If you're a fan of gambling there are lots of ways you can risk your money, but what are your best options? Today we're going to be comparing sports betting vs casino betting to see which ones give you a better bang for your buck and whether you can get rich gambling on either.
What is it?
Simply put, sports betting is placing a wager on the outcome of a sporting event. These events are normally ones taking place at the professional level, or at least the national amateur level - meaning you won't be able to bet on your local 5-a-side team unless it's with a friend!
Sports betting is not limited to the result of a particular match, almost all bookmakers will offer odds on events happening within the match such as the total number of points scored, the score at half-time, etc. depending on the particular sport.
How can you do it?
There are dedicated sports bookmaking sites (or bookies) that will offer odds on a variety of major sporting events and are the most popular method for placing sports bets. There are also dedicated betting shops where you can place a bet in person but with the prevalence of online betting, these are declining in popularity.
These are the two regulated methods of making a sports bet, there's nothing to stop you from making bets with your friends on the outcome of sporting events but it's important you set out clear terms and only bet with people you trust.
What are the odds?
The odds a bookmaker offers on an event will depend on the likelihood of what you're betting on, the less likely an event is predicted to happen, the higher odds a bookmaker will offer. Bookmakers use a combination of technology and people they employ as "line setters" who research each game and work out the likelihood of events occurring within it. They then convert that likelihood into odds, or a "line" on the game, adding in a small margin so they can make money.
When the average person thinks of gambling, casino games are what they think of.
What is it?
Casino betting is gambling based on the outcome of a particular game where the result is unknown prior to wagering. There are a variety of popular casino games such as blackjack, slots, poker, roulette, baccarat, and craps.
How can you do it?
As with sports betting, there are a couple of options if you want to gamble on casino games. The most popular method is to go to a casino and play in person. The majority of people who play casino games do it as part of a night out where the goal is to have fun and a casino is a great place for that.
Some sites offer the same casino games online. For some people, it's appealing to play these games from the comfort of their own homes. Whether you'd prefer to play online or in the casino will depend on what you're looking for from your gambling experience.
What are the odds?
Each game has a set odds table based on the likelihood of events happening. For example, roulette will pay 1 to 1 for a red/black bet, 17 to 1 for a row bet, and 35 to 1 for a straight-up bet.
The downside to casino games is that these odds are designed to be in favor of the casino - it's not cheap to keep all those lights on! For example, if you keep betting red on the roulette table, you will eventually lose all your money. This is because of the green 0 making the actual odds of red hitting 18/37 rather than the neutral EV 18/36 if that 0 didn't exist.
Sports Betting vs. Casino
Now that we know a little more about sports betting and casino games, which option is the best?
Value For Money
To work out which option has the best value for money, let's imagine our punter has $100 to play with and wants to make it last as long as possible.
$100 in a casino doesn't typically last very long. Most casinos have a minimum table bet which stops people coming in and betting for pennies and protects their edge on their best value games. With average luck distribution, you could probably last a couple of hours playing casino games with $100.
If you decided to sports bet with that $100, you could make it last a lot longer. The average sports game takes 60-90 minutes from start to finish so a $10 bet on each game can last you a minimum of 6-9 hours - even if you lose every bet!
How much you enjoy each type of betting is unique to each person and if you vastly prefer one over the other, that's what you should be playing. However, the average gambler is likely to get more enjoyment from playing casino games over sports betting.
This is because casino games are a lot more fast-paced. You get a new hand of blackjack around every minute in the casino, meaning you're winning and losing money around 50-60 times an hour. With casino games, particularly blackjack, you're having to make a decision on each hand so you feel in control of at least some aspect of it.
Sports betting on the other hand doesn't have the same intensity as casino games as once you've placed your bet there's nothing left to do other than watch the game and hope the team you backed wins.
Both casino games and sports betting are incredibly difficult to beat, but not impossible. It definitely isn't easy money and isn't something I'd recommend pursuing unless you already enjoy gambling and can afford to lose the money you risk.
The main casino game that can be beaten is blackjack which can be done through card counting. There are also some games such as baccarat which can be beaten through edge-sorting, where imperfections on the cards can let you know if it's high or low when it's face down.
Even though casino games can be beaten, it's a lot of effort to get good enough to implement these strategies at the table and if the casinos figure out that you're beating them they'll ask you to leave.
Sports betting can be beaten by finding weak lines that are posted by the bookmakers and taking advantage of special offers and bonuses, and matched betting systems. Arguably sports betting is harder to beat than casino games as casino games never change which makes them easier to research and strategize against whereas each sporting event has different variables affecting it which changes the odds.
It requires a deep knowledge of the game you're betting on as well as a very good understanding of statistics to be able to win at sports betting. However, just as casinos can ask you to leave if they think you're card counting, the bookies have the right to limit your account if they feel like you're winning too much.
With all the effort it takes to be able to win along with the possibility your access to the games can be shut down at any moment, gambling should be seen as a fun way to spend money rather than as a way to make money.
Whilst there are pros and cons to both casino betting and sports betting, you should choose whichever one gives you the most enjoyment as that should be the ultimate goal of gambling.
This article was published on August 23, 2021, and last updated on October 27, 2022.