Provably Fair: An Innovation That Makes Online Gambling ‘On the Level’
Even novice gamblers are familiar with the phrase “the house always wins.” But how can you be sure that the house is winning fairly? The number of online gaming platforms vying for your stake has surged in recent years, and while the workings of many portals is shrouded in secrecy, some casinos have committed to transparency by adopting the blockchain-based Provably Fair system.
Created to give players peace of mind, Provably Fair is an advanced algorithm that eliminates any possibility of underhand practices on the part of the gaming operator. To be clear, a house edge is maintained – Provably Fair isn’t about leveling the playing field so much as ensuring that the player knows their chances of winning are realistic. So how did the system come about, and could it usher in a new era of gaming defined by openness and accountability?
How Provably Fair Came Into Being
Provably Fair has taken off in recent years, with crypto gambling platforms starting to appreciate just how much of a selling point it is when enticing new players. But it’s not exactly new. In 2012, the bitZino platform introduced an early iteration of Provably Fair, a piece of cryptography that enabled players to independently verify the authenticity of a card shuffle.
Back then, bitZino combined the cryptographic hash function SHA256, designed by the NSA and later used in different parts of the Bitcoin network, with the Fisher-Yates shuffle and Mersenne twister algorithms to guarantee that neither the house nor the player could ascertain the final deck before the game commenced. And in the years since, the concept of Provably Fair has expanded.
The Value of Randomness
In essence, Provably Fair introduces verifiable randomness to a host of applications – from the spin of a roulette wheel to the shuffle of a deck or the tossing of a coin. Unlike the legacy black-box algorithms that online casinos have long kept under lock and key (and that we must therefore blindly trust are fair), Provably Fair generates an encrypted key containing the end results of a game, known as an (unhashed) server seed, which is given to the player alongside a key (hashed server seed) that enables them to verify the fairness of the game upon its conclusion. Since the seeds are dispensed before the game, they cannot be manipulated while you are in play.
Helpfully, the majority of sites implementing Provably Fair provide a verifier, meaning the player can quickly and easily substantiate the randomness of the result. Just as Bitcoin cuts out the banking middlemen, Provably Fair dispenses with the third-party companies tasked with scrutinizing casinos for legitimacy.
: the popularization of crypto gambling sites and sportsbooks has undoubtedly contributed to the development and implementation of Provably Fair gaming, perhaps due to the ideals held dear by many advocates of cryptocurrency: fairness, privacy, liberty, security and financial freedom. ; needless to say, the same people are unlikely to trust casinos or the authorities who govern them.
The Expectations of Modern Gamers
Modern gamers, it seems, crave more than a quality gaming experience. They want to be able to wager in their preferred currency, they want to withdraw winnings with minimal fuss (or cost), they want a measure of interaction to simulate the experience of gambling in person, and they clearly want the casinos to be completely transparent about how games are run.
Thanks to blockchain technology, the house cannot profit from its knowledge about how players bet – Provably Fair, by its very nature, would expose such unscrupulousness. The system lets gamblers get under the hood of the system used to determine whether they win or lose, but just as the house cannot gain an advantage from knowing how players bet, the player themselves cannot reverse-engineer the algorithm to gain a better chance of victory.
If Lady Luck tempts you through the virtual doors of an online gambling mecca, it makes sense to verify that Provably Fair is in place. That way, your experience will be fair as well as fun. Last but not least, remember the words of King Leonidas: Give them nothing – but take from them everything.