When you think about getting involved in the games industry, you probably want to be creating a new game engine to replace Unity in the years to come or at least creating code for the next hit AAA game. However, there’s another game industry that may not involve as much artistic creativity but has a high earning potential — for the business owners and for the programmers making it work. This $119 billion industry is gambling.
Are you interested in how slot machines are built and how the best online Playtech casinos operate? Hop on this 7-minute read to find out.
The fall of Flash
One of the biggest events for the online gambling industry in 2020 was Adobe’s announcement for discontinuing Adobe Flash. This wasn’t just the end of the era of universally adored Flash games. It seriously damaged the gambling industry as many of the companies that pioneered online gambling were relying on Adobe Flash to stream their games in casinos.
With this iconic technology gone, the developers that were running on HTML5 are churning in the profits, and the ones that used Flash like Aristocrat were left struggling to adjust.
That said, most online casinos these days primarily use HTML5 to stream games that are essentially web apps. Most developers host the games on their own servers and sell the casinos the right to stream them, not a hard copy of the game to run themselves. This nullifies the chances of fraud from online casinos.
A small part of online casinos offers downloadable applications for both desktop and mobile platforms, but these are becoming increasingly rare. The reason being, mobile users are the top demographic for online gambling, and most smartphones these days can perfectly handling playing a game in the browser.
What programming languages do online casinos use?
C++ and C# are also used but to a lesser extent. It’s the downloadable applications for desktop computers that are written in these languages. Even in those, programmers sometimes use Java.
What about regular slot machines
Online slots run on your typical servers. What about slot machines that you may see at any casino on the Las Vegas Strip? Gone are the days when the internal workings of these machines were mechanical like in this specimen.
Video slots of today only look bulky. Inside, they are more akin to arcade game machines: several parts and the main PC connected to a screen. Compare this dusty old arcade game cabinet:
To a modern slot machine:
Most use a typical PC set-up to run along with more industry-specific components like coin acceptors. The only unusual thing in these set-ups is that the random numbers needed for the slot to function properly are generated by special hardware, not by executing code alone.
The absolute majority of slots these days are connected to a screen that shows the game being played. This is especially necessary for game cabinets hosting multiple games, sometimes up to a hundred. Some slot machine manufacturers, however, want to emulate the “original” experience and use electronically operated reels like these.
They don’t write the code for these machines on COBOL either. Most use C++ or Java to run. Some machines even use Linux as the operating system, so it’s nothing fancy, really.
The random number generation in these machines doesn’t involve rocket science either. Famously, one Russian hacker figured out that Aristocrat, an old and well-respected player on the market, was using a PRNG algorithm that was around for over 36 years. It involved some mathematical constants as well as number 69069 (you get the joke) to generate pseudo-random numbers.
Bitcoin and blockchain
Bitcoin is already changing the way people gamble online by providing them with an anonymous and convenient payment method. However, it’s BTC’s founding principle, blockchain, that has the potential to start another era in online gambling.
The reason being, when you’re playing a game on a website, you have no way of knowing that the game isn’t rigged. Sure, you do have some indirect factors like the casino having being certified by third-party audits or the game itself being hosted on the developer’s server. But for many gamblers, it’s not enough.
With the rise of blockchain casinos, the fairness of casinos will be out of the question. A casino that runs on this system will record every transaction in a publicly accessible way and will be caught if cheating.