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Casinos

Whatever your intentions when you visit a casino, it can be easy to get caught up in the moment and gamble more than you plan.

Casinos are designed to be exciting and entertaining

Stepping into a casino is exciting. The sights and sounds can really draw you in. But every casino is a business and there to make a profit at the end of the day.  Here are some of the ways the casino environment can influence you to gamble more than you intended.

Big wins you can see and hear

If you visit casinos a lot you’ll see someone hitting a jackpot sooner or later. There’ll be noise, flashing lights and staff showing up handle the win. It’s meant to grab your attention and get you thinking: “If they can win, maybe I can, too.”

Blackjack, poker and other card games let you decide the next move after the cards are dealt. The illusion of control may fool you into thinking it gives you a higher chance of winning.

If a machine or table never paid out, you’d lose interest in no time. To keep you thinking you have a shot at winning big, games tease players with near wins and small payouts. It doesn’t change the odds.

Casino games

Every casino game has a theoretical house margin – the house. This is the percentage of the money bet by customers that the casino gets to keep. Even if the house looks low, big payouts are rare.

Is it possible to improve the odds?

  • In games of chance, there's no way to improve the odds. Every outcome of a dice throw or wheel spin is random. There's no system or strategy that can change this.
  • In games involving skill, skilled players may be able to reduce house margins. But even if you think of yourself as a skilled player, there'll always be others at the table.

Some casino games and how they work

The NSW Government strictly controls all casino games to make sure they're fair, follow the rules and the casino sticks to the house. But in the long run, even with games of skill, most players don't come out ahead. You can lose the lot with just one bet.

Blackjack (pontoon, twenty-one)

Game of chance and skill. After you’ve been dealt two cards, you can choose to be dealt more. The idea is to reach a total score that’s closer to 21 than the dealer’s total, but not to go over 21. Picture cards count as 10, aces count as 1 or 11, and cards from 1 to 10 count as face value. The house may be less than 1% for skilled players with betting strategies.

Game of chance and skill. Based on five-card stud poker. For an initial stake (ante), players are dealt five cards face down. The dealer is dealt four cards face down and one card face up. If you think you can’t beat the dealer’s hand, you can forfeit your ante. To keep playing, you must double your original stake. The best poker hand between each player and the dealer wins. Jackpot bets are also available. The house including jackpot allowance is 5.5%

Odds of hitting the jackpot with a royal flush

250 to 1

Game of chance. Numbered cards less than 10 count as face value, aces count as 1, and 10s, face and picture cards count as 0. Two cards are dealt to both the player’s hand and the banker’s hand. Depending on the totals of the first two cards, a third card may be dealt. The resulting totals are read as if the first digit does not exist (say, a hand totalling 15 becomes 5). The winner has the total card value closest to 9. Players can bet on the player’s hand or the banker’s hand, or bet that the hands will tie. The house is 1.2%–14.36% depending on style of baccarat.

Game of chance. There are no betting strategies to reduce sic bo margins. Three dice are rolled and players try to predict combinations, totals and outcomes. The house ranges from 2.8% for big, small or combinations of two dice to 16.2% for a specific triple. 

Game of chance. The Australian roulette wheel has 37 numbers: 18 red, 18 black and one 0. Double zero roulette has 38 numbers. The wheel is spun in one direction and a small white ball the opposite way. Players can bet straight up (betting the ball lands on a specific number), or on combinations of numbers, red or black, odd or even, and low (1–18) or high (19–36). The house is 2.7% for roulette and 5.26% for double zero roulette.

Odds of winning a straight up bet

35 to 1

Game of chance. The spinning wheel is divided into 52 sections. Each section shows one of 7 symbols that each represents a prize. The bigger the prize, the less often the symbol appears. Players bet on a symbol and win if the wheel stops on that symbol. The house is 7.7%.

Game of chance. The spinning wheel is divided into 52 sections. Each section shows one of 7 symbols that each represents a prize. The bigger the prize, the less often the symbol appears. Players bet on a symbol and win if the wheel stops on that symbol. The house is 7.7%.

Odds of winning biggest Big Wheel prize with 1 spin

47 to 1

Find out how poker machines work too.

For free, confidential advice and support, call GambleAware on 1800 858 858 and arrange to talk to a counsellor near you.

GambleAware acknowledges Aboriginal people as the traditional custodians of the land and we pay respects to Elders past, present and emerging. GambleAware is an inclusive support service.
Copyright © 2021 NSW Office of Responsible Gambling