Most gamblers push this fact out of their minds when they’re playing, but the reality is the ‘house’ otherwise known as the casino or betting site will always have an advantage over we the players. This is called the house edge, and it is the reason why many gambling businesses are still viable in such trying economies. For those of you who have never even contemplated this, and you’re now considering it to be unfair. Think about the fact that your favourite gaming site is a business, so they need to take in more money than they pay out to make a profit.

Despite this there needs to be a level of fairness and transparency, as such, every site and game has Random Number Generators (RNG) coded into the background. Yes this favours the casino, but it also means that the site does not control when a win will happen and to which player. So in reality it means you can have good days and bad days, but you know that the results are legitimate.

If you’re wondering why you even bother gambling, then it’s worth adding that some players have won quite often, and we know of people who have received life changing amounts. The crux of it is, if no one won, then people simply wouldn’t play, so there is always the chance of a win. By understanding what the house edge is and how to play it, you can reduce the impact. So here is the casino house edge UK explained, with a few tips on making it work in your favour.

Understanding the Casino House Edge

casino house edge explained

Within the introduction we have delved a little into what a house edge is, but just to clarify it means that the casino will always have better odds than you the player. Some gamblers and sites use the term house edge advantage, but usually this means the same thing. If you were to look at a house edge then you will see that its actually a small percentage. It’s when you work it out in the long term that you can see the casino will receive more wins and as such they have to pay out less.

So that you have all the information you need we will provide you with examples, so let’s consider online roulette. Within most varieties of the game you will see that the house advantage tends to be the same. You can find this within the pay table which offers information on how the game is played and the odds. Of course nothing is always perfect, because you may see slight differences between the likes of European and American roulette.

As a result of having an extra number on the wheel, European roulette has a house edge of 2.70% whereas American roulette is 5.26%. This percentage is how much profit the casino will make, so let’s say the house edge is 0.50%, then the casino would take £0.50 profit for every £100 wagered. The edge can vary quite dramatically, with some games having a mere 1 or 2%, but we have seen some with a whopping 25%.

Now before you start calculating your games, this is purely an average and you may find that for every £100 bet, the resulting house edge will be different. One of the most significant impacts on your game will be variance, or volatility. But it’s also wise to know what the house edge is, before you start to play a particular game, as this can improve your chance of winning.

What Is The Impact Of Variance

We have written a guide on the subject of variance and its influence on gambling, but generally it means deviating from the average. We’ve explained above that games are random due to the RNG, which is installed into the coding during the design stage; which means the casino has no influence over it. The RNG is important because online gaming doesn’t have the randomness of a player throwing the dice or picking a card. Instead, it needs to be created by using a seed number and an algorithm.

We love examples, so say you threw a six sided dice 60 times, it would make sense that you would see it land on each number 10 times. In reality, we know that this won’t happen, because the variance in the results have to be accounted for. This real life result is what the RNG is attempting to emulate when you play online slots or casino games.

How To Find The House Edge

Finding the house edge can be done by focusing on the Return to Player of the game, which is normally displayed as RTP. If you’re thinking ‘I’ve never heard of RTP’ then don’t worry, because although the sites claim it’s not a secret or hidden, most don’t heavily advertise it. The RTP is displayed as a percentage and if this is classed as too low, then it can deter gamblers from a particular game.

The basis of RTP is that it is a percentage of the real money wagers which are returned to a player through winnings. You would expect then that a 97% RTP means a £97 return for every £100 spent. But those of us who have played online know that you don’t tend to get that kind of return on your bets. This is because the calculation for Return to Player is done over the long term and not each wager or player.

Let’s jump back now to house advantage and how this connects to RTP. Theoretically if the return to player is 97% then the house edge would be what is left over, meaning it’s 3%. Again, bear in mind that this is over the long term and not on individual bets.

To find out the RTP of a game you have two options, firstly you can check out the pay table. Or secondly and probably the easiest method is to type the games name into Google with RTP after it and you will see a raft of articles each showing the percentage in the search results.

There is one type of game which is different and that is live casino games and this is because they use actual dealers and as such it is more alike the land based options.

The House Edge on Online Casino Games

We’ll begin by pointing out that games which offer higher RTP’s and lower house edges, tend to pay less in prizes but pay out more frequently. This is the average house edge on your favourite games.

  • Slots – Because of how different slot games can be, the house edge will vary quite extremely; going from as little as 1% and as high as 15%.
  • Roulette – Due to the fact that there are three types of roulette, there are different house edges. American has a 5.26% edge, European roulette is nearly half the percentage at 2.7%. The only difference between the games is that one has an extra number on the wheel. For something a little different there is French roulette, which has a 1.35% edge on even money bets.
  • Blackjack – If your chosen table casino game is Blackjack, then you will find it has the lowest house advantage. It can be 0.5% but this will depend on the number of decks and how you play.
  • Craps – Alike Blackjack the variation depends on how you play, but it can be between 1.41% on pass line bets and 1.36% on don’t pass line bets. Some bets are less favourable, to give an example betting on a 7 gives the house a 16.9% margin.
  • Baccarat – If you bet on the banker the edge is 1.06% and on the player it’s 1.24%. By betting on the tie you can see a house advantage of 14.36%.
  • Video Poker – One of the better games to play when you consider house edge because it’s about 0.46%.
  • Keno – This game has a whopping 25 to 29% advantage, much higher than other games.
  • Three-card Poker – This card game has a 2% edge.
  • Pai Gow Poker – Comes in around 2.5%.

What you can establish from this is that the house edge is very variable, predominantly due to the changes in the game. Whether this is how many decks are used, the betting option chosen, or how the game is actually played, it can all impact the house edge.

How To Beat The House Edge

As we explained above there is quite a bit of variability in online games, so how to beat the house edge isn’t easy to answer. The key to improving your chances is to learn how to play the game and implement a strategy of skill. You can do this purely by playing or by researching tips from experts. If you don’t have a lot of accessible funds then demo options are a great idea, although they won’t play out exactly as the funded version does.

Another point to mention is that the Return to Player is audited by independent testers. Information concerning the audit will be found on the betting site at the bottom of the page. A fundamental part of the audit is ensuring that the house edge is as advertised and that the RNG is fair and honest. This is why it’s important to check that the site you play on is licenced by the UK Gambling Commission. They have set legal requirements which are quite extensive and have to be maintained if the site wants to keep their licence.

Summary of Casino House Edge UK Explained

For many players the realisation that the house edge impacts their gaming can be a surprise. If we consider its implications on our betting, then it would make sense that the sites have ensured that they remain profitable. Because of this most players are comfortable with the concept of the edge being in the casinos favour and as such it shouldn’t deter you from enjoying playing online.

Betting online has an element of excitement because you have a chance to win, but the larger picture should focus on the fun and entertainment that it provides. Gambling should never be seen as a way to prop up or sustain your lifestyle, this can lead to a gambling addiction. If this resonates with you then we strongly advise you contact organisations such as GamCare, who can support you and provide appropriate tools.

The key to the house edge is researching specific techniques on how the game works, which can push the odds in your favour. If you are looking at a better chance to win, then our advice is stick to the lower house edge games.

We have plenty of other guides if you enjoyed this one, such as How to Open a New Online Casino Account UK, Pachinko Games Online and What are Progressive Jackpots.