What Does RNG Mean?  Random Number Generators Explained

Keeping the game fair and players engaged should be a priority for every casino, be it a brick-and-mortar or online venue. What attracts people to spin the reels is the hope that even a lucky novice can beat a seasoned player.

While at land-based casinos dealers shuffle the cards, online venues engage RNG software to do the shuffling. What does RNG mean? We’ll walk you through the basics of this software that ensures fair gaming and trustworthiness and explain how it works within various gaming sectors. Keep reading to see if you can really trust the venues you’re placing your bets at.

RNG Basics

If you’ve ever been thoroughly reading a casino’s Terms and Conditions page, you’ve probably come across the term “RNG,” along with some other common yet opaque abbreviations: RTP percentage, GDPR compliance, eCOGRA, and similar. Understanding these acronyms and especially what RNG means, is essential for assessing the credibility of an online casino. Here’s why.

RNG stands for “random number generator” and refers to a complex computer algorithm that generates a stream of seemingly random numbers. RNG-powered software acts as a virtual dealer, drawing completely random cards or lottery numbers, rolling dice, shuffling cards and slot symbols, and flipping coins. Random outcomes of casino games are considered fair outcomes: It means that the game isn’t “rigged” and that neither players nor the house can manipulate the results in their favor.

How Does RNG Work?

Now that we’ve worked out the RNG definition, let’s see the mechanism behind it. First, it’s worth knowing there are several types of RNG programs and that the ones used by online gambling venues belong to so-called pseudorandom number generators. PRNG is based on an algorithm and a seed value and doesn’t require any external data for operating other than the seed. The seed value used by most casinos is the current time expressed in milliseconds.

What makes these generators “pseudorandom” is the fact they use algorithms to produce sequences of numbers. That’s why the same seed value will always produce exactly the same string of numbers. To be truly random, generators have to rely on certain physical phenomena which are a natural source of randomness, such as radioactive decay.

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This doesn’t, however, mean that RNG-based games that employ PRNG are not fair. With seed numbers generated every millisecond, these complex computer algorithms make it impossible to predict a game’s outcome. Legitimate PRNG software imitates true randomness well enough to ensure absolutely fair game results. Which brings us to the next important question:

How Do I Know an RNG Is Legitimate?

Scams and fraud are not unheard of in the world of online gambling, and that’s why asking yourself if the RNG software a casino employs can be trusted or not is completely understandable. Luckily, checking this is a matter of seconds – you just need to look for the right badges. The random number generator (RNG) the casino is employing should be regularly tested by licensed independent companies specializing in iGaming testing.

Before opting for a particular online venue, check if it has a badge of such a reputable company on its website. One of the most prominent ones is eCOGRA (eCommerce Online Gaming Regulation), a testing agency dealing with gaming certification and analyzing the fairness of online games. Badges issued by the Technical Systems Testing (TST), iTech Labs, or Verisign are also valid signs that promise a provably fair gaming experience.

RNG in Casino Games

So far, we’ve established that having certified RNG software that’ll ensure results comparable to those in a game of chance led by a live dealer is a must for reputable casinos that accept cryptos – or any legitimate online casino, for that matter. We’ve also discussed the ways you can determine whether a casino employs such software. But you may also be curious to learn how exactly RNG works in online casinos.

RNG technology can be used in all casino games except for live dealer games. Casinos use RNG in games such as slots, video poker, roulette, blackjack, and others. The specificity of the random number generator software is that it runs on a noncyclic basis, which means that the results don’t follow any cycle or pattern over time – the games’ outcomes are 100% random.

RNG determines the outcome of a casino game the very moment a player triggers the system by clicking the Spin or Shuffle buttons or initiates the action in some other way. What does RNG mean in casino games, and how does it work? The system spits out a random value that is translated into tangible results. The format, of course, depends on the game. Even when you’re not active, RNG is constantly shuffling numbers in the background.

Is RNG Used With Live Casino Games?

Live dealer games imitate the experience of brick-and-mortar casinos and are hosted by human dealers and croupiers who operate in real-time. The dealers shuffle real cards at casino tables in special studios, so employing RNG software to determine the outcome of such live games wouldn’t be possible.

That, however, is not a problem since live dealers act as a replacement for RNG, meaning that the results will still be random, as the dealer is the “source” of randomness here. To prevent card-counting and other types of fraud, dealers use a freshly shuffled deck of cards for each hand. On top of that, some online venues offer multiple camera angles to ensure transparency and fairness.

RNG in Video Games

Now that we know the way RNG software delivers a fair gaming experience to online gambling venues, let’s put under scrutiny the way it determines outcomes in a video game. RNG here works pretty much the same way as in online slots. Finding completely different items in the League of Legends, getting different blocks in Tetris, creating a unique world in Minecraft, or meeting new Pokemon every single time wouldn’t be possible without the algorithm that randomizes them. If it weren’t for this software, outputs would repeat themselves, and choices would be very limited; thus, the game wouldn’t keep the player engaged.

