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Click to play over 30 Slot Games!People ask me all the time about the difference between online casino slots and the mechanical beast they are used to playing at the land based casino. They are often surprised when I tell them they are more related than unrelated. The truth of the matter though, is that the mechanical slots at the casinos these days can't really be called mechanical anymore. In the mid seventies, as the digital revolution was getting its feet planed firmly on the ground, casinos started to move to a combination of digital circuits and video displays. A modern casino slot machine, while it still may have a mechanical set of reels, is just about as digital as online casino slots.

When you pull the one armed bandit, in that microsecond a digital circuit known as the random number generator is called upon to produce some, well, random numbers. These numbers are big long strings of digits stemming from the software that is hard-coded into the circuits of the slot machine. At this point, according to the payout percentage of the machine, each random number is pushed through a set of mappings so that they all work out to a specific symbol position for a specific reel. The likelihood of a combination of symbols being hit is determined at this point, as each possible position is weighted in accordance with the payback percentage. To maintain a 96% payback percentage for example, the machine places the winning combinations at a lower weight than the losing combos. This way winning combinations get mapped less of the time, and as a result the payback percentage is kept in check.

Online casino slots work on the same principle. Depending on the game type, the random number generator may be contained within the code of the software slot game itself, or may be part of a server application residing on a remote computer. For real online casino slots, where you play for real money, the random number generation invariable resides on the server side, not on your local computer. The software that you download to play real online slots contains only the graphical front end, and the means to communicate your spin to the server. Once it has sent your spin off, the server machine acts like the insides of a casino slot machine, and maps out a combination of reel positions. The server sends these reel positions back to the client (your home computer), and the client displays the result. So online casino slots are the same as regular casino slots, but have half of their programming physically located in the casino's servers. For this reason it is argued that the 'bet' takes place in the server computer at the online casino, as opposed to on your home computer. This is a fundamental argument for the online casino industry in their fight against lawmakers who oppose their services.

Most people usually have the same reaction to the 'distributed' explanation of online casino slots that I just gave: does this mean that the games can be cheated? Since there is data flowing back and forth between the client and server, and since a good hacker can get into that data flow, it's natural to assume somebody could input some false data and change the outcome of the game. The natural impedance to this is something called encryption. When the data is sent out of the client, it is in an encrypted form, meaning it cannot be decoded or understood without a corresponding encryption key. Since the client software knows it only wants to communicate with a specific server, it's data is encrypted in a way that only the server machine may read it. The same is true in the opposite direction when data flows from the server to the client. The most common way you are likely to hear about encryption as it relates to the online casino industry is casinos themselves advertising the fact that they use '128 bit encryption'. This 128 bit description is a measure of the relative strength of the encryption. All encryption can be broken by an outside third party piece of software, but the stronger the encryption is, the longer it would take to break. A piece of data encrypted with 128 bit security would literally take years and years to crack, making it effectively impossible to do it before the data is sent and received by the computers involved. In order to cheat the game you would need to be able to decrypt the data and re-encrypt it so fast you fool the computers, in other words, it would need to take place in near real-time. Online casino slots which are part of an online casino that uses this type of technology are as un-cheatable as the console machines you find in Vegas. While this may be bad news to some of you, it also means there is little chance anyone will steal your jackpot on you, so honest players remain safe.

So the players wont be cheating you, what about the online casino operators? This is more of a touchy issue, but one you can be pretty sure about if you look at the right variables. The best indicator of an online casinos legitimacy is it's regulating agency. In Las Vegas there is the Nevada gaming council, but online the casino is subject to the regulating agencies of the country or soil on which the servers reside. Before you gamble at any online casino it's easy to find out who the regulating commission is, just give the casino a call if it's not listed on their web page. If the casino doesn't have a phone number, then you might want to reconsider your choice of casinos. Do a couple of searches on the internet once you've determined the regulating agency for the online casino you wish to try, and see if anybody else in the world has had a problem with them.

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