Can Casinos Control Slot Machines?

| Nov 3, 2019

For many uninitiated in the finer points of online casinos, there’s a common misconception that casinos directly control how slot machines play, ensuring that they always come out on top. Those who have done even a little bit of research will know that this is not true though, and that the slots at all licenced casinos in the UK are completely fair and honest.

From strict regulation through to complex random number generators, there’s enough in place to ensure a casino can never gain an unfair advantage. Check out this page to learn more about why casinos certainly can’t control the slots you’re playing…

Can Casinos Control Slot Machines?

Not in the Modern Age

We admit it: there was a time when casinos could rig slot machines. Back in the formative years of Las Vegas, there were unscrupulous casinos that used simple methods to rig their slot machines, ensuring that they made as much money as possible for the casino owners. There were probably even some online casinos back in the 1990s that managed to offer unfair games to players.

Fortunately, those days are now gone. Land-based casinos have their games monitored, and this is also the case for online casinos. In fact, the regulation of online casinos is now so strict that it would be impossible for a regulated site (you should only ever be playing at properly regulated sites) to skew the odds further in their favour.

Random Number Generators

To understand why online slots aren’t rigged, you first have to understand how the machines work. Every slot works using a random number generator. This is a highly complex algorithm, designed to provide a completely random spin to every single player. Sure, higher paying combinations have less chance of landing than lower paying combinations, however the fact remains: everyone has exactly the same chance as everyone else playing at the same machine, for the same stakes.

We should mention that slots are programmed to give a slight edge to the house. This is usually a house edge of 1% – 5%. We don’t think that this is the casino controlling the slot though. Firstly, these house edges are programmed by the software provider, and not the online casino. Secondly, we don’t consider a house edge to be controlling the outcome, as casinos are generally very open about them. If they manipulated their stated house edge, that would be cheating on their part though – but luckily, they can’t do this, thanks to what you’ll read in the next point…

The Role of Test Houses

So, how do we know that sites aren’t manipulating the RNGs in order to further tilt the odds in their favour? Well, it’s thanks to the test houses. There are a number of test houses licenced by the Gambling Commission to test online casino software, and these companies run exceptionally detailed tests on machines, in order to determine whether they really are as fair as they claim to be.

Once a casino has had its games tested successfully by a testing house, such as eCOGRA, they will receive a certificate. Most sites then display this certificate somewhere in the footer of their website. There are also details made available on the testing house’s site, so you can double check that the games really have been certified as fair.

Also, you should remember that any casino looking to accept players in the UK must have a licence from the Gambling Commission. These are only given out to sites that have proven themselves to be both secure and trustworthy. A casino wouldn’t risk losing this licence by manipulating games, as losing the licence would cause them to lose all their UK customers – something that would cost them an exceptional amount of money.

Charles Baxendale (BSc, MSc Mathematics and Computer Science)

Charles Baxendale

(BSc, MSc Mathematics and Computer Science)

A keen researcher in the development of methods and theories for computer sciences. A lover of algorithms and mathematical computation. Consultant to online slots software companies and a player in my spare time.