The inner workings of an online casino

The inner workings of an online casino

Let's take a look at how an online casinos actually works, and discus what they actually do and especially what they don't.

Definition

Wikipedia defines it as “Online casinos … are online versions of traditional (“brick and mortar”) casinos” and “Online casinos enable gamblers to play and wager on casino games through the Internet.”

Well… yes and no, most online casinos aren't actually that straight forward. The main difference is that they don't actually create and host the games, almost all casinos use game providers. Simply put, they use 3rd parties to provide you with games and simply act as a middle man and take a cut. Secondly, they don't really handle your money, a payment provider does, this seems like a no brainer but well get into why it isn't in a few.

So what do they do?

Well… not that much…

They mainly keep track of you, so who you are and what you do, and handling a bunch of legal stuff.

While the exact requirements for a casino do vary per jurisdiction, the casino has to keep track of each and every thing you do. The main concern for casinos is keeping track of the amount you spent, they have to make sure you're not addicted and verify you can actually pay. Now you might say as long as the transaction clears it should be okay right? Well no… they are actually required to see if you can spare that amount of money. This may entail requiring you to provide proof in income or ample amount of savings.

This is overseen by an organisation like the MGA for Malta where a lot of casinos are officially located simply due to being one of the first legislations and pretty relax standers.

Game providers

These are the companies that actually serve you the games, they may develop themselves or simply buy them from yet another company.

Examples are (amongst others):

Payment provider

Casinos don't actually operate as a bank but more like an online shop with credit. The actual handling of money goes via a payment provider like Adyen . They do however have the authority to require you to provide identification and require you to prove that you are who you say you are.

Backend providers

The logic behind the curtains

So to even limit the amount casinos do themselves a lot of them don't even have an own backend, this is simply outsourced to a company providing the backend.

Examples are (amongst many others):

Frontend

The part you see

These too can be provided by the backend provider but these do get build in-house from time to time and simply hosted by the backend provider to have everything in one place.

How it works

Now this is a vast simplification but this should give you some idea on how the gambling actually works.

Loading a game

sequenceDiagram participant Player autonumber Player ->>+ Casino : Request game; Casino -->>- Player : load this!; Player ->>+ GameProvider : Load game; GameProvider ->>+ Casino : Player login Casino ->>- GameProvider : Ok GameProvider ->>- Player : Here you go

Placing a bet

sequenceDiagram autonumber participant Player; Player ->>+ GameProvider : Place x amount; GameProvider ->>+ Casino : reserve x amount; Casino ->>- GameProvider : Ok (of balance clears); GameProvider ->>- Player : Start round GameProvider ->>+ Casino : update balance par confirm Casino ->>+ GameProvider : Confirm GameProvider ->>- Player : win/lose Casino ->>- Player : update balance (via WS) end