The Hold: How Casinos Make Money

While a casino is a place for entertainment and leisure, where people can have fun and get together to gamble, a casino is also, foremost, a business establishment. Any legal casino in the world is part of a thirty billion dollar industry, where money changes hands very quickly and in vast amounts, and the upkeep of such places and factor in the millions for just one establishment alone. This is not only because of the images that casinos and other such establishments need to maintain, but also because the gambling equipment, personnel, and training all require large amounts of money to keep in action.

And in the face of all these costs, a casino has to make a profit somehow. In practically all the gambling games that are played in casinos, their very natures often make it likelier for the gambler to lose rather than win. With the slot machine, for example, because of the many, many possible combinations of pictures available with such a machine, statistically, almost all slot machine players lose what they have wagered. For games where people play against each other, rather than against the fickle fancies of chance, most casinos take a ten percent cut from the pot.

Aside from these things, a casino also has what is called a "house edge," or a house average. The house edge is the difference between a person's odds against winning on a certain bet, and the payout that this person will receive. The house edge can best be illustrated by a game of American roulette, where, even though there are thirty-eight pockets in the wheel, and a person making a Straight Up or single number has thirty-seven to one odds against winning, the amount of payout they will receive will only be thirty-five dollars to every dollar that they have wagered, plus the amount that they had already put in. This difference is possible because the in calculating for the payout most casinos do not count the two green pockets -marked zero and double zero- that almost all American roulette wheels have.

The house edge is not to be misconstrued as the "hold." The hold is the total amount of money that an individual table keeps after players' winnings have been taken away. In effect, a casino hold is the house's "winnings." The house edge is often a great contribution to the hold, but it is not the hold itself. In many places, there are governing bodies in place to regulate and monitor a casino's activities. These governing bodies, such as Atlantic City's Casino Control Commission, require casinos to regularly submit a report on their holds, so that they can release monthly reports on the win/hold amounts each casino has.