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The casino can be quite daunting – and it was something that took us a lot of courage to finally get started: but what a mistake that delay was, as it probably cost us thousands of pounds in the process! When you read through various matched betting communities and see the £1k, £1.5k+ monthly figures many members are making, it is all to do with the casino and exploiting the bonuses they provide.
I am not going to ramble about the intricate details as to how a casino and casino bonuses work, as it is covered quite brilliantly here in the Oddsmonkey guide section. However, to break it down simply:
All casino machines and table games have an edge (or advantage) for the casino over the players, to ensure that the casino turns a profit.
As an example, a standard slot machine works with algorithms that have an RTP (return to player) of 95% – some machines may have RTPs of up to 98%.
Using a standard 95% slot RTP as an example – this means that for every £100 spent on this machine, using £1 spins, a player is expected to lose £5.
Does this mean he/she loses £5 every time? Well no, not quite.
Some players may hit a bonus and win thousands of pounds, whereas some players may be down on their initial £100.
The point is that over the course of thousands of pounds being spent on that particular slot machine, the algorithms put in place ensure that the machine in question will make 5% profit for the casino from the thousands of pounds put through it by the players.
This is known as the casinos edge, which we touched upon earlier (100% – 95% slot RTP = 5% casino edge/advantage).
So if casinos always have the edge, how do we, as matched bettors, then make money from them?
Well, quite simply, we only ever use the casino when they give us offers and bonuses with a +EV.
A +EV refers to a positive expected value and is where the tables are turned so that we have the edge over the casino.
The +EV ensures that we, the user, make money in the long-term – in a similar way the casinos do when the edge is with them.
Sticking to +EV offers is the one way so many savvy matched bettors are making thousands of pounds of profit each and every month.
You may be wondering now though, if +EV offers and promotions make casinos lose their edge, why on earth do they do them?
Well it’s worth remembering, matched bettors like us are such a tiny percentage of the gambling world.
The point of the casino giving out bonuses where the player is expected to win, is to get a (normal) player hooked, to make them feel special, to make them feel like they can win every time – and to get them used to the different casino games and machines available ensuring they feel comfortable using their site – and most importantly, return.
This is the psychology behind it.
This tactic entices normal players to play, without the need for a bonus, and eventually the casino does its thing and takes the player to the cleaners.
The said gambler will always remember their big win(s), think they can do it every time, deposit more money, and then the losing cycle will continue.
This is the process of a gambler (which is how casinos and sportsbooks make their money).
But remember, we are matched bettors, and thus have control and a unique understanding of how things work, to ensure we never fall into the bookie/casinos trap.
There are many different types of casino bonuses that give a +EV advantage to their customers. Here are some examples of casino welcome offer guides with the profits we are expected to make, with Oddsmonkey’s Casino Welcome Offer List.
For now, to explain how we profit from +EV casino offers, we will use a simple example offer, such as “deposit and wager £20 on the slot Slingo Rainbow Riches, and get £10 cash back”.
The first thing we need to check is the RTP of the slot. (The Oddsmonkey guides do this for us, but for this worked example we will start right from the beginning).
If we check out this slot catalogue, we can search for any slot to find the RTP. Slingo Rainbow Riches has a 95% RTP – or a 5% casino edge.
This means from the £20 we need to wager (spend) on this slot, we are expected to lose £1.
We work out the expected loss by multiplying the wagering amount (£20) by the casino edge percentage (0.05) = £1 loss.
However, for wagering £20 on the slot we will be given £10 cash back (regardless of whether we win or lose on the slot overall).
This £10 cash back means that this offer has an Expected Value of £9 – which means it is +EV offer.
The +EV is calculated by taking the expected loss from the initial wagering (£1), away from the cash back amount of £10.
This was a basic example. Sometimes casino offers can be slightly more complicated.
Let’s look at a variation on the same example offer: “spend £20 on Slingo Rainbow Riches and receive a £10 bonus that has to be wagered x10”.
Instead of cashback here, we are getting a £10 casino bonus – which has to be wagered (spent) ten times over before any winnings will be eligible for us withdraw.
If we multiply our £10 bonus by the 10 times wagering (spend) requirment, it totals £100 of wagering that must be completed before any winnings can be withdrawn.
Just to be clear – you are NOT spending £100 of your own money here! You will be using the casino’s £10 of bonus money to do this £100 of wagering.
