Casinos are synonymous with glitz, glamour, and winning money. Everyone wants to stay at the best hotel-casino, eat expensive food, and hit their big payout. What people, and the gambling industry, don’t talk about is the ugly side of casino gambling.
In this post, I’m going to cover 7 big casino gambling truths — Vegas or not.
1- The Casino (House) Edge Is All Math
It’s a language of truths.
It only lies to you if you do it wrong.
And every casino game you sit down to gamble on has a mathematical probability of you winning the casino game. This is known as the house or casino edge.
Every gambling game varies.
The house edge is designed to safeguard the casino from losing money to their players over time. If there was no house edge, there would be no casinos because they would be giving away all their money. Remember, casinos are businesses out to make money.
Some Examples of the House Edge
Let’s unpack what house edge looks like in a casino:
For someone who is an expert blackjack player, the house edge is only 0.5%.
Slots can have a house edge as high as 35%.
Other casino games fall somewhere in between 0.5% and the sky-high 35% of the slot machines.
Obviously, the slot machines have the worst choice to play. The odds of winning a slot machine jackpot can range from 1 in 5,000 to 1 in 34 billion, depending on which machine you play.
The house edge doesn’t imply you are going to lose every time you play games at a casino. That’s the other side of the casino business plan.
If everyone lost every time, they wouldn’t have customers.
People do win.
And they win big.
Sometimes millions of dollars.
But to win you need 2 tools:
- Understand the house edge. Research the game(s) you want to play. I always suggest that new players research, research, research. Player forums are a great way to learn about the house edge and really understand the math. Here’s a great post about which casino game has the worst odds. You’ll also find a great, detailed explanation of the house edge here.
- Play less. The less you play a game, the more likely you are to beat the odds. The grind is what wears down your bankroll. If you want to win more money at the casino, use a hit and run strategy and quit while you’re ahead, even if you’ve only played for a few minutes.
2- Casinos are Breeding Grounds for Germs
Loius Pasteur discovered germs. From that time forward he vowed to never shake hands with anyone, including royals.
Was he the original social distancer?
The scientist was horrified, after his discovery, that he would become sick.
And rightly so.
If Mr. Pasteur were to walk through a modern casino, he would be terrified.
Casinos are filthy.
That being said, casinos do regularly clean the buildings. They have 24/7 cleaning crews.
But humans are gross.
The cleaning crews can’t keep up with our nasty habits.
How Dirty Is Dirty?
Let’s take a dive into how dirty the casinos really are:
- Bottles of Urine- More often than you might think, cleaning crew employees find water bottles full of urine next to the slot machines. You’re asking yourself the obvious question, right — why?? It goes back to gamblers insisting on playing the same slot machine in hopes of hitting that big jackpot. This leaves no time for bathroom breaks, obviously. Some gamblers don’t even bother with using a bottle to urinate in, they simply “go” on the seat. Gross! I suggest standing when playing slots. And make sure you hit the bathroom before you get locked into to chasing that big jackpot on a slot machine.
- Drugs- Casinos are renowned for their security, but drugs are still prevalent in casinos. Casino workers have shared on social media that it’s okay to be open with drug use in Vegas. One casino worker claims to have seen players openly using cocaine and other illicit drugs openly, without caution, in the casino restrooms. The cleaning staff commonly finds use needles, packaging, and other paraphernalia in the restrooms. Drugs are still illegal in Las Vegas. But then again, so’s prostitution.
- Dirty Chips- Casinos don’t wash their chips as often as you might think. This might be the most talked-about issue when it comes to cleanliness and casinos. A researcher and his team from the University of Nevada- Las Vegas tested chips from numerous popular casinos in Vegas. Their findings were disgusting. They discovered thousands of germs, bacteria, and micro-organisms living on the chips. This includes Staphylococcus, Bacillus cereus (a common cause of food poisoning), and a list of other harmful bacteria and nasty germs longer than I want to think about, much less share. Here’s a pro tip: NEVER touch anything in a casino if you have a cut on your hand. And I can’t stress this enough, either: never, ever ever kiss the chips or dice for good luck — not unless you want a tour of the Las Vegas ICU, anyway. You’re welcome.
