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How gambling works

How games of chance work

By gaining a better understanding of the role chance plays in gambling, players can enjoy a more positive experience.

Online gambling

For many players, online games are more attractive than games located in gambling establishments. They are accessible at any time… and they are anonymous. That is why it is easy to lose control when playing online.

Do you know how the symbols you land on are generated when you play electronic games? Discover more by viewing this video!



  • Remember that it’s easier to lose track of time and contact with reality when you gamble online.


  • Unlike many illegal gambling sites, lotoquebec.com has put safeguards in place for players, such as:
    • Responsible gambling measures
    • Spending limits
    • Self-exclusion programs
    • Age restrictions


These safeguards aren’t guaranteed on illegal gambling sites, so please exercise caution.

To learn more, consult Online gambling [PDF].

Slot machines and video lottery terminals

Are you familiar with the concept of volatility?

Some slot machines have small, frequent payouts: these are low-volatility games. Others pay out big wins at much less regular intervals: these are high-volatility games. Luck and chance are always a factor, but the volatility is what determines the size and frequency of the wins. Check out our fun, simple video on volatility to get a good understanding of what it means.

Slot machines and video lottery terminals

With these types of games, you win or you lose. You never almost win. Remain vigilant, as these games have characteristics associated with a higher risk of developing gambling problems.

In Québec, nearly one in five adult video lottery players (16,4%) shows signs of problem gambling.


  • These machines’ interactive games enable players to choose their game or the paylines on which they place bets. Players may sense a feeling of control.
  • Machine games are fast-paced and tend to entice people to bet more in less time.
  • These machines often display a series of spins where players appear to be only one symbol away from a win, therefore leading them to falsely believe that they almost won.


For more information on machines, consult Gambling machines [PDF].

Also discover a day in the life of a slot machine, a fun and easy way to understand how slot machines produce random outcomes.

Understanding how video lottery terminals work

Understanding how slot machines work


Poker is one of the most popular card games in the world. It differs with other card games in that it involves elements of skill. Players can increase their knowledge of the game, develop strategies, and learn how to bluff.


Even when bluffing, you cannot control the substantial amount of chance involved in this game.

To learn more, consult Poker [PDF].



Chance is ever-present at blackjack, also called twenty-one. Blackjack is a very popular card game in which each player goes up against the House and not against other players. 


  • Players can win in the short term, but in the long term they lose more money than they win. That’s called the House advantage.
  • The House advantage and the player advantage are calculated on the long term, and it always favours the House.


To learn more, consult Blackjack [PDF].


When you play bingo, just like lotteries or slot machines, you cannot improve your odds of winning by analyzing previous results, choosing your game cards, or using a lucky charm or particular strategy.

At bingo, the odds of winning are random and player skill has no influence on the outcome, it is determined by the number of players, cards played and balls drawn.

To learn more, consult Bingo [PDF].


Sports betting

Sports betting is a form of gambling that has been around for ages and has become a popular pastime, particularly among sports fans.

One common misconception is that sports betting is a skill-based activity—some players don’t fully understand the role that chance plays in the outcome of the sporting events they’re betting on.

The role of chance in gambling

Just like with lottery games and slot machines, the outcome is always random.

And when placing your bets, there’s no way you can control an outcome that’s determined by chance—even if you know all there is to know about a certain sports team or you’ve analyzed hundreds of games.

Risks associated with sports betting

Although sports betting is often done alongside friends in a fun setting, the risks associated with this form of gambling shouldn’t be overlooked.

For example, because there are so many betting options available, and it’s often possible to place bets quickly, continuously, online and sometimes anonymously (at lottery retailers and self-serve kiosks), this can lead a sports bettor to spend impulsively and fork out more than they planned.

Moreover, because players can see the outcome of their bets quickly, it’s likely that they’ll get a jolt of instant gratification and want to chase that same feeling.

Gambling limits

Gambling online allows you to gamble more often, since you can do so anytime and from anywhere. So that your online gambling experience remains positive, we suggest setting limits for yourself and taking regular breaks.

To learn more, check out our Play Without Going Overboard page.