Online casinos are becoming increasingly popular. But how do casino games work on the internet? We take a look behind the scenes and explain some of the technical basics of online casinos. Because all systems work a little differently, but the result is always the same.
How these online casinos work
What games are there in online casinos and how do they work?
In online casinos there are basically the same games as in a stationary casino – the range of games tends to be even larger. On the one hand there are classics like roulette, blackjack, baccarat and poker. On the other hand, there are a variety of slot machines.
In addition, there are ever larger areas with live dealer games where visitors face a human moderator. In the meantime, the first games with an augmented reality component have even found their way into the game portfolios. A human moderator interacts with a virtual environment. We will explain in more detail below how these game offers work.
This is how slot machines work in online casinos
Virtual Slot machines – also known as slots – are available in large numbers in online casinos. Some casinos list several thousand of these machines. In essence, slots in online casinos work just like machines in a game library.
Players press a spin button and a set of reels begins to spin. At the end of the rotation, a random combination of symbols will appear on the screen. Certain symbol combinations trigger a win.
Free spins, collecting symbols and progress features
Just like machines in a stationary game library, slots in online casinos are now equipped with additional functions. These include B. Free spins . If you hit certain symbols often enough, you get 10 free spins and can win for a while without making any bets.
Collection symbols and progress functions also contribute to better entertainment. Some slots have different free play modes. These build on each other and gradually become more attractive. If you play longer and get the free spins several times, you will then be faced with more attractive chances of winning.
Due to the numerous functions, slot machines in online casinos offer a very large variety. This is also reflected in the theme world. The days when slot machine players waited for fruits, numbers and bar symbols are long gone. New slots revolve around ancient Egypt, characters from mythology or world-famous rock bands.
Random number generators decide whether you win or lose
Regardless of whether it is a machine in the online casino or in the game library: which symbols appear on the reels is determined by chance. But how do these random number generators work? The first automata in the 19th century worked completely mechanically and thus ensured random combinations. The mechanics have meanwhile been replaced by software – both in the game library and in online casinos.
Random number generators (RNG for short) determine which symbols appear on the reels. In a somewhat simplified way, these are algorithms that generate random numbers. The algorithms ensure that there is no connection between the result of one spin and the result of another spin. So if you have just made a big win, you can make a big win again on the next spin. Likewise, a player cannot expect that a longer dry spell at the machine will inevitably be accompanied by a higher chance of winning during his session.
Random number generators not only ensure that the games are fair and that there are no opportunities for manipulation. The RNGs also ensure that the payout quota is actually achieved in the long term. The manufacturers not only provide exact information on the total payout ratio. The probability of certain events occurring in the game can also be precisely predicted. For example, the data sheets on slots show the probability of winning 50x, 100x, 200x, etc.
The probabilities are given with the number of spins required. However, due to the way the random number generators work, this does not mean that players can safely count on a profit of a certain order of magnitude after 200 spins. The casino's profit or gross gaming revenue consists exclusively of the house edge that is shown and transparently presented. This applies online as well as in stationary casinos. There are no additional winnings from (technical) influence on the game.
Playing poker and the like against the computer: This is how these games work
In addition to slot machines, there are also various classics such as poker, baccarat, roulette and blackjack in online casinos. These games allow gamers to play against the computer. The computer replaces the croupier or dealer. Random number generators are also at work in these games. In software-based roulette, for example, these decide on which field the virtual ball lands. The odds of winning correspond to those of real roulette games.
This is how the games with Livedealer work in the online casino
In the past few years, casinos and manufacturers have spent a lot of money developing Live casinos invested. Here players do not play against the computer, but against a human dealer. In the live casino there is roulette, blackjack, poker, baccarat, keno and other games. The games are typically held in special studios and broadcast live to customers' homes. Sometimes the transmission also takes place from real casinos.
Fairness is also guaranteed in these games. On the one hand, the technical facilities such as the roulette wheel are monitored. On the other hand, it is technically ensured that the live dealers cannot influence the game.
In roulette, for example, the ball is not thrown in by the dealer, but is fed into the bowl by a puff of air. Dice are not thrown by hand, but thrown from above into a cylinder, inside of which there is a kind of labyrinth, which guarantees random results. There are a lot of additional functions here that make the gameplay more entertaining. This includes, for example, different camera perspectives or the opportunity to chat with other players or the dealer.
This is how game shows and augmented reality work
In online casinos there are now a lot of games that cannot be found in stationary casinos and certainly not in game libraries (where there are only machines and no banker games). This includes in particular game shows and games with augmented reality components.
In game shows, a moderator guides you through an animated game. Many of the shows are known from TV – such as Deal or no Deal. Classics such as Monopoly or different versions of the wheel of fortune are also widespread. With an augmented reality component, the moderator is put into a virtual game. Random number generators decide on the course of the game – for example, the uncovering of fields, numbers and symbols appearing, etc.
Outlook: New technologies online casinos
In the future, other technologies will find their way into online casinos. A major trend will relate to augmented reality and virtual reality.
How can these look and work? In the future, players could visit an online casino with VR glasses and join other players at a virtual roulette or poker table. This makes the gaming experience even more authentic and increasingly resembles a visit to a large casino in Atlantic City or Las Vegas.
