Pieces of Tech That You Didn’t Know Goes Into Online Slots

January 2nd, 2019

Online gambling is packed with tech that's invisible to the eye. Let's look under the hood.

For many of us, the joy of online slots comes in taking the games at face value. Spin to win…it’s as simple as that. But for those of you with a more inquisitive mind, we thought we’d publish four of the key pieces of tech that guarantee a slot is fair, unpredictable and designed to ensure your gaming experience is a fun one.

The Random Number Generator

Have you ever wondered how online slots can be completely fair with each and every spin of the reels? The answer to that question is the Random Number Generator (RNG), a unique algorithm which dictates that all outcomes have an equal chance of being spun for every turn.

To explain it in simple terms, remember that an online slot game doesn’t have a ‘memory’. No information is stored and so no patterns can form: e.g. just because you’ve had two winning spins in a row that doesn’t necessarily mean the third will be a loser.

The RNG ensures that each spin is played with a clean slate, so you could reveal a shambolic selection of mismatched symbols or land the jackpot. It really is that unpredictable!

All online slot games have to have an RNG to pass Technical Systems Testing. If they don’t, they will not be allowed into the public domain.

Secret Code

All contemporary online slots are highly sophisticated pieces of software, built by supremely talented web developers that code the titles so that multiple things can happen simultaneously. Remember, it’s not just about the reels spinning and stopping at an appropriate moment. The software needs to trigger audios and visuals at the right time – there’s nothing quite like the ka-ching! sound of a winning spin – and for progressive slots there’s also the need to monitor how much you're staking to then decide how much is added to the prize pool.

The code allows for the main game to unfold as well as any side rounds, such as the ‘pick ‘em’ features or wheel of fortune style bonuses that some titles offer. Basically, the behind the scenes mechanisms of any online slot are the most technical and vastly important to ensure fairness and quality is upheld.

Vectors and Arrays

As we know, all online slot games have a set number of symbols. These usually include the main game symbols, comprising the classic playing cards or even pieces of fruit, some character symbols linked to the theme of the game, and then wilds, scatters and bonus symbols depending on the nature of the title.

In a physical slot machine, we know that the symbols are printed on card or paper which is then fed onto the reels. But how do online games work? Technically, these titles have vectors and arrays, rather than reels. The arrays feature lines of code that replicate the symbols, so rather than having, say, 10 possible outcomes on a reel online slots can have hundreds, because these arrays don’t have physical limitations placed upon them.

RTP Controls

The RTP of an online slot, the ‘Return to Player’ rate, determines how much the average player can expect to win in a session. So, with an RTP of 97%, an online slot played an infinite amount of times would pay out £97 for every £100 wagered. Of course, the beauty is in those gaming sessions where we outperform the RTP and bank ourselves a tidy profit.

The individual RTP of an online slot is controlled by the game’s software, so it will never deviate from its specified Return to Player rate unless a developer tells it to. By using an RNG and incorporating a specific number of symbols to produce guaranteed odds, players have the peace of mind in knowing that an RTP as advertised is accurate and reflective of your chances of winning.