What is Your Cost of Play?

ImageAs we’ve seen, randomness and house advantage in gambling ensure that gambling operators make money over time, which means that players lose money over time. Given that’s the case, a good question to ask might be: “How much money is gambling going to cost me?” Check out our section on cost of play and try our cost of play calculators to estimate what your gambling may be costing per hour, per month or per year. You can also print and use a copy of our gambling log sheet to help you keep track of how much time and money you spend.

Cost of Play Calculators

Whether you gamble for fun or other reasons, it is important to know how much this form of entertainment costs. You could consider looking at the cost to play in the same way you look at the costs of other types of entertainment, such as a movie or concert ticket. For outings such as these, you probably check the prices first, then decide whether you want to spend the money on that activity.

You can do the same for gambling using this site's Cost of Play Calculators for four kinds of gambling games: VLTs, slots, roulette and blackjack. These are great guides to go by because they determine how much it costs to gamble in the long term. Due to randomness, house advantage and other factors, you may lose a lot in one session, then occasionally win some money in another session. However, the longer you play, the more likely it is that the amount you spend will conform to the long term averages revealed in these calculators.

Go to the Cost of Play Calculators now to see how much these four games cost to play.

Cost of Play Chart

Once you try out the Cost of Play Calculators (above), you'll get the idea that certain factors - including house advantage, the number of times you bet per minute, the amount of your individual bets, and the total amount you wager per hour - have an effect on the cost of play. Change any one of these, and your cost of play can either rise or fall.

This chart will help you to compare the cost of playing different games. You could consider the average cost per hour the price for the entertainment the casino games offer players.

The cost per hour is calculated as follows:

Cost per Hour of Play =
House Advantage x Bets per Hour* x Amount Bet

**Note: The speed of play for Slots and VLTs are measured in bets per minute. 12 bets per minute is equal to 720 bets per hour or one bet every 5 seconds.

Remember that these hourly costs are an average based on long term play. In the short term you may spend much more or less depending on the randomness of the game. Also if you make larger bets or play faster your cost will go up accordingly.

Knowing the average cost per hour of play is only one factor in safe gambling; many other factors enter in to the safe gambling equation, including motivation for playing, knowledge of how gambling works and other personal risk factors.

Cost of Play Chart

 

Game

House
Advantage
*

Bets per minute *

Bet size

Total $ wageredper hour

AveragePlayer cost per hour

Slots
Pennies:
  • Bet 5
9.0%
12
$0.05
$36.00
$3.24
  • Bet 25
9.0%
12
$0.25
$180.00
$16.20
  • Bet 100
9.0%
12
$1.00
$720.00
$64.80
2 Cents:
  • Bet 5
9.0%
12
$0.10
$72.00
$6.48
  • Bet 25
9.0%
12
$0.50
$360.00
$32.40
  • Bet 100
9.0%
12
$2.00
$1,440.00
$129.60
Nickels :

  • Bet 3
9.0%
12
$0.15
$108.00
$9.72
  • Bet 15
9.0%
12
$0.75
$540.00
$48.60
  • Bet 45
9.0%
12
$2.25
$1620.00
$145.80
Quarters:

  • Bet 1
6.0%
12
$0.25
$180.00
$10.80
  • Bet 3
6.0%
12
$0.75
$540.00
$32.40
Dollars:

  • Bet 1
5.0%
12
$1.00
$720.00
$36.00
  • Bet 3
5.0%
12
$3.00
$2160.00
$108.00
VLT's  (Manitoba)

  • Min. bet - Nickel
7.0%
12
$0.05
$36.00
$2.52
  • Min. bet - Quarter
7.0%
12
$.25
$180.00
$12.60
  • Max. bet - $1.25

7.0%

12

$1.25

$900.00

$ 63.00

* Note: House advantage given for games in Manitoba. Percentages for slots may vary by ± 1%

Game

House
Advantage
*

Bets per hour *

Bet size

Total $ wageredper hour

AveragePlayer cost per hour

Mini Baccarat
  • Bank
1.06%
 70
$10
$700
$7.42
  • Player
1.24%
70
$10
$700
$8.68
  • Tie
14.36%
70
$10
$700
$100.52
  • Dragon Bonus (Player)
2.51%
70
$5
$350
$8.79
  • Dragon Bonus (Banker)
8.45%
70
$5
$350
$29.89
Blackjack - 6 Deck - Minimum Bet

  • Basic strategy
0.59%
70
$3
$210
$1.24
  • Average play
2%
70
$3
$210
$4.20
  • Mimic House Strategy
5.5%
70
$3
$210
$11.55
  • Lucky Lady Side Bets
17.64%
70
$1
$70
$12.35
Blackjack -  Double Deck - Minimum Bet

  • Basic strategy
0.48%
60
$50
$3000
$14.40
  • Average play
2%
60
$50
$3000
$60.00
  • Mimic House Strategy
5.5%
60
$50
$3000
$165.00
  • Lucky Lady Side Bets
24.94%
60
$5
$300
$74.82
Texas Hold 'em Bonus
  • Ante
2.04%
50
$5
$250
$5.10
  • Bonus Jet
8.54%
50
$5
$250
$21.35
  • Progressive Jackpot
28.46%
50
$1
$50
$14.23
Let it Ride
  • Regular Bet
3.51%
50
$5
$250
$8.78
  • 3 Card Bonus Bet
5.57%
50
$5
$250
$13.93
Roulette (Single 0)

  • Inside Minimum
2.7%
35
$1
$35
$.95
  • Inside Maximum
2.7%
35
$25
$875
$23.63
  • Outside (Dozen & Column Bets)
2.7%
35
$5
$175
$4.73
  • Outside (Even Money)
2.7%
35
$5
$175
$4.73
Craps

  • Pass
1.41%
40
$5
$200
$2.82
  • Don't Pass
1.46%
40
$5
$200
$2.92
  • Various other bets
1.52% to 16.67%
40
$5
$200
$3.04 to $33.34
Pai Gow Poker

  • No Banking
2.73%
40
$10
$400
$10.92
  • Banking (every other hand)
1.46%
40
$10
$400
$5.84
  • Banking (every other hand)
7.77%
40
$1
$40
$3.11

 

Reference: American Mensa Guide to Casino Gambling, (1999, Andrew Brisman, Sterling Press)

Back to Top