Why is sports betting more profitable than playing in the casino?

Sports betting and casino games are very often considered to be one kind of gambling and it is true that they have a lot in common. However, there is one very important, fundamental difference and this is that in casinos you can never beat the house in the long run, whereas in sports betting this is possible.

It is quite impossible to find people who have made money from playing the casino and if there are any, then it is certain that they have done so by using fraudulent methods. There is a simple explanation for this: every casino bet already contains the so-called deliberate profit-margin. Regardless of its value – it might be as low as 1% or as high as 20% – it means one thing in the case of a casino and this is the speed by which a player will spend all of his/her money. This is going to happen in any case.

Let’s see how the casino principles apply in the game “Heads or Tails”. The probability of one or the other side of a coin coming up is 50% and so, for any of the two events the coefficient should be 2.0. However, in reality it will be 1.9  because the casino wants to prevent itself from losing. So, this coefficient includes a margin which ensures that the casino, instead of the player, is the winner in the long run.

The ‘law of large numbers’ is critical here and it works in favor of the casino. Under this theorem, the more we flip a coin, the more the even distribution of results between heads and tails. For instance, if we flip a coin 10 times, then the probability of 8 heads coming up is very good, but if we do this 1000 times, then it is not a 80/20 distribution. If you don’t believe it, just try it yourself. In that sense, the players can only guess what will come up and this is always in favor of the casinos.

Roulette is one of the most popular games in the casino. A player has several options for betting – on a specific number, group of numbers, even or odd numbers, red or black. But in reality these options are just different ways of losing money. While it is generally assumed that winning at red/black or even/odd betting is easier, the reality is that even in these options the probability of getting what you need is less than 50%, because there is also the “zero” sector. Note that in American roulette there are two zeros.

The same holds true for blackjack. Every game has a margin for the casino and so, in the long run the casino makes profits while the players are generating losses.

So, what about the bookmakers? Bookmakers also have a margin, because after all they are not charities but profit-driven enterprises. However, in sports betting an experienced bettor may generate a long-term profit, because bookmakers calculate the odds for each event separately and it often happens that they underestimate or overestimate the strength of a team and so offer favorable odds for a player. This means that ‘wrong’ odds are provided to bettors. But for bettors a ‘wrong’ coefficient, that is generated by an incorrect assessment of an event on the part of bookmakers, represents value and those who are capable of finding such values, eventually beat bookmakers and make profits in the long run.

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