If you are looking to measure if a gambling game is fair or reasonable, the house edge is one of the standards that you can use. It is the commission charged by gambling agents such as a lottery administrator, a casino or a bookmaker.
It is important for every player to factor this into their plans when deciding on any kind of gambling. This is necessary because it shows the percentage of the wager going to the gambling agent and the percentage going to all the winners.
It is impossible for the house edge to be zero because the gambling agents must make enough money to cover their expenses and still have enough profit.
It is crucial for players to understand that a high house edge is an indication that the players are being unnecessarily cheated. So if you are playing that really understands the gambling business; you must avoid games with a high house edge.
In this article, we will be comparing the house edges of 3 major gambling categories, namely the roulette, an even-odds betting, and a Cash 3 lottery game.
If you are looking for the simplest way to compute the house edge, just simply compare the winnings paid by each gambling agent to the actual winnings that are paid in a fair game.
A fair game should come with no commission. This is what you see when friends are playing.
If you are computing by percentage, you calculate the house edge by subtracting the actual game-winning from a fair game winning. Then divide the result by the fair game-winning and then multiply this by 100.
This is shown below as:
House Edge = [(fair game-winning – actual game-winning) / fair game winning] * 100
We will be using the roulette as the representative of Casino games because it is simple and popular. We will also be comparing the European Roulette wheel to the American Roulette wheel (also known as the Las Vegas wheel).
The European roulette wheel comes with grooves marked by the number 0 to 36 but the American roulette wheel comes with an additional number ‘00’. By implication, the European wheel comes with a total number of 37 groove marks while the American wheel comes with 38.
Online casinos usually allow the player to choose their preferred kind of wheel while physical casinos offer only one type of wheel.
The winning number in a roulette game must correspond to the groove that the spinning ball lands on.
For instance, in a fair home roulette game with 38 friends, each person picks a number and places a bet of $1 on the number they have picked. Remember, no 2 people can pick the same number.
Then you spin the ball. Once it lands on a groove, that groove number becomes the winning number. Whoever chose that number wins and collects all the money on the table, which is a total of $37.
However, if the game is played at a Casino, the total amount won will be $35. So, if we apply the equation stated above, the difference between these 2 games is what gives us the house edge of a roulette game.
This is shown below as:
(37 – 35) / 37 * 100 = 2 / 37 * 100 = 5.4%
This equation shows that every time you pay $100 at a roulette game, whether online or offline, the house (the Casino) always gets $5.40 while the rest is paid to all the winners.
Remember, there are different games in a casino and the house edge varies for each game. There are some games with their house edge less than the house edge of a roulette game.
Most players would rather pick games with low house edges while Casinos prefer games with high house edges because it means more profit for them.
Even-odds Sports Betting
We chose even-odds sports betting because it is the simplest representative of the sports betting category. Even odds mean that the sports event has a chance of going either of 2 ways.
For instance, in a tennis match, the 2 players have equal chances of winning the match.
In a fair betting game, two friends can each place a bet of $1 on either of the 2 tennis players. The winner gets $2, meaning that he actually won $1. On the other hand, if they place their bets through a Sportsbook, the winner only gets $1.91. This is because the even-odds games at most online Sportsbooks or bookies usually come with odds of 1.91.
For those who are not too familiar with decimal odds representation, 1.91 would be shown as 10/11 in UK odds Notation while US odds notation will show it as 110.
10/11 odd notation means that for every $11 wager, you will win $10 while 110 odd notation means that for every $110 wager, you stand a chance of winning $100.
This invariably means that the winnings paid by the bookies or Sportsbook are only $0.91. Using the house edge equation, this is seen below as:
(1 – 0.91) / 1 * 100 = 0.09 * 100 = 9%
When considering what Sportsbook to use, it’s important to know that many online Sportsbook higher odds than 1.91 to attract players. This would mean lower house edges than 9%. On the other hand, if you are interested in parlays, this would mean higher house edges and this can be as high as 40%.
So far, it’s easy to conclude that playing casino games is better than playing even-odds Sportsbook Betting. However, the house edge is just one of the factors to consider.
For instance, you need to also remember that casino games are usually games of chance while Sports betting, you must make informed decisions so as to increase your winning chances.
Cash 3 Lottery Game
This lottery game is known by different names in different states, namely Daily 3, Pick 3, Play 3, etc. In this game, the player is allowed to pick a three digit number from 000 to 999, which he then plays as a straight or as a box.
A straight play predicts that the number you chose will come exactly as you selected while a box play predicts that the number will come in any order.
For instance, if you picked 357 and play it as straight, it means that if you win, the number drawn will come exactly like 357. On the other hand, if you play it as a box, you will win as long as the numbers are drawn are 3, 5 and 7, irrespective of the order.
The straight games usually pay much more than the box games for wagers of the same amount.
In a fair game with 1000 friends, if all of them pick numbers and then wager $1, making sure all 1000 is covered, the person who picked the lucky number is considered the winner. He will collect the whole $1000, meaning that he won $999.
When playing state lotteries, however, the winner is paid $500 in most states although some pay more or less than $500. $500 is the standard for state lotteries. This means that the player actually one $499.
The house edge in Cash 3 is shown below as:
(999 – 499) / 999 * 100 = 500 / 999 * 100 = 50%
The house edge applies to all state lotteries including Cash 3, Play 4, Cash 5, Mega, Lotto, Power Ball, Fantasy 5, etc.
The most important thing to know about state lotteries is that you are only wagering just half of your money on the lottery. You are more or less giving the other half away but it really doesn’t matter as long as you win.
When choosing games based on house edge, we have been able to show that casino games are better than sports betting and state lotteries. The only downside is that most states don’t allow casino games and sports betting is pretty much illegal in the United States.
Whatever option you pick, the important thing is to win.