One of the most common misconceptions of casinos is that they cheat you to make money. Even though the casino does try to get you drunk, takes away clocks to make yourself lose track of time and trick you into a comfort zone, the one thing that casinos do not do is cheat on their games. If you think about it, it makes sense. If they cheat, it means that fewer people will get rewards, if any. A casino with very low payouts attracts less people, and hence is bad for business. So by cheating, the casino has more to lose than to gain.
How then, do casinos make so much money? This has something to do with what mathematicians call ‘probability’ or as casino owners call it, the odds. The odds are the chances you have at winning something. For example, when you flip a coin, you have one in two chances if it is heads, and one in two chances for tails. That means a fifty percent chance at winning or losing. Now, if we take rolling a die as the experiment, it would mean that you would have one out of six chances to win, and 5 out of 6 chances to lose. This means that the odds are lesser. But then comes the difference in payout. In a coin toss, you have only 2 outcomes. If you bet 100, and you win, you win 100 more, if you lose, you lose 100. However, when the odds are 1 to 6 and you win, you get to keep 100 and stand to win 500. So lower the odds, higher the payout. But if you missed what just happened, you are already losing. 5 out of 6 times, you stand to lose. However good your luck is, it’s going to give way to the house edge and in the long term, you are going to lose more than you can afford. This is because the odds do not change. Each die throw has the exact probability as the last one, so over time, the 5 out of 6 chances will take control of the game. But it gets worse. They pay you winnings less than the odds.
For example, in the coin toss example, if they make you risk 110 for 100, it seems very small a loss, but the house catches up over time. It is more visible in lower odds, like in the die roll experiment. If you bet 110 for 100, 5 out of 6 times they are going to lose and this adds up pretty quickly.
So it is safe to say that casinos do not cheat, rather, they just use mathematics to outsmart you. It isn’t exactly honest work, but they’re not exactly lying either.