RNG and pRNG at online casino
"Random Number Generation is too important to be left to chance"… This is a quote of Robert Cove, which has to be considered. Speaking of that, our life is quite driven by that fact and many of online and land based casinos just exist thanks to that. Any modern gambling house is fully depending on the true RNG. If RNG is false, everything goes down the drain. Furthermore, any game could be hacked, and the scammers would hit big wins. The most interesting part is that all online casinos don`t have a true RNG, but pRNG – pseudorandom number generation.
pRNG vs RNG
I was quite shocked when I found it out. For what sake such well-known companies would use a false generation? Is it safe? Doesn`t it contravenes with the random Roulette spin or random distribution of cards that the casino should use? Yes and no. pRNG – quite powerful part of the software, is constantly generating by random numbers. But be aware, it does not work as it is supposed to. Instead of generating a random number, it creates one, based on an algorithm.
What is the true RNG?
- There are pRNG and true RNG, the last one is the opposite of the first. In this case it is not about a program but a hardware (electronic device), which may physically be connected to a computer. Those are manufactured by specialized companies and are considered extremely complex.
- Such devices operate as follows. A physical phenomenon is considered, for example, a thermal noise, and then by using a comparator (or any other device) it is translated into a sequence of ones and zeros (bits). This sequence is absolutely random, not just an approach to it.
- The cons of such “machines” are that they are quite slow. They are slower than pRNG. Well, the last one is a perfect choice of online casinos, so it is mostly used. Note that all pRNGs are quite different. They may be based on various algorithms. There are high-quality and poor-quality algorithms. The better, the more reliable.
Can pRNG be hacked?
- Any pseudorandom number generator may theoretically be hacked: all you need to do is to understand the way it operates and predict with a certain probability the subsequent outcomes. In practice, it is more difficult than it may seem. It is almost impossible due to the “permutation” technique.
- The basic numbers from pRNG operating algorithm are theoretically defined in advance and cannot be changed. But in order to provide a better security against third party hackers, from time to time these numbers are replaced by random ones. At that moment, the algorithm stops working and turns to 90 degrees. After that, the tracking of outcomes is impossible. There is no device which would be able to find at what point a number is replaced by another. There is no enough time and computing power to do that.
- There definitely were bets of hacking the casino games. For example, you may hear Ron Harris story, a specialist in slot machines. His job was to find the machines bugs. Of course, the clever Ron made use of his position and won several Jackpots at bugged Vegas slot machines.
- In the end, Harris was sent to prison and banned from playing in all casinos of America (and probably of the whole world). Harris had not hacked pRNG, he made use of its bugs. The modern generators alternatives are better and more secured.
Is there any way of managing the winnings?
- Theoretically you know pRNG outcomes by knowing the algorithm. That is, you know the winning sector at Roulette or the winning combination at the slot machine. That it just a theory. In reality it is more difficult than it may seem.
- Quite often, each new number is generated as follows. A basic number is taken (or more), a mathematical calculation is performed, and the outcome is a completely different number.
- The generated number is the new basic number. And so on, cyclically. I really mean a “number”, not 47 or 90, a way BIGGER number.
- The outcome is a long chain of random values, which is quite random most of times. That means pRNG is really random in the defined limits (for a specific online slot the limit may be the total number of symbols combinations on the five reels (and here we talk about millions of combinations)). pRNG is based on a specific algorithm that is applied all the time.
How did the old machines work?
If the creation of the perfect conditions of a true RNG is not so easy, then how did the old slot machines work? In reality, it is not so difficult to get a series of random outcomes. Casino Roulette is out there for a reason. The croupier throws the ball and that responds to the physical laws, and still you cannot know the exact outcome. On the other hand, that outcome would not be 100% random (as the quantum phenomena are).
However, that is quite enough. The first slot machines worked the same way. Being mechanical, most of times they dropped random outcomes. You could cheat by using their bugs, but here they come – video slots – with fixes and improvements. There was a long way in the creation of an electronic device which would work like a mechanical one; a special focus was required, while converting the random system. Time for handy RNGs.
How the modern pRNG works?
Once Spin button is pushed, the outcome has been already chosen. RNG was activated and a series of numbers has been selected, which denotes a certain position of the reels. However, the slot behaves quite differently. It makes you think the opposite until the last moment – the reels effect.
You may be a little bit disappointed about that fact, the slot may lose a bit of its magic, but still the outcome is always random. By the way, the outcome of free spins is also chosen in advance. At the moment you pushed Spin button. Again, there is nothing weird. The slot knows the outcome, but you do not. That is the catch. Speaking of that, you better avoid such thoughts and pretend playing in a wonderful world of gambling.
Who is responsible for RNG?
- RNGs are regularly verified. Although the game has been fully verified during the testing phase. The audit is performed by independent companies. They must be approved by the same jurisdiction the online casino operates with.
- The most trusted companies of that list are Technical Systems Testing (TST), eCOGRA and Price Waterhouse Coopers (PWC). Most often, the verification is confirmed by an appropriate certificate, where you may find RTP values of all games (cards games, table games, slots and so on) and where RNG operation of each game is confirmed – BlackJack, Roulette and so on.
- The certificate may be accessed using the provided link on the casino home page. It is there for a reason. Note that the certificate should be accessed via a link, it cannot be placed on the casino site (otherwise it would be edited quite easy). By clicking on the link, the user is redirected to the site of the company who does the verifications. How is RNG verified? A series of tests are performed, which should confirm the random outcomes. Moreover, you should note that big audit companies really value their reputation and will hardly issue one of their certificates.
- You should understand that the certificate does not guarantee a fair operation. Still a proof, but not a warranty. The way RNG is verified is far from perfect.