Online casinos bring the fun of gambling right into your home. Gambling with bitcoin can make the process even easier. While online casinos offer payout percentages as high as 99%, how do you know that they are living up to their word? Is there any way of knowing if a game is working the way that it should? It would seem quite easy for an online casino to claim that it operates under certain rules and then program the software to tilt the odds unfairly in their favor. After all, the user is blind to all the software dynamics involved that generate the outcome of an online bet. Provably fair gambling helps bring transparency to these dynamics, ensuring that a game is operating faithfully as advertised.

What You Will Learn

  • What provably fair gambling is
  • How provably fair gambling works
  • How to verify provably fair bets

So what is Provably Fair?

‘Provably fair’ is a very simple concept that is accomplished by a more complicated mathematical process.

Simple explanation:

Provably fair allows users to independently verify the results of a bet to prove that it was fair.

Less simple explanation:

It’s important to have at least a basic conceptual understanding of how provably fair systems work. Without getting too technical, we’ll explain the logic behind the idea and how casino software generates odds that are “provably fair.” Basically, the idea is to be able to prove that a game isn’t cheating its players by basing the outcome of the game on a series of equations, known as algorithms.

Though the idea was around before the arrival of bitcoin, the digital nature of cryptocurrency lends itself to the mathematics required to produce provably fair results. Because bitcoin itself uses cryptographic hash functions to secure transactions, it is possible to represent the predetermined outcomes of bitcoin-based games in hashes, or strings of characters that represent sums of data.

For example, think of your fingerprint as a hash of you. Your fingerprint is a representation of you in that it can be traced to your identity, but only if whoever has your fingerprint also has access to a fingerprint database. In a provably fair casino game, all possible results for a game are data represented by a hash. Although the hash can be known by the player, the inputs required to generate the hash cannot until after the game is played. Cryptographic hash functions work one-way only, meaning only after a game has been played can the fairness of the game be verified.

If it all sounds a bit complicated, that’s because it is. Don’t worry, there are websites available to help you confirm that a casino’s provably fair system is working. The main point is that while provably fair systems guarantee an inherent fairness in a casino game, if you can’t verify the system yourself then you are again just relying on the word of the operator that they are using the methods advertised.

Finding Provably Fair Casino Games

Most casinos that use provably fair systems advertise it, because it’s a good way of attracting customers that are looking for a trustworthy operation. There are plenty of ways to identify these sites. Many are collected in list sites while others are analyzed and reviewed by BTC news outlets. In the world of bitcoin casinos, reputation is everything. The most trusted casinos are the ones that publish the code behind their provably fair systems, as this allows anybody with a programming background to verify the system used by the casino is legitimate. This type of public inspection is great for a user when selecting an online casino.

The first major bitcoin gaming site to incorporate “provably fair” systems was SatoshiDice (now known as MegaDice). The original game was as simple as sending bitcoin to a static address that represented given odds and payouts. If the system determined that the player won, the winnings would be sent back to the player’s BTC address. The service uses a combination of a random number generator and a transaction hash to produce the results. Since the game’s launch in 2012, millions of people have placed bets through Satoshi Dice. The revolutionary nature of its open-source software and ease of use made it the most trafficked and well-known bitcoin gambling game to date.

If you’re looking for something a bit more complicated than dice, there are provably fair versions currently available for the following online casino games:

Verifying Provably Fair Results

Luckily you don’t have to be a sophisticated programmer to calculate the hash functions necessary to prove your bet is provably fair. There are several independent websites that act as “provably fair watchdogs,” allowing users to enter their own game results into labeled forms that will perform the calculations for you. Sites like BitcoinCasinoPro and Dicesites let you copy and paste information from your games in various online casinos to their site to verify that casinos are operating as advertised. If you’re interested in learning more and perhaps want to perform verifications on your own, there are several tutorials on how to do so online.

Bitcoin casinos can now offer payouts even higher than those found in traditional casinos, like those in Las Vegas, thanks to the heavy automation of gaming systems that takes the need for human handling out of the equation. Remember that in addition to online reputation, being able to verify the results of provably fair games for yourself is a good sign that a casino is above-board and not trying to cheat its users.

Wrapping It Up

In conclusion, provably fair games are a great way to make sure you aren’t being cheated when you gamble your BTC online. Since its possible for any bitcoin casino operator to claim anything and probably get away with it, provably fair systems are a good way to keep casinos honest. Like with anything involving bitcoin or money in general, do research on a casino first before depositing your BTC there. Shop around for good odds, and most importantly, make sure there are ways to verify provably fair odds before believing a casino’s claims.