# What Is Gambling?

Gambling is risking money or valuables on a game, contest, or event where the outcome is dependent on some level of chance.

# Skill vs Chance

The difference between games of skill, like shooting hoops against a friend, and games of chance, like playing lotteries, is that you can improve your basketball shooting skill but nothing you do can influence your chance of picking the right lottery ticket. In games of chance, you never know what is going to happen next because these games are random and unpredictable!

# Randomness

Most regulated forms of gambling involve randomness. Randomness in gambling ensures that there is no way to accurately predict the outcome of a game. Devices used for creating random results in gambling are often referred to as Random Number Generators (RNG). RNGs include cards, dice, roulette wheels, computer chips in electronic games and draw machines like in bingo. more…

A game is said to be random if each element in the sample of the RNG has an equal chance or probability of being selected. For example, if you roll a single fair die, each side of the die has the same chance of landing face up.

# Independence of Events

In gambling, independence of events means that previous results have no effect on future results. What happened before has no effect on what will happen next when playing a game. An example of an independent event is flipping a coin. If you flip a coin ten times and each time, it lands on heads, the chance of getting either a head or tail on the eleventh flip remains 50/50. The coin has no memory of previous flips. Previous outcomes have no effect on current or future outcomes of flipping a coin. more…

### Exceptions to Independence of Events

There are some types of games where previous results can have some effect on what happens next. For example, in blackjack, when a card is played, it will not be back in play until the cards are shuffled again. This type of game is often referred to as a random and non-independent game. A second exception would be games of skill such as sporting events, which are often referred to as non-random and non-independent games.

# Law of Large Numbers

The law of large numbers says that if you repeat a large number of independent trials of random events (like flipping a coin or rolling a die), the outcome will drift towards the average over time. There are 6 numbers on a die and on average each number will turn up about the same number of times over a thousand rolls. So, what are the chances of any number turning up when rolling a die? more…

That’s right; 1 out of 6! Even though each individual result is random and unpredictable we know that over time the outcome will drift toward the average which is 1 out of 6. Gambling really is all about math and in math, probability rules!

# Probability

Probability is a way to mathematically express the outcome of chance or random events. In gambling, the probability of winning is often referred to as the true odds. The true odds are the probability of an element being selected. more…

The true odds or probability of winning can be calculated using the following formula:

- P = n/x
- P = probability of a specific event occurring
- n = number of ways a specific event can occur
- x = total number of possible outcomes

So, you can calculate the probability of any number appearing on the roll of a die by simply plugging the numbers into the formula:

P = 1/6

In gambling, the true odds are often expressed in a number of ways. Again, let’s look at the die example:

- 1/6
- 16.67%
- 1 in 6
- 5 to 1 against

What did you notice about the true odds of guessing the outcome of the die? That’s right, they are against you! You have a greater chance of not guessing the outcome correctly. In gambling, the true odds are always in favor of the operator of the game commonly known as the house.

# House Advantage

Gambling operators make money; there are no ifs or buts about that fact. However, most people have little understanding of exactly how this happens. In all types of gambling (except for private wagers between individuals), the operator of the game (the “house”) has a built in mathematical advantage over those who play the games. This results in players losing money over time. more…

### There are three broad methods gambling operators use to make money.

Commission/Rake – The operator keeps a set percentage of all sales or wagers (6/49, Scratch tickets, Casino Poker, Horse Racing, Bingo).

Rules of the Game – The operator creates a house advantage within the game through the rules that define the game (blackjack).

True odds Vs. Payoff odds – The house advantage is achieved by setting the payoff odds lower than the true odds of winning (roulette).

It is important to note that the house advantage is usually achieved through a combination of two or more of the above methods. For example, the rules of the game usually set up a situation where the payoff odds of a game are lower than the true odds of winning. The house advantage is the average amount the operator can expect to keep from all wagers over the long term.

# How Specific Games Work

##### ( Click to Open | Click to Close )

# National Lottery Games

National lottery games are games of chance in which tickets are sold across Canada that may later qualify the ticket holder for a prize. Examples include Lotto 6/49 and Lotto Max.

Randomness in Lotto 6/49 and Lotto Max is created by using a draw machine that is similar to a bingo machine. Numbered balls from 1 to 49 are placed in numerical order in the ball rack of the draw machine. The balls are released into a drum, which is spun for a minimum of 10 seconds before a button is pressed to release the first ball. One by one, the balls drop into the trap at the bottom of the drum and an electric eye prompts their release into a chute.

The probability or chance of you winning or sharing the jackpot prize with a single ticket in Lotto 6/49 is about 1 in 13,983,816. The prize fund of Lotto 6/49 is made up of 47% of ticket sales which means that the operator keeps about 53% of the ticket sales as a fee for offering the game.

The probability or chance of you winning or sharing the jackpot prize with a single ticket in Lotto Max is about 1 in 28,663,528. The prize fund for Lotto Max is 48% of ticket sales which means that the operator keeps about 52% of the ticket sales as a fee for offering the game.

# Regional Lottery Games

Regional lottery games are games of chance in which tickets are sold across the Prairie Provinces and Northwest Territories that may later qualify the ticket holder for a prize. Examples are Extra, Payday, Western 6/49, and Pick 3.

