Online casinos traditionally hold an edge on the games they offer. They need this advantage to ensure long-term profits and make it worth their while.
But a new wave of online casinos are being released that promise something very rare up until this point — no house advantage!
Zero house edge casinos are in the works or already being released on blockchain platforms, including Edgeless and Zero Edge. The proposition here is simple: you play online casino games without facing a house advantage.
This setup sounds too good to be true. You’re essentially flipping coins with the casino, because they have no advantage.
What’s the catch to no house edge casinos? I’m going to first explain more on these gaming apps along with if there are any downsides to using them.
What Is a No House Edge Casino? What is Blockchain?
A zero house edge casino is one that doesn’t have an advantage on their games. Such a characteristic is virtually unheard of in the gaming world, given that casinos rely on a house edge to guarantee themselves profits.
You can therefore play a game like blackjack or roulette without being at a disadvantage. Furthermore, you have a 50% chance of winning each bet.
This new breed of zero house edge casinos are running as decentralized apps (DApps) on blockchain technology.
The decentralized aspect means that these apps will eventually run autonomously and can’t be controlled by anybody, including the founders.
A DApps’ transactions (bets in this case) are stored on the blockchain for anyone to see. Blockchain therefore serves as a digital ledger for the bets.
How Does a Casino Benefit from Zero House Edge Games?
These types of casinos benefit from their services in two ways. The first is that they run an initial coin offering (ICO) and keep some of the tokens.
An ICO is when a cryptocurrency/blockchain project allows people to invest by purchasing tokens. The goal of every investor is to see their tokens appreciate in value.
By keeping a portion of the tokens, founders benefit by retaining some of the project’s value. They also hope that their stake will increase in value at some point in the future.
The second way that zero house edge casinos make money is through skill-based games. A game like online blackjack or online video poker has a variable house edge based on your skills.
If make the right decisions, you lower the house advantage to its lowest point. But any strategy mistakes that you make will lower your chances of winning.
You have to use perfect strategy to reduce the house edge to zero with these games. Considering that the average player isn’t perfect, they’ll be at a slight disadvantage.
Edgeless casino, for example, expects to have a total advantage of 0.83% in their blackjack and video poker games. The absence of a house edge is only theoretical in the case of skill-based games.
Of course, many gamblers will still be interested in these DApps when considering that there’s no built-in casino edge.
Advantages of No House Edge Casinos
The main benefit to playing at zero house edge sites is obvious, because you have a stronger chance of winning. But I’m going to further expand on this advantage and others below.
You’re Flipping Coins with a Casino
I’ve mentioned multiple times that online casinos traditionally hold an edge over players. They don’t make their money by offering 50/50 propositions to customers.
No house edge operations differ, though, because they theoretically give you a 50% chance of winning. You’re basically flipping a coin with them.
No house edge roulette is a perfect example, because it doesn’t have a single or double zero pocket like other versions. The lack of these casino-friendly pockets puts you on equal footing with the house.
In other cases, you must use perfect strategy to lower the casino advantage to 0%. However, you’ll still find it worth playing with these DApps over regular casinos.
You Have a Stronger Chance to Win Money
Expanding on the first point, you have a better opportunity to earn money due to the lack of a house edge. This is especially true if you’re playing a non-skilled game like roulette, where your chances of winning aren’t dependent upon strategy.
Of course, you can still log off a loser at the end of the day. But your odds of earning profits are equally as good with no house edge operations.
You may have had big nights before at regular casinos that do have an advantage. Just imagine how many more times you’ll experience winning sessions when there’s no casino edge.
Your Tokens (Bankroll) Could Gain Value
Investing in cryptocurrencies is a volatile activity that’s often compared to gambling. The crypto industry is essentially the wild west of Investments, considering that the market can rise and fall by 10% on any given day.
If you have the gambling spirit, then you may appreciate that your casino tokens can gain significant value overnight. The tokens behind no house edge DApps are available on cryptocurrency exchanges or through ICOs (if still ongoing).
Some people don’t even buy these tokens for gambling purposes. They’re instead only speculating that the prices will rise.
The more people who buy and hold (a.k.a. hodl) these cryptocurrencies, the better chances your bankroll has of increasing in value.
