When playing most casino games, whether you win or lose will depend entirely on a random event of some kind. If you play a game of craps, it will be the outcome of a dice roll. If you play roulette, it will be the resting place of the ball when the wheel stops spinning. Online casino games don't use such props, and so they use something called a Random Number Generator (RNG) to generate similarly random outcomes.
Our aim in this article is to give you an overview of what a Random Number Generator is and how it works. You'll learn why the use of the RNG in casino games online is the only way to make them truly fair. We'll also tell you why you can always trust RNGs when playing games at properly licensed online casinos in Canada.
Find Games with a Fair RNG in these Casinos
What Does RNG Stand For? RNG Meaning and Definition
RNG is an acronym for Random Number Generator. The term can be used to refer to any device or process that generates numbers in a way that nobody can predict in advance. In the world of land-based casinos, the roulette wheel is a type of Random Number Generator, albeit limited to numbers in the range of 0 to 36. Similarly, a pair of dice is a type of RNG that can generate random numbers in the range of 2 to 12.
When you play at online casinos, Random Number Generators are software programs that are specially designed to work as a substitute for such physical devices. In most cases, when anyone talks about Random Number Generators or RNGs, they will primarily be referring to these software programs rather than their physical counterparts.
You might imagine that writing a software routine to come up with random numbers on demand would be relatively easy for a professional programmer, but that's not the case at all. Generating random numbers in the real world is much easier because there are all kinds of incidental events and conditions that make every event unique.
For example, consider the act of a ball being introduced into a spinning roulette wheel. Just a few of the variables that contribute to the eventual random result include the speed at which the wheel is spun, the position at which the ball is introduced, and the angle at which the ball is introduced. Even the general atmosphere of the casino can have a slim but profound effect on how long it takes for the ball to come to rest.
Random Number Generator software programs work quite differently. They use algorithms to generate a large range of seemingly random numbers from a known key. We say seemingly random because if you know the key then you can generate the same set of random numbers. For this reason, these key-reliant processes are known as Pseudo Random Number Generators.
Other RNGs aim to do better by taking measurements of one or more physical conditions that can't be predicted, such as atmospheric pressure, as a starting point. That unpredictable measurement can then be used to generate a range of random numbers that would be extremely difficult to replicate.
There is no end to how complex Random Number Generators can be, and online game developers always go as far as they can in making sure that their outcomes are as random as feasibly possible. They test the randomness of their games by taking them through millions of events and analyzing the results.
When game developers are confident that their games are as random as those you'd find at a land-based casino, they submit them for more analysis by external independent auditors.
If you're wondering why game developers work so hard to pursue the holy grail of genuine randomness, there are actually several good reasons. All of them make very good sense for the developers, online casinos and players alike, so let's take a look at exactly why random numbers are so important for everyone concerned.
The first reason why random numbers are important is that they are essential to making sure that online casino games are fair to those who play them. Whether you are someone who enjoys playing slots, table games or other casino games, you want to be confident that you have a fair chance of winning. This is why we all insist that land-based casinos use certified gaming equipment, and it's also why we need to know that online casinos are using honest and reliable RNGs.
As players, it's quite common and perfectly natural for us to want to beat the casinos we play at, but would we ever want casinos to be beaten into bankruptcy? Probably not, because if casinos were forced to close down, we'd have nowhere to play. But the fact is that casinos can only stay in business if they win over the long term, and to do that, they need to be as sure as we are that the games they offer are fair to everyone.
The house edge in some online casino games is very small. It's just 2.71% in a game of European Roulette, for example. That means that any flaw in an RNG could easily put the casino's bottom line at risk. Casinos don't mind paying out when players win fair and square, but if players win more often than pure chance would suggest they should, casinos wouldn't be able to survive in the long term.
Random Number Generators are key to the success of online casinos, and any flaw that makes the output of an RNG predictable to players could bring the house down. The world is full of intelligent hackers, players and criminal organizations who would be perfectly capable of exploiting a flaw should one be discovered. That would be tantamount to finding keys to a bank vault, as it would make it relatively easy for anyone to help themselves to the casino's cash.
