What is an RTP in Slot Games?
Written by Chris
Published date · June 29, 2022 | Last Updated · July 5, 2022 | Read Time: 4 mins
What are RTPs?
If you’ve read some of our other slot guides, played slots, or almost any online or brick-and-mortar casino games, you may have heard everyone and their dog talk about RTPs. RTP stands for ‘return to player’, and you should see the RTP on any slot game you play, but what are they? For beginners and those who might not be 100% sure what they are, here’s a definition from the UK Gambling Commission: “Percentage Return To Player (%RTP) can be thought of as part of the money paid to play the machine that is then given back to the player as prizes.” Basically, on average, how much money wagered is returned to players as wins or jackpots over a large number of spins. The average RTP is normally calculated over 10,000 or even 100,000 games in the case of compensated machines. The RTP also guarantees that overall house edge or, in other words, that casino, online or physical, makes money in the long run, even if it pays out big jackpots.
Why is Understanding RTPs important?
So why should you worry about the RTP in slots? In online slots, high RTP games will typically give you consistent wins in contrast to lower RTP games, where you will win less often but for more money. Both RTPs and volatility heavily influence your slot experience, so it is important to understand both. In slots, volatility, often used interchangeably with variance, is the element of risk involved, i.e. a slot machine that doesn’t pay out often is high volatility or variance. Technically speaking, variance is more to do with win distributions over a longer time frame than volatility which concerns itself with a short time frame, but knowing either will be a helpful and practical tool for you.
As RNG slots can payout multiple times in a row, or not at all for long periods of time, understanding the RTP and volatility of slots is vital for slot players looking to make money on top of having fun. Brick-and-mortar casino slots usually have an RTP from 70% to 90%, while online slots have significantly higher RTPs. To easily ballpark online slots and strategise appropriately, some have divided RTP slots into categories: high (97%+), medium(96-97%) and low (below 95%). Here are some examples of each category: High – NetEnt’s Mega Joker (99%), Medium – Play’N Go’s Book of Dead (96.21%), and Low: Microgaming’s Mega Moolah (94%).
RTPs allow players to get an idea of how much money they should bankroll to expect an even return – with a chance of profits. For example, the highest RTP slots will typically have low volatility and thus payout frequently in smaller amounts. This means you can happily play for a long time without risking your bankroll and, hopefully, slowly building some profits. With lower RTP slots that typically have higher volatility, you will go longer before getting wins, but these wins will be better. Some players prefer playing these lower RTP slots with higher volatility as there is a chance to win some big money. Just be aware that in these lower RTP, high volatility slots, without a sufficiently large bankroll, there is a much higher risk of losing everything before you get a win than with high RTP slots.
So What are Good RTPs?
What defines a good RTP depends on what you’re after. As we previously discussed, low RTPs usually mean greater chances of bigger wins when you win. So if you fancy yourself luckier than the rest or are looking for the thrill of a big win, lower RTPs are for you. Practically though, higher RTP slots should give you greater chances of making a profit in the long run. A word of caution for those playing progressive jackpot slots, these function as low RTP slots as the advertised RTP factors in the much larger jackpot wins into the RTP. In reality, this means that unless you win the jackpot, you will experience a much lower RTP from smaller wins than the face-value RTP would suggest. But, as the saying goes, the higher the risk, the higher the reward!
How to find RTP on Slots Games?
Now that you understand what RTPs are and which ones are best for you, you’ll want to know where to find them. In online slots, most jurisdictions require online casinos to make RTPs easily available to players, whether on the slot game itself or their website. While this should be enough, if you can’t find these or you suspect they might be out of date, you can google slot reviews of the game you are playing or check out our slot reviews! Brick-and-mortar casinos in the UK must be clear about their RTPs and a bunch of other factors that affect gameplay (including whether they are compensated or random and what class machine they are). So if you find yourself in the casino and can’t find the individual RTP for a slot machine, ask the casino staff – they are obligated to provide this to you!
Now that you’re familiar with RTPs, we’ll give you some crucial advice – always make sure you use a trusted casino, whether online or in the real world. Licensed and reputable casinos will correctly display the RTPs and other relevant information that affects your slot experience, but payouts and RTPs may not be reliable if you stray away from them. For those interested in the playing experience and those who prefer the small regular wins found in high RTP slots, you might be surprised there are quite a few above 99%. The highest RTP slot we could find was the Ugga Bugga slot, with an RTP of 99.07%! Please check out more of our beginner, intermediate and expert slot guides if you would like to learn more about one of the most fun casino games out there. Alternatively, if you feel that you’re ready to play, you might want to check out some of our high RTP slots or lower RTP slots with the highest payouts! Just remember to play responsibly – good luck with your spins!