What is a Random Number Generator (RNG), and how does it affect online roulette? All automated online roulette games – those that don’t have a live dealer – have to rely on an RNG to produce a perfectly random result on every spin. Let’s have a look at that process and what does it mean for you as a player.
For automated online roulette to be able to offer any type of gambling experience, it must generate a result for each spin. This result is supposed to be random, which is why RNGs are used to do the heavy lifting and produce a random number whenever the spin is initiated.
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What you see visually on the screen – the spinning of the wheel, motion of the ball, and the landing of the ball in a certain pocket – is just a visual representation of the outcome of the spin that’s already known before the sequence plays out.
The number that is determined is known before you see where the ball will land, but this doesn’t in any way mean that there’s something wrong with this process. It is as fair as it can be since the Random Number Generator (RNG) is responsible for making sure every spin is random.
Each individual spin is random.
If spins are totally random, does that mean that we shouldn’t keep track of previous spins? Yes, it does. Previous spins have absolutely no effect on our current spin, as the RNG will start its process of determining a random number from the beginning – not taking any previous spins into account.
This means each spin is really random, although some players will still believe the law of large numbers applies and that the spins eventually have to even out, which is a fallacy. Maybe in an infinite number of spins it does even out, but not in this small sample size human roulette players will experience in a single playing session.
In comparison, live dealers work on physical roulette tables, and physics will affect the spin so it will never be truly random, due to imperfections on the roulette wheel, the ball, and the dealer’s hand motion. Generated numbers are always more random than live spins.
Is the generated number ever truly random?
Things get a bit interesting when you look deep into a Random Number Generator, as there is no software RNG that can generate a truly random number, this is a mathematical problem that hasn’t been solved yet. Not that it matters one bit as for all practical purposes the generated number is indeed random from the perspective of everyone playing roulette at that table, but let’s explain anyway.
Hardware RNGs generate truly random numbers as they rely on physical processes such as statistically random noise signals. In contrast, all software RNGs are pseudorandom as while they do random output numbers because the output is determined by the algorithm used and, crucially, seed values. Seed values determine the result, and since these seed values are usually limited in scope, the output can never be truly random, and the sequence will eventually repeat.
With an honest algorithm, a software RNG produces pretty much random results but never truly random. A dishonest algorithm can be used to produce non-random results where the outcome favors the house, and this isn’t very difficult to do.
Since RNGs are high-tech things that exist in several different forms, and software RNGs can be rigged, it’s important to always play in a casino whose RNG is provably fair. If you find proof that the casino’s RNG has been audited and it checks out, you’re certain you’re getting random results on your roulette table. This doesn’t mean that the RNG generates truly random numbers, but that the pseudorandom result hasn’t been tampered with to benefit the casino.
Can the number be predicted?
In theory, if a player knows the exact algorithm that is used by the software RNG as well as the seed values, it would be possible to somehow benefit from this information and to be able to make a better guess about the next number.
There are bots in existence that try to reverse-engineer the RNG by looking at the generated numbers, but these don’t work as without the algorithm and the seed values it’s not possible to get any closer to guessing the number.
Is it easier to beat live roulette instead of RNG Roulette?
Players who are looking to exploit the law of averages or any other idea that is supposed to rely on predicting an outcome of a spin usually aren’t very fond of RNG roulette. The reason for this is that it can not be beaten as it is really random, and is the equivalent of a card deck that would be shuffled after every deal. Many players believe live roulette gives their strategy a better chance of success.
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On the other hand, some players do like their spins to be as random as possible, as it’s a known fact land-based casinos sometimes resort to rigging the roulette table in some way. If a player is afraid of this, then a provably fair RNG is a solution that guarantees a fair game. Only in those cases where the RNG has been audited and is being checked for honesty on a regular basis. This is the closest thing to a truly random roulette.