Are Online Slots Fair?

There are many myths surrounding the fairness of online slots, most of which are based upon the idea that the result of a spin can be easily changed by the casino or website. High and low pay cycles, tight and loose slots and not paying out in quick succession are all myths commonly circulated surrounding the fairness of all slot machines.

Whatever the case used to be concerning slots, the current trend for online slots providers is to make their slots completely fair in order to not be outdone by the competition. They do this by using a device designed to create random outcomes called a random number generator. The idea is that, as the name suggests, a completely random number is created and this number corresponds to a specific set of reel positions.

Random Number Generators

Now for the technical bit, the assumption that RNGs (random number generators) create random numbers is obvious. However, there are a few more questions with answers that aren’t as obvious. These questions are, how do RNGs affect an online slot and how do they work?

Starting from the beginning, there are two basic types of RNGs which are hardware and software. Hardware RNGs consist of an electric card that plugs into a computer in order to work and create the random numbers that it was designed to. Hardware RNGs work by measuring microscopic phenomena, such as thermal noise, and through a series of processes convert this in to a binary digit. These types of RNG are more commonly used locally and can be plugged into land based slot machines.

How do RNGs Work?

Software RNGs are of much more interest to us as they’re more applicable to online slots. Also known as pseudo-RNGs, software RNGs actually create numbers that only appear to be random. They work by taking a number which is constantly changing and subject it to an extremely complex mathematical equation which generates a specific output.

How do RNGs Affect Slots?

The output created by the equations then refers to a specific game outcome that will be illustrated by the visuals on screen. The reality of this is that, while you are waiting for the last reel to roll in to see whether you’ve won, the result has already been decided. Similarly, if four symbols match in the same line and the last symbol is just one spot out of place, this doesn’t mean that you were any closer to winning than if the fifth symbol was out of sight.

What all this amounts to is that even though pseudo-RNGs only create numbers that appear to be random, they’re in fact, impossible to predict and even less possible to fix. As the input number is constantly changing, the only way that a player can affect the result of the spin is by pressing the spin/play at a different time, as this will result in a different output number and therefore a different outcome.

As a result of the facts that have been stated above, it’s possible to disprove some of myths that surround slots. Firstly, online slots do not have hot or cold cycles. Why? Because the results are random regardless of the time or any previous results. Also, online slots can’t be tight or loose. This applies to the payout percentage which may differ between slots, making some slots games more worthwhile to play than others. However, information on slots payout percentages can usually be accessed on the casino’s website.