What It Means
With that in mind, let’s clarify what we mean by “fixed”. Basically, we are asking if a slot machine can be set up to cheat the player. This can be either stating a jackpot is available that there is no chance of winning, or setting the machine to play in a different way than what is stated.
The simple answer to this question is yes. Slot machines can be manipulated by casino operators, and thus can be set up with dishonest methods. However, reputable casinos, gaming regulators, and licensing authorities have gone to great lengths to ensure this doesn’t happen. Below you will learn what is being done to protect you from “rigged” slot machines.
How Do Slot Machines Work?
You will start by choosing how many paylines you want to play, then select how much you want to wager on each payline. From there, it’s as simple as initiating the reels, or in other words, pushing the spin button.
What is a Random Number Generator?
The outcome of your spin depends upon a microchip within the slot machine called a Random Number Generator, also referred to as an RNG. This microchip produces a random number sequence, up to several billion times per second. When you initiate the slot machine reels, your outcome is dependent upon which number sequence the RNG was on in that millisecond.
The Random Number Generator is programmed to operate within the house advantage that the casino chooses. Though that leaves some room for unfair practices, the RNG software and casino advantage percentage are heavily watched by regulatory authorities in the gaming industry. If the casino you’re gambling with is established, there shouldn’t be a worry about them cheating the RNG system.
If an online or a traditional land-based casino has been approved by Technical Systems Testing (TST) or Gaming Laboratories International (GLI), you’ll know you are gaming with a secure casino. This means that the result of their RNG testing has been proven to be random and reliable.
Can the RNG be Hacked?
In a way, the answer to this question is yes. How beneficial it would be to hack an RNG is a better question. Since a Random Number Generator is a computer program, there is no doubt someone could eventually figure it out. There have been instances of experts tampering with the RNG systems to make a profit. This is extremely difficult and is usually discovered quickly.
Because of the attempts at tampering, casino games are all inspected. Random Number Generator chips need to be approved before they can be installed. Many approved chips are set permanently into a machine’s motherboard, so they cannot be swapped or altered.
Most experts agree that hacking the RNG code is not beneficial to the player because there is no way for them to implement that knowledge into the casino game they want to cheat. This is true for players without inside influence at a casino. Basically, even if they figured out the sequence, they wouldn’t be able to know where the game is at in the sequence to predict the next spin.
Do Casinos Control the RNG?
Casinos do not have the power to alter the RNG, theoretically. Of course, there are always a few examples of corrupt casinos trying to cheat the system. All licensed and regulated casinos will have their software and RNG’s tested regularly.
The payout percentage for a slot machine is programmed at the factory where it is built. To change the payout percentage or the Random Number Generator, a casino must submit paperwork and purchase a new chip. This is time-consuming and expensive. Because of this, it is rarely done. Even if a casino does decide to swap out an RNG chip, it will be tested on install.
What does all of this mean for you? As long as you stick with licensed, regulated casinos, you can be assured that the slot mechanisms are honest and fair.
What About Online Casinos?
Online casinos play under the same licensing guidelines as land-based casinos, as far as the Random Number Generators are concerned. They will be tested and regulated in the same fashion.
Over the long run, casinos will always make a large profit from slot machines. Their profit increases with the number of players they can draw into their site. Rigging slot machines to pay poorly simply wouldn’t make sense. It is a much more profitable venture to draw people in with minimizing loss than to try to cheat people out of their money.
In looking to play slot machines at an online casino, look for licensed long-standing casinos.
Casino Gaming Regulations
eCommerce and Online Gaming Regulation and Assurance, more commonly known as eCOGRA, is the gold standard of independent online casino testing. Any online casino displaying their seal will have been thoroughly tested. These casinos are well-known to be safe and regulated.
TST or GLI
GLI stands for Gaming Laboratories International. They acquired Technical Systems Testing in 2010, even though they still operate under their individual names. These companies specialize in Random Number Generator testing.
iTech Labs has been around for well over a decade. They test Random Number Generators and calculate player odds. They also offer regular audits to their clients to check for system efficiency.
Gaming Associates, also known as GA, conduct compliance, and Random Number Generator testing. One thing setting this company apart is their willingness to audit poker sites. They look at player logs to help protect users against collusion and ensure the games are conducted fairly.
To put all this information together and answer our initial question, slot machines are a highly regulated casino game. A “rigged” slot machine occurrence would be few and far between. If you stick to reputable and licensed casinos, this occurrence should be none. It’s fair to assume that you can play any of their slot machines with confidence.
The result of these increased security efforts is that slot machines are more regulated and should offer gamblers a much more secure gambling outlet than in the past. With that said, slot machines will always have high house advantages. This isn’t a rigged machine, but rather a component of the game.