Are Online Casinos Rigged?

By Alex Smith Apr 26, 2022

One of the biggest concerns for players who join an online casino and begin playing online casino games is whether or not the games on offer at online casinos are fair or not. Whether you’re playing online slots, playing casino table games like placing bets on the roulette wheel or playing video poker, many players have questions about whether the games they’re playing are actually fair.

Thankfully, you’d be surprised at just how many security measures are put in place at online casinos to prevent them from being able to cheat their players. On this page, we will be showing you many of these tools, along with how online gambling regulators ensure that sites are treating players fairly and only offering them fair games that have been thoroughly tested and vetted by independent third-party testing houses.

Are Online Casino Games Rigged?

All online casinos and online gambling websites are businesses first and foremost, and it’s essential that you keep this in mind whenever you’re gambling online. These online casinos are in it to make a profit as a business. In the way casino games are designed, they’re built to ensure online casinos and land-based casinos will profit simply from running the game in the long run. They don’t need to risk everything by offering rigged versions of their games.

Whatsmore, online casinos realize that for them to attract customers — and have these customers become repeat customers — they need to ensure that the players can feel safe and protected. In conjunction with a wide variety of online gambling regulations, this ensures that it’s now safer than ever before to play an online casino game, provided it’s at a trustworthy casino.

Today, in order for a game to be released and offered to players to be able to play for real money, the game needs to go through a vast range of tests. These are designed to thoroughly vet the games and make sure that they’re running fairly and aren’t rigged games. We’ll look at the details of this a little later on in this post.

How an Online Casino Could Rig Games

There are, in reality, several ways that an online casino could rig casino games. However, provided that you play at a regulated and licensed site, you won’t ever have to worry about the following. We’ll cover a couple of situations just so that you can be aware of them.

One of the main reasons it’s so hard to rig a casino game is that once a game developer or software provider has released a game, the code behind that game cannot be altered without needing to be re-tested by an independent testing house. This isn’t an issue at all licensed online casinos, but if you play at an unregulated casino, this could become problematic.

Lowering the RTP

Lowering the RTP of a casino game is probably the easiest way that a casino can offer somewhat rigged games. If you’re not familiar with what the RTP means, it’s the percentage of money that a player can expect, on average, to get back when they play a casino game. For example, if a video slot has an RTP of 97%, a player will, on average, receive back $97 for every $100 they wager through the game. This means that the online casino can expect to make a profit of around $3. Of course, the RTP is determined over a very long period of time, so it’s not an indication in itself of how much a slot machine will pay you. You may get very lucky and hit a massive win or go on a very poor streak and lose lots of money.

However, if you play at a rigged casino, you may find that they lower the RTP without telling players. In some cases, they could even lower the RTP by as much as 50%, which means that you’re 50% less likely to hit a win on each spin. When playing casino games like this, you’re basically guaranteed to have a losing session.

Using a Fake RNG

Every game of chance offered at online casinos to players who are staking their own money must use a random number generator to deliver the result. As the name suggests, a random number generator is a special program capable of delivering a random result every time a player presses the spin button.

While all licensed online casinos must use a random number generator hosted somewhere else, i.e. not on their own online casino server. The random number generator must also be tested and checked regularly by an independent testing house. If you’ve played at online casinos, rigged games and all, they may use their own random number generator or use a random number generator that isn’t capable of delivering honest, true wins.

Notable Examples of Rigging 

Despite most online casinos being reputable places to play, it’s an unfortunate fact that several sites have, in the past, been accused of offering rigged games. We’ve seen this documented several times in the past decade or so, with some situations worse than others. For example, one of the first cases that involved online gambling sites and so-called rigged games was the subject of near misses. These are when a slot machine is designed to deliberately show a player a near miss making them think they got really close to hitting a big win when in reality, it was nothing but visual effects.

Game developers would build this into their games to try and make players keep putting money into a machine. Thankfully, today, this practice is illegal in most jurisdictions. It first became prevalent in Vegas, where it was found that a slot machine was showing this near-miss scenario at a rate of almost 1,000 times more than it would actually happen in reality. While this process didn’t mean a player to be playing a rigged game, so to speak, it did make them feel as though they were closer to hitting a big win than they actually were. This caused some players to spend a lot more money on the game than they would have done otherwise.

