Fairness at Online Casinos

Are Casino Odds Fair?

When joining an online casino, you might be wondering just how fair is it and what your chances of actually winning are. We all are familiar, at least in part, with the house edge and that the casino seemingly always has the upper hand. While this is true, you can rest assured that when you play at a credible online casino, you can enjoy the fairest and random results. If the fairness of a casino site is a major concern for you, read on as we highlight the complexities of gambling online.

In most cases, online casinos do a great job of ensuring fairness while playing for real money. Online casino sites know that they need depositing players to make money and if they don't provide the safest, most secure setup, these valuable players will happily move to another site. This is why casinos go out of their way to ensure peace of mind when playing for real money online. Two of the ways gambling platforms guarantee fair play is with independent audits and provably fair technology. That said, there are shadier casinos that use rigged software, but simply following the checklist of what to look for in an online casino will help any player weed out the unsavoury in no time.

Independent Audits

Independent audits are the most common way casinos prove their fairness. Trusted casinos who are powered by big names like Microgaming, NetEnt and Playtech maintain their integrity by hiring independent agencies to audit the casino for fair play. Some of the most trusted and popular auditing companies include eCOGRA, iTech Labs, GLI, TST, and Jacobsen. This is done by these agencies testing the integrity of the games by looking at the engine of the games, its mechanics and use of the random number generator (RNG). The fairness of online casino games is largely based on RNGs, which result in unbiased and random results on every spin, roll and shuffle, depending on the game you are playing.

Auditing agencies will check the fairness of the games by playing all the games millions of times and checking the results. They check the overall payout percentage, the variance of results and more. All games using dice being thrown or wheels must match the same range of outcomes as they would at land-based casinos. While this is a more technical aspect to the testing, players can rest assured that these agencies do a thorough job in checking all aspects of the game to ensure fairness for all players.

In the case of unscrupulous casinos, they use software that is not powered by RNGs or powered by rigged RNGs. These casinos will rig the outcomes to gain an even better advantage over the player. This makes players lose more over a shorter period, making high-paying results almost impossible. They could even implement false glitches that force players to lose.

All these tactics result in non-random and completely rigged results. If this is the case, a testing company can pick up on these inaccuracies and flag an online casino as unsafe and untrustworthy. It is therefore in the casino's best interest to ensure safe and fair play to all its players. These auditing companies should also be independent of the casino and have no stake or interest in the gaming platform to produce the most unbiased results.

A fully tested casino should make it clear on its site that they have been proven fair by a trusted third-party agency for their own best interest. This 'seal of approval' should be displayed on the website, generally in the footer. It makes sense for an online casino to advertise this accomplishment since it proves to the customer that it is a trustworthy casino that looks after its players. It is also advised that casinos add a link to the most recent certificate of approval on the agency's website so that players can look it up themselves. That said, many auditing companies do not provide this link, but if you are playing at a safe and trusted online casino, this shouldn't be an issue.

One of the major issues with these independent audits is that they are expensive. While online casinos make a lot of money, it is not always affordable to do these audits regularly. Because of this, each audit expires so it is up to the casino site to make sure their audits are up to date. Just because a casino site was deemed fair a few years ago, does not mean they keep this certificate forever. That said, the best, most credible websites will ensure that these audits are done regularly to maintain the integrity of the site, to gain new players and retain existing customers.

Due to the competition on the market, it is easy for customers to find another site that meets their needs, so casinos must strive to ensure that its players stayed dedicated to its site. As a way around this, some less trusted casinos will get their certificate then move over to an untested platform when the certificate expires. To make sure you are playing at a legitimate casino site, make sure the name of the software listed on the certificate matches the one being used on the casino's current platform.

If you cannot find any auditing information on a casino site, be sure to chat with the casino's support team for further details. If a support agent comes back with a suspicious response or none at all, consider this a red flag and instead move on to a different site as a safety measure. You may find more information on the software provider's site as well, so spend some time doing your research before making any real money bets. If absolutely no details can be found, players should avoid the casino until it has proven itself fair.

Another point to highlight is that a seal of approval from an auditing agency is different from a government-issued license. A license just means that the casino site is legally allowed to operate within its jurisdiction and is not proof that the casino operates fair and safe gameplay or uses provably fair systems. That said, most reputable jurisdictions (example Malta, UK, Gibraltar etc) will require a certificate of fairness from a third-party auditing company to grant licenses. Some licenses, however, do not require this so be mindful of that when choosing an online casino.

Provably Fair Technology

With the introduction of bitcoin casinos, enjoying a fair gaming experience takes a lot less work than before. Bitcoin casinos eliminate the need for a third-party auditing agency. This is because these casinos use provably fair technology that allows players to have control over the results without having to cheat. That said, this type of encryption technology is not currently widely used and is specified to bitcoin-powered casinos.

To get the most out of your gaming experience, players should have a basic understanding of what provably fair gaming means to avoid being cheated out of your winnings at dodgy casinos. In this way, you can make the right choice in avoiding casino sites that use rigged software to steal money from its players.

