When gambling at casinos, you’re putting a lot of faith in the house to never cheat you out of your money. After all, casinos run the games and can take measures to rig the action in their favor.
Therefore, you might feel like you’re being cheated during a cold streak. I myself have wondered whether casinos are offering fair games in the midst of a bad blackjack or slots run.
The house used to cheat regularly in decades or centuries past. In fact, there are some notable instances of crooked gambling houses ripping players off (see anything regarding faro).
Luckily, though, you don’t have to worry about being cheated by modern casinos. Here are five reasons why casinos are motivated to offer fair gaming today.
1 – The Odds Are Already in the Casino’s Favor
Casinos don’t need to cheat to win profits. After all, they already hold the edge in just about every single game.
The house advantage varies based on each individual game and bet. Generally speaking, though, casinos can look forward to anywhere from a 5% to 10% margin on each wager.
The from the UNLV Center for Gaming Research shows how much Las Vegas casinos make from games on average:
- Overall win percentage in 2019 = 8.32%
- Slots win percentage = 6.90%
- Table games win percentage = 13.84%
- Blackjack win percentage = 14.12%
- Baccarat win percentage = 12.93% (with side bets included)
- Craps win percentage = 16.03%
Of course, gambling establishments could always cheat to win even more money. Underground mob casinos used to bilk players during the Prohibition Era to boost their winnings.
They’re not relying on scamming a low volume of gamblers. Instead, most casinos draw enough players to where they can thoroughly profit off their edges.
2 – Gaming Markets Are Heavily Regulated
Many famous casino cheating incidents happened long before state and national governments began regulating markets. Underground gambling houses were already operating illegally, so they had little to lose by cheating on top of the matter.
Again, the industry is much different nowadays. Online and land-based casinos must undergo licensing processes before they’re approved.
From here, they have a lengthy set of rules and regulations to abide by. Online casinos, for example, must undergo third-party testing to ensure that their odds and return to player (RTP) meet stated values. A gambling establishment can’t legally tout that a game features 98% RTP, when it really only offers 95% payback.
Gambling venues risk severe punishments for violating a jurisdiction’s rules. For instance, 888 drew a record £7.8 million fine from the UKGC for abusive advertising.
Keep in mind that 888 was running misleading ads. Just imagine what would’ve happened if they were caught rigging any of their games.
3 – Most Casinos Must Undergo Third-Party Testing
As mentioned before, casinos in many gambling jurisdictions must have their games tested by a third-party lab. This testing ensures that games offer fair odds, accurate house edges, and working random number generators.
Here are examples of labs that provide these services:
- BMM Testlabs
- Gaming Labs Certified
- iTech Labs
The point of third-party testing is to ensure that neither casinos nor software providers rig games. A lab provides certification to approved internet and land-based casinos.
Real money gaming sites proudly display such certification at the bottom of their homepage. For instance, you might scroll to the bottom of a casino site and see an iTech Labs emblem. Upon clicking this emblem, you should be led to the GLI-approved certification.
Of course, not all gaming authorities require such testing. Some of the weaker online jurisdictions, such as Costa Rica and Belize, don’t strictly force operators to get their games checked.
But on average, most gambling governing bodies do require licensees to obtain third-party approval. You can rest assured that you’re dealing with fair gaming in these cases.
4 – Getting Caught Means Losing Everything
Imagine for a second that a casino does buck the modern trend and cheat customers. They may very well get away with this plan for a while. But what happens when they’re finally caught?
Here are three different ways that this scenario could play out:
- They lose their licenses in every jurisdiction that they’ve obtained approval in.
- They operate in weak jurisdictions and maintain their licenses. However, word gets out that they’ve cheated and players start boycotting them.
- They claim that they didn’t cheat, but simply had a software bug. Some gamblers buy this excuse and still continue playing with them.
None of these scenarios are good for the crooked casino. In fact, they’ve essentially been dealt a deathblow in the first two situations.
As for the last scenario, a scandalous casino or software company may be able to survive. More often than not, though, they need to change ownership.
For example, the Virtual Casino Group was notorious for ripping players off with casino bonuses and generally having all-around terrible service. Their online casinos continued to draw a bad name, so they sold their assets to Ace Revenue.
Long story short, a gambling site that’s caught cheating is one that probably won’t survive. The best they can hope for is that some customers will believe their lies, or that they’re able to sell their assets for a reasonable price.
5 – Players Won’t Return If They Always Lose
Scamming gamblers may be a lucrative short-term business. However, it doesn’t draw repeat customers in the long run.
After all, players don’t like revisiting the same casino where they’ve taken heavy losses. Even if they don’t immediately suspect cheating, they may simply see the establishment as bad luck.
The house must walk a fine line between having a house edge and still giving gamblers a chance. If nobody ever wins, then the casino will quickly draw a poor reputation.
A lack of winning can even start rumors about whether a casino is offering fair games. Plenty of forum threads exist where players complain about losing at certain online casinos and question if the action has been rigged.
Some of these forum users are just salty losers who played too long and lost big. In other cases, though, these players might be onto something.
In any case, a casino needs to have some winners in order to look legitimate. But they’re not going to have many winners if they’re constantly ripping people off.
Being cheated by the house was once a legitimate fear. However, such instances are very rare these days.
Casinos have to deal with much more red tape. They must undergo a licensing procedure, abide by strict rules, and undergo game testing. The latter aspect will likely detect if the house is scamming gamblers and/or lying about RTP and odds.
Is casino cheating still possible today? Theoretically, yes, and it could potentially happen in isolated instances somewhere around the globe.
But the odds of you being ripped off by the house today are little to none. With that said, you can play at land-based and online casinos with plenty of confidence.