Casino Gambling versus Sports Betting

Aside from the obvious material differences and subject matter, the differences between wagering at a card or roulette table and placing a bet on a horse or sports team are fundamental to how a player engages with their entertainment.

Different Variables and Estimating Success

It may seem obvious that whether one is betting on a game of chance or a pair of competing teams, ultimately, luck dictates the outcome. The reality however, is far from being this simple. This is largely down to the differing variables at play and how they are handled by the house or bookie.

In sports betting the underlying terms under which a bet is placed are ambiguous. This is because the chances of a sports competitor winning are laid down by the bet-taker. Offered odds are based upon previous performances, current form or even whether a match is played at home or away, however, the odds offered are not a true reflection of the likelihood of a particular outcome and are subjective.

In contrast whenever a player sits down to a round of blackjack, or poker or even a game so placed in the lap of the gods as craps or roulette, the probability of a particular outcome can be strictly defined. In this respect, the only variable affecting the player’s chances of a win is the equally definable house edge.

Players could, in theory, work out what their true chances are of winning a card game, unlike in games where the outcome could be affected by what a competitor had for breakfast.

More or Less Chances of Winning?

As if to balance what is basically the player’s dilemma of betting on a chance or a guess, the chances of a winning or losing outcome are in stark contrast between table or sports games. Whilst the available data for calculating a winning bet at a sports game may be both equally plentiful and vague, the types of outcome are clearly much more limited than at a card game.

Whether you are watching a football game or tennis, hockey or the 100m sprint, generally there can only be one of three outcomes. Win, Lose or Draw. There are some exceptions to this sports game rule such as with horse racing where even a losing position in a race may be significant to a bet. The key factor to note here is that the number of different outcomes is relatively limited.

On the other hand, whether you find yourself at a swanky casino table or you play casino mobile card games, the number of possible ways to lose and win dwarf those found in sports betting, if one puts aside accumulators etc. Perhaps the one exception to this rule is roulette, which almost mimics the limited number of outcomes at a horse race. However, in reality on a bet-for-bet comparison, roulette still offers more outcome options due to the ability to place stakes on numerous numbers or combinations which still come under one bet.


Perhaps one of the most contentious differences between sports and casino gambling are the regulations. Historically, gambling in casinos has been more widely accepted and this has translated into development of online casinos, both in Canada and the USA. However, sports betting has not experienced the same support until relatively recently.

Whist the USA has recently permitted states to self-determine their sport betting policies following decades of federal prohibition, Canada has maintained a restricted but regulated sports betting industry, though only through the allowance of parlay betting.

With the changes to the law opening up opportunities for sports betting in the USA, many are now looking to see if Canada will review its own laws to perhaps allow single bets as a means of protecting its own industry and encouraging players to place their bets in Canada rather than looking to find their entertainment abroad.

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