Understanding Random Number Generators at Casinos

min read
BetMGM Oct 22, 2021, 9:29 AM

Random number generators (RNGs) are a crucial element of online casino games, as they provide the complete randomness necessary for the outcome of these 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. This article explores 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, as the name suggests, randomly generates numbers. Every second, RNGs produce vast sequences of numbers that don’t follow any pattern. They’re responsible for providing a single or a collection of numbers from the series, at any point, when requested. 

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 RNGs and focusing specifically on how they’re used in casinos.

How do online casinos generate random numbers successfully?

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. 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.

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 RNG 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 in such a way 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, as 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 as they ensure their games can only be won fairly.

And here’s the thing: Unless you’re a cheater, 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 – the same as 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, or 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. BetMGM is audited by different auditors, depending on the state that you’re playing in.

More fair-gaming measures

Independent audits are there to ensure that gambling games are not influenced by variables such as the size of the potential payout, number of credits in play, and factors that could mislead players. The payout percentages on the machines also need to meet those established by the gaming regulators in the state you’re playing in, as rules can differ in each state. The inspectors also do random checks on machines at brick-and-mortar sites to ensure that games are not rigged in any way.

Make sure you pick a legitimate online casino

Players also 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. Although they don’t last long, as they usually get found out, it wouldn’t be great to find yourself a victim of such crooked operations! Be sure to check out the site’s credentials you wish to play at before committing yourself financially.

Play safely and securely at BetMGM

RNGs ensure the outcome in gambling games is random and make it possible for punters to win when playing their favorite games. When you play at BetMGM, you can relax and have a good time knowing you are using a safe and secure gambling site that provides players with fair gaming. This is because our games are regularly audited and provide players with some of the best payouts online. 

We don’t only provide a safe and secure experience but also offer exciting new slot games, as well as your favorite classic casino table games such as blackjack, baccarat, poker, and roulette casino games, which are also available to play at our live casino online. Register to discover why BetMGM is the best online casino for real-money games!

Actress Vanessa Hudgens flipping casino chips next to the text "The King of Casinos"
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Our BetMGM editors and authors are sports experts with a wealth of knowledge of the sports industry at all levels. Their coverage includes sports news, previews and predictions, fun facts, and betting.

Our BetMGM editors and authors are sports experts with a wealth of knowledge of the sports industry at all levels. Their coverage includes sports news, previews and predictions, fun facts, and betting.