If you’re a keen online sports betting fanatic, chances are that one or two have happened in your gambling life in 2013: 1) You’ve hit a particularly good streak on betting England runs in the 2nd Ashes Test against Australia, and 2) You’ve logged onto your favourite online sportsbetting site, seen the tab at the top marked, ‘CASINO’, and thought, ‘I have a healthy balance – what if I..just…click…on…that…Casino…tab….’
After all, it’s what all major sportsbetting online sites do today. They don’t just offer a sportsbook; they have an online casino, bingo, some even have online poker (e.g. http://www.onlinecasino.co.nz/). And the best thing with most sites is that they make it very easy for you to transfer your balance between the different games.
There’s one good reason for this – the online sites WANT you to play in the casino.
You’ve seen the promotional emails and the banner ads on social media: casinos are typically where online gambling sites make most of their money, and it’s no wonder – nowhere is the house edge greater than in online casino games like Blackjack and Roulette. Sportsbooks don’t make nearly as much in lost bets on the Tri-Nations Rugby or English Premier League football as they do in lost bets on the spin of a wheel.
With current events such as the US Open, bookmakers on and offline are booming. New Zealand gambling is a huge industry – it was estimated in 2008 around 2 billion NZ dollars were lost.
So if you’re looking at moving some NZ bucks around your gambling games, how do you know where the best edges are? Let’s take a look at some of the typical games on offer.
Online casinos make a major effort in transferring the glamour and glitz of live roulette to the online world – after all, it’s the most popular game in the casino, and one that offers such tough odds for the punter that casinos just love you playing it.
And with a house advantage of 5.26% on the American wheel (the one with the 00 slot), roulette is among the worst bets in a casino. Despite the odds, however, you can still use some simple strategies to stretch your roulette bankroll and enjoy the thrill of the spin. Roulette is a drain on your wallet because the game doesn’t pay what the bets are worth. With 38 numbers (1 to 36, plus 0 and 00), the true odds of hitting a single number on a straight-up bet are 37-1, but the House pays only 35-1 if you win! This discrepancy is where the house gets its huge edge in roulette.
So, how can you get one up on the House and stop from going bust? Here are a couple of tips: first, stick to the outside bets (Red/Black, Odds/Even) and only play the table minimum. This type of outside bet pays Evens and covers 18 of the 38 possible combinations.
Secondly, cover your options by placing two bets of equal amounts on two outside bets, one on an Even-money play like Red or Black and the other on a column that pays 2-1 your money. Spreading bets like this will never bring in the big bucks, but it helps to keep the odds in your favor – and makes the game a little more interesting.
Finally, look for an online casino that offers European Roulette. The difference with this game compared to its American cousin is small but is huge in terms of house edges – there is only one green 0 slot, as opposed to the 00 the American version also features.
That may not seem like a big deal, but when you consider that the house edge is reduced to just 2.63%, it obviously makes sense in the long run.
The favourite card game of casino-goers everywhere, Blackjack actually has the best odds of winning, with a house edge of just 1%. And if you’ve ever wondered why casinos – both live and online – offer so many different slots games, there’s a good reason: they have typically the lowest odds of winning, with a house edge of 10% or more.
If you’re looking to have a bit of fun with your hard-earned sportsbetting bankroll, by all means take a punt on the many casino games on offer online. Just be mindful that no one (unless they hit that slots progressive jackpot) ever got rich off the back of casino games, and approach them like you would a bet on Tiger Woods hitting that putt on the 18th hole at Augusta – study the ins and outs carefully before deciding to place your wagers. With some careful consideration of the odds involved you’ll be in for a much happier betting time altogether.