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Looking for the slowest way possible to lose your money? With the possible exception of penny slots, which are hard to find any longer, the answer may be Derby. The game can be found at some medium to large casinos and usually near the sport book. Derby is an electronic horse racing game. One to ten players sit around a racetrack as they watch five horses compete in race after race. With a bet as little as 25 cents and about 90 seconds between races this can definitely be a decent time killer.

The only betting option is the quinella, which is betting on the first and second place horses in either order. With 5 horses there are 10 possible combinations of the first two, without regard to order.

At the close of one race the odds for the next race will be posted. As at a real track all odds are on a "for one" basis. In other words the player never gets his original bet back. For example the board may display the odds as follows, taken from a typical race at the Flamingo in Laughlin.

The player may bet from 1 to 20 quarters on each quinella. The smallest payoff is 2 for 1 and the largest is 200 for 1, although not all races offer either of these. I have seen winnings both paid immediately and added to the player's credits.

House Edge
The following table shows the average house edge based on actual observations at various casinos. Unless otherwise noted each casino is in Las Vegas.

House Edge in Derby
CasinoHouse Edge
Hilton10.13%
Orleans11.9%
MGM Grand12.19%
Newyork12.37%
Caesars Palace14.9%
Imperial Palace14.95%
Riveria14.97%
Ballys15.02%
Excalibur15.09%
Flamingo (laughlin)15.17%
Luxor15.32%
Fontier20.14%

Note that the returns in the table above tend to fall in clusters. For example, Caesars Palace, Imperial Palace, Ballys, Excalibur, Flamingo Laughlin, and the Luxor are all in a tight range. I believe all these machines are set to the same long term return and race to race variation accounts for the small variation.

The house edge is calculated assuming each bet carries the same house edge. For more information on this method of calculation please see my futures in sports section.

 


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