Before a game is released to the public and available to play, it must be independently tested to ensure that it meets industry requirements and compliance standards set by the UK Gambling Commission (UKGC). This includes testing if the game is fair, gives the advertised RTP, and is essentially not rigged. This is a large part of what makes the UK one of the safest gambling destinations online for players.
Today, we’re touching on a topic not often broached; who are the testing labs who undertake software testing, and are they all equal?- let’s go!
What UK Testing Labs Exist?
If you’ve ever worried about the integrity of online casino software then the history of eCOGRA will soon put your mind at ease as eCOGRA was founded by Microgaming as well as other software producers who wanted to put players mind’s at ease by proving fair gaming in online casino software.
Established in 2003, eCOGRA, is based in London and until today remains a firm favourite for UK software testing and is most likely the first name to spring to mind when you consider casino safety.
iTech Labs popped up shortly after eCOGRA in 2004 and has been operating from global locations including Australia, Asia and Europe for over a decade. They tailor testing to specific jurisdictions providing peace of mind for players, software producers and casinos. Of all UK testing labs, iTech Labs is second to eCOGRA as an industry favourite.
Gaming Labs International
Gaming Labs International (GLI) is on an industry-wide mission to make sure that nothing is left to chance when it comes down to gaming stats and figures- get it? From Poker audits to RNG tests, GLI is one of the big players in the iGaming scene and have been operating for more than 30 years.
Technical Systems Testing
Technical Systems Testing (TST) is a subsidiary of GLI who brought up this testing lab in 2010. They have global offices and similarly to iTech Labs tailor their tests to the jurisdiction the casino or software provider requires. Interestingly, TST was established in 1993, pre-eCOGRA, but operating in land-based spheres.
What Are Games Testing Labs Looking For?
Essentially, they are all testing for the same things, but they go about it according to their own organisational processes and protocol, using the same statistical tests. This means in terms of quality, there is little deviance between the testing labs and it just comes down to a matter of preference, popularity or perhaps price as to which a games software company works with.
The key things game testing labs are checking for are:
- That the RNG operates fairly and randomly including mathematically testing for probability, randomness in the occurrence of events and uniformity over millions of plays.
- That a series of outcomes cannot be reproduced and that each outcome is unpredictable.
- That the RTP found by the testing lab is the same as advertised by the software.
Games testing labs, must also ensure that the game meets other regulatory conditions set out by the UKGC which includes many in-depth checks such as ensuring that near-miss results are not unfairly displayed and that the game speed allows players time to complete a whole game cycle.
On top of this, each offers additional services like casino audits, bonuses testing, mobile games, and general compliance audits which means that online casinos, as well as software producers regularly, use their services to ensure that they stay on the right side of the UKGC’s latest regulations.
Which are the Most Popular Games Testing Lab?
As ardent gamers, some of you will be familiar with all 4 testing labs named above as when a casino or software company are certified by a testing lab, they display their logo at the bottom of their homepage. eCOGRA is the most popular, and therefore the most recognisable. They specialise entirely in casino games, whereas other testing labs have also opened themselves to other specialities or industries, or land-based casino services.
Who Approves Testing Labs?
The UKGC lists all testing labs that are authorised to test UK software. As testing is part of their licensing contract with gambling operators. This dedication to fair gaming regulation and player protection makes the UK one of the safest gambling jurisdictions in the world.
Do All European Jurisdictions Enforce Games Testing?
Yes, however, other non-European licensing jurisdictions like Curacao do not and in general perform poorly for player protection. Additionally, they do not have the requirement of published RTPs with casino games, meaning it can vary widely with a provider and casino who has picked Curacao licensing- be careful here, it is better to avoid sites with this licensing if you ever come across them.