For any greyhound racing enthusiast, the concept of putting a few pounds on a potential winner is an important part of the experience. For those who live and breathe the sport, placing the right bet on the right dog can prove to be seriously lucrative. For attendees who like a social night out and are choosing which dog to back at random, it ramps up the fun when you have a personal stake in the outcome, even if it’s just a pound or two.
Clearly, in greyhound racing, the chances of winning differ dramatically depending on the gambler’s knowledge and experience. It begs the question of how racing compares with other popular types of betting. For the uninitiated outsider, what’s going to give you the best chance of a return on your pound?
Lotto: life changing money – maybe
There are few of us who can resist the lure of a double rollover night on the Lotto or a EuroMillions jackpot of £40 million or so. Over in the US, the jackpots in the MegaMillions and PowerBall lotteries can be even higher. The good news is that in the internet age, we can access the most popular lotteries, and even take advantage of bonus codes, wherever we are located.
Yet the fact that the tagline for the UK’s lottery was changed in 1999 from It Could be You to Maybe, Just Maybe tells you all you need to know about the chances of winning. Odds of hitting the jackpot in the UK lottery are around 14 million to one, yet the return on your £2 lottery ticket is only likely to be around £5 million, or 2.5 million to one. For EuroMillions, the odds are about 140 million to one.
From a mathematical perspective, the lotto represents an appalling investment, but there is more to it than mathematics. Where else can you win that sort of money? It’s the Maybe, Just Maybe aspect that keeps us coming back for more.
It is far easier to compare and contrast casino games, as they have specific payout percentages. For example, in single zero roulette, the payout is 97.3 percent – in other words, for every pound you bet, you will, on average, win 97.3 pence. Slot machines vary, but typically pay out at around 95 percent. In blackjack, it is about 97.5 percent, but players can increase this to more than 99 percent if they follow basic strategy.
This raises an interesting point about gambling in general, and why it is so difficult to compare different types of wager.
Skill and luck
At the beginning, we talked about skill and luck in greyhound racing. Everyone needs a little of both, but for experts, there is a higher proportion of skill involved, and therefore their chances of success improve. In blackjack, we see the same thing. When it comes to lotto, roulette or slots games, everything is down to chance.
Ultimately, there is no simple answer. A night at the greyhounds is like no other – fantastic entertainment and you might even walk away with a few pounds of winnings. With lotto, on the other hand, it is astronomically unlikely you’ll hit the jackpot – but if you do, life will be changed forever. Perhaps that’s why we just keep returning to both!