Fair games: this is how it is guaranteed
There are various levels of guarantee that the games in online casinos are fair. This applies to regulation by authorities as well as certification by testing institutes. If anomalies occurred in a game, this would be visible to different instances.
Casinos are not game manufacturers
In order to understand how online casinos work, it is very important to take a look at the structure of the industry. Online casinos are not game manufacturers. The casino operators lease games from special game manufacturers. Well-known manufacturers are for example NetEnt, Evolution Gaming, Pragmatic Play or Quickspin.
The manufacturers decide on the topic, design and game math. Game math includes, for example, volatility and the payout ratio. A manufacturer can specify that a particular slot machine has a return to players (RTP) ratio of 95% for a particular jurisdiction. In turn, the random number generator ensures that this quota is achieved in the long term.
Games are tested on several levels
Before a game is available in online casinos, it is tested on several levels. The manufacturer carries out the first tests to ensure that all games work correctly. The manufacturers are not infrequently large companies with a listing on the stock exchange. These companies have no interest in cooperating with dubious casinos and even meet the highest compliance requirements.
Nevertheless, the testing of the games is not left to the manufacturers alone. Independent testing institutes also use special instruments to monitor the random number generators and game mathematics. Testing institutes can, for example, simulate 1 million spins on a machine and thus determine whether the results are plausible and match the manufacturer's specifications.
Regulatory authorities also carry out audits. The authorities can easily identify abnormalities. An example : A casino operates a games portfolio with an average payout ratio of 94%. The casino accepts stakes of EUR 10 million from its players over a certain period of time. It would now be expected that EUR 9.4 million will be distributed again in the form of profits. If this value deviates significantly from the expected value, the authorities will take a closer look and check the casino.
The payout of even large jackpots is secured
Incidentally, gambling supervisory authorities not only check the games, but also the financial strength of casinos. The casinos need to be able to cash out large winnings. To this end, balance sheets, equity capital resources and other economic indicators are checked.
The highest winnings come from progressive jackpots. These are slot machines that are played in many casinos and are connected through a network. If a player makes a bet in a connected casino, part of this bet goes to the jackpot. At some point the jackpot is cracked and paid out to a winner. The game manufacturer Microgaming is one of the best-known producers of progressive jackpots with the Mega Moolah series. Individual prizes of more than EUR 20 million have already been paid out here.
Winnings of this magnitude don't have to be picked up by a single casino. There is an outsourced pool here in which the jackpots are secured. This means that these very high winnings are also absolutely safe in terms of payment.
Game manufacturers disclose key figures such as the RTP
In general, online casinos now offer visitors a high level of transparency. Game manufacturers, for example, disclose many details about their games in data sheets. In addition to payout ratios, this also applies to volatility. Games with high volatility demand longer dry spells from players, but also offer the chance of very high winnings (based on the stake). In games with low volatility, there are more frequent wins that are not quite as big.
In the meantime, players can very specifically control games that fit their own project.
Online casinos are only allowed to operate and operate with a license
The regulation of online casinos is strict. This applies in Germany as well as in the EU and in third countries. Many casinos are internationally active. In Germany, for example, there are many providers based and regulated in the EU member state of Malta. Online casinos from Gibraltar or Curacao are also widespread.
The following applies to all regulatory authorities: technical aspects such as the fairness of the games are monitored, as is the financial stability of the providers. In this respect, there is no risk for players at licensed casinos. However, consumers should always ensure that they have a valid license.
How do deposits and withdrawals work in online casinos?
Deposits and withdrawals in online casinos are processed by payment service providers. Only in the rarest of cases do players transfer money to a casino's bank account. On the one hand, this variant involves a longer waiting time. On the other hand, fees may apply specifically for transfers to overseas casinos.
Much more suitable are modern payment services that enable payments in real time and offer additional security. These include, for example, credit cards. Payment initiation services are also widespread. Here, a payment is initiated in real time via the online banking of the current account and posted to the game account just as quickly. Well-known payment initiation services are around Klarna or Trustly. E-wallets such as PayPal, Skrill or Neteller are also used.
The payment service providers not only guarantee the technical security of payments, but also help monitor online casinos.
Payment services such as credit card companies monitor their contractual partners. If there are irregularities, this is quickly noticed in the course of extensive monitoring measures. Then the cooperation with the contractual partner is paused or even terminated.
If deposits at an online casino with MasterCard, PayPal etc. are possible, this is a further indication of the seriousness and financial stability of the provider. Casinos with such payment services as partners must also meet various technical requirements, which are also checked by card companies and co.
How do the player protection measures work?
The technical equipment of online casinos also includes measures for player protection. Some of these are stipulated by regulation, and some are installed by casinos themselves.
Account functions with which players can individually limit their activity are widespread. In many online casinos, customers can set limits for deposits, stakes, losses and session times. The limits apply to days, weeks or months, as desired. To protect the players, the limits can only be relaxed with a waiting period – but tightened without any waiting period.
In addition, online casinos are increasingly using algorithms to identify problematic gaming behavior. The algorithms evaluate various data on deposits, activity in the game account, stakes, selected games and bets placed there, etc.
Based on empirical values, certain patterns can be identified that justify an intervention. Naturally, this is only necessary in extreme cases – however, some players with problematic gaming behavior are consequently protected from themselves.