The importance of RNGs or Random Number Generators for the online gambling industry is hard to overestimate. Indeed, randomness is what makes slots and other casino games so entertaining and plain exciting. Call it the brain of all slots, the god in the machine, or whatever you like, the RNG is the only one to determine a lucky winner – despite numerous popular myths about brilliant betting strategies intended to boost players’ odds.
Interestingly, people’s perception of randomness differs dramatically from what that term really means, with many players thinking of it as a lack of order to the numbers or picking combinations that do not make any sense to them. The RNGs, however, exist to generate random sequences of numbers, making it absolutely impossible to predict the next number even when some numbers in the sequence are already known.
The knowledge of how the RNG in online slots works is a great advantage for every casino player as it helps better understand the behavior of modern one-armed bandits. Let’s unlock the mystery of the Random Number Generator.
Origin Of The RNG
Back in 1984, Norwegian mathematician Inge Telnaes changed the gambling industry forever. He invented the first RNG able to generate an unpredictable sequence of numbers and was granted a U.S. patent for the “Electronic gaming device utilizing a random number generator for selecting the reel stop positions”.
The truth is, mathematicians have a professional interest in games of chance, they use them to study randomness. However, for Inge Telnaes, it was more than just pure math as somewhat earlier, legendary Bally Technologies hired him to develop a sustainable concept of larger jackpots. In search of a robust model, which could be appealing to players yet safe for the house, he created a revolutionary device that would have a dramatic impact on further growth of the gaming industry worldwide.
Two Types Of RNG
Inge Telnaes invented an electronic device but slots available at South African online casinos are not physical machines, they are masterpieces of software providers. Confused? No worries, below is the exhaustive explanation of how things work.
What is RNG?
Broadly speaking, the RNG can be defined as a complex algorithm, which is embedded in the casino game. This algorithm resides with the game files on a remote gaming server hosted by the slot provider or a third party. The most important element of the whole story is that once on the server, there is no chance the RNG can be influenced.
Now, there are two types of RNG – both serve the same purpose but use different strategies to reach the goal:
- TRNG or True Random Number Generator is a device, a piece of physical hardware used by computers to generate truly random numbers through a mechanical process. In the case of land-based slots, such an appliance can be connected to the casino server’s USB port.
To produce unexpected results, it needs certain environmental indicators that can be virtually anything from the air temperature to the number of button presses performed by the player. So, the device takes measurements and transforms them into values to produce the final output. In this case, the outcome is completely and truly random since the end values cannot be predicted.
- PRNG or Pseudo-Random Number Generator, is a program code, a complex mathematical algorithm created by software developers to generate random number sequences but with the use of a given value, usually called “seed”.
The PRNG doesn’t need an external influence to do the job, it always starts the process with the aforementioned seed number, which is key to determining the range of possible outcomes in the infinitely repeated process. Typically, up to a staggering 4 billion numbers for every single spin can be created, however, the result itself is almost never expressed in numbers. For example, in slots, each value usually corresponds to a symbol, which represents the spin outcome on the screen.
Luck Is Random
In the world of online gambling, luck is nothing but randomness guaranteed by the random number generation algorithm. RNG is not only the brain (or heart, if you want) of slots but also a guardian of fair play. The result of the game is determined at the moment when the player initiates the spin and no betting system is good enough to interfere with the process and affect the outcome.
There are a number of independent laboratories that test and certify online slots and other casino games for fairness. RNG audits are at the core of such tests intended to confirm their randomness for a huge, virtually infinite number of spins. Among the global leaders in testing gaming systems are GLI, iTech Labs, BMM Testlabs, and eCogra.