Quantum computing is touted as the next major technological leap that will allow humanity to free itself from the innate limitations of silicone-based processing and unlock a bright new future of potentially unlimited computational power.
The potential applications of quantum computing are similarly expansive, and it is likely to have its impact felt in virtually every industry imaginable. One of these is online gambling, a market which has undergone significant growth in its own right in recent years, and the focus so far has been on the security benefits that this change could bring about.
However, from a player’s perspective, the prospect of gambling becoming fairer thanks to the use of quantum computing is an appealing one. So how realistic is this expectation, and what hurdles need to be overcome before it can be realized?
Randomness is important in all types of gambling, although the role it plays varies depending on the activity in question.
For example, in the context of a horse race, the outcome is determined by all sorts of variables ranging from the weight of the jockey to the state of the track and the unknowable mood of the animal itself, hence why favorites don’t always win and why bookmakers can get it wrong sometimes. Randomness is clearly important here, but it is also out of the control of those responsible for taking bets on the outcome.
Conversely, when it comes to online casino services where everything is managed intricately by developers and operators, getting randomness right is crucial. And while plenty of people ask is it possible to learn how to manipulate a slot machine, the fact of the matter is that legitimate, regulated services are impervious to this kind of foul play, at least in theory.
Over the years, the random number generators (RNGs) that are at the heart of online and land-based slots alike have been subjected to scrutiny by various experts, sometimes with successful results. The thing to remember is that these algorithm-powered services are essential to ensuring fairness in the first place, as they make sure that the machine’s operators cannot set arbitrary time periods after which a jackpot is achievable for example.
The aim is simple enough to understand; with pure randomness at play with every spin, it is possible for any player to win big, regardless of whether it is their first spin or their fiftieth.
That is not to say that the designers of the machines do not tip the odds in their favor, but rather that they only do this by decreasing the likelihood of a winning combination of symbols being achievable, either by adding more symbols, paylines and reels, or by integrating minimum wager requirements to determine which spins are eligible for a jackpot payout in the first place.
Where quantum computing comes into play in all of this is to overhaul the approach to RNG and make it far less predictable. As mentioned earlier, the older RNG tech is far from infallible and mathematical wiz-kids can crack algorithms with relative ease if they get their hands on them. This has the added effect of meaning that online gambling services are not truly random, in the strictest sense of the word, but rather using a close of an approximation as can be achieved.
Quantum techniques for RNG take this predictability out of the equation, creating ‘true’ randomness by measuring the fluctuations of the quantum world which is imperceptible to humans yet plays a vital part in holding together reality as we know it.
What is even more impressive is that while quantum RNG can produce unquestionably unpredictable results, we have enough of an understanding of the mechanics of this phenomenon that it can do so in a repeatable and controllable way.
This is especially attractive for online casino operators and players alike, as it will mean that a completely level playing field will exist with every spin of games which eventually adopt quantum computing technology to underpin their randomness.
Before leaving the topic of quantum computing in gambling, it is also worth noting that this technology will influence other aspects of the industry going forwards, in addition to having an effect on fairness.
Service security is arguably the most significant area which can be improved through the influence of the quantum revolution. While similar cryptographic techniques will be used to protect user data and prevent breaches, the use of quantum RNG will bolster these solutions to the point that they are essentially unbreakable.
So there you have it; quantum computing is going to be increasingly important in the coming years, and gambling operators as well as gamblers themselves can expect to reap the benefits.