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What is House Edge in Casinos?

Have you ever wondered how casinos stay afloat and in fact, make very good profits? Well, that’s through both food and drinks that are sold in that particular casino and mainly through what is called the ‘house edge’. The house edge in each game can vary from as little as 2% all the way up to 40%. But before we delve into looking at which games have the lowest and highest house edges, let’s have a little deeper look into the meaning of the term.

The term basically refers to the advantage that the establishment or casino has against the player. They are the ‘house’ and thus the ‘edge’ is their advantage. In the same way, you could consider everything other than the house edge to instead be the player edge however that isn’t commonly referred to as such. The higher the house edge is, the higher the guaranteed return to the casino is.

The Edge Keeps Casinos Going

Believe it or not, if the house edge didn’t exist, casinos wouldn’t be able to operate viably commercially and thus would cease to exist. And so we have the concept of the house edge to thank casinos being able to operate. This, of course, is the same with online casinos, replacing the fact that the overheads mainly are in relation to the running costs of the websites rather than the rent of physical premises.

This is also the reason why the saying exists “the house always wins”. As a player, you might be able to win over a shorter span but over longer periods of time, the house is always guaranteed to receive their return through the house edge. Whereas over time as much as you may end up winning you could also end up losing and thus being left worse off than you were before. The reason this doesn’t apply to the casino is that they will only lose so much money over a certain amount of time and their overheads will rarely change.

Another way to look at what a house edge is to look at a coin toss. If you chose tails, you have a 50/50 chance of winning. Now, let’s say you would usually receive £1 back if you correctly guess from your 50p bet. Instead of receiving the whole £1 back, you instead would receive 97p. This means that from every flip of the coin the casino would receive a marginal income and over time this would start to accrue into some considerable profits.

Now let’s have a look at what the various house edges are. For example, in American roulette where you have the double-zero as well as the standard zero, the house edge stands at 5.26%. Now, for instance, say the casino takes in excess of £1m in bets over the course of a year. Going off what the house edge is, that’s a guaranteed £52,600 in revenue for the casino off just that one table alone. Now if a casino has 5 or more tables and multiple different casinos you can now start to see why casinos are big business. This is the same with casino sites in the UK. In fact, online casino sites in the UK are more profitable than their land-owning counterparts as they have fewer overheads but exactly the same house edge.

This progressive means of generating revenue is also beneficial to the casinos as it doesn’t mean that they’re taking all of the player's money at once if this were to be the case the punter would immediately be put off. Instead, the casinos make money off you as a player over a prolonged period. That’s why the house always wins.

What games have the lowest house edge?

The game with the lowest house edge is in fact blackjack if you’re playing with just a single deck, whereby the house edge for the casino is just over 1.5%. This is the most attractive house edge from the player's point of view and it boosts their chances of winning. The edge on blackjack games will vary depending upon how many decks are used. In craps, the house edge can vary anywhere from 1.5% to 5% depending upon which type of game you’re playing. Online casino sites in the UK will typically tell you how many decks are being used.

Online slot games are relatively low when it comes to the house edge. Depending upon which slot you’re playing on you can expect the house odds to range from 2% to 10%. Now, moving on to roulette, if you’re playing the standard single 0 versions, you can expect the edge to be 2.70%, rising to 5.26% if you’re playing the American double 0 versions. All of these edges are very low compared to some games such as Keno, the popular form of lottery game where the edge can be between 25% and 29%. These are all the main games and their respective house edges, during games of Blackjack, for example, individual edges can be calculated dependent upon what hand you’ve got.

If you’re wanting to play a game that is relatively easy to pick up and doesn’t require a huge amount of learning, you’re probably going to find them games have a high house edge whereas those with the lower house edges will have a steeper learning curve as the logic behind this is that you’re being rewarded for the more skill you have in the game. Hopefully reading this today you have a much better understanding of the role the house edge plays in casinos both in physical casinos and on online casinos in the UK. On top of that, you’ll have more of an in-depth knowledge into what games in the online casinos in the UK have the lowest edges. Again, playing on a game with a low house edge doesn’t guarantee you a profit, but, as we’ve mentioned today, you can certainly better your chances whilst at the same time you are reducing your risk. Of course, you could play a game with a high house edge and come out on top, however, this will purely be down to chance.