If you have ever gambled at an online roulette table, slot machine, or similar online casino games, you have experienced a random number generator (RNG). Casino games, both online and land-based, often rely on software or hardware to produce random numbers for the outcomes of their games.
So, are they random? Can you trust them not to be biased? Most importantly, can you beat an RNG system?
Today, we’ll discuss what a random number generator is, its types, how casinos use it, why randomness is important for casinos, and whether you can beat an RNG or not.
What Is a Random Number Generator?
A random number generator or RNG is a software program or hardware machine that can pick random numbers without a bias of any kind. It can produce long sequences of random numbers at high speeds, which the system or software can use at any point in the sequence.
Of course, every software or computer program has to follow some preset instructions, creating a pattern. However, modern RNG software is complex and powerful, which means whatever pattern or sequence they create is nearly impossible to predict by anyone in any way.
There are two main types of RNGs.
True Random Number Generators
True RNGs use existing real-world entropy sources (hardware) to continually produce uncertain or random outcomes. The hardware element means that they are slow at producing number sequences and cost more to implement. They are also prone to wear, errors, and natural bias over time.
To overcome these shortcomings, most true RNGs compensate with post-processing algorithms. The key advantage of this type of RNG is that it is truly random, and no one can predict the outcome.
Typical entropy sources for true RNGs include:
- Atmospheric noise
- Radioactive decay
- Lasers (faster outcomes, but expensive and impractical)
- Sine wave oscillators
Pseudo-Random Number Generators
Pseudo RNGs rely not on real-world entropy sources but initial value entropy. They can produce random sequences for anyone who does not know the initial value, which is kept secret to avoid predictions.
They mostly use software to implement a preset algorithm, which is fed an initial value (seed value) to start producing random numbers. Minimalistic pseudo RNGs only use entropy once for the seed value, whereas more complex iterations may also use entropy inputs at different stages.
Unlike true RNGs that constantly use entropy, pseudo RNGs need to find entropy for the initial value. This is traditionally done using the time of day or entropy of human interactions like hardware activity- keystrokes on your keyboard or the position of your mouse cursor.
Of course, there are other, more complex ways to obtain seed values. However, if any malicious attacker knows the seed value, they can easily predict the entire sequence, which is why these RNGs are not considered “truly” random.
The upside is that they are fast, inexpensive, and have long-term use, but they are not limitless, which means they end the sequence eventually. At this point, they can restart, but if the seed value is the same, the entire sequence repeats itself.
How Do Online Casinos Use Random Number Generators?
All casino games are games of chance, which means that the outcomes of these games are random. While a dice, deck of cards, roulette ball, or slot machine can produce random outcomes, things are a little different in casinos’ virtual, online world.
Online casinos use random number generators to produce random outcomes for various games of chance like online roulette, slot machines, card games, and other online casino games. Most online casinos use random number generator software that utilizes pseudo RNG.
RNG gets used for these games because it is faster, cheaper, and highly unpredictable. An online casino’s pseudo random number generator is always active and constantly produces random numbers at high speeds. These numbers are used for various elements of their casino games.
For example, they can randomly determine which slot the ball drops on a roulette wheel, which hands are dealt in a card game, or which numbers come up on a dice roll. Pseudo RNG tools or software are great for the majority of casino games.
A good example is the slot machine random number generator used for online slot machines. Let’s say there are 3 reels, each with 9 symbols. The RNG tool or software would assign a value to each symbol on a reel and then pick a random number out of the assigned values (1-9).
It does this for each reel of slot machines to determine the final reel combinations. As a result, 3 random symbols get generated independently of each other. If the 3 random symbols produce winning reel combinations, players are paid out accordingly.
This system is reliable, which is why many modern land-based slot machines also use pseudo RNG tools and software to determine outcomes.
Can You Beat a Random Number Generator?
Yes and no. Realistically, you or any player cannot beat an online casino’s random number generator because it is designed to overcome any recognizable pattern or predictability while maintaining fairness compared to real-world casino games.
Technically, however, you can beat pseudo RNG tools or software, but you’ll need access to the software and all its algorithms. This will allow you to reverse-engineer ongoing outcomes to generate the seed value or initial value.
Once you have the seed value and the algorithms, you can easily predict all future outcomes. It allows you to “beat” games like RNG slot machines and online roulette. However, this is highly unlikely because online casinos and game developers secure their software, algorithms, and seed values to ensure no cheating in their games.
They have a vested interest because they lose money when players win games. Besides, this type of cheating defeats the entire purpose of a game of chance and takes all the fun out of it.
At this point, you may wonder if online casinos design their random number generator software to favor the casino. This concern is valid, but you shouldn’t worry about it if you play at a trustworthy and legal online casino.
The games are fair because they use RNG software, which is regularly inspected and tested by third-party, independent auditors. Such audits ensure transparency and maintain a fair gambling experience for players of online and land-based casinos.
They are also necessary for an online casino to be certified as fair. Trusted online casinos proudly display their fairness certification seals on their websites, typically at the bottom or corner of most pages. These seals are a sign that the RNGs of the online casino are random and fair to a high standard.
Additionally, online casinos cannot change the software or introduce something new to the algorithm of any machine or virtual game without going through a lengthy process and notifying regulators. Breaking such protocols or introducing bias to machines and games results in large fines or revocation of their gambling license.
Why Is Randomness Important for Casinos?
Randomness and random number generators are incredibly important for casinos because they offer games of chance, where luck or randomness determines winners and losers. The uncertainty of outcomes makes gambling exciting, interesting, and entertaining.
Naturally, gamblers can work out the probability of outcomes to beat odds, but no player can be certain of the results. Take the game of online poker, for example, where players have the opportunity to affect the outcome but not determine it.
You can use a good poker strategy to check, raise, or fold and improve your odds of winning, but a single random card can completely spoil your efforts. Gambling on random and uncertain outcomes is what makes casino games attractive.
RNGs are highly effective tools for online casinos to introduce randomness to their casino games, such as online roulette and slot machines while keeping things fair for everyone. RNG casino games mostly use pseudo-random number generator tools and software that utilize entropy for seed values.
Casinos take great measures to ensure the safety of their RNG systems, software, algorithms, and seed values because they don’t want cheaters to have an advantage. It is highly unlikely that anyone beats the RNG system of a casino, but it is also not impossible.
Moreover, trusted online casinos are regularly audited and have their RNGs inspected by third parties to ensure they are random and fair. So, the next time you see certification or a seal of fairness from a trusted regulator, you can be certain that the online casino games are random and fair.
1. How do you beat RNG?
True RNGs are nearly impossible to beat, whereas pseudo RNGs can be beaten if you have access to the RNG software, algorithms, and most importantly, the seed values. You can use the seed value and punch it in the algorithm to determine all future outcomes of the random number sequence.
2. Do slot machines have RNG?
Yes, both land-based and online slot machines use RNGs to generate random outcomes on the reels. This mechanic maintains slot machine randomness and fairness for all players.
3. Can you control RNG?
Yes and no. True RNGs cannot be controlled, but pseudo RNGs may be controlled if you have access to their software, algorithm, and seed v