Algorithms In Computer Science 1170x400 - Algorithms and Data – the Cornerstone of the Gaming Industry

Algorithms and Data – the Cornerstone of the Gaming Industry

The UK betting industry alone is now reportedly worth over £14 billion per annum, with iGaming representing an ever-growing part of that. Latest numbers put it at 35% and growing, and these sorts of ratios are reflected throughout the bet-loving developed world. Everyone knows however that the “house always wins” – so how can gaming companies ensure that the bet always falls in their favour. Conversely how can players try and beat the system.

Beating the Odds

Players want to find a way to beat the system and develop their own method or code on how to win in specific games and slot machines.

In the distant past, when the machines were mechanical, all sorts of weird and wonderful mechanical devices and magnetic contraptions were developed to try and skew the odds in the players favour and make the slots machines pay out in excess of their programmed ratios. The advent of video slots and then the increasing use of online slots machines and casinos meant that the old methods no longer had any effect. So these inventive types had to try and find new ways to play the system and win the big prizes.

Web based wagering in now estimated to top $100 billion globally so in a market awash with so much cash it was inevitable that a new breed of gamers would be trying to find ways to beat the odds.

An Operators Perspective

Scott Manford, CEO of Wizard Slots, one of the UK’s leading online casino operators says: “Nothing is more important to us that the safety and security of our customers. We want them to be able to play in a safe and trustworthy environment where they know the odds and where they stand. However, it would be remiss of us not to recognise that there are players out there who are trying to beat the system and profit from it. Our systems are therefore managed ad driven by some massively advanced algorithms that are all closely regulated to ensure that the ratios of payouts are fair and representative.”

The algorithms which drive the slot machines and massively complex and mind bogglingly detailed, factoring in all sorts of data and trend analysis in real time to ensure that the mandated payout ratios are maintained and stay within guidelines. So, whilst a player might sometimes think that the reels have suddenly just tipped slightly in their favour – the truth is that there is nothing but science and maths behind the outcome.

Manford went on to say; “Here at Wizard Slots for instance we are constantly working with our designers and the UK Gambling Commission to guarantee that we are always staying ahead of the curve and designing games which are safe and fun to play , whilst maintaining strict standards in payout levels and security , all of which leads to a safe and secure environment for our players ,as this is what keeps them coming back”

Algorithm Design and Implementation

The advent of online slots and table games brought about the need for ever more advanced algorithms to ensure fairness and a guaranteed quality of gameplay.

The very specific term for the type of calculations used in a Gaming algorithm is a “PRNG” (Pseudorandom Number Generator). This all starts with a human generated initial number – something just chosen from the top of the head – this number is called the seed. The seed is fed through a range of complex coding algorithms that produce and endless supply of random and arbitrary numbers which, being so random as to be un-guessable, eventually correlates with the winning line you see on your screen.

No machine or person could randomly guess the same numbers, and no sequences are used to exploit in a method of pattern prediction so any attempt to guess the correct numbers if impossible even utilising brute-force techniques.

So whilst an army of Android and iPhone wielding clients is unlikely to pose significant risk to the game developers – they do remain wary of the undesirable underworld of programmers who are out to try and break in and steal the secrets. To this end, stress testing and penetration testing of all of the Casino sites is a frequent occurrence and a necessary part of the due diligence prior to being granted a Gaming license.

Player fantasy and enjoyment

Some gamers claim to have cracked the secrets of a game , to know when it is “hot or cold” and indeed believe they can manipulate the outcome by placing bets on a pre-determined way, however this is all fantasy. The scale of maths at play is so huge that any pattern would need to be billions of plays long to even have a hope of being repeated.

The entire ethos of these algorithms is to generate unpredictability and randomness, whilst maintaining a targeted range of payouts and the designs are therefore massively complex. This brings with it though an inherent level of trust and safety, albeit the odds are admittedly stacked in the favour of the gaming operators. Even so, the constant stream of big winners means that there is never any shortage of players looking to take their chances against the algorithms.

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