Rigging a pokies game means the pokies machine is manipulated to operate differently from that it was designed to operate with the intention being to favour either the house or the player. In the specific definition all casino games are rigged to some extent.
The rigging of pokies has been an issue since the first machines appeared in the USA in the late 19th century. It’s likely that many machines in the mechanical and electro-mechanical days of design (before the 1970s) were rigged to favour the house.
Without laws regulating the production of these games it would have been easy for crooked operators to take advantage of bettors at least as much as some players took advantage of the operators.
Consider the nature of pokies design; would a casino plug in a machine and allow their customers to place bets on it if they were unsure that the game would lead to a profit over the long run. The answer is a resounding “No.” Casinos operate for a profit, like any business, and the way they do it is by hosting games which return a smaller amount of money to players than the amount that is wagered on them.
This difference in a casino game’s payouts and pay ins can be demonstrated mathematically as the casino’s advantage, also known as the “house edge.” Of course, you don’t usually talk about pokies having a house edge. Instead, the player’s odds for a given title are usually described via payback percentages.
If you have heard the saying “the house always wins” this is fairly close to truth, but while close, it is not the complete truth. For example, there is a difference between rigging a game of roulette so that the ball always falls into a losing number, such as the green zero, and rigging it so that you have a 37 to 1 chance of hitting a specific number yet you only get 35 times your bet if you hit it. This is the legal and acceptable way that the casino profits over time.
To rig something means both to fix or arrange something, and to do so fraudulently. Since casinos set up their games to work so that the casino profits in the long run, it is constituted as rigging, but in the sense of the first definition and without fraudulence or deception.
Most casinos fall under some sort of governmental jurisdiction that regulates gaming within the walls of its establishment. This is true for both online and land casinos. For example, Australian casinos have to allow (ie, rig) their pokies to payout no less than an 87% RTP (return to players).
It is important to note what this RTP percentage does and does not mean. It does not mean that if you play pokies in Australia you will win 87% of the time. It does not mean that pokies are on timers that, if they haven’t paid out yet, have to automatically award a jackpot in order to stay within the regulated percentage. What 87% does mean is that over time, for every $100 a player puts into a machine, that player will, on average, get back $87 of that original $100.
Designers of pokies make sure that all the different payout possibilities average out to better than an 87% average in order to meet the regulation requirements. Casinos frequently can readjust the frequencies of symbols to tweak the payout if the machine is not meeting its regulatory commitment when the machine is a video pokie. This is often a difficult procedure and casinos change the probabilities on their machines infrequently.
The bottom line concerning pokies is they are set up to pay you back less than what you put into them over time. Winning money on pokies is a matter of chance and it’s best to keep track of what you have betted and quit while you’re ahead. Your best bet is to enjoy the pokies while betting within your bank limits, and stick to playing online, where the RTP payouts are better.
What should you do then to play safely?
If you take serious about the rigging of casino games then remember that a casino that is not licensed and audited under the jurisdiction of a regulatory body, rigging in the fraudulent sense of the word is entirely possible, and highly likely. That’s why it’s important that when playing pokies online, you play at a legally licensed and regulated casino. The casinos should be 100% licensed by reputable gambling jurisdictions, and come with better RTP percentages than their land based counterparts. The gaming software should also be audited and certified by eCOGRA, the leading authoritative body for the online gambling market.
Always avoid gaming in questionable establishments, and only play in places where you can easily determine what jurisdiction they fall under and who regulates gaming for them.
Remember that pokies are designed to be profitable for the casino, not the player–at least in the long run. There isn’t any way for bettors to overcome the advantage they provide to casinos. They are built to earn money; no one has to cheat at a pokies game in order for it to turn a profit for the casino. So play safe and in responsible manner for fun.