More About Random Number Generators (RNGs)

The entire basis of gambling is based on probability. By using the theory of probability, casino developers can create games that are exciting to play, attractive to all players and ultimately earn casinos a profit in the long run. You have heard or seen the terms TRTP, which in the iGaming world refers to the theoretical return to player or just simply RTP. Let's delve deeper into what exactly RTP is, how it is calculated and why it is useful to understand when choosing an online casino.

When playing online, you will find that every individual game has its own RTP. In its most basic form, an RTP is the percentage of each bet a player can expect to get back in the long run. If we're being honest, no player would want to bet any money on a game that guarantees a loss of a fixed amount every time you play. Because casinos understand that players like the idea of potentially winning, games are designed so that players can experience both wins are losses. That said, the RTP means that players can eventually expect to have results in line with the TRTP, but only after many rounds of gameplay. This could be thousands or even millions of rounds.

For credible casinos that are properly managed, having this RTP is not a problem as more players are making deposits so the RTP happens more quickly. This means that the casino will always make a profit despite major wins to a player. That said, there is a difference between a theoretical RTP and an actual RTP. In terms of the actual RTP, this refers to how a specific game or played has fared over a given time period. This will often be largely different from the RTP.

Another term you will often see at online casinos is 'house edge'. The house edge is similar to the RTP as it refers to the percentage each wager contributes to the casino. Again, this is calculated over a long time period. To make things clearer, the RTP and the house edge will always add up to 100%.

The house edge is calculated based on probability - it is the sum of all probabilities multiplied by the payouts received from the game over the long run. The house edge is the fundamental principle on which all games are based and ultimately determines what payout you can expect to receive. This is necessary for all games, from low-budget online slots to high-roller games with massive jackpots.

Another thing to consider is games involving a certain level of skill. This includes popular options like blackjack and video poker games. Here, the TRTP will be based on the player's skill level. Therefore, the RTP on a specific skill-based game will be based on the player's perceived skill, i.e. using the best strategy to improve your chances of winning. Because most players do not use the optimal strategy for a particular game, many skill games have a higher RTP than luck-based games. So, if A player is looking for a game that offers the most bang for your buck, it is a good strategy to look into skill-based games and find the ones with the highest RTP.

While the RTP tells players what they can expect to lose over time, the variance is what tells players how difficult the game is to beat. In iGaming, the concept of variance and volatility is the same thing and refers to how spread out potential outcomes is. If a game is based on high variance, it means it is more difficult to experience a win and often comes with periods of losses and some wins in-between.

Lower variance games are those that are more balanced in its wins and losses. That said, these games can be identified as having lots of small wins over time instead of individual big wins. Players should remember that RTP and variance are completely different and the one does not influence the other. Just because a game has low volatility does not mean you can expect exceptional wins and vice versa.

Let's look at some of the TRTPs for some of the most popular games played at online casinos. These are the average RTPs and it may change based on a specific casino.

  • Slots - up to 98%
  • European roulette - 97%
  • Baccarat - 98.94%
  • American roulette - 94.7%
  • Pai Gow poker - 97.3%

How Do RNGs Contribute to Fair Gameplay?

An RNG is an engine that drives most of the online casino games. So every time an online casino automatically rolls a dice, spins a wheel or shuffles a deck, the outcome of that action is based on the RNG algorithm. Over the years, this algorithm has gotten more advanced as online gambling has become one of the most popular and lucrative industries in the world and more players are looking for complete fairness and safety in their casino sites.

A random number generator is simply a computer program that's been designed for random numbers and results. These numbers cannot be based on a particular pattern and cannot be worked out. These days, this algorithm is extremely effective in producing results that are completely random and unpredictable. Reputable online casinos will use RNGs can are known for producing the most effective, normally distributed outcomes possible.

While RNGs are used to guarantee unbiased and unrigged results, it is worth mentioning that a few unscrupulous casinos will use software that results in rigged and unfair results, cheating players out of their hard-earned cash. Because of this, independent audits are still the surest way to guarantee that an online casino is using the best RNG software that proves all games are fair and random.

These auditing companies will test the games many times over for a long period and make sure that there are no patterns when it comes to results. The outcome must also be consistent with the expected returns on each game. If an online casino is using a faulty RNG algorithm to try scam players, this should be picked up by the auditing company.

Bitcoin casinos, one the other hand, have gone in a different direction when it comes to proving fairness. These casinos do not require third-party auditing as they make use of provably fair technology. This not only gives players peace of mind when using the casino but saves the site from expensive auditing costs. That said, arguments doing their rounds on how the fairness of these 'provably fair' technologies can truly be proven if not for third-party companies doing regular testing.

That said, one of the most common complaints players have with casinos is not the fairness of the games, but the casinos simply not paying out players when they do win. Because of this, players should check that a casino does not have a history of not paying players - read some reviews to get a good idea whether a particular casino has any incidences of non-payment.

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