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Gambling myths

20 Most Common Gambling and Casino Myths Analyzed and Debunked

Myths and misconceptions are known to die off rather hard. This is especially true when it comes to the world of casinos. The stories that surround them are usually false and factual evidence is most often missing. Nevertheless, they persist and continue to cloud the minds of even the most seasoned players.

Do casinos pump oxygen to keep their customers wide awake? Does a location of a slot machine have an impact on your winnings? Can a particular betting strategy bankrupt the casino? they are all nothing but baseless rumours. And given our commitment to bringing you the very best from the world of gaming, we tasked ourselves with debunking the most persisting casino myths circulating around and laying out the truth about casinos.

1. Casinos Are Rigged and Do Have an Immediate Impact on Any Game

We decided to start this list with the most enduring of all gambling myths, the one as old as the casino business itself. Although this is an outright misconception, let’s see what’s behind it. We’ve written extensively on this topic and you can learn more about it if you head over to our blog dedicated to the house edge and slot odds.

The truth about casinos is that they are businesses. As such, they strive to remain afloat and make sure they are turning a profit at any given time. This seemingly basic principle is called the house advantage or house edge and each game, be it a table game or slot, has its own. The house edge for any casino game can be easily calculated, so we're not going deeper into that.

The casino advantage should be seen as a guaranteed percentage return to the casino or, vice versa, as a guaranteed percentage loss of players’ bets. However, these percentages assure house wins or payouts in the long run. In the short term, due to the many variables involved, there is a chance to beat the odds of any game, you just have to choose the right one.

2. Casinos Pump in Oxygen to Keep You Awake

Taking care that customers enjoy the freshest air possible by air conditioning is one thing; in packed rooms such as casino floors, this is a must. But, do casinos pump oxygen into the premises to keep visitors alert and blissfully gambling? No, casinos don’t do this.

When people talk about how casinos pump oxygen to keep gamblers awake they are obviously not aware of the cost of such an operation. Apart from medical-grade oxygen being a rather costly substance and pumping loads of it would increase the casino's expenses through the roof, it would also require operating a mini oxygen factory on the casino's grounds.

Another reason why casinos don't resort to this is that oxygen acts as a flame accelerant: boosting the levels of oxygen would increase the chances of setting a room on fire much faster than in normal circumstances. And, believe us, fire hazards are not something any casino would want on its hands.

In fact, there are professionals who keep track of air quality at casinos: in Las Vegas, for instance, delegates of the Gaming Commission pay regular visits to casinos around town to make sure oxygen levels are within prescribed limits (and possibly to check if casinos pump oxygen into their premises for real).

3. (Online) Casinos Will Not Pay Out if You Win

Another one in a long line of casino common misconceptions. Indeed, there are tons of shady places on the internet. But even those places have more profound ways of scamming you than just simply denying you your winnings. Delaying tactics are the most common. Some casinos with a dubious reputation may give you a headache when trying to withdraw money by asking you to prove your identity countless times or even claiming that you never provided it.

In other instances, casinos might make it rather easy to cancel a withdrawal before processing it, letting you wager that money again. Such methods amount to irresponsible gaming practices and are frowned upon in the world of iGaming.

Refusing to make a payout can have serious consequences for the casino, including having their license revoked. Apart from legal repercussions, imagine the amount of bad press a casino could have on its hands if it simply denied a punter what they legally earned. In the internet era, news like this gets viral in no time and, believe us, no casino would want to risk it.

There are instances where you may be denied a payout, but as it turns out, they all concern a certain breach of the casino’s Terms and Conditions, including:

  • Being underage
  • Using other person’s credit card
  • Having more than one account with the casino
  • Violating bonus Terms and Conditions

4. If You Are Winning Too Much, the Game Will “Freeze”

Unless it’s due to a software or hardware malfunction, the answer is no, the machine won’t just “freeze.” It may run out of coins (which is good for you, right?) but it won’t stop working because it figured out that you won more than it deems necessary. In essence, this is another in the series of casino myths.

The casino advantage works over long haul, so it makes no sense for a casino to stop you from playing (even if you’re winning big), because it would undermine its own business model. Wagering more means increasing your own chances of scoring big, but it also boosts the house’s chance to profit. In other words, keeping you away from a slot machine doesn’t work for the casino, so you don’t have to worry about having your game “frozen”.

If your game freezes during a playing session online, it’s more likely due to connection problems or incompatibility if you are, say, using an older version of the operating system or playing with an incompatible device overall.

To learn more about video slots, check out our podcast on how online slots work and get rid of all myths and prejudices about these games.

