The online casino might be a gaming scene, but it is not all play as there are lots of jargon we often hear going around. One of such is RTP. While experienced players already have an idea of what it means, newbies are probably wondering what it stands for. Figuring out how casino games work may be a complicated matter best left for the technicians, but understanding the concept of RTP is essential if you play to win. As you’ll soon see, we will break down the term in the simplest way possible, explain how it works, and give useful hints on the kind of RTP you should be looking for during reel action.
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RTP and Payout Percentages
RTP is the amount a game will pay players over time, and it stands for “Return To Player.” RTP is expressed as a percentage, which is why it is also referred to as the payout percentage. Statistically, RTP is considered a percentage representation of the total amount won divided by the total amount wagered – (Amount won/amount wagered) x 100%.
Assume 100,000 players visit an online casino, and each one stakes $1 on a slot game, making $100,000 in total bets.
If all the winnings received by the players amounts to $96,000, we calculate the RTP as follows:
(96,000/100,000) x 100% = 96%
This means that a slot with a 96% RTP will pay out $96 for every $100 wagered on it.
All casino games have a built-in advantage that favors the house. This advantage is called the house edge, and slots, in particular, tend to have a higher house edge than regular table games because they are mainly dependent on chance and not on players’ capabilities. According to the illustration above, the $4 that you do not get back is the slot’s house edge.
The term loose slot was coined for games with RTP percentages closer to 100%, while low RTP slots are termed tight slots. While the RTP is a set rate, it does not mean that staking $1 on a spin, a hand of cards or a throw of the dice will earn you 95c. There would be no thrill in gaming if that were the case. These figures are calculated over a considerable number of wagers, and depending on the game, it may mean tens of thousands or even millions. Nonetheless, picking a high RTP will help you get better value for your money in the long run.
RTP and Variance
Here are two concepts that often get mixed up. A high RTP doesn’t imply a high variance and vice versa. Variance simply refers to how often a slot pays out. A low variance slot pays out small wins regularly while a high variance one does not pay out frequently, but when it does hit a winning combo, the rewards are much bigger.
RTP and variance are related because they have to do with players’ winnings from a game. However, RTPs show how much you can expect to win while variance is how you receive those wins – Low risk with regular small payouts or high-risk with infrequent big wins.
For instance, the house edge for a game of American Roulette is 5.26% and is the same for all bets, but single number bets are harder to win than even number bets. The former pays 35 to 1 and the latter 1 to 1. Therefore, playing even number bets will allow you to win small prizes often, and single number bets will roll out a big prize once in a while, but in the long run, they both pay out an average number of wins – the RTP.
For real money online slots, players get a kick out of the bonus features present in high variance titles because that is where the bulk of the RTP is located.
Having explained all that, when it comes to bankroll management, you need to consider both the variance and the RTP. That is both the short run and the long run.
Effects of RTP on Casino Bonuses
The RTP is just as essential tothe casino as it is for players. When operators set the games that are eligible to play with bonus money, it is easy to imagine that they are interested in increasing their profits. So it is rational that the games will not have the highest RTPs on the market. In the same way, many casinos do not allow very loose slots for bonus clearing. Luckily, there is a limit to the games they can disallow, so you can still make a profit or at least break even by picking slots with the higher payout percentages out of those available.
RTP Gaming Laws
Many casinos keep track of game performances through individual and collective player logs. They report the monthly RTP values to the regulatory body or publish the figures in a chart under a section of their casino website, so players have all the resources at their disposal before wagering.
Unlike other countries, US gambling laws have legally-mandated minimums for payout percentages, and developers cannot create games with extremely low RTPs. Table and card games usually have RTP standard values, while slots are variable.
Here are some online casino payout percentages:
1429 Uncharted Seas
Kings of Chicago
Big Bad Wolf
Aces and Faces Video Poker
Jacks or Better Video Poker
Three Card Poker
Who Controls the RTP Percentage?
Players believe that casinos are the ones who decide the RTP of the games they offer, but this is a myth with very little truth to it. Games are owned by the developers that create them, and casinos only rent these game software. The RTP of Gonzo’s Quest was set by NetEnt, and in the same way, Quickspin determined the RTP of Big Bad Wolf.
Sometimes these game providers allow casinos to make slight changes to a game’s payout percentage to fit the house rules. That is why the same game can have different RTPs on different sites. However, this is not very common, and the bottom line is that casinos do not have the power or access to manipulate RTPs on their own.
RTP – Online or Offline
If you’ve ever played at a land-based casino, you will have realized that online games play better, slots especially. The majority of brick & mortar casino games return between 70% and 90% of player bets as winnings. You will have to scour the lobby to find one or two games with an RTP above 92%. The difference is understandable because these operators have to cover expenses for the physical building, staff, and on-premise machines as opposed to online sites running entirely on software.
Is the RTP Value Trustworthy?
Before creating the amazing graphics and intriguing features we see on the gameboard, developers have to design the RTP distribution. Every slot is programmed to give back the set percentage of the total bets that go into it. The same goes for all other casino games that use an RNG.
A detailed thought process and complicated math sequences go into setting up RTP values. Spreadsheet computing, running a cycle, and extensive game simulations are used to arrive at a theoretical number. Once the game is released to the public and players begin wagering and winning, the real RTP in the casino environment is expected to reflect that of the theoretical results. And the more the game is played, the more exact it should become.
However, certain features influence the real RTP of a game. For instance, if a progressive slot is advertised as having a payout percentage of 95%, that figure may be realized by taking the jackpot into account. You will be playing the game with a significantly lower RTP if you don’t hit the jackpot. Also, the more complicated a game is, the harder it is to arrive at an exact payout percentage. In a nutshell, it takes a while to determine if a game’s RTP value is trustworthy.
Whenever you’re in doubt, keep in mind that the casino site plays a crucial role. A reputable casino will only offer games that will prove to pay out as they advertise over time. Such a casino will have met the criteria of being licensed and regulated by a recognized body. Not only the gaming software, but also the random number generators are tested regularly by independent auditors to ensure that you constantly play in a safe and fair environment.
Now that you’ve gotten a clear idea of RTP and what it implies on the reels, you can start getting more out of your time at the casino. This tool can take you from being a struggling player to well on your way to beating the house. Whether you want to go for low variance or high variance, a high RTP will bring you the most profits.