7 Reasons You Should Play Casino Games Instead of the Lottery

Lottery and Casino Custom Image

Millions of people play the lottery every year and millions enjoy playing casino games. What makes one better than the other?

The big draw of the lottery is a life changing win, but your chances are often hundreds of millions to one against this happening.

How many lottery players do you personally know who’ve won a million or more?

Of course I guess the same could be asked about casino winners.

So how do you know which is better?

The answer has a great deal to do with what you’re trying to get out of the lottery or the casino.

I’ve put together a list of 7 reasons casino games are better than the lottery. Once you read about them you’ll have more ammunition to make an educated decision about which is better.

Of course you might decide to do both. That’s one of the great things about how you decide to gamble. You can play whatever games you decide offer you the most return, whether it be monetary or something else.

1 – The Lottery Has a Higher Edge than Any Casino Game

Most large lottery games have an edge of 40 to 60%. This means that for every dollar they take in they only pay out 40 to 60 cents.

The worst game in the casino as far as house edge is usually keno and the normal edge for these games is between 20 and 25%. Even slot machines offer a much lower house edge, usually between 2 and 15%.

Most casino games have a house edge of less than 5%. This is over 10 times less than the average lottery.

Here’s a list of popular casino games with a range of edge percentages for your comparison.

  • Blackjack has an edge of less than 1% to 3%.
  • Craps has a house edge of less than 2% on the main bets.
  • Roulette has an edge of less than 3% to less than 6% depending on the version.
  • Baccarat has a house edge of between 1 and 2%.
  • Video poker games range in edge from less than 1% to 6%.

2 – Social Interaction

While you can get some social interaction stopping at the local convenience store to pick up a lottery ticket, casinos are filled with people to talk to.

If you play slots or video poker you can visit with the people playing the machines around you and if you play table games you can chat with the other players and the dealer.

Bingo is one of the main gambling games involving social interaction. It’s more fun for many players to visit with the other bingo players than they have playing the actual game.

Some players don’t want any social interaction, but most of us need to visit and talk with others from time to time. It’s part of being human. So why not enjoy some gambling games while socializing with others?

Take a few hours off from Facebook and Twitter and do some face to face socializing at the casino.

3 – Casinos Have Jackpots Too

Why do you play the lottery?

Is it for a chance to win a few dollars or is it the shot at millions and millions?

Most players are interested in millions and put the money right back into another lottery game when they win a few bucks.

But the casino has games that offer big jackpots too. Many progressive slot machines have jackpots over a million and many other games have jackpots of $10,000 and more.

And even though the odds are still hugely against you, the odds of hitting a progressive jackpot are still much higher than winning a big lottery.

Megabucks, a commonly found progressive slot machine in casinos that offers a payout in the millions, has odds of just under 50 million to 1 against hitting the jackpot. The two big lotteries in the US have odds of roughly 175 million to 1 and over 260 million to 1. Most other big lottery games around the world also have odds of over 100 million to 1.

This means in almost all case you’re twice as likely to win the Megabucks jackpot and over five times as likely when compared to many lottery jackpots.

Though you probably won’t hit either the big lottery jackpot or a big progressive jackpot, wouldn’t you rather have a five times better chance of hitting it in the long run?

4 – You Can Use Strategy in the Casino

Many casino games are designed so you can use strategy to reduce the house edge. Even simple games like craps and baccarat have decisions that can reduce the house edge.

By playing perfect strategy with good house rules at the blackjack table you can play with a house edge of less than a half percent. Some video poker machines also have an edge of less than a half percent with perfect play.

In baccarat you can always play the player bet and the edge is just barely over 1%. By sticking with pass line or don’t pass line bets in craps the house edge is less than 1.5%.

You can’t use a strategy while playing the lottery. You simply buy your ticket and hope for the winning numbers to match yours.

5 – You Can’t Beat the Lottery

Because the lottery has such high odds against you there’s no way to beat it unless you’re one of the select few who hit a big jackpot.

While most casino games fall in the same category, a few of them can be beat. And many others are designed so you can leave a winner in some of your playing sessions.

Games available in the casino where skilled players can win in the long run include poker, blackjack, sports betting, and horse racing.

It’s difficult to beat the casinos in the long run, but it’s not impossible. If you learn how to be a winning poker player or sports bettor you can win consistently. No one is able to consistently bet the lottery.

Even blackjack players who can’t beat the edge in the long run have a good chance of winning many of their playing sessions. And when you combine a small house edge with goo strategy and comps, discussed in number seven below, you can play close to a break even game.

The lottery keeps taking your money so you’re long term profit keeps getting more negative. You’re chance of breaking even over time is so small that it’s almost non-existent.

6 – Keno

If you truly enjoy playing the lottery the casino has a similar game that works the same way. It also lets you simply buy a ticket and wit for the results and has high pay outs. They usually aren’t in the millions, but you have the chance to win $10,000 to $100,000 for a $1 bet depending on where you play.

Keno is the casino equivalent to the lottery. And as you learned above the house edge is around half of the lottery.

You can pick your own numbers or let the machine automatically pick them for you, just like the lottery. And keno is one of the slowest games available in the casino so you can play for hours on $50 or less.

Most keno games run every five or 10 minutes, so you can bet $1 per drawing and only spend $6 to $12 per hour. You can even buy your keno tickets and then go play other casino games while you wait for the results.

7 – Comps

The lottery simply takes your money and pays out cash to the winners. When you play in a casino you can join the player’s club, also called the slot’s club or reward’s club in some places, and earn comps on all of your play.

It doesn’t matter if you win or lose, you can earn money, food, drinks, rooms, and a wide range of other things simply by playing.

Over the course of many trips to the casino these perks can add up.

A friend of mine gets free hotel rooms every time he goes to Las Vegas. And I get free buffet tickets all of the time when I play in the casino.

Every dollar’s worth of comps you get is a dollar less you have to spend on something.

When’s the last time the lottery gave you anything for your play?


The lottery offers the dream of a life changing reward, but the truth is less than one in 100 million are lucky enough to have their dream fulfilled. You can still play for a huge jackpot in the casino while enjoying a much lower house edge.

And even if you love the lottery the casino has games that are designed the same way. The next time you think about buying a lottery ticket consider visiting the casino instead.

Petko Stoyanov
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About Petko Stoyanov
My name is Petko Stoyanov, and I've been a gambling writer for more than ten years. I guess that was the natural path for me since I've loved soccer and card games for as long as I can remember! I have a long and fairly successful history with English Premier League betting and online poker, but I follow many other sports. I watch all big European soccer leagues, basketball, football, and tennis regularly, and I keep an eye on snooker, volleyball, and major UFC events.