The first rule of gambling: The house always wins. Professional gamblers know this. Amateurs know this. Even Danny Ocean knows this.
The house always wins not because the game is rigged, but because that’s how the game is structured. Roulette is a classic example: The odds of the ball landing on an odd number are equal to the odds of it landing on an even number. But the odds are not 50-50: the zero (and on some tables the double zero) skews the odds in favor of the house. In an infinite number of spins, the ball will land on zero as often as it does on an odd or even number.
George Georgiopoulos, who used to work at an IT consultancy and at Thames Water, a British utility, wants to do away with the house. Along with his partner Gianni Galanis, Georgiopoulos has started bet.tra.de, an online casino in which the house will not take a cut. The pair will introduce their idea to gambling executives at the Excellence in Gaming conference in Berlin next week.
“We don’t have the zero,” says Georgiopoulos. He calls bet.tra.de “P2P betting,” a bit of tech jargon that was popular before “sharing economy” replaced it. The idea is the same: Just as Airbnb, in theory, connects somebody with a spare room with somebody who needs a place to sleep, bet.tra.de aims to connect someone who wants to bet on red with somebody who wants to bet on black.