Singapore Casino Myth

Posted: October 11, 2010 in Uncategorized

This can be misleading...

Barking Up The Wrong Tree – House Advantage:
“If you can’t talk people out of a one-in-a-million chance of lottery betting, then it is as easy as trying to talk someone out of jumping off a bridge when using the same approach to talk casino players out of gambling by telling them the odds (house advantage).”
11th Oct 2010
The Lion City main local newspaper highlights the community’s concern over the issue of problem gambling at the two new IR casinos. Most recently the authority stopped the casinos’ shuttle service to main heartland housing estate.

There are comments on the media on how to effectively reduce the influence of “bad gaming” behaviour by giving players more information such as the casino’s House Advantage.

Let’s take a closer look at this thing called House Advantage – the Odds against casino patrons (or from other way, the Odds for the casino). Theoretically proven, different casino betting games each has varied odds (house advantage) for the house/casino. However, it is crucial to know that the house advantage does not work in isolation from other key factors of winning (for the casino), such as turnover volume, average bet, length of play and effects of player incentives/inducement etc. that produce (resulted) the overall Hold (Win %) for the casino.

From a layman’s eye, knowing the casino game’s house advantage has no influence at all to the gambler. Why? The local player’s psychological behaviour is motivated by,

– To fully enjoy the time in the casino and therefore should carry on betting based on individual’s cash limits available at that point in time, since he/she has already paid for the “entertainment fee’ of S$100 to enter the casino floor.

– Visual impact of other players winning streak is a very impactful motivation and encouragement to carry on betting. (i.e. my turn will come…). Whether he/she knows the house advantage or not is immaterial.

– Coupled with casino’s incentives and benefits (F&B, room, discounts, redemption etc.) and big cash prize rewards via Loyalty Program working on the casino floor, players generally feel that their continuous action is constantly rewarded. Thus it increases length of play and frequency of repeat visits to casino.

– Length of play at casino and frequency are the two most effective working parameters for any casino marketing team to push for, such combination inevitably upholds a casino’s profitability. Not the single factor of House Advantage stupid!!!

Public education for the control of problem gambling caused by casino should not just deal with any single factor in isolation which is a short-cut to the core issue. And, worse still, there isn’t a way to try “controlling” the problem INSIDE the casino ityself! Such as providing clearer information on house advantage, shifting ATM machines outside of the casino floor etc…

Effective education that will create greater public awareness (again to be reminded, not on house advantage, stupid) on casino problem gambling should encompass the following initiatives that work mainly OUTSIDE the casino premises,

* Systemative educational programs on social & family values and negative side of gambling (the destroyer) starting from schools and also, give emphasis to younger couples, youth movements and retirees.

* Strict regulatory measures, such as the example of stopping the free shuttle service buses to the HDB heartland estates. i.e. To ban any casino extension platform to the society and community front.

* Limiting the frequency. Break the momentum of frequent casino visitors (locals) by imposing the entrance fee system. this system should be reviewed periodically to ensure it stays effective.

* Besides the entrance fee, if situation warrants it, to further limit total visitation to casino by locals/PRs a fixed number of trips per year, just as what the mainland Chinese government did on Macau visitation.

* Disallow any form of local media advertising for (disguised) loyalty programs by casinos. This includes forbidding of direct mailing from the casinos to local homes and distribution of leaflets in public places.

* Regulate the quantity of Linked Slot machines (Jackpot) on casino floor (e.g. to not more than 50% of total units). This measure is effective in reducing syndicated group play as well as serious addiction to Slot gambling.

In summary, to bet on House Advantage info as a key factor to try persuade casino goers not to gamble heavily is a futile effort and surely, barking up the wrong tree. Good luck to those who believe in the myth.


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