When we think of the online bingo experience, we know about the software providers, the bingo websites, and others involved in the process. However, there’s another very important party that helps to keep the experience fair and enjoyable for all players…test houses.
What’s a Test House?
Have you ever played an online casino or bingo website and got annoyed when everything seemed to be going against you? Don’t worry, we’ve all been there (just ask our writers who test bingo websites for our reviews!). Often, we see people complaining that online gambling is rigged and that it’s almost impossible to win. In reality, we know that online gambling isn’t rigged because of the hard work of test houses.
When a software developer creates a new game, it’s not just a case of releasing it to the world and watching as online casinos and bingo websites add it to their collection. Before any of this, testing agencies (otherwise known as test houses) test the game extensively. If the game isn’t fair or ready for the market, they will reject it. From here, the software developer goes back to the drawing board to improve the game or start with another one.
As well as new games, test houses are called into action when a developer adjusts an existing game. Before the changes go live across various bingo websites, extensive testing is performed by the test houses to check that it’s fair for all players.
As an independent body, these test houses have no affiliation to software developers or bingo websites. Also, they have experienced analysts and testing experts to ensure that all games are truly random.
How Does Testing Work?
We’ve spoken about testing for new and edited games, but what does this actually mean? Well, there are several methods implemented by testing houses to check the random and unbiased nature of games. For example, players should always have a fair chance of winning with prior results playing no role in future outcomes. Whether you’re logging on for the first game of the day or have been playing for three days straight (not that we advise this!), your chance of winning should remain the same.
Especially with games like bingo, every round should be random to ensure fairness and enjoyability for all players. What if the test houses find problems with a game? What if it isn’t fair? Well, we only need to look back historically to see that they aren’t afraid to be honest. Of course, they’ll also pass all results onto the UK Gambling Commission. In many cases, it’s the Gambling Commission that passes the report back to the software developer.
At this point, we should note that test houses are the last step that prevents games from going live. Therefore, software developers don’t just send games on a whim. When sending a game to test houses, they need to be sure that it’s absolutely ready to be enjoyed by the public. For this reason, the Gambling Commission sometimes comes down hard on developers who send unfair games to test houses.
Known Test Houses
Gaming Labs International – Founded back in 1989, GLI is a leading figure in this niche and has been for some time. In total, it’s thought they have tested around 2 million items while acting as a consultant in many countries around the world. In particular, they specialise in lottery providers and games.
eCOGRA – Short for E-Commerce Online Gaming Regulation and Assurance, eCOGRA is a slightly newer name having been founded in 2003 but they’re by no means any less respected. Over the years, eCOGRA have gained experience in several niches and have won many industry awards as a result. What sets eCOGRA apart from the competition is the fact that most team members have experience with global consultancies across niches that include banking, law, and technology.
iTech Labs – Founded one year after eCOGRA, iTech Labs is an Australian company and another that launched just before the rise of online gambling. As well as software, iTech Labs also have experience with certifying gambling equipment across Europe and Asia.
Technical Systems Testing (TST) – Finally, another example is TST from Guernsey. One thing to note about TST is that they have a great relationship with software providers, regulators, and all other parties. Just because they have a good relationship with software providers, however, this doesn’t mean they take their role any less seriously.
Our Commitment to Fair Gaming
At Bingo Sites (UK), we’re committed to fair gaming and take this area very seriously when reviewing and comparing bingo websites. When you see a service recommended on our website, feel confident that we’ve checked their license with the UK Gambling Commission as well as the fact that all games/rooms have been tested by a test house. We’re players too, and this is why we care about the legalities of the gambling industry.
A test house is an independent body that checks the fairness and randomness of the games we play every day. In the bingo world, they check all new games/rooms as well as when software developers make large changes to existing games. If a game is determined to be unfair, a report is filed to the UK Gambling Commission who then reprimand the software developer.
Several test houses have an incredible reputation in this niche including eCOGRA, TST, iTech Labs, and GLI. As neutral parties, test houses are financially independent and never take bribes from operators. As players, we can check the status of bingo websites by scrolling to the bottom of the home page. Normally, you’ll see the logo of a test house. Alternatively, you’ll find information in the small print or on the website of individual software developers.
Thanks to test houses, all the games we play on online casinos and bingo websites are fair and random. The next time you feel as though the game is against you, just remember the hard work of test houses!