RNG generates a random sequence of numbers the game can parse to make the gameplay unpredictable and add the “wow factor.”

What does RNG mean in games? The answer to the question is best observed in games with lootbox-type rewards such as Borderlands, Diablo, or Destiny. The algorithm will determine what reward you get when you open a treasure chest. Not being able to spot a pattern and anticipate what’s in the chest is what keeps the game exciting for players.

Gaming enthusiasts who love playing the Witcher or GTA are confronted with different missions and events depending on the pattern the random number generator spits out. RNG determines critical hits, dodges, stat gains, and item drops, too. That’s why you’ll often hear players jokingly praying to “RNGesus.”

However, some games don’t depend on randomness. For example, rhythm games such as Guitar Hero and Dance Dance Revolution don’t employ RNG software for the outcomes, as the outcomes here depend on players’ skills.

And what does RNG mean in video games with a competitive factor? Competitive multiplayer games usually don’t rely on RNG either because, in them, player skill is crucial for determining outcomes. An element of randomness here would feel both unnecessary and unfair.

RNG and Cheating

Theoretically, it is possible to hack a pseudorandom number generator, but in practice, it would be extremely difficult and next to impossible, considering the way these pieces of software work.

What does the use of RNG mean for hackers? First of all, it means they would have to obtain the seed value and the exact algorithm to be able to predict results. There was a well-known case back in 2008 when a programmer and Nevada Gaming Board Control employee named Ron Harris managed to develop software that could predict the results produced by an RNG. With it, he managed to win a fortune playing keno but ended up in prison. To prevent similar breaches, online casinos regularly undergo thorough inspections and testing of their RNG software conducted by reputable independent agencies.

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RNG and RTP

In addition to RNG, another acronym you may have come across at online gambling venues is RTP. It stands for “return to player,” and it’s by no means any less important for players than RNG. It represents a percentage of all the wagered money that a particular slot machine or casino game will pay back over time to players. If, for example, a game’s RTP is 95%, it means 95% of all the money wagered in that game will be returned to players in the form of winnings.

Seasoned players always check the displayed RTP percentage before they opt for a particular game, just to make sure they have decent chances of winning. That’s why checking if the RNG interferes with RTP can be even more important than answering the question of “What is RNG?”

All online casinos are required to closely monitor the RTP of their slots to make sure the RNG is functioning well. The figures are obtained by dividing the total value of all payouts by the total turnover a game has accumulated. The results should be identical or close to the theoretical RTP; otherwise, the casino will have to tweak the random number generator.

Bottom Line

As the popularity of online gambling skyrocketed after months of COVID-19-related restrictions and isolation, many players became interested in learning what RNG is and how online casinos ensure fair and random results.

On the other hand, “What does RNG stand for in games?” is a question that occupies gamers more frequently than gamblers. Although the principle is the same, the reasons for employing RNG software in video games are different: Instead of ensuring fairness, the main goal is to keep the game unpredictable and exciting.

Knowing that games’ outcomes are purely determined by chance is an advantage of certified online casinos over their land-based counterparts. Of course, provably fair games don’t guarantee you’ll win anything. They just ensure equal chances for everyone.

FAQ

What does RNG mean in gaming?

RNG, which stands for “random number generator,” is software that employs complex mathematical algorithms to generate pseudorandom sequences of numbers, which are used to ensure a provably fair gaming experience. It’s used in online casinos for most games, and in video games for determining variable outcomes such as different outputs, items, rivals, etc.

What is a bad RNG?

“Bad RNG” is a term sometimes used in the realm of video games. Since random number generators basically simulate the element of luck in video games, “bad RNG” could be likened to gaming slang for “bad luck.” When players expect a certain positive outcome and instead get the worst outcome possible despite the odds initially being in their favor, they often blame the “bad RNG.” Of course, RNG and its meaning in gaming go well beyond making gamers’ lives miserable, as the software is meant to enhance player experience.

How do you beat the game RNG?

Whereas RNG keeps the games from becoming monotonous, too much RNG will take away all the control over the game from the player, lowering the importance and impact of their skill. In such cases, players may be tempted to try and manipulate RNG, but their chances of success are slim, as RNGs are based on complex algorithms, and working them out would be next to impossible.

What is a random generator?

RNG is an abbreviation for software that generates seemingly random sequences of numbers using a complex algorithm. It is used in online casino games to ensure a provably fair gaming experience and in some video games to make various outcomes unpredictable.

Can RNG be predicted?

If we take into account the principles on which random number generators are created, we can safely say that, no, results generated by an RNG can’t be predicted, unless you know the initial seed value used to “feed” the generator. So, what does the use of RNG mean for gamblers, then? It means they can count on entirely random results and stop worrying about the game being rigged.

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