Gaming Machines (Poker Machines, "Pokies")
Gaming machines are games of chance.
The outcome of each and every spin on a gaming machine is determined by software known as a ‘Random Number Generator’ (RNG).
The RNG produces an entirely random result - for each and every spin.
Every spin is entirely independent of spins that have gone before (or spins that may come after) and there is no way of playing any machine that can influence the RNG in any way.
The odds of winning a jackpot or other prize on a gaming machine can vary.
In general, the larger the jackpot or prize, the smaller the chance (or odds) of winning it.
For example, the odds of winning the top prize on a "Black Rhino" gaming machine (5 Black Rhinos at $1 bet per line) are 1 in 9,765,625.*
The chance of winning a prize on each and every individual line of a gaming machine is around 1 in 10, but the prize won is more likely to be a small prize of two credits than any other return. In other words, the chance of no prize on an individual line is around 9 in 10.
This video from Aristocrat Technologies explains how a bet on a gaming machine works:
This video from Aristocrat Technologies explains the odds of winning a jackpot:
Gaming machines in Australia are required to have an expected (theoretical) ‘Return to Player’ percentage (RTP).
Minimum RTP is set by regulation (between 85-90%) but this does not mean that any individual player can expect to see a return of 85-90% on any spin - or even on many spins over time.
RTP is a long term average, based on the rules of mathematical probability over millions, or even billions, of spins.
This video from Aristocrat Technologies explains the meaning of RTP in a modern gaming machine:
The Gaming Technologies Association has also developed a series of helpful videos explaining how gaming machines work. You can access some of them here:
Lotteries, Scratch Tickets & Keno
If you buy a lottery ticket you are participating in a game of chance.
Odds for lotteries vary according to the type of lottery played - with Division 1 referring to the top prize (or Jackpot) in a lottery draw.
- Winning Division 1 of Oz Lotto™ ( 7 winning numbers, based on one standard game) has odds of 1 in 45,379,620
- Winning Division 1 of TattsLotto™ (6 winning numbers, one standard game) has odds of 1 in 8,145,060
- Winning Division 1 of Powerball™ (7 winning numbers + the Powerball) has odds of 1 in 134,490,400.
Not all lottery prizes are large (there are a number of divisions) but the larger the prize, the less your chances of winning.
The Lott (the provider of lotteries in most Australian states/territories) provides more information about the odds of lottery games as part of their Responsible Play information.
Scratch Tickets ("Instant Scratch Its", "Scratchies")
Scratch tickets can be described as an "instant lottery". The odds will depend on the type of scratch ticket - and the number of tickets printed.
The odds for the top prize on a $5 ticket can be as much as 1 in 1,700,000.
The Lott (the provider of lotteries in most Australian states/territories) provides more information about the odds of scratch tickets as part of their Responsible Play information.
Keno is also a game of chance.
The odds will differ, according to the games played and the amount of numbers the player hopes to "spot".
The odds of winning a larger Jackpot (Spot 10) are 1 in 8,911,711 whereas the odds for winning a smaller Jackpot (Spot 7) are 1 in 40,979.
The odds will differ according to the games you play - but in all games of chance the odds are against you winning the jackpot or big prize.
Casino Table Games
Casinos offer a variety of table games. Just some examples include Roulette, Blackjack, Pai Gow, Baccarat and Poker.
Depending on the game, the odds will vary, and can vary within the game itself.
For example, Roulette (a chance based game), has odds from 2 to 1 all the way up to 35 to 1.
Some casino table games are completely chance based, while others may involve an element of skill.
For example, in Blackjack and Poker skill is an element of the game - but chance still plays a role - and chance determines the hand any player is dealt.
No player, however skilled, can be sure of a winning hand - at any time.
Every casino in Australasia makes the game rules and odds easily accessible on their websites, Information Desks or electronic information terminals as well as at the gaming table.
Game Rules include information such as:
- Government Regulations
- Rules of Play
- House Margins
- Odds of Winning
Be informed of the rules and odds of any game before you play and, as with any other form of gambling, never bet more than you can afford to lose.
Racing and Sports Betting
Bookmakers determine the likelihood of a horse race or a sporting event using a formula.
All odds are an indication of the probability of an outcome of an event using the formula:
B / (A + B) = Probability (%)
For example, if odds of 9/1 are presented, there is a 10% chance of that bet winning:
1 / (9+1) = 10%
In other words, a horse or runner that is priced by a bookie as 9/1 has been determined to have a 10% chance of winning the race.
In Australia, odds are generally displayed as a decimal and odds of 9/1 are displayed as $10. Which means for every $1 bet a win would return $10.
Sport plays a large role in Australian culture and society, but even if you feel you have great knowledge of the sport, don't overestimate your chances - on any bet.
Many factors (over which you have no influence) can influence the outcome of an event. You cannot control how any horse will run, or how any team will play on the day.
There's no such thing as a "sure thing".
* Problem Gambling SA - Odds, Myths and Facts