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LCB Discusses Provably Fair with SoftSwiss
LCB Discusses Provably Fair with SoftSwiss

The topic of “Provably Fair” has been on our minds lately. We’ve previously chatted with SoftSwiss but we wanted to reach out to them again for a closer look at their PF technology. They gave some really great insight and we asked the questions we know you want answered. How can players be sure the results are not “rigged”? Are odds involved? What about RNG? Read on to learn more about Bgaming, how their system works, what’s in the pipeline for SoftSwiss and more.

Q: During our 2016 interview we lightly touched on SoftSwiss’s Provably Fair technology. This time we’d like to delve a bit deeper as more players are curious about how it works.

A: Absolutely, we would love to dig deeper here. It is always a pleasure to talk about something we really consider to be the fundamental challenge - for players to trust games they love and choose to play. In this regard, we gave it our best to make our Provably Fair (PF) feature well documented and understandable not just to developers like us, but to players as well. We do acknowledge though that players still face difficulties with PF technology. This isn’t necessarily because of its complexity. Many users simply enjoy playing games without any knowledge on how they are built. But to explain PF we need to explain how a casino game is structured, i.e. how it was technically built. So we stick to the method we’ve created and the description we maintain for PF in its simplest format.

Q: Does the provably fair system have anything to do with odds?

A: No, this is not quite how it works. Our PF system does not affect the game performance in any way, and players’ chances to win remain untouched. In other words, and it’s an important thing to understand, PF does not verify the game’s theoretical payout ratio - it confirms that any and all game outcomes were generated at random, without any bias towards the player and their actions.

Q: Can one PF system differ from another? Are there differences in the SoftSwiss offering as compared to others available in the market?

A: PF systems have a long history. Before cryptocurrencies became popular, every online casino was striving to make their own games due to lack of game content on the market. At that time the general idea was to generate thousands of game outcomes every hour and publish all of them into password-protected archives. A user could play, remember the round IDs they had and then, at the end of each hour when the password in the archive became public, the user could check those games to ensure the outcomes were known before the actual gameplay. Later this drifted into Control Fair, where a sequence of numbers was generated by the casino and hashed with the help of md5 algorithm.

When cryptocurrencies gained more popularity, a number of mostly non-licensed, non-certified websites sprang up and started offering games to play with crypto. Many of them provided technically simple PF checks where in the beginning you have two numbers - “server seed” and “client seed”, generated by the server and the player respectively before any bets are placed. When the player placed their bet, the Pseudo-RNG used these two numbers to generate the outcome. Therefore the “client seed” was directly affecting the game result, even though in an unpredictable way. This method is good, one can prove fairness with its help, but this is still not really very clear for a player.

We, on the other hand, wanted to make our PF different from what was available on the market and naturally, we wanted to stand out. So we stepped away from the merely technical method and presented an easy-to-use, transparent solution for the player and with the player in mind. This method accumulated the best features from the two mentioned above. Here is how it works: we generate the game outcome before the actual gameplay and we call it Result. For each game we generate a random string called Secret, simply because we cannot just show the Result to the player - otherwise, it all will not make any sense. Then all of the data is hashed and the Hash which equals the Result + Secret is passed to the player. Hashing is generating a string of symbols from any data. Restoring of initial data is impossible in this case. Hash function guarantees that the result will always be identical for one and the same input. Once there are several inputs it is unlikely to get matching results. We are using sha256 - well known and reliable algorithm. So when we say the data is hashed we mean that there is a string of symbols generated from Result and Secret data. There is a choice for the player to create a seed or have it pre-selected by the system - we call it Client seed. At the moment of actual gameplay, we take the Client Seed and apply it to the Result. Once the game is finished we pass the Result + Secret and Final Result to the player. Using all the data from the PF technology, a user can verify the fairness of the game. If it still sounds unclear, let's add some visual support here as well.

Q: How do players know that the most favorable house result isn’t the one selected?

A: So we already mentioned that we know the outcome of the game before the bet placing stage. But what if we generate this outcome to be always losing for a player intentionally - let’s say a dealer always hits Blackjack? This is a reasonable question to ask. To answer that one we need to get back to the Client Seed term which you already know about. This tells us that a player can modify the result by choosing any number that we apply to a pre-generated outcome - the Result. Applying Client Seed to Result is different considering the type of game: cutting the deck in card games, scrolling reels in slots. This is exactly the Fair part that is happening in the player’s world and it is not something technically difficult for the player to grasp. As the game outcome is random, the Client Seed can be considered a random value as well, as this does not affect the player’s chances. Based on the example of the card game, a player can see what deck was generated before the game began, how the deck was cut using the number the player has chosen to be the client seed and how the card was dealt according to the game rules. 

Q: What factors reassure players that the results are randomly generated at the exact moment a bet is placed?

A: Players are mostly concerned that the casino is cheating and the game outcome is affected by the bet made, e.g. the player bets on black and the cheeky casino shows red. Well local authorities and financial offices have this concern as well, so all of the activity of a casino is regulated and sometimes quite heavily. Luckily there is a range of licensing and certification offices out there that game providers can refer to. At the moment, the fairness of our games is certified by iTechlabs and BMM laboratories. And getting back to our PF technology - we generate the outcome before the game. Now having the visualization and the description above, the player can easily verify that the game is fair.

Q: Does the PF system take the place of RNG or is it used in conjunction with it?

A: PF is used together with RNG. Let us sum up: the outcome is generated before the bet with the use of RNG. At the moment when the bet is placed there is a Client seed coming from the player and we take this seed and add it to the generated result - cutting the deck for instance - and pass this info into the game for the player to check the result for fairness.

Q: Can PF technology be applied to games from any provider?

A: This is a scheme used on the provider’s side, which in our case is Bgaming. If you were to ask if there is any other game provider that can apply our approach to PF, the answer would be yes, they can. Our PF is about transparency and explaining to the players how to check the game for fairness. We openly share the information on how it is built with our competitors by describing this at the website.

Q: What's new with SoftSwiss in general? Any reveals scheduled for this year?

A: Recently the SoftSwiss Team has been busy expanding the geography of the offering. Bgaming has just been integrated with Jackpot.de, an immensely popular German social casino platform and its proprietary brands MyJackpot.com, VeraVegas.com and Merkur24.com. Social casino is a new prospect. We pay close attention to the regulated national markets, therefore recent certification for Romania under ONJN regulations is one of the steps towards the worldwide provision of our games. Scandinavia has always been a strong market for us, thus we've made sure to apply for the Swedish license coming in 2019 amongst the first to offer the possibility for the Swedish players to play at SoftSwiss casinos non-stop.

Much more exciting news is coming. So stay tuned.

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