Randomness in Lotto 6/49 and Lotto Max is created by using a draw machine that is similar to a bingo machine. Numbered balls from 1 to 49 are placed in numerical order in the ball rack of the draw machine. The balls are released into a drum, which is spun for a minimum of 10 seconds before a button is pressed to release the first ball. One by one, the balls drop into the trap at the bottom of the drum and an electric eye prompts their release into a chute.

The probability or chance of you winning or sharing the jackpot prize with a single ticket in Lotto 6/49 is about 1 in 13,983,816. The prize fund of Lotto 6/49 is made up of 47% of ticket sales which means that the operator keeps about 53% of the ticket sales as a fee for offering the game.

The probability or chance of you winning or sharing the jackpot prize with a single ticket in Lotto Max is about 1 in 28,663,528. The prize fund for Lotto Max is 48% of ticket sales which means that the operator keeps about 52% of the ticket sales as a fee for offering the game.

# Scratch & Win

Regional lottery games also include Scratch & Win games. In these games, the ticket holder may instantly qualify for a prize, rather than having to wait until a draw is completed.

Randomness in Scratch & Win is created games during the ticket manufacturing process. Winning and non – winning tickets are determined at the time of ticket processing and printing. After printing, the sheets of tickets are sliced into individual tickets, which are then stacked and shuffled to ensure the winning tickets are randomly mixed with non-winning tickets. This ensures that winning tickets are widely distributed to hundreds of stores through the provinces.

The probability or chance of you winning the jackpot prize in Scratch & Win games varies with each game type. Scratch & Win game payouts vary but generally 50% to 65% is returned to those who buy tickets which means the operator keeps from 50% to 35% of the ticket sales.

# Sport Select

Sport Select is a sports lottery game. Although sports games are games of skill, betting on the outcome involves a lot of chance.

While the outcome of sports games are not dependent on a device to create randomness, there is a lot of unpredictability in the outcome of wagering on sports games due to the complexity and uncertainty of team and player performance as well as how the officials call the game. The operators of Sport Select games always set the pay off odds in their favour to ensure that they make money over the long term. Historically, the operator has kept about 44% of all ticket sales (meaning about 56% of the money wagered was returned as prizes).more…

# Roulette

Roulette is one of the oldest casino games. Randomness is created using a bowl-shaped wheel and a ball. A casino employee starts the wheel spinning and then throws the ball along the wheel in the opposite direction. As the ball gradually slows down it eventually lands in one of the number sections. The roulette wheels in Manitoba use 37 number sections ranging from 0 to 36.

The probability or true odds of the ball landing in any one of the numbered sections is 1 in 37 or 36 to 1. The payoff odds of any single number being selected are 35 to 1 which means that for a one dollar wager the operator pays 36 dollars (35 dollars plus the original wager) for a correct selection. The difference between the true odds and the payoff odds is what the operator keeps for offering the game. In Manitoba, the house advantage on roulette is 2.7%.

# Slot Machines and Video Lottery Terminals (VLTs)

Inside every slot machine and VLT is a specialized computer chip called a random number generator (RNG) that is continuously cycling through millions of numbers at several thousand numbers per second. The RNG runs continuously, 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, even when no one is playing.

The instant a player presses the “spin” button, numbers are selected that tell the computer what symbols to display on the monitor. Pushing the button a thousandth of a second earlier or later would result in a completely different outcome. Some numbers on the random number generator will result in a win while most will result in a loss. There is nothing a player can do to make wins more likely. The RNG makes it impossible for a player to know what result will happen next.

The probability or chances of getting a winning combination on slot machines and VLTs varies with each game. Slot machines and VLTs in Manitoba are designed to keep more money than they pay out. Slot machines in Winnipeg keep an average of about 8% of all money wagered (meaning they pay out approximately 92% of all the money wagered in prizes) while VLTs in Manitoba keep an average of about 7% of all money wagered (meaning they pay out approximately 93% of all the money wagered in prizes).

# Texas Hold’em

Texas Hold ’em (also known as Hold’em) is a variation of the standard card game of poker. Randomness is created in Texas Hold’em using a standard deck of 52 playing cards, no jokers. Because the cards are dealt randomly and outside the control of the players, each player attempts to control the amount of money in the pot based on the hand the player holds. The players attempt to make mathematically correct decisions regarding when and how much to bet, raise, call or fold to maximize their long-term winnings.more…

# Online Gambling

Online gambling is not the same as gambling in a physical casino but there are some similarities. Online slot machines work in exactly the same way as slot machines in a physical casino except the delivery of the spin results are different. Like slot machines in a physical casino, the odds are in favour of the operator and they are designed to keep more money than they payout.more…

# Online Gaming

Online gaming is not to be confused with online gambling. Online gaming is a form of entertainment that gives players an opportunity to interact socially, either cooperatively or competitively, online with many others who are playing online games.

There are many different types of online games providing players with many different game experiences. Most online games require that players purchase a subscription, which is how the operators make money. Most online games require that players develop skills in order to receive rewards that allow them to complete the game individually or as part of a group. The primary consequence is loss of time, not the loss of money like gambling.