There is not one gambler in the world that hasn’t questioned the honor of their gambling provider, whether that be a large casino outlet, an online sports betting company or a simple slots house.
Fortunately, casino gambling in the western world has been cleaned up to such an extent that we no longer have to question the integrity of land-based casinos. Of course, there is a house edge – casinos are designed to make a profit – but it is often clear to the naked eye that the games we are playing are fair.
However, can we say the same about online casinos? After all, there’s no way to check an online roulette wheel for a tilt or see how the blackjack dealer has stacked the cards.
Read on to find out if online casino games are fair, and if they are, how suppliers monitor and ensure transparency and fairness.
What Is House Edge?
Before we begin to question the fairness of online casino games, it is first important to explain the concept of a house edge. Every casino and gambling provider in the world stacks the odds in their favor so that, over time they will make a profit.
It is the mathematical advantage that is built into every casino game or bet and it is usually quite small. However, these small edges add up over time to ensure gambling operators make steady profits.
The house edge is accepted by gamblers as a fact of life and could perhaps be viewed as the tax or price we pay to enjoy the thrill of gambling in the first place. In most countries, gambling providers are legally obliged to either advertise or inform you of the house edge, however, if you are unsure you can always Google the house edge for a specific game.
For much of the 20th-century casino gambling in the United States was blighted by a series of cheating scandals instigated by unscrupulous casino owners. The legalization of gambling in Nevada presented an omissible opportunity to criminals who viewed casinos as the ideal way to launder their ill-gotten gains.
Not content with using casinos as a front for their illegal enterprises, many of these early criminal owners sought to make further money by defrauding their customers.
Roulette Casino Scams
Recently restoration teams have even unearthed evidence of an elaborate roulette wheel scam in Chicago consisting of batteries, hidden buttons, and tiny pins. The roulette table was set-up with an unnecessary hollowed-out leg that contained batteries linking to a button that was disguised as a screw.
When the croupier pressed this button, it would release a tiny pin on the wheel which would divert the rhythm of the ball allowing the croupier to avoid it landing on a winning number. This elaborate scam made headlines around the world, so you can rest assured you’re unlikely to run into something similar.
Blackjack Casino Scams
The dirty-tricks and scams weren’t just confined to the roulette wheels either, blackjack tables were also a target. The most commonly used technique was removing cards from the deck to increase the chances of players receiving face cards and going bust.
Some casinos would even train their croupiers in sleight of hand techniques. Dealers would usually hide face cards up their sleeves or on top of a hidden deck to dish out to players who were on the verge of hitting blackjack or winning a hand.
Do Online Casinos Do The Same?
Monitoring online casinos and ensuring they are fair is much easier for authorities. There’s no way of placing a magnet on an online roulette wheel or training a virtual blackjack dealer to hide face cards up their sleeves.
Instead online casinos must use a piece of software known as a random number generator (RNG). This software, present in every online casino game, uses a mathematical equation to generate a sequence of numbers or symbols that cannot be reasonably predicted.
In effect, it is like tossing a coin, but instead of having just the option of heads or tails, the coin has hundreds, if not thousands of different possible outcomes. So, for example, when you’re playing online roulette, where the ball finally lands is completely by chance and the previous spins of the wheel will have no impact on your wager whatsoever.
How Do RNGs Work?
They are used in every online casino game from roulette to blackjack and are used to ensure that every spin of the wheel or turn of the card is completely and utterly random. RNGs are also run computationally, reducing any possibility of human interference.
The RNG was developed by statistician and scientist John Von Neumann in 1946 and has been adapted in modern times to ensure that online casinos are fairer and more random than their land-based counterparts.
By taking the control out of human hands and placing trust in mathematical solutions and algorithms, it is actually safe to say that gambling online is fairer for customers than any other form of gambling.