What do sports betting and casino gambling have in common? While it’s clear that there is some kind of relationship between these two activities, it’s not entirely clear exactly where they overlap or whether it is advantageous to play one over the other. Here are some thoughts to consider about sports betting and casino gambling.

The House Edge in Sports Betting and Casino Gambling

In casino gambling or playing casino games like blackjack online, the House edge is built into the game, and except in very rare circumstances, it cannot be beaten. If you play blackjack perfectly (without a successful card-counting system), you can still expect to lose a dollar or two for every $100 you bet over the long term. When you pump money into a slot machine or play slot machines online with 90 percent payback, you’re going to lose an average of ten cents out of every dollar you put into the machine, although you may have big wins and losses along the way. Sports betting is a bit different. Sports betting is more like poker, in which players bet against each other and the House merely takes a “rake,” a percentage of each pot. In sports betting, the sportsbook tries to book bets on both sides of a wager evenly, and profit from the “vig,” a percentage extracted from the loser that resembles the rake in poker.

What Vig vs. Edge Means in Sports Betting and Casino Gambling

What difference does this make to you, the bettor? Well, what it means is that you have a much better chance of beating the sports book than of beating the casino at table games. You can win a lot at a casino game in the short term, to be sure, and there’s far from a guarantee that you will find a way to win consistently at sports betting, but the reality is that if you play a casino game for long enough, statistically, you will lose. There is no such statistical guarantee built in for sports betting.

Does Sports Betting Always Have an Advantage over Casino Gambling?

Not always. For one thing, if you find casino gambling more fun than sports betting, that’s what you should play. Being a winning sports bettor long term is no easy feat, and you need to be really dedicated to make it work. In the short term, anyone can win or lose big money either betting on sports or playing table games, so you really should focus on the one that you prefer.