When it comes to gambling, there are always two sides to every story. On the one hand, gambling is an entertainment service provided to players with merely a chance for them to win money. On the other hand, many people are into gambling exactly because they see it as a way to make a buck without working – which is very wrong, by the way. So, in the question of whether casino games can be profitable in the long term, the best answer is “it depends”.
Let us elaborate.
A service you are expected to pay for
People often perceive gambling as a way to make money – which is fundamentally wrong. No casino, not even the best ZAR casino in South Africa guarantees that you’ll win. On the contrary.
Online casinos – and land-based casinos, for that matter – are businesses that provide a service. You pay to see a movie at the cinema, you pay to attend a concert, you pay to see a play at the theatre – and you are expected to pay to play casino games. Casinos do have a unique business model, for sure, but in essence, they charge for the service they provide, just like all other entertainment services.
On average, online casino players lose around 5.5% of all the money they wager, according to a study cited in The Atlantic. This represents the casinos’ profit margin that they pocket in exchange for services rendered.
Gambling for profit?
Las Vegas entrepreneur Steve Wynn once said that if you want to make money in a casino, own one. This is not entirely true, of course. People have been known to make fortunes while playing casino games – but this is far less common than you might think.
There are well-documented cases of professional gamblers playing casino games and making small fortunes in the process. One of the most famous of them is Archie Karas, who repeatedly won millions of dollars playing high-stakes poker and blackjack at various Las Vegas casinos. But these professional gamblers are the exception, not the rule – these professional players making a living, perhaps fortunes playing casino games are a rarity.
Games, odds, and returns
If your goal is to make money playing casino games, you need to have in-depth knowledge about the game you intend to play. Most casino games are simply too unpredictable to be good candidates for this. There are, in turn, a few exceptions, most notably blackjack and video poker.
While these games tend to have a very low house edge and come with the possibility of applying a strategy to their gameplay, it’s not easy to play them for profit. You need to study every aspect of the game and know the odds of each outcome before you have a chance to beat the system. And even then, you can’t expect to beat the bank – you can only reasonably count on a slow, more or less steady, stream of income.
But knowing the game in-depth is not enough: to play casino games for profit, you need discipline, strong bankroll management, and a dedication to responsible gaming. Without these, even the best strategy can turn into a downward spiral.
Casino games were never meant to be a means of making money. Their innate unpredictability makes them a great form of entertainment for thrillseekers but not a good money-making tool. In spite of all this, casino games can be played for profit but with a few caveats – for some, it may not be worth the effort.
So, if you think of playing casino games, make sure you do it for the right reasons, keeping in mind all of the above. And make sure to play responsibly and within your means.