The Tech Behind Online Roulette Games


As mobile gaming becomes increasingly popular throughout the world thanks to the amazingly advanced smartphones now on the market, online casino games such as roulette and poker have also grown in popularity. These games that were once played only in bricks and mortar establishments can now be found in most app stores. In fact, online casinos generate huge revenues every year, and the industry is growing all the time.

But this got us to thinking about the game of roulette. While games such as poker and blackjack rely a lot on player skill and strategy, there’s a certain element of luck involved in roulette. So how can online providers make sure that their roulette games are random?

We decided to take a look at the technology behind the game.

Is online roulette random?

While some operators like to jazz up their games with themes and alternative rules, the best stick to the basic rules of online roulette, a wheel of 37 sections numbered from 0-36 and one white ball that lands in a numbered section as the wheel slows down and stops spinning. And while the live version of the game can be considered truly random, it’s not quite clear how the online game can be the same.

That’s where the Random Number Generator or RNG system comes into play. The European version of live roulette offers odds of 2.7% on a single bet while the American version offers 2.6%. The goal with online roulette is to match those same odds each time the wheel is spun.

Now, some RNG systems will take the history of numbers chosen into account when selecting a new number. So the likelihood of the ball landing on red 12 twice in a row is impossible. But we all know that there is just as much a chance of this happening in the live game as not.

This is why the RNG systems in online roulette are designed to be as close to truly random as possible. The system uses a complex set of algorithms to ensure that every time the ball lands on a number, there is no possible way that a player could have predicted it.

But you probably noticed that we didn’t say it’s truly random. That’s because software can’t be truly random. Randomness requires no pattern or predictability in an event, but the very nature of software demands that it follows a path or a distinct set of rules. True randomness has no input, but software needs input to decide what it needs to do. In fact, even giving a tool no input is a form of input. It sounds weird when you put it like that, but it’s true.

However, while RNG systems aren’t truly random, they are pretty close. What developers of these tools do is tell the software to create a sequence of numbers that follows such an incredibly complex pattern that no person would ever be able to pick out the pattern even if they had the numbers written down in front of them. So while it’s not random, it’s perfect for an online casino environment. No player could determine the sequence during live play or even if they had hours studying the numbers coming up.

But what about bots?

Metal Tin Toy Robot Bots Photo

As with any online game or industry, there’s always a question mark over security. For example, can someone create a bot that would determine the sequence by simply watching the games? It’s a good question, but it’s a myth.

An RNG system is different on every website, so no two will ever follow the same sequence. Add to that the fact that the system can create a new sequence at any point in time, and the odds are stacked against any bot or programmer trying to beat the system. A bot would have to watch the same roulette wheel spin millions of times before it could determine the sequence. And even then, the sequence could have changed, and the bot’s data would be useless.

As you can see, online roulette and even slots are actually a lot more life-like than you might think. And although they’re not truly random, they’re as close to it that there’s no chance that anyone or anything could predict the numbers in a live game.

Photo credit: The feature image has been done by Fotis Fotopoulos. The “toy robots” photo was taken by Rock’n Roll Monkey.
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