Why Does the ‘House Always Win’ in Online Gambling?

At some point or other you’ve undoubtedly encountered that age-old saying: ‘The house always wins’. It applies just as well to online casinos as it does to their brick and mortar counterparts, but you may very well start to wonder why that is the case.

When you first start out you may (falsely) assume that the casino has just as much of a chance of losing as you do. After all, you’re essentially playing against it and so your chances of winning or losing should be equal – but that isn’t the case.

Every game in any casino is engineered to give the casino what is known as the ‘house edge’. Essentially the ‘house edge’ is a term that is used to describe the advantage given to the casino to ensure that in the long term it really does always win.

That house edge is generally reflected in the odds and payouts that the games provide. For different games it is structured differently in online gambling, but one of the easiest games to look at for the ‘house edge’ is slots.

Within any game of slots is an engineered quantity known as the ‘expected value’ or ‘payout percentage’. That quantity is essentially the average amount that the game will end up paying out over the long term. So if $1 is bet in a game with a 100% payout percentage, it would mean that the expected payout would be $1. However what you’ll find is that the expected payout is always slightly less than 100%, meaning that over the long term the casino always will end up keeping a small percentage.

With other games you can ‘see’ the house edge for yourself when you evaluate the odds and payout, and possibly even the house rules. The combination of those three will always provide the casino with a certain advantage over the long term.

It is important to note that while the house really does always win – that doesn’t mean that you can’t make a profit when playing at online casinos. In fact, it is actually very realistic to expect to make a profit here and there – it is just the overall average over the long term and amongst all the players at the online casino where the casino will eventually win.