Leveraging gambling expectations with mobile casino bonuses online.
Most of today’s casino goers walk in – or log in, as is so often the case these days – with a false impression of how the games really work. They think it’s all about luck. You either have it, or you don’t. In reality, it’s not luck at all, but variance. Every game is specifically designed to produce more losers than winners. Players win or lose with the variance of those outcomes.
I’m not saying the games are predictable. They’re not. Their RNG programming is entirely random. But each game will reach a programmed return over the long term. In this way, every casino game carries a negative expectation. This means that, for every $1 you bet, you can expect to win back less than $1 (i.e. a negative return) over the long term.
Can a Casino Bonus Offset Negative Expectation?
If you’re familiar with the online and mobile casino industry, you know that bonuses are a big part of their marketing campaigns. New players especially are targeted with massive bonus promotions. 100%, 200%, even 300% and 400% toppers can be offered on a new player’s first deposit. Dropping $20 into an account and starting with $100 – that’s a pretty enticing deal.
When a game has a high RTP of 97% or more, bonus offers like these can be used to leverage the negative expectations. It’s not going to be easy, mind you. Every casino bonus comes with wagering requirements (WR). I assure you, the mathematicians that design these bonuses make sure that players aren’t making out like bandits.
The WR is always set high enough that the negative expectation remains in place, no matter how slight. Again, variance can work for or against you, but the casino will always have the mathematical advantage. While you can’t exactly offset the house edge, you can leverage it, sliding the scale of fairness much closer to your favor.
Leveraging Expectations with Mobile Casino Bonuses
There’s a lot of math that goes into calculating gambling expectations, especially when bonuses and play through requirements are involved. I’ll try to make this as simple as possible, but rest assured, you’ll need a calculator.
Know the RTP
First, you need to know the theoretical return to player (RTP) of the game. The RTP is the exact opposite of the house edge. If a game as a 3% edge, it equates to a 97% RTP (because 3% + 97% = 100%). The RTP of the game can usually be found on the rules/info sheet. For the sake of this example, we’ll assume a 97% RTP.
Find the WR
Look into the terms of the bonus and find out what the WR is. You’re looking for something like “40x the amount of the deposit + bonus”. The multiplier could be anywhere from 30x to 80x, and some terms only call for WR on the bonus, not the deposit+bonus. We’ll assume a typical 40x deposit+bonus for our example.
To find how much of your negative expectation can be leveraged by a casino bonus, you simply inject some information into a formula, and work out the problem; the same stuff you learned in grade school algebra. Here’s the info we’ll be using:
Amount of Deposit: $25
Amount of 200% Bonus: $50
Deposit + Bonus (DB): $75
Wagering Requirement (WR): 40x
Now for the formula…
DB * WR = Total Bets Required(to become eligible to withdrawal winnings)
Inject the information… 75 * 40 = $3,000
So we know you’ll need to place $3,000 in bets in order to make a withdrawal. You only have $75 to work with, which means you’ll need to do a lot of winning. With an RTP of 97%…
$3,000 * 97% = $2,910 This is the amount you can expect to have wagered, in all, by the time your bankroll runs dry.
$3,000 – $75 = $2,925 This is the amount you would need to wager through to complete WR.
There’s a difference here of $15. That represents your negative expectation when taking into account this 200% online or mobile casino bonus. Yes, the expectation is still negative, but you’ve effectively reduced the house edge from 3% (RTP 97%) to just 0.5% (RTP 99.5%). If the game’s variance (luck) swings in your favor for just $15 worth of winnings, you’ll break even. Anything higher becomes a profit.
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Adalene Lucas: is our jack of all trades here at DBC. She is a skilled coder, gambler, writer and webmaster. She lives in Manitoba where she enjoys the lush landscapes and camping near Tulabi Falls. Nature gives her inspiration to write. When she's not immersed in nature, her favorite words are "game theory". She lives with her husband and their two Labradors, Kophy and Whisper.