We all want to play at fair, trustworthy online gambling sites. As you’ll know if you’re a regular reader here, this is our number-one factor in ranking the casinos, sportsbooks, and poker sites we review.
The Bitcoin gambling community has come up with its own way of proving that games are fair. As you might expect, with this being specific to Bitcoin, it doesn’t require you to trust a third party, it makes games totally transparent, and it makes use of advanced cryptography to ensure game outcomes haven’t been tampered with. Using the provably fair method, you can verify the results for yourself in real time.
But what exactly is provably fair gambling? How does it work? Why does it make Bitcoin gambling so transparent? We’re going to explore all of that here.
As you’ll see, the ramifications of provably fair gambling are revolutionary.
What Is Provably Fair Gambling?
Provably fair gambling is a process whereby a player can verify that the outcomes of games have been fair in real time. It makes use of three pieces of technology:
- Random Number Generators
- Seed Generators
If that made your head spin, don’t worry. We’re going to show you what each of these three things means.
Random number generators generate millions (sometimes billions) of numbers per second and determine game outcomes.
Seed generators create the numbers which are fed into algorithms, which in turn determine outcomes. In provably fair systems, players get to add a seed number, ensuring the casino isn’t in control of the outcome.
Hashing is the transformation of a longer string of data into a shorter string. In the context of provably fair gambling, when a seed number is hashed, it is encrypted. For all practical purposes, the cryptographic hashes used at Bitcoin gambling sites are considered unbreakable. This means you can be sure they haven’t been tampered with.
How Provably Fair Gambling Works
With the above concepts in mind, we can now go on to describe step by step how provably fair gambling systems work.
- The gambling site creates a seed number which is then hashed and sent to the player
- The player adds his or her own seed
- The bet plays out, and the outcome is decided
- When the bet has played out, the player receives the seed used in the bet
- The player can the verify the bet. If any interference has occurred, the hash function would not be verified, and the player would know
If that’s still too technical to fully wrap your head around, the next example should help.
An Example Using Digital Blackjack
Let’s apply the above sequence of events to a game of digital blackjack to see how it would function in a real online casino card game.
- The casino would shuffle the deck. It would provide the player with a hash of the shuffle outcome
- The player would then provide a seed (either randomly generated or generated by the player manually) which changes one of the cards or some other factor of the game which neither party is aware of
- The card is dealt, and you either win or lose
- The deck is laid out both as it was originally and as it was after the player provided his or her seed
- You can, therefore, verify that the hand was fair on the spot. Remember, there’s no way for the casino to realistically break hashes and/or influence the seed you provide to change a factor in the game
The Problems Provably Fair Gambling Solves and Doesn’t Solve
Much like Bitcoin itself, provably fair solutions work on the problem of trust. You no longer need a middleman or third party to verify that a casino’s algorithm is fair. Since you have intervened in the process of a game outcome by providing a seed which changes something, the casino is no longer fully in control.
However, while provably fair gambling allows you to verify that game outcomes are truly random and haven’t been interfered with, there are several problems it does not solve.
This is another way a casino can put the screws to you. You can win fair and square, yet the casino can make it difficult to withdraw and/or can apply excessive withdrawal fees.
The only way to find out if a casino plays fair when it comes to withdrawals is to either visit the site and read through the terms and conditions or check out our trusted Bitcoin gambling site reviews. Withdrawal fees are covered, where they apply.
Provably fair gambling ensures that the outcome of a game is random in that the algorithm isn’t fixed or interfered with. However, it can do nothing about the underlying mathematics of a given game.
One of the keys to winning more often is to understand the house edge of each game. If you choose a game like keno, which has terrible odds, you can still expect to lose most of the time. If you choose a game like blackjack, which has a house edge of as little as 0.5% in some cases, you stand a much better chance.
Remember – provably fair gambling cannot change the math of casino games. It can’t improve your odds of winning. It can only ensure you don’t get cheated.
If someone hacks the casino and steals your details, provably fair gambling can’t do a thing about it. You would think that casinos with this level of experience in cryptography would be immune to this type of breach, but that’s not always the case.
It’s still important to pick a safe, secure Bitcoin gambling site. Again, our reviews can help you do that.
Picking a Provably Fair Gambling Site
There are lots of provably fair sites out there. So, which one should you pick? We’ve written in-depth “how to pick a casino” guides elsewhere on this site, but there are some things which are unique and specific to provably fair sites which we’ll cover here. Of course, the “common sense” things which apply when selecting any gambling sites apply here, too.
Remember, just because a site claims to be “provably fair” doesn’t mean it is. You’ll still want to get the opinion of experts before signing up.
Check That It Accepts Your Preferred Cryptocurrencies
This is a no-brainer, but since nowadays everybody has their “preferred” cryptocurrency, it’s worth taking some time to find out which cryptos the site you’re considering offers.
For example, there are provably fair sites which only accept Bitcoin, whereas there are others which accept Litecoin, Ethereum, and some other cryptos.
Check That It’s Secure and 100% Safe
Sloppy security will be punished at any casino, but it will be discovered and exploited in no time at all when it comes to the Bitcoin community. In case you hadn’t noticed, some of the people who are involved in this space have some seriously advanced computer skills, and some of them have bad intentions.
There are sites which offer high-level security solutions to give you peace of mind. For example, some offer multi-signature cold storage. This means your crypto is stored on a hardware wallet, offline, and approval from multiple keyholders is required to access funds.
That’s the sort of security we like to see when it comes to provably fair casino sites.
Check That It Offers the Services You Want
There are some sites which are provably fair casinos, some which offer provably fair sports betting, some which are lotto-based sites, and others which offer a mix of gambling services.
Which site is right for you really depends on what you’re looking for as a player. We can’t tell exactly what you want, but we can tell you exactly what each site offers. We do so in our reviews.
Check That It’s Truly Transparent
Transparency is a trait we like in all gambling sites, and especially when it comes to provably fair ones.
We’ve seen sites which list every bet placed in real time, time-stamped, with usernames (if the user has chosen to share this), bets odds, bet amounts, and profits all updating on the blockchain as games and sporting events unfold.
We’ve also discovered sites which publish their game source codes for the Bitcoin community to inspect and check out. While everyday players won’t necessarily understand this code, it does go a long way to proving that these sites are open, honest, and fair. You can be sure someone, somewhere, would spot anything suspicious in the code and expose it.
Check the Other Unique Features It Offers
Provably fair gambling sites often offer unique features which regular casinos don’t. These tend to cater to the specific needs of crypto-players.
For example, some sites offer enhanced privacy features such as coin selection algorithms. This adds an extra element of privacy to your gambling activities.
We’ve even come across sites which allow you to “be the bankroll” and increase your Bitcoin slowly but surely. Some of them even publish the overall house edge, allowing you to invest your Bitcoin for steady returns.
Other cool features we’ve encountered while reviewing provably fair sites include automated betting, the ability to program “hotkeys” to perform casino functions automatically (such as hitting or standing in blackjack), and social functions like the ability to chat with other players, betting leaderboards, and forums to explain the ins and outs of how a site works.
All of these “small things” can make a big difference in your overall betting experience. Take the time to discover what each site offers before picking one.
Check If Bonuses and Promotions Are Offered
Not every provably fair gambling site offers bonuses and promotions. Some of them do, though.
You’ll find cashback bonuses, daily rewards, loyalty bonuses, and all sorts of bonuses at the best provably fair betting sites.
However, not every site offers bonuses. You’ll have to dig around and find the sites which offer precisely what you want. Remember to always check the terms and conditions if bonuses are offered.