Understanding Online Roulette and RNGs: Can You Beat Them?

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A person sitting on a couch, playing a game of online roulette, on a laptop.
BetMGM Oct 04, 2023, 6:04 AM

There probably isn’t a single gambler who doesn’t believe that they can beat the odds, devise a gameplay strategy, or maximize their chances of winning in some way, whether at the casino tables or playing slots. This belief is what brings players back again and again. 

Some go on to develop their skills at games such as poker and blackjack, whose outcomes are not determined entirely by chance. Others believe that elaborate systems and calculations can predict number sequences, including in games of online roulette. However, the outcomes of many casino games are driven entirely by random number generators or RNGs. Can they be beaten?

What is a Random Number Generator?

What is an RNG? A random number generator is a computer algorithm that grabs a number or number sequence, which is then the “result” of a roll of the dice, the spin of the reel, or, in the case of roulette, the number of the pocket in which the ball lands on the wheel. The algorithms are complex and begin with a “seed” number, which effectively kickstarts the random selection. The seed is the number that is fed into the RNG to generate the first number, after which the selection is self-fed by the algorithm. 

If all this sounds very complicated, it’s meant to be. Computer programmers and developers have contrived a system that cannot be predicted or rigged by players or casino operators in any way, even though many players insist they can work with RNGs to predict the outcome of online casino games.

Roulette: The Iconic Casino Game

Roulette is possibly one of the most iconic casino games. In movies, we see well-heeled players crowded around the table, the debonair croupier spinning the wheel in one direction and the ball in the other to the call of “les jeux sont faits” or “no more bets.” Then, there’s the sound of the click of the ball as it spins and looks for a place to land. 

Bets are placed on single or multiple numbers, on columns and dozens, high or low, red, black, odd, or even. As the number and color are called, the croupier rakes in the chips, redistributing them to the winners, and the losing ones go back to the house. In online roulette, the game is the same, but the visual excitement is recreated using computer-generated imagery (CGI) with sound effects overlaid for added reality.

So, can you beat roulette? Many gamblers have tried applying any number of systems and strategies to the placing of bets, some more fanciful than others, but ultimately, the house always wins.

The House Edge

It’s no secret that casinos operate to make a profit. While the outcomes of all games are fair and impartial, the casino maintains what is known as an “edge,” which puts them at an advantage from the get-go. In roulette, this edge comes from the fact that players’ odds are calculated on 36 numbers, whereas in European roulette, there is an additional zero, and in the American version, a double zero, giving 37 or 38 possible outcomes. This effectively gives the casino a 5.26% edge in the American version of the game and a 2.7% edge in the European version, clearly making it the better option for players. 

The RNG does not improve the house’s edge in any way. In addition to the American and European versions, there are a number of other variations of the game that players can try for something a little different. 

The RNG and Online Roulette

So now you understand the rules and odds in roulette and the way RNGs work. Given that the former is a game of chance and the latter is, by very definition, random, can the roulette number generator system be beaten? The easy answer is no, it can’t. 

Although any number of programs and bots have been developed that track the numbers that come up and claim to be able to predict subsequent numbers, the random number generator for roulette is entirely unpredictable, and that’s what ensures the fairness of the game. No online casino that values its reputation would risk operating in any other way.

While some players in land-based casinos might apply the laws of physics to the momentum of the roulette wheel, the speed of the ball, and the clockwise and counter-clockwise spins to predict where the ball will drop, in online roulette casino versions, the wheel spin is virtual, and no such laws apply. 

While CGI may make the wheel appear to slow and the ball starts to bounce until it comes to rest, the reality is that this is just clever animation, and the numbered slot into which the ball eventually falls was already selected by the RNG when you hit the “spin” button.

Beating the Odds

The bottom line is that roulette is a game of chance, in both the online version, where the numbers are determined by a random number generator, and in the real-life version, with a live croupier spinning the wheel and throwing in the ball. No system or mechanical predictor can anticipate where the ball will land. If players make their peace with this fact, there is still much fun and excitement to be had at the roulette table. 

It’s important for players to ensure they play on reputable sites where RNGs are in place and that all games are operated under the strictest code of fairness, like BetMGM. For a virtual roulette experience, register here and start your online casino journey.

Actress Vanessa Hudgens flipping casino chips next to the text "The King of Casinos"
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Our BetMGM editors and authors are casino experts with a wealth of knowledge of the online casino industry at all levels. Their coverage includes company news, game reviews, how-to instructional articles, strategy guides, and editorials showcasing BetMGM’s superior product and game library.

Our BetMGM editors and authors are casino experts with a wealth of knowledge of the online casino industry at all levels. Their coverage includes company news, game reviews, how-to instructional articles, strategy guides, and editorials showcasing BetMGM’s superior product and game library.