While some casino games require a certain degree of skills that will impact the outcome of a particular game, most casino games are purely based on chance. In order to mimic the randomness and fair chances encountered in all land based casinos, online casino games use random number generator or RNG in the software that powers the game.
For example, the RNG is responsible for generating a number from 1 to 37 in a game of European Roulette, two random numbers simultaneously for a game of Dice, a number from 1 to 52 for single deck card games. For multi deck games like online blackjack, the RNG has even more complicated mathematical algorithms to deal with while for online slots and video pokers the RNG is based on a payout percentage set for that particular game or through the casino.
But what is a random number generator?
As the name implies, an RNG generates random numbers. A number generated by a process, whose outcome is unpredictable, and which cannot be sub sequentially reliably reproduced is called a random number. What most online casino operators don’t know is that generating truly random numbers without a repeating pattern is not an easy task.
In the field of numerical simulations, cryptography and in the gaming industry, high quality random numbers are absolutely vital. For all casino games of chance, it must not be possible for a player to increase his probability to win by discovering a bias towards certain outcomes in the game procedure. Modern lotteries and gambling machines are all based on the use of random numbers to guarantee a uniform winning probability.
There are two main classes of generators: software generators and physical generators.
Due to the fact that computers are deterministic systems and given a certain input, a program will always produce the same output, it is impossible for a program to produce a sequence of truly random numbers. The sequence may pass some statistical randomness tests but it is always possible to reproduce. Due to the fact that the sequences produced by a program look like random sequences, these generators are called pseudo-random number generators.
It is important to consider the physical process used as the source of randomness when using a physical generator. This source can be based on processes described by either classical physics or by quantum physics.
While macroscopic processes described by classical physics can be used to generate random numbers, it is very important to realize that classical physics is fundamentally deterministic. The evolution of a system described by classical physics can be predicted, assuming that the initial conditions are known. One could say that determinism is hidden behind complexity.
Although their random numbers are likely to pass randomness tests, these generators are difficult to model. This means that it is impossible to verify, while acquiring numbers, that they are operating properly. In addition, it is difficult to ensure that the system is not interacting – even in a subtle way – with its environment, which could alter the quality of its output.
Contrary to classical physics, quantum physics is fundamentally random, making quantum random number generators as the only true RNGs.
How does a quantum random number generator work?
Quantum random number generator uses light as primary source of randomness. Light consists of elementary particles called photons and they exhibit random behavior in certain situations.
One of those situations is the transmission of a photon upon a semi-transparent mirror which is totally random and cannot be influenced by any external parameters. This situation is used in order to generate truly binary random numbers.