For those of you bingo players that have no clue, gaming sites buy rights to an interface (skin), iGaming networks, and the actual online bingo games that they offer to you for free play or at a fee in the form of an online game room entry tickets and cards or tournament play charges.
Some of that games pot collection goes to gaming site game providers such as Pragmatic Play, Dragonfish, and PlayTech as game fees.
That’s why a game could have a return to player (RTP) rate of less than 100% (E.g., a 96.7% return on your £10 play yields £9.67 in winnings), with the remaining balance being part of an online gaming site’s earnings retainer and part leasing fees for the game providers.
Come to think of it; it now makes sense why gaming sites have thousands of different online titles on their gaming catalogues.
The testing and certification of online games stem from the mix of RTPS, random number generators (RNGs), age gambling restrictions, and compliance with gaming services regulations as a whole.
So there are several parties involved in testing different aspects of online sites and the online games on offer at these iGaming platforms. The test partners include:
- The regulators, meaning the government or the appointed federal gambling authorities
- Age testers to ensure that online gaming age-check and parental control systems work to curb underage gambling
- Test houses or independent game auditors who evaluate various factors regarding online games before satisfying them as safe and accurate
Of course, the regulators such as the UK Gambling Commission, Malta Gaming Authority, and Alderney Gambling Control Commission will have a set of gambling rules that gaming sites must abide by in all their dealings and operations. If everything checks out, new online gaming sites get license registration, while existing ones get a license renewal.
On the other hand, the likes of AgeCheck Certification Scheme step in to ensure bingo sites have appropriate control measures to curb minors on their platforms and digital rooms at state-of-the-art bingo halls.
Most of the testing happens on the actual online games, particularly the RTPs, RNGs, and actual gameplay. Top test houses whose logos you’ll likely spot on most of the online gaming sites you frequent include:
- eCommerce and Online Gaming Regulation and Assurance (eCOGRA)
- Technical Systems Testing (TST)
- Gaming Laboratories International (GLI)
- iTech Labs
- International Software Testing Qualifications Board (ISTQB)
- Gaming Associates Europe Limited
The list could grow longer, depending on the gambling jurisdiction at hand or the part of the world that you look at.
These independent game testers look at the regulators’ gambling prescriptions and compare both the game vendor and operator ends to draw accuracy and compliance checks before co-signing cross-checking on a safe and fair game for the gambling public to play. They test all sorts of lotteries and online games, including casino and bingo titles.
Here are the main aspects of online games that accredited test partners look into:
Each game has specific rules that govern its gameplay. For example, 75 and 80 ball games have several particular line wins and patterns that players must achieve before calling house. Game testers must run these games and ascertain that the rules actually exist and that the gameplay corresponds to said rules.
90-ball games come with a different set of rules. It has more ball calls than all the other games, and winning happens in the form of one-line, two-line, or three-line (full house) wins. If a 90 ball game test at a particular online site uncovers evidence of flaunting these rules, the test house can flag it and deem it to be in violation of its gaming services license.
Here the game auditors check out the core functions and building blocks of the game in question. They screen factors such as game logs, game interruptions, or the flow of the gameplay in-between sessions.
If specific functional attributes are a miss, the plays, outcomes, and resultant rewards will be out of place. It’s a significant issue that could jeopardize the entire validity of an online game.
With simulation testing, the independent game verifiers seek to uncover the accuracy of the game as a whole. It means mapping out a replica of the numbers games and carefully checking for inconsistencies in the ball calls, auto-daub, line, pattern, and full house win announcements, chat room games, free and real money play executions.
RTPs and RNGs
The game tests must also touch on the logic behind calculating the RTPs for both single-player and multi-player online game titles. It involves reading into the fine print of the RTP rates to determine whether they make sense and are in line with online bingo industry standards.
More importantly, the online gaming sites should apply the rates as intended to ensure fair play and furnish game testers with game reports and logs as proof of the same.
Similar testing measures go into the RNGs. Game auditors check the algorithms and supercomputers that run the random numbers to ensure no weak links exist. The tests must also ensure that developers employ ethical computing to run the RNGs to eliminate doubts about game-fixing.
In the same vein, eCOGRA, iTech Labs, and other external online gaming site analyzers check the actual online game’s source code for bugs that could lead to unintended functionalities.
Lastly, game testers run an audit of the online gaming site’s reports. The game reports should be accurate and maintain a proper record (weekly or bi-weekly) of real money and bonus plays, bets and wagers, play-through, winnings, the RTPs details, and all official testing communication between the tester and the online site throughout the testing exercise.
After sailing through a significant period of rigorous testing, compliant gaming sites get a certification for fair and accurate games, a logo of the test house on their website, and a link to the actual certificate for cross-checking and authentication on both the site itself and the game auditor’s official website.