However, there are also some examples of land-based casinos and online casinos rigging games more intently. For example, in the 1980s, there was a rather big commotion caused in Nevada when it was found that certain slot machines and video gambling machines were cheating players. A company called American Coin had reportedly alerted their machines to ensure that players could not hit a winning royal flush or hit the maximum Keno jackpot on specific machines. Once this criminal activity was discovered, more than 1,000 machines were seized by authorities, and the company was ordered to pay a fine of more than $1 million.

More recently, in the online gambling world, there was a case where a game developer called GameART was shown to be offering a different version of their game to players playing in free-play mode. This led players who were playing the free-play version of the game to assume that it was much easier to win than it actually was.

The Importance of Online Gambling Regulators

We urge you to avoid any online casino that does not have a license issued by an established regulatory organization. Even if it isn’t rigged, not having a license isn’t a good indicator. The reputation of a reputable license provider will never be jeopardized by granting a license to a crooked casino. Certainly, some sites become crooked with time, but their licenses for that platform are revoked if authorities discover this.

What are the names of the regulators? It is usually official bodies that decide who receives a license. The UK Gambling Commission, for example, is an excellent gambling regulator in the United Kingdom. Casinos regulated by the UKGC must undergo a rigorous examination to verify that no unlawful activities are taking place.

A few “global” authorities also provide licenses to online gambling companies, like the Malta Gaming Authority, which is well-known in the sector. As a result, if you visit a site and discover that it is licensed by the MGA, you may be confident that the site is fair and reliable.

If you want to know if an online casino is licensed, go down to the footer of the site, where license information is typically displayed. The license number may then be checked to ensure that the information is correct.

Apart from licenses, it’s also crucial to find out who owns the casino. Companies that control online casinos have a good or poor reputation, and you don’t want to play in casinos that have a history of operating blacklisted casinos. Below, we will look at three of the most common online gambling regulators.

UKGC

The United Kingdom Gambling Commission (UKGC) is one of the most respected and trusted providers of gambling licenses globally. The Commission is responsible for enforcing the UK’s strict gambling legislation, ensuring that casinos follow the law and that players can enjoy safe and fair gaming.

The Commission is known for being very strict when upholding license terms, and they are not afraid to take a tough stance with operators who are found to be violating their license terms. This is one of the reasons the Commission has earned such a positive reputation among players and operators alike.

The Gambling Act of 2005, which was passed by the UK government in 2005, resulted in establishing the United Kingdom Gambling Commission in 2007. The UKGC was established to oversee all parts of gambling (both online and offline) and is in charge of all forms of gambling-related businesses, including arcades, sports gambling, lotteries, casinos, and raffles.

The Commission is widely regarded as the world’s premier regulator. A license given by the Commission is highly sought after by both players and operators since it enables sites to allow players from the United Kingdom, something they can’t do without one.

MGA

The Malta Gaming Authority (formerly known as the Lotteries and Gaming Authority) is a government-appointed regulator in Malta that regulates online gambling and awards licenses to operators wishing to conduct business in the country.

The MGA is one of the world’s most involved and vigilant online gambling regulators. Unlike certain smaller regulators, they are unafraid to interfere in situations when operators are acting unjustly.

The Malta Gaming Authority was established in 2001 when the Maltese government approved the Lotteries and Other Games Act. It awards one of four licenses depending on the sort of gaming activity a company seeks to offer its customers.

All new casinos seeking a license must undergo a rigorous vetting process to ensure that certain license criteria are met. The authority’s licenses are valid for five years. Companies can apply for an extension after this, which is usually granted if the operator can demonstrate that they have managed to meet the terms of their license and are in good standing with the authority.

Kahnawake Gambling Commission

The Kahnawake Gaming Commission was established in 1996 due to the enactment of the ‘Kahnawake Gaming Law’ by the Canadian territory. The Commission’s authority was established in 1999, and while it has had its ups and downs since then, it is widely recognized as one of the most trustworthy gaming regulators in the world.

