The UK gambling industry is currently worth £13.8 billion, with online gambling making up a significant 32% proportion of that. There’s an old saying that claims ‘The house always wins’ but how true is this? Can players beat the algorithms that dictate the winners and losers of these slot games we know and love?
Since the advent of slot games, players have constantly tried to discover ways they could beat the slot machine. In the early days this could be done by tampering with the physical internal mechanisms of machines. Since the birth of online slots, a much more complex method of safeguarding is at play.
With online gambling worth a whopping £4.5 billion in the UK it means that the importance of maintaining fair, balanced, and safe slot machines is paramount.
Scott Manford, CEO of Wizard Slots said: “The fairness and safety of our players is extremely important to us. It would be naïve to think that there weren’t people who were trying to beat the system but that will always occur when there’s money involved.”
“The algorithms that lie behind the games are extremely complex, although at times it may seem like the reels are titling in your favour. This is sheer coincidence.”
“Our job at Wizard Slots is to work with our developers and the UK Gambling Commission to ensure safe practice is followed across the board in all areas of the industry, and in doing so will create a much more enjoyable gaming experience for our players.”
The digitalisation of slot machines and their move to the online world allowed the in-game structures to be based on complex coding that could create multi-faceted and measured win ratios for players. Where mechanical slot games could be beaten by human ingenuity, online slot games possess algorithms that implore numbers that are simply too large, and too random for the human brain to decipher. Unless you’re a hacker that is.
The technical term for the algorithms that are used is a PRNG (Pseudorandom Number Generator). A basic random number is generated by a human, this is called the ‘seed’. Through complex coding the seed is processed and this generates an infinite series of random numbers that ultimately translates into which symbol or winline appears on your screens.
The sheer expanse of the numbers that are generated are too complex for even the world’s brightest minds to solve without stepping over lines of legality. In essence, the only way to beat the online slot machine is to hack them. Although hackers do pose a very true threat around the world, the main slot playing demographic of middle-aged Android users are a far cry from posing any sort of serious threat to the industry.
In light of this, many gamers and professionals have come forward to express their success in beating the computer and working out the algorithms that the casinos have set. Some claim to have gained an understanding of specific game’s patterns, when the game is ‘hot or cold’ or even claimed that game algorithms can be changed in their favour by switching between different betting stakes.
Slot games are based on algorithms and volatility. Certain games may be tailored to have more payouts on their main games than their bonus reels, or vice versa. For example, a game may give you a 1 in 100 chance each spin of winning some form of payout. Whether this happens on your first or 100th spin is for the algorithm to decide and for you to concede to hope.
As the UK gambling industry continues to grow and mobile usage continues to provide a mainstay in our lives, algorithms and gameplay will only need to become more complex. For now, any genius you think you possess is simply down to chance.