Are Slot Machines Random?

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row of slot machines

If slot machines are designed to make money for the casino, how can they be possibly be random? It’s a fair question, and it comes down to a couple of key things related to how a slot is designed.

First, slot machines are random within a range of selected outcomes. The number of symbols on a reel, the overall odds of certain payouts happening like top progressives, and so on all are designed to ultimately achieve a designed payback. 

So the randomness isn’t an uncontrolled randomness, but within a specific space – the set of outcomes possible. And then within that it’s randomized as far as what you’ll get for your spin. The outcome is determined based on the exact microsecond you hit the spin button and start the spin.

We don’t have to just take the word of the game developers, though, as jurisdictions require outside confirmation of what’s been designed to ensure there’s no mistakes or bugs in the way a slot is programmed. 

Slot machines are therefore tested by third party labs to ensure what they are saying they’ll pay is what they would in a real life floor situation, further adding assurance that the game is fair. Games are put through their paces quite thoroughly to ensure the games work as intended.

The second thing to note is that slots are technically not random, but pseudo-random. That’s because slots and the random number generator that governs that randomness is designed by human beings, and so it’s designed to be random enough for the purposes of a slot that it is reasonably secure and fair.

So while slots aren’t random in the way an event would be random in nature, they’re sufficiently random to be fair in that any outcome can be possible when that spin button is pressed.

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