This is a common subject on gambling forums all over the internet, and there is a very good reason why it comes up again and again. This actually has more to do with us as humans and how our brains are wired then it does with the games.
The online gambling industry also still suffers a little from an outdated reputation. Back in the early days there wasn’t much regulation and a lot more cowboy sites were in operation, but these days the industry is one of the most heavily regulated in the world and it is a much safer place to play.
It simply doesn’t make sense that an online roulette game at a properly licensed casino would be rigged, from any angle. The effort it would take and the risk to the business associated with such unscrupulous behaviour far outweigh any benefit a casino or game developer would gain from rigging a game that is already weighted in their favour.
Don’t just take our word for it though, let us bust a few myths one by one.
Let’s deal with the big one first.
Gambler’s fallacy is what happens when someone thinks there is more chance of a certain result coming up based on previous results; ever thought something along the lines of “That’s the seventh red in a row, the next spin has to land on black”? That’s gamblers fallacy.
It’s a similar thing when a gambler thinks they have spotted a pattern in the outcomes of a totally random game. Roulette is a perfect example because every spin of the wheel is unique, and neither the spin before nor the spin after can have any impact on the outcome of that spin, it is individual.
However, if you have seen the ball land on black 22 three times in a row, or if the result has been odd on 12 consecutive spins, your brain might start to think something funny is going on. It’s the same if you had been betting on red 36 and kept losing, so you stop and then red 36 comes up twice – annoying as hell, but not unjust.
Roulette is a game of chance, so every single outcome has the exact same chance of occurring on each and every spin, regardless of what has happened before. On every spin the ball has a 48.65% chance of landing on either red or black, and a 2.70% chance of landing on zero. If the ball lands on red five times in a row it still has the same 48.65% chance of coming up again on the next spin.
You might be wondering, and rightly so, why so many online roulette games offer statistics based on previous results if they are essentially meaningless. Well, it’s because casinos obviously know that gamblers fallacy exists and they like it, it makes people play more because they think they have figured something out. But it’s all just noise. Concentrate on the spin in front of you and forget everything else.
Toss a coin if you want to prove it to yourself. By the law of averages it should come up heads 50% of the time and tails the other 50% of the time, but even if you only do this over a small sample of ten tosses it will hardly ever come up 50/50.
Gamblers fallacy is one of the main reasons players decide that a game must be rigged, but if you understand it you will realise it is just chance doing its thing.
Random Number Generators (RNG)
All online casino games have built in RNG’s which can cycle through thousands of possible results a second. This RNG decides the result of each roulette spin as soon as that game begins, the graphics are just for entertainment, and it is programmed to select each outcome totally at random.
If you imagine a constant cycle of every potential outcome on the wheel going round and round in an ever changing order then you are somewhere close to imagining an RNG. This cycle only stops when a new game begins, at which point the RNG selects whatever result was at the front of the ‘queue’ at that exact moment.
If anyone is suspicious of these RNGs then you should know that the algorithms that make them work are checked by independent testing companies set up for this very purpose, to test the fairness of online games and to check that they are programmed to the right RTP percentage. They run millions of spins and log the results to check all is as it should be, and sometimes games go through more than one independent testing company too.
Then of course there is the UKGC, but we will cover all of this in more detail below.
Independent Testing & the UKGC
Following on from the above, the UKGC stands for the UK Gambling Commission, a non departmental governing body set up by the government to regulate the gambling industry.
In order to trade in the UK, all casinos and game developers require a UK gambling license, and to get one of those they have to spend a fair amount of money and meet very strict requirements.
Once they have their license, the UKGC keeps a watchful eye over their operation to check that they are sticking to the terms of their license, and if they are found to be in breach of these terms they can end up with a hefty fine (millions in some cases) and in a worst case even have their licenses suspended for review or taken away entirely.
The independent testing we mentioned in the last section is part of these licensing conditions. All games must be tested and certified as being fair, and there are a few different independent testing labs that do this, the most well known being:
- eCommerce Online Gaming Regulation & Assurance (eCOGRA)
- Technical Systems Testing (TST) – now part of GLI.
- Gaming Laboratories International (GLI)
- iTech Labs
As you can see then, there are a lot of hurdles to jump through for any new games coming to the market.
Supply Chain & House Edge
Finally, there are a few common sense reasons why casino games are not rigged.
There are very few online casinos that build their own games. They do exist, but they almost always buy in games from outside developers too, and proprietary games are still subject to all of the regulation detailed above.
Most casino games are developed and built by specialist game developers, who then hire the games out to various different online casinos. This is why you can find the same game at completely different online casinos – they are both working with the same developer.
It also means that the casino has no control over how the game runs, they can’t access the code or the server, the game is simply integrated into their casino platform. So even if a casino wanted to try and cheat their players, which would be crazy considering the repercussions, they couldn’t.
This brings us on to why they would want to in the first place. It just doesn’t make sense.
Casino games are weighted in the casino’s favour for a start, they have a house edge built in so they will always make money without cheating. They also have a profitable business on the line which is far more valuable over all the years it will run than cheating players out of a quick buck now.
So not only is it almost impossible for a casino game at a licensed casino to be rigged, but there’s not really an incentive for the casino to do it either.