Las Vegas Gambling has changed for the Worse


Throughout its history, Las Vegas has relied on gaming for a large amount of revenue. But over the past few years, we've seen a big transition, with Sin City casino resorts dedicating more resources towards clubs, restaurants and shopping centers.

Lost in this shuffle are the low house edges that casino games used to feature. Even on the Vegas Strip, you could often expect very favorable blackjack and video poker rules. But this has changed in a major way because casinos have boosted their house edges to capitalize on the smaller group of hardcore players.

The most glaring change is the increasing number of blackjack tables that feature 6:5 payouts for natural blackjacks, instead of 3:2 payouts. This one small change increases the house edge by 1.4%, which is huge in any casino game. You especially have to be wary of the Strip casinos because they rarely offer 3:2 blackjack payouts when the minimum stakes are less than $25.


Now, this isn't to say that you can't find good blackjack games. Downtown Vegas still features some pretty favorable rules because they try to cater to the hardcore gaming market. El Cortez is one example of this because they offer 3:2 blackjack payoffs in stakes ranging as low as $5. But you also have to keep in mind that other Downtown casinos are slowly following the Strip's lead by offering 6:5 payoffs.

You also have to watch out for video poker paytables in Las Vegas too. In the past, you could always count on 9/6 Jacks or Better, which only carries a 0.46% house edge. But now, casinos are starting to offer 9/5 paytables and worse as a way to rake in more profits. So if you play a lot of video poker, carefully examine paytables before you put any dollars into the machine.

What's sad is that it doesn't look like the trend of increasing house edges in skill games will change any time soon. Las Vegas seems pretty set on reinventing itself as an all-encompassing entertainment destination, rather than maintaining a gambling-first mentality.

This may be a good thing for those who enjoy going to nightclubs and eating at top-quality restaurants. But if you're somebody who's mainly interested in giving yourself the best chance to win money in casino games, Vegas may not be the ideal destination. Assuming you do gamble in Sin City, make sure that you look towards the Downtown casinos and/or special deals and promotions that may be running on the Strip. This way, you give yourself a realistic shot at winning money and lower the house edge to its lowest possible point.

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