How You Know That Ontario Online Casino Games Aren’t Rigged

Written By Katarina Vojvodic on April 5, 2022 - Last Updated on May 8, 2024
Ontario Online Casino Games

Whether playing casino games online or at a brick-and-mortar, the house always ultimately comes out a bit ahead of the players. When you think about it, they kind of have to. If casinos lost more than they won, there wouldn’t be any casinos left at all.

In return, players get an excellent form of entertainment with higher stakes than your usual game night. Plus, they have the chance to hit it big with a huge jackpot, of course.

With that in mind, with the new regulated market launch in the nation’s largest province, it’s perfectly legitimate to ask the question: are Ontario online casino games rigged?

The simple answer is no. But the odds will, generally speaking, always be in favour of the house.

The more complicated explanation? Well, we get into that below.

While games like video poker or blackjack have a lot to do with skill, the outcome is more often about the luck of the draw.

How are Ontario online casino games vetted?

The Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario has approved a handful of independent testing labs to ensure games are fair. We’ll explain those later.

But when it comes to vetting casino games there are two phrases to remember: random number generator (RNG) and return to player (RTP).

An RNG ensures games outcomes are random. An RTP rate, on the other hand, ensures a percentage of the money spent gets returned to the player.

Follow along for more detail.

What the heck’s a random number generator?

When it comes to online casino games, their randomness is checked by their random number generator.

RNG is an algorithm that generates outcomes that cannot be predicted. Once a player hits the “spin” button, RNG delivers a random sequence of symbols.

In other words, a random number generator is used in software-based gambling to guarantee fair play. RNG software determines every spin, card dealt, or roll of the dice. This technology uses different methods to generate consistently random results.

All reputable casinos, including those regulated in Ontario, are required to have independent auditors test their technology. Casinos must ensure data is consistently analyzed, so players can be sure every wager is unbiased and fair.

Return to player rate ensures the players win sometimes too

Another indicator that ensures a game’s fairness is the return to player (RTP) rate.

RTP is the expected winnings a casino game will payout over its lifetime.

The RTP percentage tells you how much the casino makes from the game in question and the house edge (amount of spend retained) of each game.

It’s not an amount of money that you will win; it’s just information on how much a particular game or machine pays out over a considerable number of spins.

The RTP rate for online slots can usually be found by reading up on the Rules or Help sections of your particular game.

For instance, at BetMGM Casino in Ontario, one of the signature slots there, MGM Grand Millions, lists a theoretical RTP of 92.01% (excluding jackpot) and 93.87% RTP (including jackpot).

What does house edge mean?

To understand casino games better, it’s worth learning about the house edge.

Expressed as a percentage, house edge shows how much each game pays out (on average) over its lifespan. It is a mathematical (statistical) way to measure the casino’s advantage.

House edge tells how much of player’s wagered money the casino stands to keep with every bet. For example, if a game has a house edge of 2%, it means for every $100 placed on a bet, the casino gets $2.

And, if a player knows the house edge is 2%, it means the casino expects to make around a 2% profit on bets made on that particular game, in the long run. The rest, 98%, is expected to be returned to players.

House edge can also inform which games offer players the best returns on bets.

Which online casino games have the biggest house edge?

Let’s look at the most popular casino games and the odds that come with each game:

  • Blackjack – between 2% and 0.28% (depending on player’s experience), but 0.5% is considered common
  • Baccarat – 1.06% (player’s bet), 1.24% (banker’s bet), 14.3% (tie bet)
  • Craps – between 0 and 13.89% (bet dependent)
  • Keno – between 20% and 30% (based on game variant)
  • Sic Bo – between 2.78% and 33.33% (bet dependent)
  • Slot machines – usually between 5% and 10% (but can go up to 15%)
  • Roulette – European: 2.7%, American: 5.26%
  • Video poker – based on variant

These figures assume optimal player strategy. Rules usually vary from casino to casino and can depend on the player’s type of bet and the betting options. But, in general, the games with the lowest house edges – like slots – are the ones casinos make most of their money.

Although slot machines give the casino a mathematical advantage, that doesn’t mean you can’t win and win big. As long as you choose a reputable casino, you have a fair shot at a jackpot.

To increase your chances of winning, choose the slots with the highest RTP (over 97%) and activate all pay lines. But only risk money you can afford to lose.

Look for licensed and regulated operators

Another way to ensure a fair shake: stick to playing on or at regulated, legal casinos.

All casinos and sportsbooks operating in Ontario must be registered with the AGCO. Moreover, in order to legally operate in the province, online casinos must have a commercial agreement with the AGCO’s subsidiary, iGaming Ontario. Look for the iGO logo at any online casino you’re thinking of playing.

If a casino isn’t licensed and regulated by AGCO, that’s a big red flag and you should choose another option. You can even check out our online casino list to find the right gaming destination for you.

Testing labs appointed by AGCO

While RNG and RTP ensure the outcome of gameplay is fair, casino games must still be tested by third parties to ensure that fairness. Every region has a gambling commission or regulator that ensures its online casinos are licensed and fair.

AGCO officially named GLI an igaming independent testing laboratory (ITL) in August 2021.

Other ITLs registered with AGCO are:

  • BMM North America
  • eCOGRA
  • Gaming Associates Europe
  • SIQ
  • iTech Labs
  • Quinel Ltd
  • Eclipse Compliance Testing

ITLs test systems against global standards for gaming systems. Besides commonly performing operators’ audits, ITLs may also support jurisdictional regulators and software suppliers.

As part of the auditing and accreditation process, ITL performs testing across a wide range of features. Everything from bonuses to table games, video slots, online games, progressive slots, social games, RNGs, device compatibility and more are tested to ensure fair play for all.

To be sure whether an online casino of your choice is ITL certified, look for the test company’s seal on the casino homepage. And, as long as you stick to trustworthy sites with the iGO seal, you won’t have to deal with unfair games or other potential issues.

Katarina Vojvodic Avatar
Written by
Katarina Vojvodic

Katarina is a Toronto-based online gambling writer who holds a master's degree in journalism. Before joining PlayCanada, she was part of the AskGamblers crew where she reported about the world of online casinos and interviewed numerous iGaming experts. Being in the industry for 5 years, she became an expert in online slots.

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