5. Online Casinos Are Illegal

Yeah, they can be, but you will certainly not find such casinos on any reputable website (such as AskGamblers.) The truth about casinos is that they put in lots of effort and resources to comply with legal regulations. First of all, a casino can't be operational unless it owns a proper gaming license and these, by definition, ensure the legality of casino's operations.

More and more countries around the world are introducing legislation that stipulates how iGaming works, while many others already have online gambling rules in place. Some of the most prominent (and strictest) licenses are issued by countries such as the United Kingdom and Malta. Other countries, such as Curacao, employ less tight regulations, but that does not mean that casinos carrying their license are any less legal.

6. Card Counting Is Illegal

When it comes to legality of casino business, there are a bunch of casino myths circulating around for a long time: counting cards in casinos can put you in jail. Casinos indeed frown upon the practice of counting cards, but should they catch you doing this, they will ask you to leave the casino (and possibly never come back). And that's it. You can apply any knowledge you have, and the casino can't do anything to stop you.

Now let's be clear about what card counting doesn't mean: knowing each and every card dealt by heart. Players who use this strategy instead try to memorise the balance of high and low cards that remain in the deck. That is how gamblers can adjust their strategy: by keeping track of the remaining cards they can, say, adapt their bet size. But don't be fooled, these strategies take years of practice to be employed successfully.

What about online casinos? Well, counting cards in online casinos is neither legal nor illegal, because it is practically impossible. Card counting is most common when playing blackjack, so we'll take it as an example. In virtual casinos, all of the decks in a blackjack shoe are shuffled instantly by a computer. This means that every hand played is basically the first hand of the dealer's shoe. Counting cards here really doesn't give you an advantage, it only takes up your time and distracts you from the game.

7. There Are Loose Slots and Tight Slots (or Hot and Cold)

The idea goes something like this: when choosing the slot you want to play, you should seek the so-called loose or hot ones as they are more likely to payout. On the contrary, tight, or cold slots as they are also known, have already done their fair share of paying out and are in some kind of an idle state, devouring your money without the slightest chance to dish out any back.

Of course, this constitutes another in a long string of casino myths. Whether you are looking to have some fun at the casino or you are eyeing a big win, understanding RNG and how slot machines work is essential. Superstitious gamblers will advise you to steer clear from the so-called cold slots as they are currently on a dry spell.

casino myths

In reality, such a thing doesn’t exist. Slot machines are entirely random, which means that there is no way of predicting what symbols will land on reels next. You can add, subtract, multiply and divide; you can take notes of the symbols on reels and try to calculate when lemons are due to land. But you’ll just waste your precious time that you would otherwise spend having fun.

8. Paying Slot Machines Are Placed Near the Entrance (or End of an Aisle)

In a weird, superstitious way, the previous myth and the one we're about to debunk are somehow connected. The old Vegas casino rumour goes like this: aim for slot machines that are located near the entrance door or the end of an aisle because they splurt more massive payouts (or they do it more frequently, we're not sure). Either way, placing a slot machine in a particular place means nothing really.

This myth was possibly created by Frank Scoblete in his book Break the One-Armed Bandits. We have no idea why Scoblete would claim this was true, but we’re really not interested in it, either. It suffices to say that staff in casinos generally agrees that the placement of machines in no way impacts the outcome of a game.

Take it from the perspective of a casino manager: having long queues of people waiting in the wings to play a particular slot would not exactly create a welcoming scene. Instead, gambling houses are usually looking to keep their entrances clean and inviting, without making a fuss over a single (or several) slot machine which, at the end of the day, function according to their built-in RNGs and have nothing to do with the choice of location.

9. You're More Likely to Win on Slots in a Busy Casino

Sorry to disappoint you, but no, a particular day or time of the day has nothing to do with the probability of walking out with a jackpot. This would mean that slot machines are somehow tweaked to give money more frequently during busy hours.

First of all, and we cannot stress this enough, casinos don't risk hefty fines over manipulating slot machines to pay out more in specific timeframes.

Quantitatively, casinos do pay out more jackpots at their busiest hours, but only due to the fact that there are more people playing. The number of jackpots won expressed in percentages of lucky players or even spins at the height of casino’s activity wouldn’t differ much if we were to compare it with the most sluggish hours of the week.

For more detailed information about this, hop over to our blog that is dedicated entirely to finding out is there a best time to play slots.

10. Playing With My Casino Loyalty Card Impacts the Game

Nope, tough luck on this one. Many players believe that slot machines are more likely to shell out coins when the reels are pulled by members of the casino's loyalty club. In reality, for all slot machines know, you are just another player and your status at the casino cannot affect the way the reels are spun (or halted).

