The Age-Old Question of Internet Casino Fairness
As an online casino enthusiast, one question which that is continually asked of me is ‘Are online casinos rigged?’, the person posing the question usually asking because they have already made up their mind that they are. In this article I explain why the answer is a definite no, detailing the reasons why I am so sure of my answer.
The Business Model
An online casino (just like a land based casino) has a great business model, as in the long run they are guaranteed to win money. This is because of the inherent house edge built into all casino games, be they slots, table games such as roulette or blackjack, or video poker. Yes, in the short term any player can walk away with a profit (and that is the reason we all play!), but over the long term a casino is certain to win, as all the short term swings will eventually even out and the small edges in favor of the casino will turn into significant profits.
Now put yourself into the shoes of the owner of a successful online casino. Would you rig the games? By not rigging the games, you’re guaranteeing yourself a profit this year, next year and for many years to come. What would be gained by rigging a game? You might make a short sharp profit on the rigged games, but get found out and all of that future profit for years to come is now gone, as the reputation of the site is now shot to pieces and users leave in droves. Not to mention the fact that a criminal prosecution would quickly follow and the owner could face a significant amount of time looking at the four walls of a cell.
Big brands are answerable to their shareholders, and the financial authorities including the London Stock Exchange in many cases... how do you think that explaining that they swapped a boost in short-term profits for the certainty of going bankrupt go down?
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Now, the answer I’ve given above does depend upon a level of trust that the sites are fair, but fortunately this is the not the end of the story. The vast majority of online casinos have the randomness of their software regularly tested by independent 3rd party companies, to ensure that the games really are fair. This independent testing is welcomed by the sites, as they know the games are fair, so they want to tell potential users – this is why many sites will display certificates on their homepage declaring they have been tested. Examples of testers include eCogra and Gaming Labs.
There is actually another level of testing that isn’t talked about, but is certainly there – this by the players themselves. Many casino users will be particularly tech minded and if something untoward were happening at a site, these players would soon know, as they’d be happy to test the randomness of the software themselves, this is especially the case in online poker games - where databases of millions of hands have failed to show any variation from a random deal.
The House Edge
Knowing that the sites are indeed fair and truly random can give smart players an edge. Consider that some casino games are skill games, where the house edge can be greatly reduced by smart play. Blackjack is a fine example of this. If a player heads to a blackjack table with no real idea of strategy, the edge in favor of the house will be much greater than those playing perfect strategy. In fact, perfect blackjack offers an almost negligible house edge for the casino site, especially when you throw in the bonuses and promotions offered by the sites. The casino site knows that players with a range of abilities will play their games, so are happy in the knowledge that some players will earn them a great amount of money, while others earn them next to nothing. Play smart and ensure you in the latter group and you’ll give yourself a great shot at enjoying many winning sessions.
Protecting Yourself at Online Casinos
So far, I’ve painted a picture where all casinos are fair and wholesome companies. Unfortunately, this is not always the case, as like in any industry, you will find rogue companies. These are the kind of sites which you might find advertised in your junk mail or find yourself auto-directed to when visiting certain sites on the internet! It would be a huge shock to find even these rogue sites having non-fair gaming, the usual approach by these companies being to make customers jump through hoops to make a withdrawal. To protect yourself from these sites you’ll have quite an easy job – just stick to the more reputable casinos. There are many independent casino review sites where you’ll find an honest assessment of any casino so the disreputable sites will certainly stand out, and a rogue site will also quickly become apparent when you type their name into google and see a long list of complaints and question marks.
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