How random are Random Number Generators?

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Random Number Generators (RNGs) are the mechanics behind every single online slot you’ve seen or played. The software is used to generate unpredictable outcomes, and is commonly used in any industry that desires any sort of randomised product, design or result. Whilst true randomness cannot be accomplished, RNGs have a clever way of relying on algorithms that mimic the selection of random numbers, generating an outcome that cannot be calculated. In simple terms, a Random Number Generator is the computerised way of shuffling cards, or rolling a dice.

Read on to discover how RNGs really work, and to see how just random the outcomes of your favorite online Slots truly are…

The past

In the past, slot machines were played by the use of a lever being pulled to stretch a spring. The spring would cause the reels to spin and when it eventually stopped, the outcome was decided. Despite this being completely random, players felt as though they had a sense of control over the machine, as the lever could be physically pulled. However, this wasn’t the case, as the spring would always stretch the same amount, and the drums inside the machine would turn accordingly, leaving the outcome of the icons to appear completely randomly.

It was easier for players to wrap their heads around the idea of a spring stretching and spinning the reels. The concept of a complicated coding system working behind our screens understandably made the game seem untrustworthy at first. But, as technology progressed and slot machines saw newer designs, greater graphics, bonus rounds and even more ways to win, the appeal of this new way to play grew and players could begin to trust this way of playing. 

In 1964, the first electromechanical slot was made, followed closely by the first video slot with a bottomless hopper and payouts topping 500 coins, in 1979.  Random Number Generators fueled the machines, but many still had levers for the familiar gameplay effect. Slowly, buttons replaced the levers, and in 1996, slot games made an appearance on the all-new online casinos.

The inner workings

With online casinos came a lot of uncertainty about how reliable, fair and safe the games were to play. Transferring and receiving money over the internet was a new concept and many believed the games to be rigged. This was quickly proven otherwise as casino sites followed strict rules and regulations, proving they had the correct license, ensuring safe transactions and fair gameplay.

Players became interested in how RNGs really worked, and casinos had complicated firewalls in place to make sure these couldn’t be messed with.

RNGs either come as software built into the computer, or as a hardware device. It’s designed to generate a random set of numbers that never display any distinguishable patterns in their appearance or generation.

Your favourite Slots

It’s true, all your favourite slot games use an RNG to decipher the result. Every second, a new combination is being formed, so the very second you press ‘spin’, is the very second the outcome is determined. With modern day technology, the symbols generated and combinations they create could unlock bonus rounds, free spins, and multipliers, with each holding different values.

What’s more, the software cannot rely on mathematical equations, algorithms or data because this takes away the possibility of it being random – so it has no memory of what symbols have been generated previously, meaning that higher-paying icons could appear again and again! It really proves that gameplay is down to chance – and the exact second in which you choose to spin the reels!