Software that tracks information about casino’s members is entirely separate from RNG, hence your individual membership card can't sway the outcome in your favour. Neither can RNGs, for that matter: they only make sure the result is as random as it gets.

Now, we're not saying that having a loyalty card at a casino won't bring you any perks. Points earned by swiping your loyalty card can earn you cheaper meals and lower hotel room bills, but they can hardly affect the outcome of a game.

11. My Betting System Can Beat House Edge

The short answer would be: No matter what gambling strategy you employ, you won't be able to beat the house edge. The long answer: let's break down a couple of popular strategies and learn some betting system truths.

The Martingale System

The Martingale system is probably one of the most widely known betting strategies out there. Devised by French mathematician Paul Pierre Levy in the 18th century it is applied usually to games with (nearly) 50/50 chance of winning, such as Roulette. The strategy suggests that the gambler should double their bets after each loss so that the first win recovers any previous loss and wins a profit that is equal to the original wager.

This system relies on the erroneous belief that an "unlucky" streak cannot go on forever and that "luck" will eventually be on the bettor's side to recuperate previous losses. The truth is that every game of chance is genuinely random and no amount of prior information can predict the outcome of the next toss of dice or a spin. As far as odds are concerned, you can go on a losing streak for eternity. The only way this could work is if our imaginary gambler had unlimited money, time and the number of bets, which is never the case.

The Cancellation System (The Labouchere System)

This is another 18th century, negative progression system, developed by Roulette player Henry Labouchere. It relies on the same idea as the Martingale system (that you have to win eventually), but it's a bit more complicated.

Our imaginary gambler writes down an arbitrary sequence of numbers, let’s say three. The sum of those numbers represents the gamblers potential profit. The bet size is decided by the sum of the first and last numbers in the sequence. If they win, the first and the last number are removed from the sequence. But if they lose, they will add the wagered amount to the end of the sequence.

This goes on until the gambler is left with a single number, which is then staked. If not, the series of numbers grows ever longer, eventually resulting in bankruptcy. Again, unlimited wealth and time would probably produce a positive outcome, but in the real world, no one has that much money or time.

Both the Labouchere and the Martingale system have their reverse versions and there are countless other betting systems out there. However, regardless of whether you double or cut your next wager in half, it all boils down to the same: you will never be able to know where a Roulette ball will fall or how dice would land.

As we said, the house advantage is designed to work in the casino's favour, it's a long-term business strategy that can't be beaten, and you should therefore never try to do it.

Now that we’ve let you in on these betting system truths, let’s move on to the next in line of famous casino myths.

12. Other Players Have an Influence on My Hand

The easiest way to get rid of this myth is to do your research before heading to the casino and learn the basic principles of the game of your choice. Knowing how a game works from a mathematical point of view will save you tons of nerves and, possibly, money.

Many players believe that another player’s bad moves can lead other gamblers at the table to losing. Blackjack enthusiasts, for instance, are known to accuse third base players of making other gamblers lose their money. As it turns out, other players’ bad choices can be useful for you, too.

If you can make an effort to learn the basic principle of the game and how to use it to your advantage, then you will soon discover that other people’s actions can’t hurt your odds. Criticising other players’ choices or even strategies is never a good idea, and it’s the last thing you want to do at the table. If you can’t resist it, it would be best that you find another table.

13. Dealers Can Cheat or Influence the Outcome

In theory, casino myths such as this one make perfect sense. After all, dealers are the ones who control the games, right? They're shuffling the decks, dealing the cards, spinning the Roulette wheel… But the truth about casinos is that they don’t tamper with any game as it can lead to severe consequences for both casinos and croupiers.

Take Roulette, for example. Many gamblers believe that a dealer can predict where the ball would land on the wheel. But with so many variables, predicting the outcome is impossible (unless there is something physically wrong with the wheel). And it's not only that croupiers cannot control the result, casinos don't want them to, either. Remember the house edge? It is designed to bring profits to the casino only if games are truly random.

Besides, the casino's staff keeps an eye on every table, making sure no one is cheating. Once they spot a cheater on either side, you can rest assured he or she will be removed from the venue.

gambling myths

We’ll give you a recent example of casino scam gone awry. In 2019, a Maryland baccarat dealer was sentenced to 18 months in prison over a million-dollar baccarat fraud scheme. Remember it the next time someone tells you that croupiers can sway the outcome of casino games.

14. Payout Rates Are Literal

Newbies seem to believe casino common misconceptions such as this one more than anyone else. If a slot's Return-to-Player (RTP) ratio is set at 94%, a player can't lose more than 6% of his or her budget, right? Nope, it doesn't work like that.

