Smarter Gambling

Vegas Advantage Analyzes the True Cost of Casino Game Rules Changes

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Written by Joshua

I’ve previously shared my enjoyment of the content generated by John and Kristina Mehaffey over at Vegas Advantage and their growing array of sister sites. One of the reasons why I like their content is they take a very approachable and analytical look at various topics around the state of casino games, including the rules with which they operate.

Because they’ve been collecting this data first hand for long enough, they can evaluate trends, and look at how these changes affect players. One such topic is the increasing cost of gambling.

Aside from speeding up the game’s pacing (which casinos have done over time too), casinos have two key ways they can increase the overall profits from gambling. One is to raise the overall bet, whether it be the minimum bet of a slot machine or table game. Certainly we’ve seen this happen over time on machine games, and when it comes to table games minimums spiked as the casinos reopened after pandemic shutdowns, and in many cases haven’t come back down to previous levels (and likely never will).

The other is changing the game’s payback, so that the same wager will be exposed to a higher house edge, and over time simply make more money off the same wager amount. This is not unlike how consumer packaged goods can be the same price, but reduced in size to have less product – you’re paying more, by getting less product to consume for the price you’re paying.

This leads me to my latest article worth recommending, which they titled “How Las Vegas Casinos Quietly Raise Prices on Games.” You could take the Las Vegas out, because any casino can and probably is doing this at some point along the way.

John uses examples of pay table changes on Video Poker, table game minimum increases, adding a third zero in roulette and Blackjack rules changes to walk us players through how those changes impact the overall payback.

The increase in house edge can be quite impressive, but that simply means that the casinos will have an easier time at your money. Bringing the same budget to Las Vegas means you’ll simply be able to play for less time.

It’s a good reminder that you don’t have to accept the rules being offered at a given casino, if you’re willing to go to a casino that offers a better value. In a market like Las Vegas, there’s a lot of other options out there, and locals casinos, for example, will generally have better rules and minimums than on the strip.

This is a good time to remind that Vegas Advantage sells for a very reasonable price the table games data that they’ve collected. They’re updating it twice a year right now, and the last survey, published in March, was recently reduced in price. Check out more details on their website.

About the author

Joshua

My name is Joshua, and I’m a 30-something who works in tech as a marketer by day, and dabbles in casinos periodically during off-times. Know Your Slots will reflect my interests in understanding the various ways you can play slots, games that give you a potential edge, casino promotions and systems and how you can get the most out of it.

2 Comments

  • “ Casinos have two key ways they can increase the overall profits from gambling.”

    You left out frequency. It’s wager in $ times house edge times frequency (wagers per hour).

    I play an electronic mechanical game and this casino reduced the time to make a wager from 30 seconds to 20 seconds. You go from 120 wagers an hour to 180 wagers an hour. That is 50% more wagers per hour!

    The same is true for table games: for example, a faster blackjack dealer gets more wagers per hour.

    • Good point – if they can speed up the game (and slots are a great example of how that’s been happening over time), you can get more wagers exposed to the house edge too! And the electronic table games is a great example that I completely forget about (because I don’t like them all that much haha)

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