If the £10 bonus finishes before you’ve wagered the £100, you just stop, so you don’t wager any more of your own money.
If you are using 25p spins on the slot, in order to do £100 in wagering you have to do 400 spins (400 x 0.25p spins = £100 of wagering completed).
Consider this in another way that is easy to understand – if your first spin is 25p, your second spin is 25p and your third spin is 25p, you have now spun (wagered) a total of 75p from the £100 wagering that is required.
This leaves you with another £99.25p left to spin from your bonus (not our own money) in order to complete your wagering.
How do we now work out if this offer is +EV or not?
Well, we already know the expected loss from the initial £20 of wagering is £1 on this slot.
We additionally now need to work out the expected loss we will make from wagering the £10 bonus ten times (£10 x 10 wagering requirement = £100), to complete the £100 wagering (spend) on this slot.
We work this out by multiplying the bonus wagering amount (£100) by the casino edge percentage (0.05).
= £100 wagering x 0.05 casino edge = an expected £5 loss from the £10 bonus.
So for clarity, from the £10 bonus that has to be wagered 10 times (a total of £100 of bonus wagering/spend), we are expected to lose £5 from the £10 they have given us, leaving us with £5.
Once we also take into account the £1 expected loss from the initial £20 wagering, we now know this offer has an Expected Value of £4 – which means this is also a +EV offer.
For clarity, we are expected to make £5 from the bonus they have kindly given us, and are expected to lose £1 from the initial £20 wagering.
So, £5 (from the bonus) – £1 (from wagering) = a +EV offer of £4.
It would also be a very good offer to do.
But, what would happen to the EV if the £10 bonus had had to be wagered twenty times though, instead of ten?
Quite simply, we would steer clear of this offer!
It would no longer have a positive EV.
A £10 casino bonus with x20 wagering means the bonus needs £200 of wagering (20 x £10 bonus) before any winnings can be withdrawn.
The expected loss from the casino bonus would therefore be worked out like this:
= £200 wagering x 0.05 casino edge = an expected £10 loss from the £10 bonus.
This means the bonus expected value is zero.
In other words, you are expected to make nothing from this bonus.
If we also take into account the expected £1 loss from the initial £20 of wagering, overall we are expected to lose £1 from this offer in the long run.
This is an example of a -EV (negative expected value) offer which can look nice from a distance, but is not profitable once dissected and checked thoroughly.
As matched bettors we never do negative EV offers.
We never need to worry about having to calculate the EV of casino offers – Oddsmonkey do this for us, and only list the ones which are profitable for us to to complete.
This makes casino offers easy, as the time spent checking to see if they are profitable has already been done for us!
Now, if you’re anything like we were when we first started trying to understand casino offers, you may still be a bit confused about the wagering we’ve been talking about.
Specifically, you may be thinking: “How can I place £200 worth of spins if I don’t have this money in my casino account?!”
This question is all too common.
To explain ,we need to go back to the example offer where we had a £10 casino bonus with x10 wagering.
Let’s say that after spinning 25p eighty times in order to complete the initial £20 of wagering (25p x 80 spins = £20), your casino balance is now at £30 (= £10 profit from the initial spins).
As you’ve completed the initial wagering with your own money, the casino now releases a £10 bonus, which takes your overall balance from £30 to £40.
At this point £30 is your own money that can be withdrawn at any time, and £10 is bonus money that has to be wagered 10 times before it can be turned into withdrawable cash.
Hypothetically, let’s say with our first 25p spin with the £10 bonus money, we hit a nice jackpot and make £120.
Our overall account balance will now show £159.75p (£40 cash and bonus balance + £120 jackpot win – 25 pence spin cost).
We already know £30 of this balance was our own cash from before the bonus was unlocked, which leaves £129.75 of bonus balance.
We also know that this £129.75 bonus money can not be withdrawed until the £100 wagering is complete.
From the £10 bonus, we’ve wagered 25p of the £100 that we need to wager.
This means we still need to wager £99.75, which equates to 399 x 25p spins.
So, if we take into account £129.75 of bonus funds, minus the £99.75 of wagering (we still need to do to unlock our funds), it leaves us with £30 of guaranteed winnings minimum from the bonus.
So, even if all the remaining spins from the bonus cash do not win (this is highly unlikely, but used for example purposes), we will still be left with £30 in profit from the bonus.
I hope this explains how wagering a bonus works!
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