RTP refers to a share of the total betting amount that a slot will pay back to players over a certain time. In other words, RTP measures the average percentage of wagers a slot machine will return to players. You should bear in mind that "a certain time" means a minimum of, say, one million spins. You can't spin the reels 20 times and complain about the casino stating false RTP rates!

When it comes to online casinos, the integrity of slots is verified by independent testing agencies, such as eCogra. They run billions of computer simulations before concluding that slots in online casinos are really paying out according to their RTP rates.

15. You Should Not Play the Slot Machine That Has Just Won

As you can see, casino myths have a number of iterations and this one draws on the hot/cold slot theory. The fact that a slot has recently paid out a jackpot to another player really means nothing for you. You can win big even if the slot just pumped out coins for the player before you.

Reputable casinos (such as the ones hosted by AskGamblers) state in their Terms and Conditions that two wins can happen simultaneously. Even if you miss the response time for the first win, you won't be left empty-handed. Every jackpot, be it progressive or not, has a starting point: a guaranteed sum of money that is determined by the popularity and profit generated by a particular slot.

16. You Can Trick a Machine by Increasing the Bet Size

Just as with any other slot machine trick, this one doesn’t work either. You can certainly try increasing the coin size, but we promise you it won't produce the desired result. Even if it did, it wouldn't be because you changed the bet size or the number of paylines. Again, it would be completely random. See our exhaustive list of slot machines cheats to learn more about these casino common misconceptions.

Video poker is perhaps the only type of game where your odds of winning are increased with higher bets. By placing the maximum of five coins per bet, you will get the highest RTP possible. (But this still doesn't mean you'll surely win!)

17. It’s Jinx to Play Against Other Players

Frankly, this myth falls under the same category as the one that says having itchy palms means your in for some money. No, you won't bring yourself bad luck if you play against other players. Some of them might not be fond of it, but it'll do nothing to change your or their odds of winning (or losing).

However, if you do decide to play against other players, you should at all times stick to good casino manners. Be polite and don't take photos of others or get wasted at the table. By following these rules, you'll make sure you don't draw the ire of others. And if you’re unsure how to behave properly at casinos, just follow our thorough guide on casino etiquette.

18. If You Keep a Tab on Past Results, You Will Win - Gambler's Fallacy

Ah, the famous Monte Carlo fallacy! Let's learn a bit of history of gambling and one of the most notorious incidents in gambling history.

During a game of Roulette on 18 August 1913, at the Casino de Monte Carlo, the ball fell in a black fret 26 times in a row. Naturally, the players who were at the table started betting on red, erroneously believing that the ball has to hit red at some point. Indeed it did, the 27th time, but it also sucked out millions of francs out of their pockets.

The probability of such an outcome is a staggering 1 in 66.6 million. But it's still a probability! Believing that previous events can somehow affect the events in the future constitutes another in the series of casino myths and casino common misconceptions that you should abandon the minute you enter a gambling house.

19. My Luck Has to Change

You can repeat this sentence as a mantra over and over again, but it won't become any more accurate than it was at the beginning. The odds of you winning are the same on the 100th bet as they were on your first. Odds are, well, odd! They are decided by math and statistics, not by your wishful thinking.

It's the same as thinking that changing seats at a poker table will bring you more luck. It won't: for all we know, those better cards you were hoping for are being dealt to the seat you just left.

20. It’s All Just Luck

Our series of most common casino myths has brought us to the final misbelief about the world of gambling: in the end, the Lady Luck is holding, and dealing, all of the cards.

Casino games are usually considered games of chance. But taking a closer look at casino games reveals that, what an inexperienced player defines as chance or luck, really is just mathematics. Behind each and every game is a mathematical matrix and probability that can accurately predict the outcome of a game. So the issue here is not whether casino games are governed by a strict principle (they all are) but the number or variables that influence one of the countless possible outcomes.

The truth about casinos is that they rely on mathematical principles that sway the odds slightly into casino’s favour. But this is not to say that you can’t win. Due to numerous factors and variables in the short term, the odds can sometimes be in your favour, and this is exactly when you end up a winner.

The haphazard nature of casino games leads many to erroneously believe that someone or something controls the game. If you believe this, it’s better you don’t “try your luck” at all.

After all, improving one’s odds is all about learning from experience and mastering the skills needed to make smart moves when the time comes.

Final Thoughts on Debunking Casino Myths and Misconceptions

We hope we clarified and debunked some of the casino common misconceptions and casino myths. In the end, it’s all part of our continuous efforts to help you become a more skilled and knowledgeable player who relies on personal experience and hard facts, rather than other players’ anecdotes.

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