The Kahnawake Gaming Commission is one of the most unique gaming regulators since it is self-formed due to the area of Kahnawake being protected under “Aboriginal Rights.”

Despite this self-regulation, the Commission has a reputation for siding with players on various issues. For example, the Commission was chastised for its handling of the Ultimate Bet scandal (in which the poker site’s management team was found to be using a ‘supercomputer’ that allowed them to see what cards other poker players were holding). However, the Commission eventually took action, fining Ultimate Bet $1,500,000 and ordering the repayment of over $22,000,000 to players afflicted.

The Kahnawake Gaming Commission now oversees a significant number of licensees. Despite the expensive fees ($25,000 for a preliminary license application, plus a monthly charge and a $5,000 cost each person added to a license), owners are eager to obtain a license from the Commission because of its reputation.

Swedish Gambling Authority

The Swedish Gambling Authority is a new regulatory agency in charge of gambling regulation in Sweden, and it gives permits and licenses to operators of gambling and lottery operations.

While the Authority is still a relatively new and unknown regulator, it has already announced a bold set of steps to safeguard Swedish players from rogue operations. Below, we’ll take a closer look at the authority, including their background and some of the licensing privileges.

This online gambling regulator caused quite a lot of controversy last year when it passed a number of new rules and regulations surrounding online casinos and online casino games. Those playing games at online casinos licensed by the Swedish Gambling Authority now face many new regulations, so much so that some professional streamers ended up leaving the country!

However, the online gambling regulator like the MGA and the UKGC is very strict, and this means that a fair game is pretty much guaranteed for all players, whether they’re playing casino games or playing online poker. In fact, you’ll see from most casino reviews that online casinos licensed by this online gambling regulator are held in pretty high standings.

Jersey Gambling Commission

The Jersey Gambling Commission is in charge of regulating gambling activities in Jersey. It is regarded as one of the most respected regulators in the world, with operators and players alike praising it.

Below, we’ll look at how the Jersey Gambling Commission works, a quick overview and history of the agency, and some facts concerning the Commission’s licensing criteria.

The Jersey Gambling Commission was established in 2010 by the Gambling Commission (Jersey) Law, which went into effect on September 3rd, 2010. Before this legislation, gaming regulation was handled by the minister, the previous Licensing Assembly, or other state authorities. Once the law was approved, the Jersey Gambling Commission became solely responsible for regulation.

If you’re not familiar with Jersey, it’s one of the Channel Islands (and the largest), located in the Bay of St Malo in the northwestern part of France. Like other Channel Islands (such as Alderney and Guernsey), Jersey is a favourite choice for online gambling sites due to lax taxation laws. However, that doesn’t mean the Commission doesn’t take its responsibilities seriously, and they’re genuinely one of the most revered gambling regulatory agencies in the world.

Except for the Channel Island Lottery, which remains under the jurisdiction of the State’s Department of Economic Development, Tourism, Sport and Culture, the Jersey Gambling Commission oversees all types of gambling enterprises headquartered in Jersey.

Alderney Gambling Control Commission

The Alderney Gambling Control Commission is an independent agency in charge of issuing eGambling licenses to operators wishing to set up shop in Alderney. It is widely regarded as one of the most trustworthy and reputable regulators globally.

We’ll look at how and why the Alderney Gambling Control Commission was established, the rules they impose on license holders, and the specifics of their complaints mechanism below.

The Alderney Gambling Control Commission (AGCC) was founded in May of 2000 and is comprised of a Chairman and three independent members.

The Commission is totally independent and non-political (enabling it to make objective judgements at all times). It is in charge of eGambling regulation on behalf of the States of Alderney.

The Alderney Gambling Control Commission, in addition to giving licenses to operators, also receives player complaints and lays a high focus on player safety, ensuring that its licensees treat players fairly.

The Alderney Gambling Control Commission’s corporate structure has always been a bit complicated. While the Alderney States are part of the British Channel Islands, they are not members of the United Kingdom or the European Union. Instead, they’re self-governing and have a good reputation. The Commission’s approach to eGambling licenses has guaranteed that unscrupulous operators do not obtain one, and they are committed to providing a safe, trustworthy, and transparent gambling environment for players.

