The great thing about the world of online casino gambling is that it has something for newbies and veterans alike. Newcomers can focus on finding all the games they like, exploring the back catalogue of a certain developer or just enjoying the experience of meeting a bingo chat community for the first time. Veterans can take a closer look at rarer slot games, the intricacies of welcome bonuses and of course, statistics like RTP.
RTP or Return to Player is an unusual factor of casino gambling, because it’s both important and unimportant depending on your point of view. Understanding RTP will help players to have a better view of how slot games work and what to expect when playing- they may also help you to develop a personal strategy.
RTP stands for Return To Player. You may see the term attached to slots that you play, either in the information panels of casinos or on sites that review slots. Typically, RTP is a percentage and it’s almost always in the 90-99% range.
Return To Player is essentially the average amount of money that a slot game pays out. Sometimes it’s referred to as a payout percentage. Now, the important part to understand is that this is an average amount. So, putting £100 into a slot that pays 95% RTP will not always result in winning £95 (for starters, that would be bad- you’d never make a profit!). The amount you receive can be far less, or it can be more- the 95% average applies to all players, across all time.
RTP can also be considered as the inverse of a slot’s ‘house edge’, which is a term in casino gaming for how much the casino makes from games. So, a 95% RTP game has a 5% house edge, because that leftover amount is how much the site keeps over the course of time (what’s left over from the average payout). So, Return To Player is quite important as a gauge of how slots will pay out over time, but it isn’t everything. A higher RTP isn’t always the best thing to go for- it depends how you play.
This depends on how you play. A higher RTP means that a slot will pay out more on average; this is true. These games have a smaller house edge and so they do attract more players, as they can expect a generally higher average rate of wins. However, slot developers are not in the business of making slots as generous as possible! If a game has a high RTP then it typically balances out elsewhere. For example, the game may have smaller maximum jackpots in general, which naturally raises the average win overall.
Another factor is volatility. This term refers to how a slot behaves; is it risky or predictable? A low volatility slot will pay out more often and smaller amounts, while a more volatile slot does not pay out as much but does tend to pay bigger amounts. This information is not always revealed and is still a matter of averages.
Typically, high volatility slots have a lower Return To Player. This is because a larger portion of each bet placed is being stored up for those big wins. This is not always the case and again is a case of averages, but this can explain why some bigger paying games don’t seem to pay as much overall- they only feel generous when you win. The risk is higher, the reward is higher.
Low volatility slots will typically have a higher RTP because they pay out more often, but pay less. The money going in is not pooled as much for a big win or a jackpot fund, so it can afford to pay out, mathematically speaking. These slots are best suited to casual players and those who want to stick to a budget.
To summarise, RTP is really of more importance to casinos than to players. It helps them to determine how much revenue they will make from their games. The profit from a slot is not a static amount, since players can always win big jackpots, but a percentage that gives an average over time allows casinos to have some idea of what to expect. For players, it’s more of a measure of how a slot will behave.
There are some slots which pay out at very high rates. For example, NetEnt’s classic slot Jackpot 6000 has an RTP of 98.9%, making it a bit of a hidden gem. Quickspin’s Big Bad Wolf pays out 97.35% RTP, making that an attractive title. One of the best paying games out there is Goblin Cave by Playtech, with a mighty Return To Player of 99.3%.
Jackpot 6000 can be found at many NetEnt casinos including Sloty, which has been reviewed on our slots section. Also check out the review of Slots Heaven, which has several Playtech games, including Goblin Cave and Ugga Bugga (which has a 99.1% RTP). The fairly new Casimba site features several Microgaming slots, with Jurassic Park having a noteworthy 96.67% and Blueprint’s Fortunes of Sparta at 97.04%.
The main thing is to find a game that you enjoy, because these percentages only make a small difference to the average player and don’t always tell you how the game will behave. Have fun and find some great new slots to play.
Bret Allen is an experienced journalist and freelance copywriter who specialises in the gambling sector and has written for various publications as well as one of the largest online gaming companies in the UK – Gamesys. Bret has a particular interest in slot games and knows his RTPs from his RNGs.
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