To answer the titular question, it’s important to decide what you want from gambling. If you’re treating it purely as a form of entertainment, then the answer is yes, gambling is worth it. If, on the other hand, you’re wondering if a casino game’s worth gambling on for money, then the answer is less clear.
Why? It depends on the type of casino game you want to gamble on. Some, like slots, rely entirely on luck and involve a combination of RTP (Return to Player percentage) and volatility (low, medium, or high) to hit a payout. Other games, like blackjack and poker, require a combination of luck and expertise to win.
For example, a slot with an average RTP of 96% and high volatility means you’re highly likely to win, but the tradeoff comes in the form of significant gaps between those wins. Ie. you might need to spend a considerable amount of money and time on the game before you even recoup your losses.
Blackjack and poker both rely on obtaining winning card hands, and as such require a player to understand the rules and probability of each game to do well. If your starting hand in a game of blackjack happened to be 16, for example, then you’d have to decide whether the odds are in your favor if you hit to try and reach or get closer to 21, or stay and see if your 16 is good enough to beat the dealer’s hand.
So, is it worth gambling in online casinos? Let’s look a little deeper into different aspects of gambling so you can decide for yourself.
Is it Reasonable to Gamble?
Absolutely. As long as you follow responsible gambling habits, such as managing your bankroll, loss limit, and time online, then gambling is a perfectly reasonable and fun hobby.
Also, did you know that there are many benefits of gambling? It’s true! Playing certain types of casino games can be useful in improving your logical reasoning, as various studies have shown.
Casino games that involve a high level of strategy, and therefore logical thought, such as poker, are known to stimulate neurons in your brain. This in turn helps with problem solving and concentration in your daily life and not just for casino games.
Do Casinos Hurt the Economy?
No. If anything, casinos improve the economy of the local community. To understand how, first it’s worth mentioning that the American Gaming Association reported casinos in the US generated around $44 billion in revenue in 2021, which is a record-breaking number.
However, all these casinos (on- and offline) have to pay for official licenses (e.g., with the New Jersey Division of Gaming Enforcement). This money then gets filtered into local government and can be used on, for example, community projects.
Casinos also boost the economy by creating jobs. This is most obvious with land-based casinos, but even online casinos need people to run the site. Plus, online casinos often have live dealer games, which involve expensive studios that need film crews and, of course, hosts.
Are Casinos Worthy Spending Your Money There?
Yes. Whether online or land-based, every casino is, first and foremost, a business. The world-famous Caesar’s Casino in Las Vegas, for example, is owned by the Caesars Entertainment company, which owns and operates all Caesar casinos and sportsbooks on- and offline. Caesars Entertainment was reported by Forbes, as of January 2022, as having assets worth around $36 billion.
Casinos are worth money thanks to the income they generate, which we’ll look at in detail below. If you’d also like to see in-depth information on why the house always wins, head over to our related article.
However, some players are lucky enough to take a big chunk out of a casino’s bank, which leads us to our next section.
Do casinos ever suffer losing money?
Over 19 million people visited Las Vegas in 2020, and out of all those people, several lucky gamblers managed to scoop impressive winnings from casinos. Undoubtedly the most impressive was a $5.4 million win on a Wheel of Fortune slot in January of that year.
It’s not just offline casinos that see lucky visitors take a chunk of their money; online casinos typically host progressive jackpot slots and even table game tournaments that payout in six-figure sums.
In November 2021, a fortunate New Jersey woman won a $3.5 million jackpot on the MGM Grand Millions slot, on the BetMGM casino site. To date, this is the highest online slot win in history.
Can Gambling Endanger Your Health?
Problem gambling is a genuine issue that affects many people worldwide. The UK Gambling Commission reported that, as of June 2021, 0.4% of UK gamblers had a serious problem (over 4,000 people).
Examples of harmful gambling behaviour include the following, according to the American Psychiatric Association (APA’s) Diagnostic and Statistical Manual:
- The desire to gamble with ever-increasing sums of money in order to feel elated
- When attempting to stop gambling, you may experience irritability or restlessness
- Attempts to prohibit, control, or reduce gambling have repeatedly failed
- Thinking about gambling and making plans to gamble constantly
- Gambling when in a bad mood
- Returning to gambling after a financial setback
- Lying in order to hide gaming activity
- Gambling is causing problems in your relationships or at work
- Having to rely on others for money to gamble
However, there’s no need for unnecessary concerns as it depends on how you gamble. As long as you’re careful with your money and always place more importance on having fun, gambling shouldn’t ever become harmful for you.
If you are concerned about your gambling habits, the other good news is that plenty of organizations can help. Gamblers Anonymous is one of the most well-known, but any reputable online casino will have links to other relevant responsible gambling sites.
Can someone earn a living by gambling all time?
Yes. There are plenty of professional gamblers out there, most of whom earn their money from poker tournaments. Phil Ivey, a US player, has won over $100 million from top tournaments, including the World Series of Poker.
Professional sports bettors are less common, given the sheer number of variables involved in any sports event needed to secure a decent win. One professional sports gambler, Dennis Van Rhinevault, meticulously studies team statistics to decide which bets are likely to be the most profitable.
However, up until 2016, he believed he’d lost over $250,000 on failed bets due to addiction to gambling. This is why he now routinely and rigorously updates his mathematical formulas.
Math, however, is also the key reason why relying on gambling as a sole source of income is not a good idea. We mentioned the house edge earlier – it’s the percentage from each casino game that a casino makes from a player. In short, the more you play, the more you stand to lose.
What Is the Concept of Negative Expectation?
The negative expectation is tied to house edge. Basically, casino games with negative expectations mean the more you play that game, the bigger your losses become. It’s why there’s a line of thought that suggests you can rarely win in casinos – the game will always be against you, even if you win in the short term.
How does house edge affect the worth of gambling?
We’ll finish with a more detailed look at how the casino house edge works. Every table game has a house edge. For example, blackjack (with the traditional rules) has one of the lowest house edges, at around 2%. In essence, this means that you’ll lose 2% of your bankroll over the course of the game.
Roulette has one of the worst house edges at 5.26%. However, this applies to American Roulette wheels, which have a double zero (00) pocket. If you were to take a spin on a European or French Roulette game, which only has a single zero (0) pocket, the house edge drops to around 2.7%.
How house edge affects the worth of gambling depends on you as a player and the game you play.
If you’re set on winning, then a game like American Roulette will likely see you losing more than you win, thereby ruining the enjoyment and overall experience for you. However, if you’re only playing for fun, or have strict win/loss limits, then the house edge may not bother you as much.
In either case, sticking to games with lower house edges, or higher house edges but with lower stakes, is the best idea until you’ve got a strong grasp on games’ rules and strategies.
The good news is, many online casinos offer virtual demo/free-play versions of popular table games, so you can practice as much as you want without losing any of your own money.