4.- The Casinos Want You to Get Lost in Gambling
Anyone who has ever visited a casino knows there are no clocks. There are also intricate mazes of slot machines that are hard to get out of. There are no windows on the casino floor. Most casinos these days also have a hotel, amazing restaurants and just about anything else a player could want or desire on vacation.
Have you ever asked yourself why these things exist?
Most people haven’t, and that’s on purpose.
They don’t want you to leave.
You gamble there, sleep there, drink there, and eat there.
I’ve been on a Vegas trip and not seen sunlight for 2 days straight.
Most casino visitors are also drinking and a bit less aware of the goal of the ease of comfort found in casinos. Remember the casinos’ goal is to make money off of you.
And they make a lot.
More than you could imagine.
5- The Free Drinks Don’t Make Up for the Money You’re Losing
Oh man, free drinks as long you’re playing — this seems like such a good deal on paper.
Until you sit down and do the math on paper, with a calculator, anyway.
We all know and love the free gin and tonic, two limes, that you order from the cocktail waitresses you see walking around the casino floor.
You keep ordering because you keep playing, and you keep playing to keep getting free drinks.
Just don’t forget that the casinos are making an unspeakable amount of money off every single person that walks through their doors.
An Example of a Drinking Slots Player
Let’s say you’re playing slot machines.
You keep plopping a coin into the machine.
The cocktail waitress comes by and takes your drink order.
You continue to play.
You get your drink.
This drink costs about $1.00 to make.
And by now, you’ve already dropped $5 or $10 on that machine.
And you keep playing.
Your drink’s running low.
So, you get another dollar drink.
At this point, you’ve probably lost $20 or $30 on the slot machine, and the casino has only spent $2 to keep you sitting there.
Not very fair huh?
I’d love to make a 400% profit from a single customer.
Let’s talk about the combination of drinking while gambling:
It’s simple — it a terrible choice.
When we drink we lose our ability to make sound good choices. When your money is involved and you’re even a bit tipsy, the casino is going to win.
Alcohol severely hinders the part of the brain that regulates your ability to make good decisions.
You wouldn’t drink and drive — why would you drink and gamble?
Save your drinking for wine at dinner or a night out.
6- Free Meals Aren’t That Great of a Deal
You bought a casino hotel weekend package that includes dinner for two at XYZ steakhouse. And you’ re super pumped about getting to eat at Chef So and So’s famous Vegas steakhouse.
You get dressed up, know you have to pay for drinks and tip.
You sit down, order the surf and turf with dessert and appetizer.
Your dining partner orders the same.
Y’all are full of good food and wine, a little lighter in the pocket because you decide to splurge and get the $60.00 bottle of Pinot.
Overall, you’re satisfied with the trip so far.
Y’all decide to hit the floor for a couple of drinks and some table games.
You know who is getting the best deal here?
You guessed it.
You dropped the $60.00 plus tip at dinner, and now you’re going to gamble. The casino paid cost for what was priced on the menu as $75.00 a person for the 3-course meal.
You know what that cost them? 30-40% of what you would have paid, including wages.
And now they’ve got you in a good place to go back on the floor and spend more money when they have the house edge.
You do the math.
7- Ugly Carpet Everywhere
You’ve seen them in every casino on the Vegas Strip:
The insanely ugly carpets.
So many questions.
Why are they there?
Are all the interior designers for casinos terrible at their jobs?
Is Vegas stuck in a permanent acid trip?
There’s a simple answer, and (as usual) it has to do with getting your money.
The casino carpet designs are usually swirling, vibrant designs that if you look at them for too long you get a bit dizzy, especially if you’ve been taking advantage of the “free drinks” on the casino floor.
The carpet design is there to keep you energized and awake.
The bright crazy colors create what some have referred to as a “sensory prison”.
You can’t look away.
The ugly carpets are subtle, but the goal is to keep you gambling and keep you spending.
Casinos do everything for one purpose:
To get you to spend money.
I covered a lot of ugly truths that casinos don’t want you to know.
Gross unsanitary conditions, drugs, and the ultimate goal of the casinos:
To take your money.
Don’t get me wrong, I love playing at casinos, dining at casinos, and enjoying the nightlife at casinos.
But I also know that everything is designed to get me to spend my money.
If you go into the casino with the same mindset, you’ll be wiser and have more fun.
I’d love to hear your ugly truths about casinos and your experience.
Please leave a comment below.