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.