Why Do We Use Negatives in Betting?

Many would argue that gambling is, at its core, a form of ‘risk taking’, and many casino games are designed to increase player excitement by incorporating some sort of risk into the game. If you’ve ever played the popular game ‘Blackjack’, you may have noticed that the house advantage increases as the betting limit increases. In blackjack, the higher the betting limit, the greater the house advantage. This is because the maximum liability that the casino can accept for a single hand of blackjack is higher the higher the betting limit – this is known as the ‘Maximum Exposure’. You can’t beat the rush of taking on the risk of the casino, can you?

Similarly, the lottery is a game of chance where the gambler tries to guess the right combination of numbers. Because the risk in the lottery is so high, many lotteries around the world offer cash prizes that can be life-changing for the winners. To encourage players to take the risk and try their luck, lotteries often offer huge cash prizes and sometimes even give away all of their profits from the previous drawing!

In roulette, the gambler gets to control the destiny of the game through their wagers. If you bet on Red, you’ll never know what will happen. The house advantage in roulette is normally high, which means that players have to cover a lot of losses. This is because the house wins more often than it loses. When playing at a brick-and-mortar casino with real dealers, this advantage can be as much as 12%. However, online roulette platforms can have a house edge as low as 2%! This is almost unbeatable!

While there are many positive aspects to casino games, they are also hugely popular because they allow people to lose huge amounts of money extremely quickly. This is why casinos are interested in having your credit card on file so they can continue to collect payments from you. If you consider that the house advantage in blackjack, lottery and roulette add up to roughly 85% of the gambling pie (take a look at the graph below), then it is clear that the majority of the money that you spend in a casino will leave the establishment as a loss.

Since the primary purpose of a casino is to make money through gambling, why not put this money to better use and treat your family and friends to a complimentary meal, game show tickets, or perhaps even a jackpot win?

The Rise of Online Gambling

With the evolution of the internet and the emergence of online casinos, the world of gambling has changed forever. Rather than going to a live casino and risking money in a real-world environment, online gambling provides a safe and secure way for people to play wherever and whenever they want. Additionally, because it is played online, there is no limit to how many players can simultaneously play – making online gambling a truly global phenomenon.

As a result of the expansion of internet access and the ability to play online, more and more people are discovering the joys of gambling. In fact, between 2011 and 2016, online gambling revenue grew by an incredible 275% in the United Kingdom, while sports betting grew by 76% and casino gaming grew by 41%. If this trend continues, it would not be surprising if online gambling becomes the preferred way to play in the coming years.

Why Do We Use Negatives In Betting?

As we have established, gambling is mostly considered a form of ‘risk taking’ and many casinos encourage players to take risks in the name of excitement. However, there is more than one way of looking at risk and uncertainty, and it is important to understand what the casino is trying to tell you with respect to these concepts. In the same way that mathematicians and scientists use negatives to describe aspects of randomness and uncertainty, so too do gamblers use these terms to describe the way that casino games can disadvantage them.

When you enter a casino, the first thing that you will likely notice is the sound of bells. This is because when you make a wager, the casino will ring the bells periodically to signify that you have a winning or losing hand. Let’s take a look at some of the ways that gambling disadvantages the casino.


When you play at a brick-and-mortar casino, you are playing in a land-based casino and you are responsible for paying local and federal taxes on your winnings. The good news is that online casinos do not have to pay federal taxes because they are located in an ‘offshore gambling territory’. However, this still leaves them liable for paying state taxes. In most cases, the state taxes are in addition to the federal taxes, so it is beneficial to be located in a country with low taxes!

Bankroll Management

When you play at a brick-and-mortar casino, you are playing with physical money. This means that you have a certain bankroll that you are allowed to use in the casino. When you lose bankroll, you have to stop playing and wait until you have enough money to continue. This is a disincentive to continue playing and can significantly reduce your excitement at the slot machines or tables. It is always better to have too much than not enough money when playing games of chance!

Losing Streaks

One of the worst things that you can do as a gambler is to go on a losing streak. When a gambler starts losing, they often continue to do so until they either run out of money or luck changes. This is why it is beneficial to only play with what you can afford – it is never fun to lose money and have to cut down on your expenses. Additionally, going on a losing streak can seriously damage your excitement level when playing casino games. It is crucial to break a losing streak as soon as possible – every gambler knows that the best reaction to a losing streak is to come back and win the next hand!

Systems' Uncertainty

To use an analogy, when you are driving on a motorway and there is an unexpected traffic jam, it can cause considerable stress and anxiety. You don’t know how long it will last, so you could end up losing valuable time worrying about whether or not you will make it to your destination on time. The same goes for gambling systems. Due to the nature of how they interact and how they are designed, the odds of a casino system being ‘perfect’ is incredibly small – much smaller than the chances of a motorway traffic jam. This is why many casinos do not offer complete games with systems, but rather use a random number generator (RNG) to generate outcomes for them – much like a human dealer would do at a real-world casino. The more complex a system is, the more likely it is that it will have some sort of error – it is only a matter of time until something goes wrong, and when it does, it can cause considerable damage to your bankroll and upset to your emotional state. This is why it is best to avoid these sorts of systems if you value your time and mental health!

Final Takeaway

While we have established that gambling can be a useful tool in your arsenal of odds and probabilities, it is also important to remember that there is more than one side to the story. Mathematicians and scientists use negatives to talk about randomness and uncertainty, and this is why gamblers use these terms as well. It is always better to be aware of these concepts and know what you are getting into – just because a game allows you to risk money or win big prizes does not mean that it is a good idea to jump in without thinking first!