Are Online Casino Games Fair?

Casino Games Fairness
Online Games vs Land-based

All of the regular casino games that you find in land-based casinos can be found at one or more safe online casinos and a number of the more popular slot games are now available too, although certain countries are restricted on some slot games. The question that inevitably raises relates to the difference in expected payout percentages between the land-based games and the online versions. And of course, talking as we are about computers, how fair are casino games that you find online? Can they be manipulated by the casino to suit themselves or are they set in stone?

What I can say is that invariably, online casino games pay out equal to, or in the case of slots, better than land-based versions. Although only a few casinos publish the expected returns on games, for example on slot games from those we can see the online average expected payout is around 95%, with very very few dipping below 93% and some as high as 97%. In land-based casinos you'd be lucky to find a 95% slot and more often than not the information is unpublished because the machines are set to vary.


TST Testing and Software

Most trustworthy online casinos licence in their casino software from one of several big players, more of which can be found in the article on determining safe online casinos. In fact 99% of all AZOC's online casinos use of these main software providers. These software providers have all put their software through TST compliance testing for randomness and fairness assessment and have been issued with the necessary certificates to satisfy online gaming regulations where they exist, such as in the UK.

The software providers in question are Microgaming, Playtech, Realtime Gaming, IGT, Novomatic, Aristocrat, WMS and several smaller providers. If you are a table games player then check out my recommended Microgaming casinos or the Playtech casinos as those two have the best range. For slots games, any of the Novomatic casinos, the IGT casinos are great for land-based games as is WMS's excellent Jackpot Party casino which is a place you will often find me!

Some online casinos have developed their own software - the excellent 3Dice casino is one great example of innovative games. In these instances, you have to rely on either the casino or TST to tell you if they have undergone compliance (3Dice has btw!). If you are unsure and you do not recognise the software, I would advise caution. In these circumstances, aside from being unable to determine the fairness of the games, you don't know if the casino has written the software with the ability to alter the expected returns and were they to have done so, when and under what circumstances they could alter them.

However, if you are playing at casinos with software licenced from the well-known brands like Microgaming, IGT/Wagerworks, Wagerlogic and Playtech it is widely regarded that the casinos licensing the software have no control over the payouts and contrary to some opinions from players (who often have suffered losing sessions!) that they do not have a switch they can throw at leisure, nor can they affect the returns to individual players to try and recoup losses! There will always be conspiracy theorists and it's down to the individual to decide what is and isn't fair, but the bottom line is that there wouldn't be a gambling industry if the games were unfair, nor would there be regulation as there is in many countries and nor would big brands like Ladbrokes, William Hill and IGT be caught cheating. There's too much at stake.