So much for the gambling industry ‘protecting the vulnerable’

 

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Not for nothing are slot machines known as “one-armed-bandits”. But the revelation that popular casino-style games in pubs operate at worse odds than in the casino is an outrage.

More discerning casino and online gamblers play roulette and blackjack because they are quite player-friendly games in terms of the house edge – the advantage the casino has from which it makes its profit. Pub betting machines offer what appear to be identical games. This however is an illusion that can be costly to those who fall for it.

Read more: The great pub gambling machine ‘rip-off’  

The only explanation of how these machines achieve payouts far lower than mathematical expectation is through the algorithms that control them. How these work is something that the manufacturers don’t wish to divulge on the basis that they are trade secrets.

The machines have to be licensed by the UK Gambling Commission – one of whose objectives is to ensure fairness. It would be interesting to know what the commission’s official definition of “fairness” is, because the reality is that with house edges this high players have only a minimal chance of winning. So much for protecting the vulnerable.

Nic Szeremeta is poker correspondent for The Independent

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