If you’ve ever gambled or played any game of chance online, you might have come across the abbreviation RNG. So what exactly is RNG, and why does it exist? RNG stands for Random Number Generator. It is an algorithm that produces a string of numbers or results at random.
Online gaming isn’t the only industry that uses RNG systems, as it’s also used for statistical sampling, cryptography, and any other field that requires unsystematic results.
Random Number Generators can be a physical device. An excellent example of an RNG mechanism is a dice. Although it only has six numbers, there are no methods to ensure that the dice will land on a specific number.
Suppose you win a dice game by landing the number six three times in a row. It was because of chance and not because you practiced how to land dice on the number six. In this case, the result was randomly generated by a throw of a die.
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However, if you’re not playing a physical game, the random number generator can be in the form of software that makes extensive calculations to give unexpected results.
Think about an online card game, like blackjack. Although you can see a virtual deck of cards, it isn’t real. So it’s impossible to shuffle the cards like you would in a live game. The only way game developers can ensure that the next card is unpredictable is by using RNG software.
Hardware RNG vs. Pseudo RNG
There are two types of RNGs. Hardware RNG, also known as true-RNG, uses a physical means to generate genuinely random numbers on each turn. On the other hand, pseudo-RNG is entirely computer-generated and therefore isn’t completely random as it produces sequenced results by starting with a seed number.
RNG in Online Games
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When it comes to any form of online gaming, the importance of an RNG is pretty apparent, as it ensures that each value is brought forward at random. You wouldn’t want to spin the reels of online slot machines that function without it, as that would mean that you might get cheated out of winning.
However, it’s not only punters who are familiar with the term. If you’re a fan of video games, you also have some experience with random number generators. Almost every video game runs on some RNG software.
Suppose you’re playing a fighting game; whenever you get hit by an opponent, your damage indicating bar grows. The amount of damage isn’t always the same, so the amount added is generated at random. The simple reason for this is because it saves game developers from rendering the damage percentage of each move or hit.
RNGs don’t always come in the form of values. A great example of this is when you have random encounters while playing a video game. This could be an enemy popping up or an obstacle that randomly appears as you play. Once again, it saves loads of time on developing, as programming random-encounters would take a lot more effort.
A notable RNG example that is visible in online gaming and gambling is the loot concept. Online games will often present players with rewards during play. These rewards can be big or small, so the player will never know what’s coming. Some online slots have a similar feature where punters get to pick a prize in a bonus round.
True RNGs can’t be manipulated because the results or values are genuinely random. However, pseudo-RGNs work from a seed number followed by specific mathematical functions. It means that if you know a pseudo-RNG system seed number, it is possible to predict the sequence of numbers that will follow.
However, just because it’s possible doesn’t mean it is easy. Game developers make use of complex Pseudo-RNGs often designed by supercomputers. They also ensure that the sequence of randomly generated numbers is so long that it would take forever to crack.
In 2010 a man named Eddie Raymond Tipton managed to rig the US Hot lotto state lottery. Tipton was an employee of the Multi-State Lottery Association, so he had access to the computer that generates the lotto numbers.
It’s worth mentioning that Tipton couldn’t figure out the number sequence but instead installed a malware program to manipulate the lotto number results. He was only arrested and convicted of fraud in 2015.
Thanks to the rapid growth in technology, RNGs are becoming more advanced, so it’s nearly impossible for criminals to repeat these actions.
RTP vs. RNG in Online Casino Games
Perhaps you’re confused by the terms RTP(return to player) and RNG, as both these come up when you’re looking at playing online casino games. Although both terms contribute to the fairness of a casino game, they are pretty different. A game’s RTP rate indicates which percentage of initial bet players can expect in return.
Most online slots have an RTP rate of 96%, while blackjack’s RTP rate can be as high as 99%. A high RTP rate doesn’t necessarily mean that you’ll win, but a higher RTP does increase your chances of winning when choosing an online game.
When it comes to RNG, you want to make sure that the casino uses a tested and certified RNG. Many RNG agencies test online casinos. A popular example is iTechLabs. So although a casino game has a high RTP rate, you also want to ensure that the casino’s RNG software is certified.
Luckily this is something that you can see for yourself. Every Licensed casino has a section on their website that tells you more about the fairness of games or indicates the regulating authorities that they deal with. If you’re having difficulty finding this information when visiting an online casino site, you should be worried.
Unfortunately, there are plenty of scammers that come up with fake online casinos. These casinos aren’t regulated, and most probable, offer rigged games. So, before you sign up, make sure that the casino is legit.