Many who are new to the world of iGaming rightly ask if online casinos are rigged against them. And we’ll be answering this question in full today. There are many different elements involved under the umbrella of fair gaming within the online casino industry. Part of this has to do with technological implementations – computer algorithms that make the outcome of each bet have the same likelihood of winning as any other bet on the same game, for example – and a system of oversight and regulation that was put in place to license and manage how casinos are run. So, let’s get into the details and by the end, you will have your answer about the fairness of online casinos, how to calculate the house edge, and what you can do to find safe casinos…
In short, the answer to this is a hard no. Of course, there are some dodgy sites out there that don’t play by the rules (and we will always point these things out in our expert reviews if we suspect a casino’s reputation doesn’t bode well for new players), but the vast majority are 100% provably fair in all their dealings with customers. One of the main ways that things like video slots, table games, and progressive jackpot games are made fair is by employing random number generators (RNGs) in every game, which ensures that each and every bet placed has exactly the same chances of winning or losing. That means that every time you spin the reels of a progressive slot, for example, you have exactly the same chance of winning the jackpot as the spin that came before it and the spin that happens afterward. Make sense? Great!
One of the main reasons that people think online casinos are rigged is because of the house edge. However, this is essentially how the online casino makes a profit over time, but it has no bearing on whether you walk away as a winner or if you go on a losing streak and come out worse off. The easiest way of explaining the house edge is to look at the roulette wheel. When making an even money bet on black in a single-zero European roulette game, for example, the odds of you winning are close to 50/50. However, because of the small chances of the ball landing in the zero pocket, that’s not quite true. Your actual odds of pulling off a black bet are 48.64%, meaning that the house (otherwise known as the casino) edge for this bet is 2.70%.
The same type of thinking applies to all kinds of casino games, whether it’s roulette, blackjack, or slots. With the latter, the house edge is explained in a slightly different way. Instead, return to player (RTP) is used. So, you will often see a slot’s RTP given as something like 97%. This means that for every euro you bet, you can expect to win 97 cents – i.e. the house will take 3 cents for every bet made on average. And it’s the average bit that is the most important thing here. So, while you might win big, another 10 players might lose small amounts. That means you get paid your winnings, the losers might try again, and the casino makes a small profit.
When looking for an online casino at which to play, you should always look for the symbols of independent bodies like eCogra and/or iTech Labs. These companies ensure that fair play rules are adhered to by online casinos and the game providers supplying them. Through spot checks and rigorous testing procedures, the RNG testers will simulate millions of spins or rounds on every game to ensure that everything is as random as possible, that the stated RTPs are reported exactly, and that every bet has the same chances of winning as the next one.
Equally important is to check that the brand is licensed and regulated by a reputable authority, such as the Malta Gaming Authority (MGA), United Kingdom Gambling Commission (UKGC), or the Swedish Gambling Authority (Spelinspektionen), for example. These third-party authorities have the power to investigate, fine, and even begin legal proceedings if an online casino is found to be breaking the laws and using unfair games. Therefore, as long as there is a strong license behind the brand, you will be in the safest possible hands when playing at the site.
We hope you’ve enjoyed this short article on online casino fairness. Through the use of RNGs, RTPs, and licensing, you can see that every bet has the same chances of winning as the one before or after it. This should give you peace of mind whenever playing at an online casino.