Betting has been around since the dawn of time, with archaeological excavations in China and the U.S. revealing evidence of gambling games from as early as five thousand years ago. As society evolved, so did the art of gambling, and eventually public houses sprung up where people could enjoy playing games against each other and the house (Pictured Cannery Casino & Hotel presents Wheel of Fortune jackpot winner Helen Jenner with a check for $1,058,092.24).
In recent years, the advance of technology and the Internet has enabled a wealth of games to spring up online – twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week, every day of the year – making gambling even more accessible than ever.
But no matter how much games and casinos evolve, the essence of gambling remains the same. It’s a form of serious entertainment that has stood the test of time, crossing the various boundaries of gender, social class and status throughout history, bringing people of all backgrounds together with one common aim in mind – to try and hit a jackpot win.
We all hear about the big winners – the lucky people that hit it rich on a single card turn, dice throw or reel spin – but how easy is it to actually win? And is there a secret winning formula?
Right place at the right time?
Let’s start with the world’s biggest wins in bricks and mortar casinos vs their online counterparts. The obvious place to begin is with Archie Karas, a high-stakes Greek American gambler who holds the record for the biggest ever series of wins in Vegas, when he turned $50 into over $40 million in a three-year lucky streak that ended in 1995 – when he went on to lose it all.
Then there’s the case of an anonymous player at the Excalibur in Vegas, who snagged $39.7 million while waiting for a basketball game to start. And yet another impressive example is Elmer Sherwin, a veteran of World War II who won several million in Vegas not once but twice! His first $4.6 million dollar Megabucks jackpot was followed 16 years later with a $21 million jackpot on the same machine.
But what about online players? Do they have just as much – or perhaps even more – chance of hitting it big?
It probably won’t come as much of a surprise that due to the lack of restrictions when it comes to opening times and physical space, online games, especially those offering progressive jackpots, provide some of the richest payouts available today. Due to round the clock access, every day of the year, these jackpots accumulate quickly. Unlike their bricks and mortar counterparts, there’s no queuing to play so the jackpot amount rises rapidly, often reaching into millions within days of a jackpot being won.
Most online casinos display their recent biggest winners, so it’s easy to see just how frequently and successfully online players are bagging jackpot wins. Just recently, a French player on Casino.com Canada bagged almost $2 million on Beachlife slots after playing online for less than twenty minutes. It’s the same old story of success, but with the added bonus of being able to play from the comfort of home or a mobile, at any time of day.
The gender issue: who dares wins!
When it comes to winning huge sums of money, if you look at the statistics, it seems that men do have the upper hand. (Tell that to pensioner Amy Nishimura, who snagged almost $9 million for a $100 stake). There seems to be more men’s names on the winner’s lists than female – but is this because men have the magic formula, or are there other reasons in play?
The numbers of players enjoying video style games on the whole is constantly shifting, with more and more women becoming interested. However, despite this growing interest, recent figures suggest that when it comes to online casino games, the average numbers playing are 82% men, compared to only 18% women.
When you compare playing time and stakes, men spend on average around 14 months over their lifetime, while women spend 21 months, but men will spend more money in a session. And while both seem to prefer roulette as the game of choice – giving the same odds of winning – women are typically younger than their male counterparts when they hit the tables.
One school of thought is that age and its related responsibilities are more relevant than gender when it comes to winnings. Typically, there is more disposable income at a later age, and with the average female player age matching that of typical childbirth years, then it makes sense that women are wagering lower amounts and less attracted to risk. Therefore, it is reasonable to assume that women are winning just as frequently, but as typically lower stakes players and fewer in number, their huge wins are less noticeable.
So what’s the winning formula?
In short, there isn’t one. When it comes to playing online games of chance such as roulette, blackjack or slots, the old adage ‘you have to be in it to win it’ sticks. It doesn’t matter whether you’re male or female, in a real or online venue; it’s the game you play and how you play it that counts.
Online casinos provide more opportunity to play, and have more games – and therefore, more jackpots – on offer than your standard bricks and mortar, so your overall chances of winning may be higher, but your chances of winning any particular game remains the same. Simply choose your games carefully and keep your stakes within your means for the best chance of a jackpot win.