5 Myths Worth Busting to Help Keep Gambling Fun

BCLC looks at common misconceptions about games and gambling

We’ve all heard the chatter – a slot machine is due for a big payout, or maybe that the longer you play, the better your chances of winning. Truth is, both are examples of commonly held myths around gambling. When BCLC recently looked at gambling myths and misconceptions in the province, five topped the list for many British Columbians:

Myth 1. Some slots are ‘hot’ and ‘due’ for a big jackpot.

Truth is, a slot machine is just as likely to have back-to-back wins and big payouts as it is to have a losing streak. Here’s why: On average, B.C. slots pay out 92% of all money wagered, but that’s based on the life of a machine, NOT a single playing session. Because each machine has a random number generator, over the millions of spins made during the machine’s lifespan, the Law of Probability means many players will win, but many more will lose.

Myth 2. A slot’s 85% payout means I’ll get back $85 of every $100 I spend.

Just like a slot machine’s payout rate is calculated over the course of its lifetime, so is the amount returned to gamblers. So if a slot pays 85% of the money wagered on it, those winnings will be returned to players over the full course of its lifetime, not during a single session or evening. And, because its random number generator ensures random results, no one can predict when that big jackpot might happen.

Myth 3. Casino staff can change the games’ outcomes.

We’ve all heard the one about staff who tweak the payout on a machine, but that simply can’t happen. Every slot machine has a computer chip that determines the payback percentage. These are preset at the factory, which not only ensures that every play on a slot machine has a completely random outcome, but also that winning can’t be predicted or controlled by casino staff.

Myth 4. My chances of winning the lottery are better if I choose my own numbers.

People choose lottery numbers for LOTS of reasons, from family birthdays to lucky favourites, and many believe that playing those same numbers boosts their chance of winning over those who prefer random picks. Not so. Because the outcome of most games of chance, particularly lotteries and slot machines, is completely random, you can’t influence it. Every number combination has the same chance of being picked – winning numbers are random and independent from previous draws. For lotteries, this means that betting the same numbers every time won’t help you win any more than betting different numbers will. And in the case of Lotto 6/49, you have approximately a 1 in 14 million chance of winning the jackpot, regardless of how many people have purchased tickets or what numbers you play!

Myth 5. If I play longer, I’m more likely to win.

If I haven’t won yet, I can’t stop now – I’m due, right? Slot machines, lotteries, roulette wheels… each time you place a bet on a game of chance, the outcome is completely independent of your previous bet, meaning the odds are no more in your favour on your 10th bet than on your first. Remember, the house always has the advantage, and the longer you play, the more likely it is that you’ll end up losing.

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BCLC’s GameSense provides the information you need to make healthy decisions about gambling, from slot machines and table games to the lottery and sports betting. To learn more about how to keep gaming fun, visit: gamesense.com.

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