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Nicholas G. Colon

Gambling and superstitions

5 September 2017

By Nicholas G. Colon
The 777 slot reel has long been associated with luck.

The 777 slot reel has long been associated with luck.

Superstition and gambling are complementary ideals. For as long as gambling has been around, players have been accustomed to the idea that some outside influences favorably or unfavorably impact the outcome of seemingly random events. Even though the law of large numbers will surely kick in at some point, the short-term variances seen by players in their truncated playing stints sometimes back up their claims.

Any freshman statistics student would tell you that over the long term, these "superstitions" have no bearing on the outcome. This hasn’t stopped casinos and players from financially capitalizing on these beliefs. Here, we will explore a few of the primary exploitations for players and casinos, in both the online and land-based gaming worlds.

The 777 slot reel has long been associated with gambling and luck. The number seven has had significant importance throughout history. It is prevalent in major religions like Judaism and Christianity. In traditional Chinese culture, the number seven represents the combination of yin, yang and five elements (metal, wood, water, fire and earth). This combination is considered “harmony” in the ideology of Confucianism, while in Chinese Taoism, it stands for tao, which has a close connection with kindness and beauty.

As a direct result, a popular slot machine is the lucky sevens or super sevens three-reel slot machine. As one can expect, the jackpot for this machine is paid when the center face plate shows all sevens. This machine has been around since before Bugsy Siegel paved the way for gambling-centric towns with his ground-breaking Flamingo Las Vegas resort. Now the lucky sevens have extended their reach into the online world. The 777 Casino is a popular online casino gaming website that has achieved popularity because of its triple-seven name. 777 and gambling jackpots are forever linked thanks to the original Vegas pioneers, and now both retirees and next-generation gamblers can explore the lucky sevens from the comfort of their own homes.

It’s no secret that casinos adjust their interior decor to attract a certain clientele. The Wynn Las Vegas and Encore Resort casinos in Las Vegas have made huge efforts to attract the Asian market players in both the U.S. and Macau. The interior is decked out in the Asian lucky color red as well as East Asia-themed paintings, rugs and general furnishings. It is a primary part in the overall strategy of Steve Wynn to attract the coveted high-rolling Asian gamblers. So far it has been successful, and Wynn's stock price has been trending upward over the last year.

Lesser-known utilizations of general superstitions are those that can financially benefit the astute and observant player.

Bill Benter developed arguably the most successful computer software in the world to attack the giant Hong Kong horse racing market. During the 2010 racing season, the betting turnover in Hong Kong reached $9.23 billion — on just two racetracks! By comparison, all the thoroughbred racetracks in the U.S. combined took in just over $12 billion in 2010. So how did Bill Benter take advantage of the superstitions of horse race bettors?

Wynn has won big with its red color scheme.

Wynn has won big with its red color scheme.

The first thing to understand is that Hong Kong horse racing is a limited field of horses. Every year only 1,000 horses are selected to race. This greatly reduces the amount of analytics that needs to be done for comparison. The computer program developed by Benter takes into account variables such as trainers and jockeys, track conditions, weather and gate positions, as well as several other variables properly weighted for importance. The program would predict a winner, with a percent of winning probability.

The Asian population of Hong King is very superstitious. For example, if the purple horse is heavily favored by the population, but the computer analysis says the green horse will win, the odds are swayed by the populous betting pools and the green horse becomes a value bet — a bet that has a good percentage of winning with a good bet-to-payoff ratio. Benter would bet heavily on the green horse.

This didn’t work 100% of the time, but it worked enough to make Benter one of the most successful horse bettors in history. To execute this properly, several runners and spotters have to be stationed at the horse tracks to ensure that up-to-the-minute analysis can be executed at the betting windows. Bill has taken the substantial winnings he's made over the last several decades and established the Bill Benter Foundation, where he administers the distribution of millions of dollars annually in a variety of charitable endeavors.

Superstition and gambling are almost inseparable in the gaming industry. Casinos use superstition to their advantage to get money from the player, and on rare occasions, astute players can turn the tables on the casinos for profit. While we have discussed a few ways how these scenarios can play out, they are by no means the only ones. If you pay attention while walking through a casino or a casino-centric town, you will notice how the house tries to entice the unsuspecting player. And if you are really observant, you may discover a way to exploit the house.
Gambling and superstitions is republished from

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