Bookies or Bust

One area the particularly interested me throughout my development within the module was the importance of math’s within gambling, something I myself occasionally partake in and something many of my friends do. Gambling consists of many forms including betting shops, casinos, and racing but for this I will focus on casinos in particular.

A study by the University of Las Vegas found that in the 2013 fiscal year, 23 casinos made over five billion dollars, averaging over $630,000 a day, per casino. This is clearly a big business and the reason for Las Vegas’ continuing success since 1941, but how do casinos continually make money? The answer is simple, probability and chance.

Casinos run on the idea of giving odds on a particular outcome to come to fruition, people then put money on the outcome that they feel is most likely and this results in either a person loosing their stake or winning money. A game I will focus on for this post is roulette, one of the more popular games and arguably the simplest.

Here are the chances of each outcome in the game roulette:

Image result for roulette chances table

(No Date) Available at: (Accessed: 2 December 2016).

As we can see the odds of winning are better within Europe which means that American casinos will inevitably earn more money than European ones. Furthermore it is clear to see that the chance of winning is always slightly more than the pay-out, this is for two reasons, firstly to save the casinos as much money as possible when they do lose, and secondly to provide an easy pay-out, using whole numbers, thus removing any need for small money when paying out.

Casinos rely on an elementary concept taught in all primary schools, probability and chance. Whether it be tree diagrams, percentages, decimals or fractions, children will learn how to calculate the probability of one thing happening over another. As a teacher it is important to show real world examples of this however a casino and the idea of gambling probably isn’t the most appropriate way of showing a real world application. A more appropriate way may be to calculate the probability of fruit growing on a tree etc.

Ma’s principle of multiple perspectives links perfectly to teaching probability and chance as their are multiple methods of expressing and showing probability and it is important that children understand that there is more than one way to work out and express a chance of an outcome happening. It is for this reason a teacher must have  Profound understanding of mathematics, in order to communicate effectively the many ways of expression and calculation when teaching this concept. It is vital that a teacher understands that all children understand things differently an that although 10% may be the easiest way for one child to express probability, 0.1 or 1 tenth may be easier for other children.



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