The online casino industry is worth a great deal of money. Millions of people all over the world enjoy playing at online casinos, and the sum of money they wager collectively is huge. With such large amounts of money being involved, it is unfortunately to be expected that the industry does attract some unethical people who do not operate their businesses in the correct manner.
Thankfully, the vast majority of online casinos are operated by reputable organizations. Most places are perfectly safe to play, and completely trustworthy. If you play casino games online, or are planning to, then it's important you play at such places and avoid the small minority of casinos that are not so reputable.
The best way you can make sure you're playing somewhere safe is to stick to casinos that are properly licensed and regulated by a legitimate regulatory authority. Such operations have to meet certain criteria to ensure that they look after their customers correctly, and this generally includes allowing regular checks from approved auditors. In this article we look at some of the key actions included in the role of these online casino auditors.
Random number generators (RNGs) are an important part of the software that online casinos use. Casino games have random outcomes, and their randomness is essential if they are to work in the way they should. It means that they follow no discernible pattern that could allow observant players to consistently beat them, and that there is no way for the casinos to fix results to give them an advantage over and above the house edge.
This randomness appears naturally in live casino games (in the spin of a roulette for example, or the turn of a card from a shuffled deck), but it has to be artificially replicated at online casinos. This is done through the use of RNGs, which are basically computer programs that are constantly generating completely random strings of numbers.
When an online casino needs to replicate a particular outcome (such as which card is dealt next, or the value of the next roll of the dice), its software calls on an RNG to provide it with a number. Each possible number relates to a possible outcome in the game, so this process allows the software to simulate the games in a way that is true to the way they work in live casinos.
For RNGs to be effective, they have to work properly. Just like in a real casino, there should be no discernible pattern and no way of a casino fixing results. Online casino auditors are usually responsible for testing RNGs to ensure that they are working as they should and creating truly random outcomes in the games.
Many online casinos publish their average payout percentages across some or all of their games. These payout percentages reflect the average amount that is returned to players in relation to how much they wager, and they are key indicators of whether games are fair. For example, if a game has a house edge of 1%, then the average payout percentage should be somewhere reasonably close to 99%.
Part of an online casino auditor's role will typically be to confirm that any payout percentages published are accurate, by checking the results of games. As part of this process they will also check that the payout percentages are in line with where they should be, taking the house edge into account and allowing for standard deviation.
As with the testing of RNGs, this is basically done to make sure that the games being offered to players are fair.
Depositing your money with an online casino is technically no different than handing over cash in exchange for chips in a land based casino. Any funds that you deposit still belong to you until such time as you spend them playing the games. Only if you actually lose money does it then belong to the casino.
In the same way that a land based casino should have enough cash on hand to cover the value of all the chips they have in circulation, an online casino should have enough cash on hand to cover the value of all player deposits. They should keep player deposits separate from the money used to operate their business, so that they are always able to honor any withdrawals made.
As this is usually a requirement of holding a gaming license for an online casino, auditors will generally carry out regular checks to ensure that they do indeed have the required funds readily available. This is what allows players to deposit safely and with peace of mind at regulated online casinos.