“Provably Fair in online gambling describes an algorithm which can be analyzed and verified for fairness on the part of the service operator.” – Provably fair Wikipedia
Online casinos have bred exponentially since the first of their kind came on the scene in 1994. Much credits to the comfort of playing from home, the lure n charm of winning real money, and privacy, online casinos continue to evolve. Though, there have been pressing problems regarding perceived fairness and randomness in online gambling. Blockchain technology facilitates an antidote in provably fair gaming, taking trust out of the picture almost entirely.
Conventional Models of Online Casinos
The element of mistrust of online gaming sites among the players has been reasonably high in the past. The player and house relationship are often cocooned in slick tales and murky uncertainty in the conventional model of online gaming. As per a survey published in 2013, 91.5 percent of the interviewed gamblers raised a need for a third-party report or tool to guarantee fairness in the game. Technologies like open-source, hashing, blockchain are now safeguarding the trust.
Provably Fair gaming is a concept related to cryptocurrency betting. This concept is a complete deviation from legacy online gaming that solely relies on the reputation of online gaming sites. Online gaming provability is living with the gradual adoption of smart technologies in gambling.
What is Provably Fair?
Betting activity is believed to be provably fair when there are adequate means in place that enables both the player and operator (dealer) to validate the fairness of a gaming process. The concept of Provably fair is uniquely tied to the emergence of crypto casinos that use cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin SV running on a cryptographic algorithm. Thereby, with the use of hash functions, external interference became incredibly difficult.
Before the rise of technologies like blockchain and hash functions, players simply trusted the system (online casino), on that they were producing results without modifying them according to the player’s bet, or some other immoral or unethical motives.
The casino would have an exponential advantage over the players with the knowledge of how players play and consciously releasing modified results. However, the implementation of distributed ledger technology allows all the data regarding every bet and result to be cataloged on a public ledger, thus allowing the algorithms to be available for validation by anyone.
Rather than banking on an online casino’s outspoken claim of third party-verified gaming, players can now verify this fairness by using randomly produced seeds and hashes. Although the technology assures a certain level of trust, it is still important to note that the phrase provably fair does not inevitably imply a trustless system (some gaming websites can still manipulate results in modest ways if users are not careful).
How does provably fair gaming work?
We talked about provability relying on bitcoin gambling, which is powered by the hashing function. The core of hashing technology is Blockchain technology.
So how is it useful in proving the fairness of the game? Basing the result of a transaction (each game) on the hashed function and outcome allows the players to recall and check the transaction conducted over Blockchain with the trust that no known technology can modify or change the outcome.
Let us assume John wants to play dice games on an online casino. He would search the web and look for a provably fair site before placing his bet. The server of the online casino provides him with a hash of the pre-established server-side result of the dice roll. This hash provided by the site’s server is server seed. And a random seed provided by his client machine is called client seed which transforms the pre-established hash to something neither John nor the website can predict. When all these validations are done, the dice are rolled.
Once John finishes his gaming session, he can verify hashes offered by the online casino’s website against the client seeds he provided by using an unhashed server seed. He can verify that the outcomes of his dice rolls are in accordance with the website’s server seed and his random client seed via a pre-established algorithm.
In simpler terms, here is what happens:
- The website of a Crypto casino’s operator creates a server seed for a bet over the encrypted Blockchain technologies.
- The seed number from the server side is hashed.
- While placing his/her bet, the player adds a client seed.
- At the end of the game, the player receives the get generated for the session.
- And, if the generated seed matches the initial seed, the bet placed by the player is verified, which means there was no external intrusion.
A word of caution
As suggested earlier, not all crypto casinos stating to be provably fair actually are, so it is essential to exercise caution. The majority of the online casino users are just gaming enthusiasts and not programmers who do not have a deep understanding of the system, which means they likely lack the ability to verify the authenticity of a gaming site. Reputable online casinos facilitate links to open source tools, and these tools can be used to check seeds and verify outcomes. These verification tools can be found on the sites themselves, and work by utilizing the gamers’ browser.
For example, for an online lottery, the lottery site operator can facilitate a tool over which they have no control. And, anyone can use it to verify the winning lottery combination by inputting a publicly available hash function.
The powerplay of Blockchain technology and smart contracts in online casinos has incredibly reinforced the trust and confidence of the players to use such platforms. It has wiped out the bosky of conventional online gaming while amplifying transparency.
With the evolution of online gaming and more use of cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin SV, permission-less systems are developing at a rapid pace, and the online gamers conceptualize this trend as fairness. Whereas the trust-based norms of conventional gaming sites have held sway for most of history, it now emerges that the best way to shape trust is by removing it completely.