How computers are taking the luck out of gambling
In the late ’80s, a real game-changer took place in casinos that would forever change the landscape and opportunities in the gambling industry.
Slot machines went from being mechanical devices to being electronic devices.
In order to provide randomness and bigger payouts, a new computerized process was introduced that utilized a random number generator (RNG).
The RNG is an algorithm programmed into the machine that is designed to generate a large sequence of numbers or symbols that cannot be reasonably predicted.
The use of computers and RNGs is now common in the gambling industry as a means of providing randomness for various games.
In casinos, RNGs are used to determine results on slot machines, keno ball drawings and card dispersion from automatic shuffle machines.
RNGs are also used in online gaming and state lottery operations.
Arguably, RNGs are a big reason for the continued success and growth of the gambling industry worldwide,
And the reliance on them does not appear to be waning with the increased demand for computerized and hybrid electronic table games.
So What’s The Problem? Random number generators are not random. They’re “pseudo random number generators,” or PRNGs.
Running the RNGRisk The outcomes generated by a PRNG are deterministic.
The PRNG constantly generates a sequence of simulated random numbers at high speeds.
As soon as the “Play” button is pressed, the most recent random number is used to determine the result. This means that the result varies depending on exactly when the game is played.
All PRNGs must eventually repeat their number sequence, so in theory, if players had access to the PRNG code and seed value, they could possibly predict future results.
And that’s exactly what has happened.
Incidents of players using RNG prediction techniques started to surface not long after computerized slot machines entered the casino market.
In 1993, computer engineer Leo Weeks was caught in the Horizon Casino in Lake.
Tahoe using a wearable computer he designed to predict royal flushes on IGT Fortune I video poker machines.
Weeks obtained a Fortune I machine and reverse-engineered how the random number generator worked to create his device.
Running the RNGRisk It is not known how Weeks obtained the Fortune I, but it is possible he just purchased one,
Because the Fortune I was an extremely common type of machine at the time.
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