written byGiorgia Rose
Can online casinos cheat?
When we think of randomness and chance, some things immediately come to mind: a deck of cards, a set of dice, a flip of a coin. These devices are often used in gambling to ensure fairness. Nobody can predict a definite outcome, which is what makes the thrill so fun!
But some people are hesitant when it comes to online casinos. When you aren’t faced with a human being, our instinct to be cynical comes through. But did you know that there are technologies that guarantee online casino games, such as slots, bingo, roulette, etc., are kept totally fair and random?
There are also laws in place to protect you from any rigged scam online casino sites, ensuring they don’t have the power to pick-and-choose winners and losers. We’re here to explain what those mechanisms are and how they work so you can play with peace of mind.
Dispelling a myth
When you check independent reviews online, you’ll notice that some people are quick to complain that a casino or a gaming provider is manipulating the odds. You might also notice that these claims often come when the player has suffered a significant loss that they deem unfair. This is probably where the misconception comes from – a misunderstanding about probability.
When you face a big loss, say, 10 losses in a row, when the previous day you were making much more regular wins, you might feel suspicious of the fairness of the game because you’re seeing something you think can’t be possible.
However, these kind of outcomes are possible and are just as likely to happen as any other set of random outcomes. Each spin of the slot machine is known as an independent event, meaning each result you get is unconnected to the spins before it and after it. Therefore, according to the laws of probability, it’s entirely possible to get 10 dud spins in a row. It is also possible to get 10 winning spins in a row! These results do not prove the casino to be rigged.
The house always wins
We have to accept that in order to provide your favourite games, casinos need to make a little more money than they give out. This is called the ‘house edge’ and casinos are transparent about what this means by listing an RTP figure with every game. This is the percentage all players win back versus what they put in, and is usually in the range of 94-98%.
Remember, this applies over long term play for all players, so don’t think you’re always going to lose 2-6% of every bet. Naturally, anything can happen in the short term – each win is down to random chance (and strategy helps, too).
Random Number Generators
This is the maths bit – random number generators (RNG) are the machines that casino games depend on. What they do essentially, is for each spin on an online slot machine, or card dealt on a digital table, the generator churns out a random series of numbers. These numbers align to a particular outcome which you will see on the screen. As the series of numbers is mathematically random, it ensures that the outcome you get is just as unpredictable as in a real casino.
Look for a licence!
Gambling licences guarantee a casino is following ethical standards. Before an online casino is granted a licence, they must pass a series of tests, and one of these tests is the fairness of their software.
Before an online casino is certified, it must allow a third-party organisation, such as eCOGRA, to test their RNGs. Only after thousands of outcomes have been carried out and assessed will the operator be given a seal of approval. To ensure that the casino stays reputable, regulatory bodied will continually monitor RNGs to make sure they are worthy of the licence.
Do rigged casinos exist?
We would never promote a casino that does not pass our tests for safety and legitimacy, as we want our readers to trust that their experience is our number one priority! If you browse through our recommendations of the best online casinos and mobile casinos, you will only find reputable, fair sites.
However, rigged casinos do exist. They are very rare, but you might come across them in unexpected forums promising incredible deals. The easiest way to spot one is to see if it is unlicensed (or has had its licence taken away) in the bottom banner of the site. You can also check for reviews online which tell you which sites to avoid and why.
So, while rigged casinos do exist on the online black market, we hope this guide has given you some reassurance about the legitimacy of online gambling in the UK. Remember to always look for a licence to be sure you’ll get a fair game!
If you would like to learn a little more about cyber safety, check out our guide to how to stay safe while playing at an online casino!