Understanding the House Edge in a Casino


When most people think of casino, they picture the seedy backroom gambling parlors that populated Atlantic City in the past and were made famous in the movie Ocean’s 11. However, Merriam-Webster defines the word as a “building or room used for social amusements, especially gambling.” Many of these buildings and rooms are large entertainment complexes that feature multiple types of gambling games. They often include restaurants and live theater shows (or at least closed-circuit broadcasts of such shows). These casinos also offer reduced-fare transportation, hotel rooms, free drinks and cigarettes while gambling, and other inducements to attract gamblers.

In addition to a stimulating atmosphere, the best casinos also focus on customer service. They use bright and sometimes gaudy floor and wall coverings that are designed to encourage and stimulate gambling activity. They may even paint the walls red because it is thought to help gamblers lose track of time. They also do not put clocks on the walls, as they do not want to remind customers that they are losing money.

Because of the high probability of losing, it is important to understand the house edge for each game you play in a casino. This will allow you to make smarter betting decisions and increase your chances of winning. Most casinos offer a variety of casino games that are either pure chance or require skill, but they all have a mathematical advantage for the house. The house advantage is a function of the odds and is uniformly negative from the player’s point of view.