Because we are starting to live more of our lives online, it brings up a number of questions about how the equivalents of the physical tests all business premises have to undergo are replicated in the virtual world.
A good case in point is the online gambling site. While casinos with physical premises obviously have to undergo regular PAT testing to ensure that everything from the ice dispensers behind the bar to the electronic games themselves are safe and serviceable, this is obviously not relevant for the online versions. Yes, the electrical items such as the servers needed to run the sites and the equipment in the offices have to be checked, but there are also a range of other tests that are relevant to the players on the sites.
This is because, in order to keep their licence to operate from the UK’s Gambling Commission, all online operators have to abide by a strict number of conditions. These include having all games checked and verified according to strict guidelines before they are approved for use. This is carried out by an approved number of so-called Test Houses.
One of the most critical checks carried out on all online casinos is that the Random Number Generators that drive their games do actually produce random outcomes. Obviously, in bricks-and-mortar casinos games like roulette do have genuinely random outcomes thanks to the physical laws of the world. But the online version of the game has to recreate the randomness of where the ball will land and this is achieved through an algorithm. This has to be thoroughly checked to ensure that it really will produce random outcomes and avoid predictable patterns from ever occurring.
In slots games this is equally vital, especially as certain sites run Jackpot King Games such as Deal or No Deal Megaways in which the so-called progressive jackpots can run into the millions of pounds. They reach these figures by linking together countless different slots games, any one of which could grant the big prize. So being 100% confident that this will be a genuinely random event is crucial.
All slots games also have a figure which is known as the Return to Player, or RTP. This is expressed as a percentage and represents the amount of stake money that is returned as prizes. It is calculated as an average over a period of time and generally falls anywhere between 75% and 95%. Because it’s this figure that often determines how likely a player is to choose a particular game, and in the name of fairness and honesty, this has to be regularly reported and reviewed to see that the advertised rate is accurate.
It all adds up to the fact that here in the UK we are lucky not only to have one of the most developed and advanced online casino sectors, but also, arguably, the world’s most closely and efficiently regulated with rigorous testing built in as standard – surely a great reassurance to players and essential for the casinos’ continued success.