Quite recently we were asked whether online casinos cheat. We were intrigued by this question and to begin with we actually contemplated whether such a thing could happen. After all, players don’t get to see the inner workings of an online casino, they don’t see how an online slot machine works and they certainly don’t see the algorithm that decides whether they win or lose on the tables.
Once we thought about it a little more though, we realized that cheating would be counter-productive and downright reckless for an online casino. In this article, we’ll show you why we came to that conclusion.
The Gambling Industry
A decade ago, in 2005, it was reported that the online gambling industry was worth close to $14 billion. This was when online gambling was more or less in its infancy, a time before the biggest websites and the biggest communities didn’t even exist. We know for a fact that gambling has grown since then and it’s safe to safe that those figures have probably doubled or trebled.
This is a very lucrative business when done properly, and that’s one of the reasons why we don’t think an online casino would cheat. If you run an e-commerce website and you’re making a 100% profit on all products, with thousands of regular customers throwing money at you and with no need for expensive staff or premises, then would you risk everything to increase those profits to 110%? Of course you wouldn’t — you’d have to be insane to even contemplate such a thing.
Despite all of the big jackpots that you see and despite all of the winners that walk away from online casinos, everyday they make a huge profit, and all of it is legal and fair. Well, if you consider some of the house edges fair that is.
Your Odds of Winning
There is no game that will give you better odds of winning than the casino themselves, and there are some games where the odds are massively in favour of the casino. This is essentially why they are able to make such high profits, because even if 10 people win big, then 10,000 will lose and their losses will more than cover the jackpots of those 10 big winners.
Blackjack and baccarat give you some of the best chances of beating the house, but the averages on these games is still around 1% in favour of the house, which means that for every 100 hands you win, they’ll win 101 (in theory). Games like craps can range from 1% to 10% whilst Keno and other popular lottery games can have an edge as high as 30%. This is why they are able to offer such big jackpots.
The same applies to slot machines, which are typically at least 10% in favour of the casino, but can be much higher. There are some online casinos that keep the odds low so that more people win. Royal Vegas Casino are a good example of this, and they are also transparent with their games, so you can see what your odds are of winning all of them.
Poker has no house edge, because the house is not involved. They don’t risk their money and you don’t win anything from them. However, this is another money spinner for the casino as they take a cut from each hand in a cash game and from each buy-in in a tournament.
Even if they did want to cheat, a legitimate online casino would struggle to do so. The many games they have on their website are created by third-party developers, all of which are tightly regulated (such as Microgaming, who supply Royal Vegas Casino, Spin Palace and other popular online casinos), and all of which use random number generators. What’s more, even if the casino did alter this random number generator, then they would be discovered by the auditors that they are required to hire. In fact, if an online casino does not have someone like eCOGRA auditing them, then it is a sign that you should go elsewhere, because these companies make it their goal to run random checks on all online casinos registered with them, making sure things are as they should be.
Simply put, it takes more for a casino to cheat than it does for them to play fair. Also, whilst they could earn a little extra money, they would be taking a huge risk. Even if we dismiss all of what we said above, if players consistently lost then there would be no jackpot winners, no winners at all — no one to sing the praises of that casino on the forums, on social media or to their friends.
You don’t get far in this game by running a casino where no one wins, and you get nowhere by running a casino that is unfair.