Understanding Gambling

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Before you play, it's a good idea to learn exactly how gambling works.

Do you understand what the words odds and house edge mean?
What about the term average return to player?

You should fully understand the differences between skill-based games and games of chance, and it's important to know your real chances of winning.

What is Gambling?

Gambling means taking part in a game during which players risk money, or something of monetary value, for the possibility of winning money or a prize. The outcome of the game usually comes down to random chance.

There are many forms of gambling including lotteries and scratch cards, card games like poker and blackjack, sports betting, slot machines, and other types of casino games.

What is Probability?

Probability is the likelihood of a specific outcome or event taking place. To work this out, the number of specific outcomes is divided by the number of possible outcomes.

For example, if a player was rolling a dice and wanted the number 3 to come up, there is only 1 specific outcome desired. At the same time, there are 6 possible outcomes that may occur, because the dice could land on 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, or 6. The probability of you rolling a 3 is 1 in 6.

What is Randomness?

Randomness means that each possible outcome has the same chance, or probability, of occurring.

For example:

  • When a dice is rolled, the probability of rolling a 2 is the same as the probability of rolling a 6, which is the same probability of rolling any of the other numbers. So you could say that the chance of rolling a specific number is 1 in 6.
  • When you flip a coin, the probability of it landing on heads is the same as the probability of it landing on tails, so you could say that it has a 50% chance or it's 50/50.

The reason each outcome is as likely as all of the others is that it all depends on chance. If a flipped coin landed on heads several times in a row, it's easy to think that it has to come up tails on the next flip. However, the coin doesn't "remember” what it has landed on before in the same way that it doesn't "decide” what to land on next. No matter what has happened already, the probability of it landing on heads or tails is always 50/50. Unless you can see the future, the result of a rolled dice or flipped coin is unknown and unpredictable, so we can say that the outcome is random.

What is the difference between Chance and Skill?

Some forms of gambling come down to chance, and some may involve some skill. Most casino games that involve an element of skill are also heavily chance-based.

Here are some examples:

  • Lottery
  • Scatch cards
  • Bingo
  • Roulette
Skill (at least partially):
  • Blackjack
  • Poker
  • Sports betting

What is Return to Player?

Return to Player, or (RTP) is the term used to describe the percentage of all the wagered money that a game will pay out over time. RTP is calculated over the long term, rather than being a calculation of short term (e.g. session, daily, or even weekly) payout. In the short term, the outcome may be vastly different.

Gambling is a form of entertainment, and when enjoyed responsibly, it's a lot of fun! Here are a few things to keep in mind while you play.

Tips for Responsible Gambling:

  • Consider money spent during play as an entertainment expense, and never treat gambling as a way to earn money.
  • Set your limits and don't go over them - ever. You can set wager, deposit, and session limits for your HollywoodCasino.com account here.
  • Determine how much money you can spend on play, and only gamble that amount.
  • Decide how much time you want to play, and stop playing when you reach that time.
  • Never gamble with money you can't afford to lose.
  • Never spend money on gambling that is already intended for other purposes.
  • If you decide to stop playing or play less frequently, strive to meet and maintain those goals.
  • Don't play to win back your losses.
  • Don't consider gambling as a solution to your problems or concerns.
  • Never borrow money to gamble.
  • Don't lie to loved ones about the amount of money you've gambled or the time you've spent playing.
  • If you think you might be spending too much or playing too often, ask for help. You can call 1-800-GAMBLER for assistance with problem gambling.
  • Don't take time off of work to play.
  • Don't play when you're feeling depressed, lonely, bored, tense, or anxious.