Online casinos are without a doubt one of the hottest trends in entertainment right now. It might have taken us nearly two decades to get here but it has certainly been worth it.
When looking at the history of online gambling, one of the verticals that always comes to mind is the slots games that are a staple on nearly all gambling platforms and spaces.
[slots are] responsible for up to over half of all gambling revenue …
In fact, they have been proven to be responsible for up to over half of all gambling revenuewhich essentially makes them the most popular type of casino game on the planet.
Even so, when slot lovers fire up their favorite slot machines either online or at retail spaces, they do not necessarily have what goes on behind the scenes in mind.
Enjoying these games does not require explicit knowledge about the technologies that make them possible but it is important to acknowledge their role in bringing us so much fun, joy and, sometimes, huge wins.
The Conception: Early Slot Machines and How They Worked
Slots were first conceptualized towards the
end of the 19th century and for a better part of the next century, they
remained unchanged – or did they?
In reality, while slot players may have
noticed only subtle changes on their end, the technology that powers slot
machines changed tremendously since the game was invented.
The first slot machines, otherwise known as
classic machines – such as the Liberty
Bell and Operator Bell, made use of some rather intricate gear and lever
systems. There was a shaft at the center of the machine which connected to the
reels and in turn lead to a handle that players could interact with.
To get started, a player has to insert a
coin. There is a coin detector for this job – it releases the braking system
when the coin is detected. The handle triggers the movement of the machine and
the included braking system brings it back to a stop after which other equally
intricate sensors detect and communicate the position of the machine’s reels to
the payout system. All this is random and not predetermined.
The Arrival of Modern Slots
Unlike classic slot machines which were
entirely mechanical, modern slots are essentially electrical machines. Instead
of using mechanical levers and gears, the electrical slot machines used
solenoids (electromagnetic coils) to activate the stoppers. The even more
modern slot machines use software to do all that.
Still, as interesting as the working
mechanism of the entire machine may be, there is one thing that every gambler
is usually interested in knowing.
That is, how does a gaming machine
decide whether you win or lose?
Gambling is mostly about luck, or
probability, and maybe a tiny bit of skill. Slot machines are clearly the most
popular luck-based games which makes them one of the areas where randomness is
Enter the Random Number Generator (RNG) Mechanics
In modern slot machines, Random Number
Generators (RNGs) are used to ensure that the outcome of any casino game you
are playing is essentially random.
Now, all online casinos offering slot games
assure their customer that they are using the best RNGs in the industry.
However, it is easy to dismiss this as the usual gambling tech jargon. Well,
knowing about them is not critical for one to enjoy the games, but it is very
important especially for people who are playing with real money and are very
concerned about fairness.
How RNG’s Work
Now that we have established that RNGs are
simply software that determines the outcome of online slot games and other
online casino games, we can dive a little deeper.
All casinos have RNGs built into the online
gaming platforms and games making them a critical component of the gaming
experience. In essence, an RNG is a computational device or software that is
tasked with generating random symbols in slot machines.
The generation of these random numbers is
in itself separate from the game as it happens even when the game is not being
played. Since it operates round the clock, all it has to do is supply the slot
game with the symbols or numbers it has generated.
All this is made possible through complex mathematical formulas and algorithms. On reputable online casinos, the software is audited regularly to ensure the operators do not tamper with them in order to get an edge.
Besides, they never have to do that because
the math is usually working in their favor to some extent and it is extremely
difficult to make RNGs generate predetermined outcomes.
[this is why slots are] the most popular type of casino game on the planet….
Furthermore, it is important to note that
Random Number Generators work independently, and this is what makes the reel-spinning
experience fair. That means that your previous wins or losses will not affect
your next game.
The Types of RNGs In Use Today
Slot machines and several other sectors
that require randomized data have benefitted immensely from advancements in RNG
technology. All these applications require tremendous amounts of random numbers
or symbols and this has led to improvements in the computational techniques
used to generate them.
As it stands, in your reel spinning endeavors you are likely to have come across either of two types of RNGs. These are:
This is a type of RNG that is entirely based on software. That is, they make use of mathematical algorithms to generate random numbers. In this case, a value known as a ‘seed’ is required to kick things off. This is perhaps its most notable flaw but it is still quite sufficient for most applications.
Check our minute based pseudo number generator below:
True RNGs (TRNGs)
Unlike PRNG’s these True Random Number Generators do not need to seed values. Instead, they make use of digital snapshots of natural noises such as those from a semi-conductor or a resistor. No algorithm determines its operations. In other words, they are non-deterministic which makes them perfect for slot machines.
For slot machine lovers, you can rest
assured that the slot games you will have access to are an improvement over
previous versions. All the reputable gaming operators have certified RNGs that
Thankfully, there are several organizations
that are dedicated to auditing and certifying the RNGs used on gaming sites so
as to ensure customers are treated fairly.
Some of the most reputable companies in
this regard include:
So long as the site you are playing online
slots on has any of these certifications you can be sure that the RNG that
determines the outcome of your games is fair. Most operators will have seals or
certifications from these companies on the sites so you should keep an eye out
Can You Beat a Random Number Generator?
In all honesty, as mentioned above, the
chances of getting a random number generator (RNG) to produce a predetermined
outcome is quite the task. It is, in fact, much easier to acknowledge that it
However online gambling operators provide
little incentives as required by law and ethics to ensure that the players get
to enjoy the gaming experience while at the same time maximizing profitability.
These are determined are related to:
Return to Player (RTP)
This is the theoretical amount of money that the slot machine needs to return to the players – this does not refer to individual players but the casino’s customers as a collective. It is basically what the lucky players get to win.
This refers to the frequency of spins that result in a win. Games or casinos with higher hit rate percentages, therefore, be the most attractive to players.
That is all you need to get started. There
is no clear-cut strategy that will assure you of a win but the uncertainty is
what makes slot machines so thrilling and exciting to play.
Kevin was raised on sports since a young teen and following a (fortunate) injury pursued new hobbies in table games such as Blackjack and Poker. Since 2009 Kevin has been writing for casino sites for various big names in the industry and CasinoSites.us is but one of his latest passion projects.