Playing at online casinos can open a world of questions for the beginning player. Whether you’re concerned about the legality of playing at offshore casinos in your jurisdiction, if online casinos scale the favor in their odds beyond the traditional house edge, and what type of online casino games are the most popular, we attempt to answer those questions in this topic.
Offshore vs Locally Regulated
There can be some confusion about the term “offshore casino”, and for whatever reasons, it can draw up negative connotations in the mind, as the term “offshore” can also be applied to shady business practices. However, let’s dispel that myth, as offshore casinos can usually provide numerous safety and convenience features for their customers.
An offshore casino does not mean it is entirely unregulated, and running a scam, free to create their own rules. Many offshore casinos are properly licensed by reputable gaming jurisdictions, and must follow strict laws and regulations as you would expect of any proper gambling operation, whether online or land-based.
“Offshore casino” simply means the casino operates outside of your local gambling jurisdiction. For example, Casumo online casino has its headquarters in Malta, and has licenses to operate from both the Malta Gaming Authority, and the UK Gambling Commission.
Offshore casinos provide a viable method of online betting as an alternative to situations where casinos in your jurisdiction are either heavily regulated and difficult for casino operators to obtain a local license, or casinos are banned altogether. In the latter case, it may not be “illegal” for you to engage in online casinos, but you should check your local laws. Some U.S. states, for example, do in fact have laws that make it illegal to gamble online.
In order to determine whether you should trust an offshore casino, do some research and make sure the casino operator meets the following criteria:
• It is licensed by a reputable gambling jurisdiction.
• It is protected by a minimum of 128 Bit SSL (secure socket layer) digital encryption security.
• It offers games from trusted software providers.
• It is audited by a third-party testing agency, like eCOGRA.
• It offers recognisable and trustworthy payment methods.
• It supports responsible gambling practices.
Understanding the Random Number Generator Used by Online Casinos
The random number generator (RNG) is a critical and perhaps the most important bit of code employed by the online casino industry. It serves several purposes which we’ll explain, but first let’s examine exactly what the RNG does.
The random number generator is software code that simply generates random numbers, true to its name. The range of numbers are of course specified by fields (i.e. number # to number #), depending on the game type. But make no mistake, the RNG is used in nearly all online casino games, from card games like blackjack and poker, to table games like roulette, craps, and even slot machines.
This can be also used by land-based casinos, particularly in their games that are software-driven such as slots and video poker.
RNGs essentially cycle through their numbers thousands of times per second. So when you press the “deal” button in a game of blackjack, the program simply stops on whatever number at the exact millisecond. The random number generator is hardly ever “rigged” in the casino’s favour, and the RNG developers give special attention to tweaking the RNG parameters to give the player the same odds they would receive in a land-based casino. An online casino that manipulated their random number generator would quickly lose all of their customers.
The purpose of the RNG is not only to simulate the odds you’d expect in a land-based casino, but it can also deter things like card counting in blackjack, along with other practices like every-hand shuffling, or infinite decks.
Slot Machines are the Top Earners for Online Casinos
The global gambling industry is expected to reach around $74 billion USD by 2024, and currently, slot machines are leading the way. Over 70% of the industry profits are generated by online slot machines, on a global scale.
Slots are the most popular in the United States and Australia, though European countries seem to prefer table games. In any case, online slot machines are far more advanced than the “match-3 fruit” machines of the past. Many modern slots are incorporating 3D graphics, storylines, and an overall “videogame-like” experience.
The introduction of video game-type elements to online slot machines can be compared to the old arcade games of the past, actually. When the arcade game involves a storyline, players may simply feed the arcade game with quarters to continue the game and finish the story. 3D slot machines may be operating on this principle, where players feel rewarded with game progress, instead of win/lose ratio (though that certainly players an important factor).