How Can I Make Sure a Casino Is Safe to Play at?

Researching the web for extra information on the platform is one of the safest ways to guarantee that a casino is not rigged. Many professional reviews will inform you of all the drawbacks and drawbacks of the platform you wish to join.

Alternatively, you may look for user reviews of individual websites to learn more about their reliability. Please keep in mind that individuals may create unfavourable evaluations about casinos, claiming that they are rigged just because they were not fortunate enough. If, on the other hand, all user evaluations agree that a casino is rigged, you should think twice before signing up.

The advantage of the internet gambling industry is that rigged platforms only last a limited time. In other words, if someone establishes that a game is rigged, other participants will rapidly learn about it. Such sites are often placed on blacklists throughout the internet, and gamers immediately begin to avoid them. When rigged internet casinos are discovered, they cease to operate since they can no longer defraud customers.

You should still be cautious since internet fraudsters aren’t easily deterred. If their rigged platform is shut down, they frequently don’t hesitate to restart the process and entice newbies to give them money.

FAQs

Are most online casinos safe?

Yes. Thankfully, you’re completely safe when you play at most online casinos. Rigged games are certainly a thing, but provided you only play at online casinos licensed by an online gambling regulator, you shouldn’t have to worry too much about playing somewhere that doesn’t offer fair games. 

Where can I find a safe online casino?

If you’re looking for a safe online casino to play at, then it’s crucial you only choose to play at online casinos that are fully regulated and licensed. Of course, one option is to trawl through all of the online casinos available to you manually. However, in our opinion, there’s a much easier way of doing this: play at one of the online casinos listed here at Casinomeister.

All the online casino sites in our “Accredited” section have been thoroughly tested, not just by our team of iGaming experts but also by the relevant gambling authorities of the jurisdiction in which they’re located. What’s more, any online casino site listed in the Accredited section of our website is regularly checked and vetted. That means that you can enjoy your experience with complete peace of mind that you’re gaming in a 100% safe, secure environment.

Are casino games fair?

Yes. Thankfully, all casino games that come from leading game developers and software providers have to undergo a rigorous testing process from an independent testing house. These testing houses need to be accredited and approved by local government bodies and online gambling regulators, so there’s quite a good level of protection provided that you only play at regulated sites.

Is online poker fair?

Online poker has, unfortunately, seen issues in the past. From the Absolute Poker scandal (where it was found that admins of the site were able to see players’ hole cards to gain an unfair advantage) or the havoc of Black Friday, the industry hasn’t been free from controversy. Today, thankfully, it’s in a much better place, and it’s more heavily regulated than before.

Like regular casino games, all online poker rooms and games, from tournaments to cash games, have to be dealt with by software that uses a certified random number generator. This random number generator ensures that the cards being dealt are truly random. You don’t have to worry that you’re playing with potential fake or rigged software.

If you want to make sure that the online poker site you’re playing at is safe and uses a genuinely fair random number generator, then make sure to only play online poker at a fully licensed and regulated site. If you play at a site that’s not, you have no idea what kind of software it’s running, and you put yourself at serious risk of playing rigged games.

What is a random number generator?

A random number generator is a piece of software used by casino games, including everything from video slots and casino table games to Keno and more, to ensure that the game’s result is truly random.

For example, when you play a video slot, the game will send a request to the server where the random number generator is hosted each time you press the spin button. The random number generator will then generate a completely random number which is then used by the video slot to display the result of the spin.

A fair random number generator ensures that every time you play casino games at online casinos, the result of each spin is well and truly random, and you don’t have to worry about the game being rigged.

Do online video slots and table games need to be tested?

Yes. Whether they’re video slots, casino games, live dealer games, video poker, or instant win games, all casino games need to be thoroughly tested by an independent testing body. The body will be looking at several things; firstly, they will look at the random number generator used to ensure that it’s truly random. They will also look at the game’s source code to make sure that there’s no unfair coding or technology built into the game. If casino games don’t have a certification, they legally cannot be offered at regulated casinos that allow players to play for real money.