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RNG – Random Number Generator

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All online casinos use Random Number Generators, or for short RNG, to determine the outcome of their games. This technology can be found in slot machines but is also used for table games, scratch cards, and other digitally-controlled games. The RNG ensures that the games you find at online casinos are fair for all players. 

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RNGs Ensure Fairness and Random Outcomes

The RNG also ensures that the chance of a win occurring is the same in every game round. For example, if you just finished a bonus round with free spins, the chances of the next spin triggering another round of free spins are just the same as they are a hundred spins later. In many ways, an RNG works like tossing a dice. For every toss, the chances of you getting six are the same, no matter what happened in the last toss.

Even though the games themselves are fair, you should always remember that they're fair in the sense that they work as intended. That being said, a slot machine is never designed to pay out all the bets it gets as winnings since the RTP is set to less than 100%. After all, the casino has to make money somehow. In terms of slots, therefore, what fair means in the fair-gaming sense is that you're not at a disadvantage compared to other players. But you will be at a disadvantage compared to the casino. This is why cashing out big wins is so important.

How Does a Random Number Generator Work?

At online casinos, but also in physical casinos, RNGs are used to get the most random result possible. An RNG can be software and/or hardware. When it comes to a software-driven RNG, we speak of a Pseudo-Random Number Generator, which we will also cover in this expert iGaming guide. 

A hardware-driven RNG works by including certain external factors in determining a random sequence of numbers. This can be, for example, the temperature, atmospheric pressure, or the amount of a particular substance in the air. This factor gives a series of binary numbers that are converted through an algorithm into a particular move or card in a casino game. This is an optimally randomised method because it cannot be influenced, and the factor is always different.

In addition, it is practically impossible to crack or hack a hardware RNG. This is because, firstly, the measured factor or factors is/are often secret. Second, it is impossible to know, for example, the amount of carbon in an online casino data centre at a specified time. Third, this sequence's correct algorithm and operation have yet to be discovered before predicting a move, outcome, or card. The disadvantage of a hardware RNG is that more processing time is required, and therefore it works less quickly. 

What is a Pseudo-Random Number Generator?

A Pseudo-Random Number Generator works via software and, therefore, cannot measure external factors and include them in the delivery of a random result. The Pseudo-RNG is built into, for example, a chip and contains an algorithm that gives a certain result at certain times based on a key or an initial value. Since this software is not linked to an external factor, it can give the most random result of a casino game much faster. However, an internal factor, such as a clock, could be used.

The software RNG is based on the key value. When someone knows this key value, it is possible to predict the outcome at a specific time. The fact that there is some form of reproducibility in it is not necessarily a disadvantage in the case of casino games unless hackers take advantage of this. Due to the much higher speed and the fact that no additional hardware needs to be built into a video slot, for example, Pseudo-RNGs are widely used in casinos, both online and offline.

How Do Casinos Provide Random Results?

There are several ways in which online and land-based casinos provide randomness. In table games, this can be done by manually shuffling the cards or by using a shuffling machine so that the cards come out randomly. According to statisticians, you have to apply the “riffle shuffle” seven times or more or spread the cards out on the table and shuffle them together for about a minute. 

At both online casinos and land-based casinos, only live casino games work with manual randomness. The rest of the available casino games work via a (Pseudo) RNG. How this works exactly differs for each game and each game developer or online casino.

An example of a RNG comes from a well-known poker site. A semi-transparent mirror sometimes reflects the beam of a laser, and sometimes it does not. A reflection gives a 1, and no reflection a 0. The second comes from the input of the players. The movements of the mouse, reaction time, clicks, and more information are converted into a binary code. By putting these numbers in order, combining them, and then passing them through an algorithm, a completely random sequence is created that can be converted into a specific card, which is then presented on the table.

Eve Luneborg
Eve LuneborgUpdated: 09 Sep 2022
Eve started working at an online casino back in 2014, and she’s been involved in the iGaming industry ever since. Starting off as a support agent at LeoVegas Casino, she later took...
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