You Don’t Have to Leave Money on the Casino — Like at Similar Sites
Zero house edge casinos aren’t a totally new concept. In fact, certain non-blockchain casino sites have already done this.
Just like the blockchain versions, these gaming sites need incentive to run their operations. This incentive comes in the form of keeping a portion of your withdrawals.
If you cash out $100 at one of these casinos, for example, then they may take 10% of the value. They sell this idea by pointing out that you can choose when to withdraw money.
But the point is that you’ll eventually have to leave some of your funds on the casino. The blockchain casino-based versions, however, allow you to cash out everything.
Potential Drawbacks to Zero House Edge Casinos
No house edge DApps seemingly have a big advantage over regular online casinos at face value. But they still have some notable downsides that you want to take into account before depositing.
Your Tokens Could Depreciate
I discussed earlier how one of the benefits to these casinos is that your bankroll could quickly increase in value. But you also have to consider the reverse in that your tokens could be worth much less in the future.
Crypto is among the riskiest investments in the world. Zero house edge casinos are no different, because they don’t currently have mainstream adoption.
Your tokens could very possibly increase tenfold or more in the future. But you’re just as likely to lose most of the money you’ve invested in these tokens as well.
You’re Helping the Founders Get Rich
Assuming no house edge DApps do take off, then the founders of these projects are going to be very wealthy. After all, each project’s founders retain a notable percentage of the ICO tokens.
You may be perfectly fine with this as long as you get to enjoy the advantages of zero house edge gambling. Furthermore, you might also benefit right along with them as your tokens get a boost.
On the other hand, you might not be thrilled about helping others get rich. This point all depends on your mindset about the matter.
Zero House Edge Apps Are Unproven
Online casinos first launched in the mid-1990s. Many were skeptical about them, given that remote sites were handling their money.
Over time, internet casinos have largely proven themselves to be reputable operations. Some bad apples exist, but the majority of sites offer fair gaming and process cashouts in a timely manner.
The cryptocurrency world and blockchain projects in general have yet to gain the same approval. In fact, Bitcoin — the leading cryptocurrency project — is sometimes labeled a “scam” by prominent investors.
Considering that the new wave of no house edge casinos are blockchain-based, they have a lot to prove before becoming reliable options. Many gamblers who hear of these DApps are hesitant to buy, even when considering the lack of a house advantage.
The Founders Could Be Scamming You — Like Many ICOs
2018 was the year of the ICO. Many cryptocurrency investors rushed to pour money into these new projects, given the previous successes of Ethereum, Ripple, Stellar, and other crypto.
However, many of the same people were absolutely burned by scammy ICOs. Some proposed projects flat out took people’s money and ran.
An easy way to avoid being victimized by these scams is to thoroughly research projects and the teams behind them. Even still, you may be investing into a bad idea and/or an unmotivated team.
You must be cautious about buying tokens from new zero house edge casinos. You have little guarantee that the operation will work as advertised.
In theory, zero house edge casinos are a gambler’s dream. They remove the house advantage and provide a better chance to win.
These types of casinos aren’t a revolutionary concept. Such gaming sites exist already and make their money by forcing gamblers to give up a portion of their withdrawals (typically 10%).
But the new wave of no house edge casinos are popping up as DApps through blockchain technology. Their founders earn money through different ways, including keeping a portion of the distributed ICO tokens and offering skill-based games.
Regarding the latter, most gamblers don’t play perfect blackjack or video poker. They make strategy mistakes here and there, which effectively increase the house edge.
The founders earn their revenue by speculating on the token value and players’ strategy mistakes. These profit-earning methods seem favorable to giving up a portion of your cashout.
Of course, you also have to consider the downsides to these casinos. They’re unproven, the token value (your bankroll) could depreciate, and the founders could be scamming you.
2018 was rife with questionable ICOs, as many new DApp developers raised millions of dollars on half-baked ideas and outright scams. The current zero house edge casino projects must soon prove themselves to avoid the scam category.
The idea of such blockchain casinos is still relatively new. Only time will tell if they can live up to their promise and offer reliable gaming services.
My hope is that they do, because who doesn’t want to play at a casino with no house edge?