When the possible cause of a fire is arson, investigators look for the unusual presence of an ‘accelerant’, such as gasoline, as the root cause. When considering the trend of business ‘disruption’, there can be little doubt that the Covid-19 pandemic has proved to be the biggest ‘accelerant’ of recent times. And arguably, there is no industry in which this has been more evident than gambling.
Across the globe, the rate of growth of iGaming and mobile betting was already phenomenal. As was the rise of cryptocurrencies as a means of payment and reward. In terms of overall volumes, the balance of power has long been shifting away from bricks-and-mortar activity and towards first the personal computer and then the mobile device as the preferred means of both operation and participation.
Until the arrival of Covid, this was a broadly linear trend… and then came the ‘accelerant’. Confining the population to their homes for months on end poured gasoline onto the gambling fire, and the entire industry was disrupted in a way that was totally unprecedented.
A new breed of online operator
One of the most rapid areas of acceleration has been the proliferation of crypto casinos, and it is an area that has taken many ‘traditional’ operators (and players) by surprise. The combined notions of a new breed of operator and new types of money is, to so many, something that sets heads spinning faster than the reels themselves. And alongside this is another concept that is unfamiliar to many – ‘Provable Fairness’.
For those who are new to crypto casinos, ‘Provable Fairness’ or ‘Provably Fair Games’ may be something you have heard about, without fully understanding. But it is a real thing, a genuine technology, and it looks very much like it is another game-changer that is here to stay. In the simplest terms, ‘Provable Fairness’ is an algorithm that checks and verifies an online casino’s fairness towards its players. As such, through transparency and accountability, it delivers to players that most precious of commodities, trust.
None of us is naïve enough to honestly believe that the gambling industry, including the iGaming sector, does not include some unscrupulous operators. For new entrants to the market, establishing trust with players has always been a priority. In iGaming, where there is no physical location to enhance credibility, this confidence is even more difficult to establish. Operators, especially those dealing in new and disruptive currencies such as Bitcoin, the need to implement a new level of technology in order to ensure fairness, protection, security and trust for players was soon elevated from ‘desirable’ to ‘essential’.
What is it and how does it work?
Provably Fair achieves these objectives through the use of three technological variables – a Server Seed, a Client Seed and what is called a Cryptographic Nonce. Don’t be turned off by the terminology, these variables are easily explained.
The iGaming site first creates a unique Server Seed (number) for the player, and this is hashed and sent to the player before he/she starts to play. This Server Seed cannot be changed and is encrypted to avoid any prediction of future outcomes. The player’s browser then produces an entirely random Client Seed. This is like a Password, and players can choose to change their Client Seed prior to proceeding to preserve secrecy. Finally, the Cryptographic Nonce is a number that will grow based on the stakes placed by the player. This will usually begin at zero or one. At the end of each session of play, the player receives an encrypted Client Seed, enabling them to check the fairness of the game using a Verifier.
As is the case in so many disciplines, this sounds far more complicated at first than it is in reality. For players, it is like learning to ride a bicycle… awkward at first but once up and running, it becomes second nature.
The benefits are clear to see
Online gaming sites that are using this technology are rapidly finding themselves to be a step ahead of the competition, as the benefits set them so clearly apart: transparency, removal of third-party involvement and greater RTP.
Through the use of blockchain, Provably Fair technology provides a transparent record of all player transactions, making them visible to the player at all times and also allowing the player to review results of previous games in order to guarantee fairness and build trust. The ‘self-executing’ codes within blockchain also make them inaccessible to the operators.
Currently, the majority of the more traditional online casinos subcontract their financial auditing to third-party providers and testing laboratories. This requirement is made totally redundant with Provably Fair technology, this is not necessary. Players become their own auditors, of their own money, further enhancing the establishment of transparency and trust in the site they have chosen.
Finally, the cherry on the top of the cake for every online player is RTP (Return to Player). RTP uses data from previous play in a given game to calculate the player’s chances of winning in future games. Provably Fair crypto casinos are being shown to offer players higher payout percentages, with RTPs of 99% and even 99.5% being demonstrated.
Technology that breeds trust
In an ever-changing online gaming space, where the growth ‘accelerant’ has been well and truly poured onto the fire, ‘Provably Fair’ gambling technology appears to a potentially huge winner. Few can sensibly object to a system that enables the player to enjoy – and trust – secure and transparent transactions, free from the involvement of any third-party participation. And when the idea of ‘fair play’ is provably so, legitimate operators can enjoy full accountability and credibility, free from any accusations of questionable practices.