What is a ‘Random Number Generator’ (RNG)?
In computing, a random number generator (RNG) is a piece of software which can pull any number from a specified selection completely at random, with no input or interference from humans. RNGs are the power behind online gambling games, such as slots and roulette. Instead of a manual spin of a wheel or reels, or the roll of a dice or the turn of a card, the computer selects one of billions of combinations of numbers at random. This number is translated to a play on the screen in the game, and may or may not result in a win and a payout for the player.
The ‘Random Number Generator’ Explained
All online wagering games and most video gambling games use some form of RNG to power play. The most basic form of number generator in online gaming is the bingo machine. Numbers between 1 and 90 (or another variation depending on the game) are selected by the computer, and matching numbers are automatically marked off the player’s cards. The chances of each outcome are equal, so the software just picks one number at a time until the game ends.
Games with varying probabilities, such as roulette or blackjack, use far more complicated random number generators. They are programmed with a series of computer equations, called algorithms, which do multiple calculations at once. Not only does the RNG return a random number each time, but the odds of each number and its corresponding hand or line being called are weighted to suit the odds. This means that although each number is completely random, the odds of each number occurring are not equal. This is a level of mathematics which the human brain could not manage, but computers can handle easily.
As a result of using random number generating software, online gambling games are able to get far more complicated than traditional casino games, with hundreds of different outcomes and associated odds available inside one game.