What Darren Rovell Doesn’t Understand About Casino Win Percentages

Darren Rovell, a man in the business of betting, just can’t wrap his head around the numbers.

Darren Rovell, a popular Twitter account for gamblers who don’t take enough punishment in the casino, has, on more than one occasion, misunderstood the Nevada Gaming Control Board’s (NGCB) monthly and yearly gaming revenue report. Here’s, as of this writing, Darren’s latest tweet on the matter:

Darren is referencing the November 2022 NGCB’s revenue report and is looking at the trailing twelve months, specifically the win percent column. The problem is, and I noted this in another blog post on whether slot machines have better odds than table games, is that “win percent” is calculated differently for table games and slot machines. If Darren were to read the Introduction & Information section of the report, he’d see that it states as such:

“The “Win Percent” for games provides a ratio which has been adjusted for effects of credit play. The “Win Percent” for slot devices provides a ratio which represents the reported win amount divided by the total dollar amount played by patrons.”

This can seem confusing, but I explained it in my other blog past as follows:

“…if a player bought in at a blackjack table with $100, played through $1000, and left the table with $50, it would be reported as a win of $50 and a 50% win percentage for the casino. But say a slot player also started with $100, played a total coin-in of $1000, and left with $50. It would be reported as a win of $50 and a 5% win percentage for the casino.”

What this does is artificially inflate the win percentage of table games when compared to slots, for this report at least. One way I can explain this away is that slot machines can be more precise with a player’s betting, amounts, frequency, etc. Whereas table games are still a manual process, pit bosses or managers aren’t able to enter all the necessary data on players and their bets a machine is able to do automatically.

The oddity about his tweet though doesn’t stop at his misunderstanding of the column he’s reading, it’s that he uses the phrase “most money”. The report actually has a column that breaks down the win amount for each game and none of the 6 he mentions are in the top 6 for absolute money won.

The casino game that returned the most money for the casinos in the last 12 months is, unsurprisingly, multi-denomination slot machines at a hair over $5 billion. Here are the following 5:

  • 1 cent slots: $3.63 billion
  • Twenty One: $1.27 billion
  • Baccarat: $1.11 billion
  • 1 dollar slots: $728 million
  • Roulette: $450 million

3-card poker, the game he claims “returned the most money” provided revenue of a relatively paltry $124 million for Nevada casinos in the last twelve months.

His tweet above didn’t pass the smell test. Most casino goers know slots are a cash cow for casinos and, in a general sense, offer some of the worst odds. Slots accounted for about 67% of Nevada casino gaming revenue this past year. Those resorts aren’t built on the backs of 3 card poker players.

Adam Bauer

Writer, gambler, famous travel influencer. Proud sponsor of the American Society for the Prevention of Bloggers.

About the Author

Adam Bauer

Writer, gambler, famous travel influencer. Proud sponsor of the American Society for the Prevention of Bloggers.

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