The Complete Guide to Casino Random Number Generators

min read
A pair of red dice sit on top of a printout with financial values on it
BetMGM Jun 19, 2024, 4:36 PM

Random number generators (RNGs) are a crucial element of online casino games. They provide the complete randomness necessary for chance-based digital games. All licensed and reputable gambling sites, including BetMGM, use RNGs tested by independent authorities to ensure fair gaming at all times. But many players still wonder what is an RNG and is it truly fair? In this article, we’ll look under the hood and explore how RNGs work and how important they are for online casinos and fair play.

What is a random number generator?

A random number generator, or RNG, is a type of computer program that randomly generates numbers. Every second, RNGs produce vast sequences of independent numbers that don’t follow any pattern. They’re responsible for providing a single or a collection of numbers from the series when requested at any point. 

There are many different types of RNGs available, but typically one of two methods – “true random” and “pseudo-random” – are used to generate numbers. 

True Random Number Generators (TRNGs) use physical events that have random elements, such as noise signals, to create random numerical values. This makes it impossible for the numbers to be compromised by an attacker because it’s impossible to predict the sequence of numbers due to the inherent randomness of the real physical event.

A Pseudo-Random Number Generator (PRNG) uses algorithms to create large strings of numbers that are based on a shorter string of numbers. This shorter string of numbers is known as a seed number and can sometimes be based on a physical or natural source, much like a TRNG. However, since these systems are entirely digital and rely on a seed number and algorithm, a hacker could try to access both to “guess” or reverse-engineer the values. However, the chances of this occurring are extremely low.

No matter which method they use, RNGs are used almost everywhere in our lives – including computer simulations, security applications and statistical sampling. However, in this blog, we’ll be discussing how RNGs are used in casinos.

How do online casinos generate random numbers and results?

Casino sites use PRNGs to ensure there’s an element of randomness in games that don’t feature dealers. They can also work as automated card shoe shufflers for playing cards or for other basic activities, such as flipping a coin. Unless you’re playing live dealer games, there’s an RNG behind your online roulette picker. 

The PRNG system used by casinos is constantly active, meaning it produces numbers all the time. These are then instantly transformed into different elements in the games. For instance, RNG tools calculate the symbols that come to rest on the reels in online slots, the numbered slots on the roulette wheel that the ball drops into, the hands dealt in card games and the numbers rolled in dice games. If you enjoy virtual bingo, your bingo number picker is probably using an RNG to generate results. 

How RNGs work in slot machines

Slot Machine symbols illustration

Let’s look at an example of how this might work when you play slots online. Say there is a three-reel casino slot game with 10 symbols per reel. The online random number generator would then assign a value to each symbol – and then randomly select a value of one to 10 for each of the three reels. This results in an outcome that is three random symbols, all assigned independently of one another. If they happen to form a winning combination, then the slot game will pay your winnings accordingly.

Land-based gambling destinations also employ this technology in some of their machine-based games, including jackpot slots and video poker games. The outcome of these games is generated in the same way as online slots, poker, and other digital casino games.

Can you beat a random number generator?

The short answer is no. Legitimate random number generators at casinos are designed so that the average player cannot “beat” them while still ensuring they’re fair compared to their physical counterparts. 

The long answer, though, is yes. But it’s only true if you’re a spy with international espionage skills. You’ll need to get access to the software and algorithms used to create the values that drive the randomness in these games. As you might imagine, these are highly protected by the game producers; they want to ensure their games can only be won fairly.

And here’s the thing: Unless you don’t want to win fairly, you’re unlikely to want to beat the system, anyway. Randomness is an integral part of casino games, old and new. This is why they’re also known as games of chance, where luck alone determines whether you win or lose. No one can ever be certain of the outcome of a game, but you can work out the probability of what’s likely to happen.

For instance, skill-based online table games such as online poker or blackjack may give you a chance to affect the outcome. Following the best strategy to fold, check and raise or knowing the best starting hands in poker can improve odds in your favor. So can knowing when to hit or stand in blackjack. However, cards can quickly take a turn as each one dealt is a completely random event. The whole notion of gambling – and what makes these games fun – is wagering on an uncertain outcome. 

Are RNGs fair?

Multicolour dice thrown in the air by hand

Legal and trustworthy sites use RNG software that is regularly tested by independent auditors. Third parties regularly offer consulting and full testing services to both land-based casinos and internet-based sites. This ensures patrons have a fair and fun gambling experience at regulated physical and online gambling venues. These audits can include: 

  • RNG inspections
  • Live dealers, sportsbook or gambling exchange evaluations
  • Game and mathematics evaluations
  • Game payout verifications and reporting 
  • Lottery and pari-mutuel system inspections 

When a betting site is certified as fair, it means that its RNGs are random. Players can simply check this by looking for the certification seal on their chosen gambling website, which is typically found at the bottom of almost every page on the site.

Moreover, gambling operators cannot make any changes to individual machines or games without following an extensive process and notifying gambling regulators. If a gambling site is found to be in breach of such rules, it could be liable for a hefty fine or even have its license revoked. 

Some reputable independent companies that conduct regular, thorough RNG checks and evaluations include eCOGRA (eCommerce Online Gaming Regulation and Assurance) and TST (Technical Systems Testing). They also conduct live dealer evaluations, audits of poker systems, security and penetration testing, game payout verification and many other tests and checks that ensure fairness in online gaming. Both eCOGRA and TST are considered trustworthy by the community at large. So if you see a seal of approval from either of these at the online casino you choose to play at, you can rest assured that its games will be fair. 

RNGs and gambling strategy

Understanding the random and independent nature of RNG results is important for a good playing strategy. There are many common cognitive biases gamblers must avoid when they play casino games. Many of them stem from a lack of understanding of how the games work. 

Casino rituals and superstitions might seem fun. Like the belief that there are hot slots and cold slots or that if you’ve won or lost many times, your luck has to change soon. However, they can lead to irresponsible gambling and players placing large bets on results that can’t be predicted at all. Falling for misconceptions like the infamous gambler’s fallacy can tell us a lot about player psychology. When you’re playing RNG games, always remind yourself that the results are random and unrelated. Don’t keep playing after you’ve used up your budget in the hopes of making the money back. 

Instead of trusting casino myths and rituals when betting, try to find games with the lowest house edges to give yourself the best chances of success. The house edge can be reduced depending on how you play in games like blackjack. Instead of trying to predict random outcomes, beat the RNG by using the best strategy and playing the right games. RNGs are always running and they never stop, but you should. To gamble responsibly, set time and money limits for yourself. 

The importance of choosing a legitimate online casino

Players need to be wary of rogue gambling sites. Such websites usually have misleading information on their bonus offers and tend to manipulate games in their favor, among other things. A great strategy will mean nothing if you aren’t playing on a fair platform. Be sure to check out the site’s credentials before committing yourself financially. The BetMGM online casino is licensed and regulated by the New Jersey Division of Gaming Enforcement. This board ensures all games on the website are fair and operate correctly. Choose a reputable casino you can trust, and play with the King of Casinos. 

Play safely and securely at BetMGM

When you play at BetMGM, you can relax and have a good time knowing you are using a safe and secure gambling site. We don’t only provide a safe and secure experience but also offer exciting new slot games from top developers. Plus, players can enjoy casino table games such as blackjack, baccarat, poker and many more in our live dealer casino. Register with BetMGM to play the best online casino games for real money!

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.