their validity.
There are actually a number of ways to use a provably fair system, but the most common involves a server seed, provided by the casino, a client seed, provided by your browser, and a nonce, which increases the variables in the hand. Again, you don’t really need to understand this and many people won’t be able to, but the key factor is that the results can be verified by the user after the fact, in order to ensure that the games that are being played are entirely fair, even if you’re not happy with the result.
At the time of writing, the provably fair method is only used in crypto casinos, which means that it won’t be on a site licensed in the United Kingdom. Provably fair does have its own problems and issues, much as RNGs do, but they’re unlikely to be hacked or abused in any real sense that should worry the user. In truth, both methods are about as safe as it is possible for an artificially generated ‘random’ outcome to be, so if you’re planning on placing bets in an online casino then you don’t really have anything to worry about.
Why Games Won’t Be Rigged
The first thing that you should know about the companies that inspect Random Number Generators for online casinos is that they will usually post the test results for everyone to inspect. On top of that, licensed casinos will inform you of the Return To Player percentage for all of their games. In other words, you can login to your online casino of choice and know exactly how much each game will pay out over a period of time. This is a manner of ensuring that their games aren’t rigged, because they don’t need to be.
That is to say, casinos know that they numbers are on their side. Whilst one punter might go on a winning streak, that is only because others have had losing streaks. The algorithms that decide what the RTP percentage of games are are based over thousands of hours and countless customers, not one person playing at a casino for one night. In other words, casinos are on to a winner no matter what the customers do and irrespective of one or two people getting some wins. There is simply no need for casinos to rig their games.
If a casino were to rig their games, they would only be able to gain a slight profit compared to unrigged games. When you bear in mind that, if caught, they would lose their licence, be issued with a fine and possibly have someone involved go to jail, you can see that it is very much not worth a casino operator to rig the games that people play. They are on to a winner by merely running a casino, provided they have systems in place to identify when customers are looking to cheat them, so it is in their interests to be above board.
Casinos Regularly Audited
The fact that online casinos are regularly audited in order to maintain their gambling licences means that you can be relatively happy that you’re not going to be cheated by them. If you’re still a little bit wary, ask your friends and family which online casinos they play at and why it is that they trust them. It is in the best interests of an online casinos to operate fairly because this will ensure that more customers play on their site. The thing that stops a casino from making money isn’t not having rigged games, it’s not having customers.
The more people that play and the longer that they play for, the more money a casino will make over the long-term. With that in mind, most people will tell you whether they enjoy the casino that they spend their time using and someone that is even slightly suspicious of a site won’t be recommending it to a friend or a family member. Word of mouth is arguably the best possible security you can find against using a dodgy casino, so trust those that you are close to and whose opinion you value.
Avoiding Dodgy Casinos
It goes without saying that, as long as there is money involved, there will be people that look to rig the system. As a result, there are some casinos out there that aren’t honest and above board. Spotting them isn’t necessarily easy, but if you know what to look out for then you can give yourself a decent chance of avoiding the crooks. The most important thing to do is ensure that you only place bets with casinos that have been issued with a gambling licence by the United Kingdom Gambling Commission and kept it up to date.
Only Play with Licensed UKGC Casinos
The UKGC has a wealth of rules and regulations that online casinos must adhere to if they wish to keep and maintain their licence. They will have games that are powered by operators that also have licences to operate, such as NetEnt or Microgaming. If you are logged onto an online casino that doesn’t have any information about their licence and the games have been created by companies that you don’t recognise and can’t find any information about online, the likelihood is that it is not a licensed casino.
Avoid Offers Too Good to Be True
The operators of online casinos know that they are on to a winner. As a result, they will look to attract customers with sign-up offers or loyalty promotions, but they won’t give away the house for nothing. If an offer to sign-up to a casino seems too good to be true, the likelihood is that that is very much the case. Think about whether it is a deal that makes sense for a genuine online casino to run and if it isn’t, ask why they’d be doing it. Yes, some companies will often have loss-leaders, but they’ll usually be sensible with what they offer and how often they offer it.
If in Doubt, Check with the UKGC
The final thing to bear in mind is that the UKGC has information about all of its licence holders on its website. Just because a company claims to have a licence doesn’t mean that it actually does. If you are even remotely suspicious about a website then the first thing that you should do is get in touch with the Gambling Commission and ask them about the licence of the online casino that you’re using. If the UKGC can’t tell you anything about them, get off the site as quickly as possible and don’t give over any important information.
Sometimes You Just Lose
The simple truth of gambling is that you don’t always win. That might seem like an obvious thing to say, but it is something that some punters could do with realising. One of the key reasons that many people think that the game that they’re playing in an online casino might be rigged is that they lose too many times in quick succession. Sadly, this is just how gambling works and most of the time that is simply the House Edge or a game’s RTP percentage catching up with them. No one remains lucky forever, after all.
If you have ‘run hot’ at a casino in the past, the maths suggests that you’re going to run extremely cold for a time soon enough. This is because that is how casinos make their profit and you are, sadly, not a special and unique snowflake. The only way that you can ever really ‘beat’ the casino is by quitting when you’re ahead, because the more you go back the more likely it is that the numbers are going to catch up with you before too long. That is why the House Always Wins, which in turn means that the punters doesn’t.