Most people gamble without any real understanding of how gambling actually works.
Do you know what the house edge and average return to player mean? Are you playing a skill-based game or is it just chance? Can you separate fact from fiction among the many myths surrounding gambling? What are your real chances of winning?
Before you decide to gamble, it can be a good idea to know how gambling works so there are no hidden surprises.
Chance, skill, risks and the odds
From slot machines and roulette to betting at the track or a weekend football match, gambling comes in many forms. Some of these games involve a level of skill while others rely on pure chance. It's important to know which type you're playing and to realise that skill doesn't mean a sure bet.
Chance-based gambling such as playing the lottery, roulette, bingo or gaming machines, is completely random and you can't influence whether you will win or lose. All players have an equal chance of winning.
In skill-based gambling, such as betting on races and playing poker or blackjack, your ability or skill can influence whether you will win or lose. It's important however to remember, the odds of winning are not the same for all players and the odds are always in favour of the house. Technique, knowledge or strategy can give some players an advantage over others and no matter what your skill level, there is always a large degree of chance at play, so there can never be any certainty of the outcome.
Risk is the one thing that all types of gambling have in common. The thrill of taking a risk is a big part of the entertainment you pay for when you gamble. The only certainty when it comes to gambling is the result is never certain, winning is never a sure thing and losing is always a possibility.
Before handing over your hard earned money, think about chance, skill and the risks involved.
When you gamble do you know what your chances of winning really are?
This table shows the odds of winning on some of the common forms of gambling available in Victoria.
The bottom line is, no matter what type of gambling you're doing, you should always expect to lose.