What is a Random Number Generator (RNG)?


The success of the online casino industry is directly tied to the willingness of online casino players to trust their operators. They have to be willing to trust the way their operators handle the banking process. They especially have to be able to trust that the gaming results they are seeing are true and fair. 

When it comes to the banking process, trust is created when customers know their online casino has security measures in place to protect them. These security measures should address banking procedures like setting up a digital wallet and making deposits/withdrawals. They also need some assurance that the listed cash transaction providers are willing to work with the online casino operator in question. 

Trust in gaming results is an entirely different animal. Online casino players are expected to accept and not question gaming results that seemingly come out of nowhere. They can’t see the dice rolling or cards turning. Given the transgressions perpetrated on online casino players in the past by rogue operators, any concerns over results are understandable. 

Choosing a Trustworthy Online Casino Operator

In terms of gaming results, there is a way prospective customers can judge the trustworthiness of a particular online casino. You see, licensed online casino operators and game software developers are required by regulators to submit all casino games for testing. Sometimes, this testing is referred to as auditing. 

When an operator or software developer submits a game to an audit firm like eCOGRA or TST, they expect the audit firm to test the game for fairness and random results. 

To test for fairness and random results, the audit firm uses a special computer program that allows them to quickly play the game in question hundreds of thousands of times. As the gaming results accumulate, statistical information about the game’s performance is brought to light. If the stats rendered fall within the fairness and randomness guidelines that have been set forth by regulators and the online casino industry as a whole, the game can be “certified” as fair and random. 

Digging deeper, what audit firms are actually testing is the trustworthiness of the software developer’s “Random Number Generator” or RNG. Let’s dig deeper.

What is a Random Number Generator (RNG)?

For the purposes of this writing, an attempt will be made to avoid getting too technical about the RNG concept. It takes the mind of an adept computer programmer to truly understand the role an RNG plays in making sure certain outcomes are random. 

Let’s start with a very simple example to point out what is meant by random results. Note: random also means unpredictable. 

Example: If you flip a coin, there are two possible outcomes: Heads or tails. It should be easy to understand that each outcome is equally likely each time the coin is flipped. That makes the results random and unpredictable. Statistically, you would expect an equal number of heads and tails to show up if the coin was flipped a thousand times. 

The reality that equal outcomes may or may not happen is further testament to the unpredictability of the results. This randomness and unpredictability is exactly what’s needed when creating fair slots or table games like blackjack, craps, or roulette. 

According to the Technopedia website, a random number generator (RNG) is “a mathematical construct, either computational or as a hardware device, that is designed to generate a random set of numbers that should not display any distinguishable patterns in their appearance or generation, hence the word random.”

As for how this concept applies to online casino gaming, it works as follows. 

An RNG program or construct is embedded in the programming language of a particular online game. The role of the RNG is to ensure that the game’s results are not being manipulated to provide certain or predictable results. In other words, all results are created as the game in question runs to its logical conclusion (the result) without any kind of internal manipulation. 

Never Play Uncertified Games of Chance

Adept casino game programmers do have the ability to create casino games that can be manipulated to provide certain results in certain situations. You have no chance of beating a game that wasn’t programmed with an embedded RNG included in the game’s program. 

It’s a shame rogue operators exist. However, they are very few in numbers because regulators work hard to protect online gamblers. 

For your part, you can protect yourself by using nothing but online casino sites that have the following characteristics:

  • They are licensed and regulated by a reputable gaming regulator
  • The website’s software platform has been tested and certified as fair
  • All of the website’s games have been audited and certified as fair and random

If you are willing to do this little bit of due diligence, you’ll be able to enjoy a fair online casino gambling experience.