Random Number Generators | What are they? And, How Do They Work?

The Importance Of Secure Random Number Generators

A Random Number Generator is a computer program that releases number results seemingly at random. While the basic concept behind a RNG is the same across the board, there are different types. Casinos use different Pseudo Random Number Generators. They are different from regular RNGs in that they don’t need any external numbers or data to produce a specific output. The algorithms used by RNGs are fixed. This is important to remember because while they might seem completely random, there is actually a fixed number of known algorithms. That means they can be hacked.

The bottom line for players in a casino is they typically know the odds are against them. The probabilities are in favor of the house. However, the trade off is that a random player could step up and win millions. That’s what the main draw is. The key here is that these RNG’s have to be fair because if the numbers get too tilted in the house’s favor or too tilted in the players favor (hacked), then both sides get upset.

Understanding How Casinos Use RNGs

When there is no dealer online or offline, a casino will use an RNG instead. In terms of slots, game developers, assign a value to each of the symbols they produce on a reel.

Ex. Let’s use a five-reel slot machine where each reel has 12 symbols. The RNG creates a value of 1-12 for each of the five reels. When the five random symbols make up a winning combination, the player using the machine will win a specific payout.

5 reel slot machine with 7's in winning positions

As complex as that sounds, the key here is simply that software has to mimic what the real-life game might be. For example, real-life blackjack has a dealer who has tendencies. He or she plays a specific way each time and shuffles the cards a certain way every time. In an online game, there’s no real human doing that. So, the casino has to use an RNG to mimic the same probabilities that you – as a player – would get playing in real life. That’s why these RNG’s are so important.

Can RNGs Be Hacked?

It’s important to keep in mind that while most people aren’t capable of hacking an RNG, it’s still possible to cheat them. Most casinos know there is more money to be made in the long term by playing fair, so they won’t feel the need to cheat. However, some company employees could decide to hack an RNG in order to benefit from. It’s important to keep this in mind when playing at a casino.

Eliminating Probability For Cheating

In order to limit the potential for cheating on RNGs, all regulated, licensed casinos have software that has been tested by an independent third party, like eCOGRA. These third parties, while testing for fairness, also sort through all of the bugs and eliminate the potential for hacking. Their responsibilities include RNG evaluations, game and mathematic evaluations, payout verifications, as well as reporting live dealer, sports-book betting exchange evaluations. While it isn’t perfect, this provides an added sense of security for casino patrons who are betting their money at online casinos.

It’s also important to remember that at land-based casinos, changes can’t be made to individual machines. Casinos link them together. That process includes notifying the state, use state-approved chips with a paper trail of all changes with approval, then random inspectors check the machines for compliance and fairness. The added steps ensure that casinos are providing a safe, secure betting options for their users. With these measures in place to protect RNGs, casino patrons can enjoy their casino experience without second-guessing the fact that they are playing on Random Number Generators in the first place.

 

 

Dave Golokhov

Dave Golokhov

Dave has a long history in the media. His career began at The Score Television Network. He’s since been a radio host on Sirius Satellite Radio, made numerous television appearances as a panelist, and has written for publications like FOX Sports, Playboy.com and The Baltimore Sun. He’s interviewed hundreds of celebrities in both sports and entertainment, ranging from Shaquille O’Neal, to Floyd Mayweather, to The Mannings.

As a travel/adventure writer, Dave has written a number of destination stories covering some of the most unique destinations, such as Bilbao (Spain), Tel Aviv (Israel) to Iceland. He’s also (been lucky to) had the opportunity to review the experience of eating at some of the world’s best restaurants, including Noma (Copenhagen), Amber (Hong Kong) and Eleven Madison Park (New York). All of those stories can be read on AskMen.com, The Daily Beast and The Globe & Mail.

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