Casinos already have to work extremely hard to guard both themselves and their players from rogue hackers and criminals, so they can do without a faulty RNG making the task even more difficult. Ensuring that the games they provide are providing results that are truly random - or as close as online gaming software can get - is vital to winning the ongoing battle against fraudsters.
Obtaining a license to operate an online casino from a reputable regulatory authority isn't at all easy. As well as proving that they have the infrastructure, ability and resources required to run such a venue, aspiring operators must also demonstrate that their casino games will be fair to all who play them.
Most successful online casinos are careful to only offer games that have been created by the best developers in the business. If they were to offer any game that isn't provably fair to players - whether deliberately or accidentally - their license to operate would be at risk.
Online casino gaming is one of the most popular hobbies in the world these days. However, that is only the case because players are confident that licensed online casinos can be trusted and that the games they play online are actually fair. If it came to light that casinos were offering games that weren't as random as they should be, or that some games were actually rigged against players, the industry would quickly fall out of favor. That wouldn't be good for anyone, including the casinos, so random numbers are vitally important to ensure that the online gaming industry can continue to thrive and prosper in the long term.
Trusted Game Providers
The most popular casinos only offer games that have been created by the best game developers. Those licensed developers understand the importance of reliable and fair RNGs, and they work hard to make sure that their games are as fair as those in a land-based casino. As a player, you can help yourself to stay safe by only playing games from properly licensed developers. There are plenty to choose from, but if you need a place to start, here are six of the best:
Launched in 1994, Microgaming is one of the oldest online game developersd. It’s an instantly recognizable brand responsible for giving us a slew of fantastic games. Just a few of the most popular titles in Canada include Thunderstruck II, Alaskan Fishing, Tomb Raider, Immortal Romance and the world-famous Mega Moolah games that boast huge progressive jackpots.
Evolution will be a familiar name to anyone who has a passion for Live Casino games. While its live table games such as online roulette use physical props just as they would be used in a land-based casino, Evolution also offers a range of simulated titles that are heavily reliant on RNGs. Some of the games you can enjoy from this provider include Monopoly Live, First Person Roulette, Deal or No Deal Live and First Person Craps.
Founded in 1999 in Estonia, Playtech has gone on to become one of the biggest online game providers in the world. Its titles are well known for their dazzling visuals and include Buffalo Blitz, Sic Bo Deluxe, Speed Auto Roulette, Halloween Fortune and Curse of Anubis.
NetEnt is another big name that seasoned online casino players will recognize. This company was founded in 1996, making it almost as old as Microgaming, and one of the things that it is well-known for is releasing high RTP games. Some of the most popular in Canada are Starburst, Space Wars 2 Powerpoints, Funk Master, Divine Fortune and Dead or Alive 2.
This developer has released over 320 games since its launch in 1997, and new titles are being released month after month. If you like the classic slot, Book of Dead and similar “Book of” titles then Play’n GO is the company that you have to thank for that particular genre. Other games that have been hugely successful for this company include Fire Joker, Rise of Olympus, Reactoonz, Moon Princess, and Fruit Bonanz.
Launched in 2015, Pragmatic Play is now a multi-award winning game provider that has taken the industry by storm. They boast an extension collection of popular slots including Gates of Olympus, Sweet Bonanza, Magician’s Secrets and classic John Hunter slots such as Tomb of the Scarab Queen.
There are scores of other licensed developers that are also well worth taking a look at, so consider our shortlist here to be just a starting point. As long as you are careful to only play games from properly licensed creators at legal and regulated online casinos, you can be sure that their RNGs - and thus the games themselves - will be every bit as fair as you'd want them to be.
Because game developers and casinos want online gaming Random Number Generators to be as fair as possible, it isn't hard to find games you can trust. Our advice would be to restrict your play to venues featured in our casino reviews here at CasinoGuide, as we only look at those that are properly licensed and regulated. The casinos may differ in the features they offer, but you can be sure that their games will be fair to everyone.