RNG in Online Casino Software

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The Random Number Generator (RNG) In Online Casino Software

July 15, 2009

Casino games, whether in land based casinos or online casinos, are games of chance. They depend on the player not being able to predict the next outcome. In land casinos players can easily see how this is done. In roulette the spinning of the wheel introduces the uncertainty as to in which slot the ball will ultimately rest. In card games the uncertainty is achieved by shuffling the decks. Today land casinos have shuffling machines that ensure complete unpredictability after the decks are shuffled. In craps players are compelled to bounce the dice off the wall and this introduces the uncertainty as to what numbers will be shown on the top faces of the dice. However, in online casinos none of these physical processes are present. The question therefore arises as to how the online casino software introduces uncertainty into the games. In fact because the general public could not initially understand how this was achieved, the acceptance of online casinos was slow to start with.

The software that runs online casino games has a component known as the Random Number Generator (RNG). The uncertainty required in the casino games is brought about through the RNG. The RNG is a complex mathematical computer application that can generate a number with complete randomness. In European roulette, for example, the RNG would generate a number between 1 and 37. The numbers 1 to 36 would correspond to the same numbers on the roulette wheel, whereas the number 37 would correspond to 0 on the roulette wheel. If number 21 is generated by the RNG then the online casino software would depict the ball stopping on number 21 and the bets would be forfeited or paid out accordingly.

In single deck card games the RNG would generate a number between 1 and 52. Each number would correspond to a card in the deck. If for example the number 1 corresponds to the ace of spades, then when the number 1 is generated the graphics will show an ace of spades being dealt. In practice the process is more complicated because once the ace of spades is dealt the subsequent cards in the same deal cannot be the ace of spades. Online casino games involving more than one deck also follow a more complicated procedure.

In craps there are two dice that are rolled. Therefore two random numbers are generated simultaneously by the RNG, each one between 1 and 6. If the random numbers generated are 3 and 4, the faces of the two dice will show 3 and 4.

The numbers generated by the RNG should possess two very important properties. The first is that they should be unpredictable. The second is that they should not exhibit any bias. If the random numbers are generated in a cycle that repeats itself then predictability is introduced in the games. Astute players can recognize the cycle and from past experience will be able to predict the next roulette number, card or dice total. Bias refers to a particular random number occurring more often compared to other numbers. This could for example lead to the number 1 appearing on the face of the dice more often. Players who realize this will start betting on smaller totals with considerable success in the long run.

In order to ensure that the random numbers are unpredictable and unbiased the online casino software is periodically tested by independent expert organizations like eCOGRA and Technical Systems Testing. These organizations generate tens of thousands of random numbers using the software and then conduct known statistical tests to ascertain whether the numbers generated are predictable or biased. Once they are satisfied that everything is in order they certify the software as fair. Therefore online players should look for the certificates from such organizations before the register at any online casino.

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