What does RTP (Return to Player) mean in gambling?

The RTP is nothing more than a statistical value that expresses how profitable a slot is for the casino, i.e. how much money on average it earns or the player loses. The RTP must always take a value between 0 and 100%. 0% would mean that the player would never get a cent back – the machine would eat money. 100% means that the slot pays everything back on average. If you bet 100 Euro at a slot you would on average get 100 Euro back in winnings. In this scenario it is obvious that the casino cannot earn anything. To offer this slot would make no sense and therefore it does not exist.

Fortunately, the RTP of normal slots in the high 90% range is usually between 95 and 98%. An RTP of 98% means for example that the player gets back 98 Euro on average if he bets 100 Euro. This is a very good value for the player as slots usually pay out a little worse. That means: The slot with 98% is very fair and a good choice.

We really suggest that you only play at casinos that display each games RTP next to the gaming interface. This is the only transparent way. One casino that does just that and offers over 2000 slot machines is VideoSlots. Click here to get started with this superior online Casino!

Understanding the statistics behind RTP

The problem of many casino players is lack of knowledge about statistics. They quickly refer to a game as “fake” or “rigged” when it runs against them even though everything is within a statistical framework. The RTP itself doesn’t say much about how a slot will behave in the short term. Of course there can theoretically be a slot that always returns the exact percentage. So that you bet 1 Euro and always get 98c back – with every turn. That would be very predictable and boring. Nobody would play at such a machine because there is no prospect of winning.

That’s why a slot can’t be so predictable, so it has to fluctuate around this average/RTP based on the actual payout. Sometimes it pays out after 100 times 1 euro spins only 50 euro, then 200 euro. The next time 90 euro, then 60 euro. Then 20 Euro, then 200 Euro. And so on. It is important to understand that a lot can happen in the short term and with rare assignments. Both in one direction and in the other. An RTP is only the statistical value that will settle down after several thousand sessions. So only if you bet e.g. 10 000 times 1 euro you will be able to say actually how high the RTP is.

Exactly this is the problem with gambling but also something that makes it so interesting. Because only few players have the necessary basic knowledge of statistics and simply assume that a value like an RTP is carved in stone and must be noticeable in every session. That means a player bets 100 times 1 Euro and expects then that on average at least 97 Euro come back. If it is more he does not complain of course, but if it is less he pushes it gladly once on the Casino and/or the Slot.

Traceability of RTPs

This is exactly what makes RTP not easy to understand. Because you have to simulate a game thousands of times to be able to make a halfway exact statement. The RTP which is also published by the slot manufacturers is a calculated and theoretical value. It would still have to be determined in practice. Often it is about such small fluctuations that it is “irrelevant”. Imagine you have a slot with 97.5% and one with 97% RTP. Of course you expect it to bring in more with 97.5% in the long run. But to really notice a difference you have to play a lot with both machines. And even then there is no guarantee that the difference will be noticeable.

It’s different in extreme cases like offline slots which sometimes have a ridiculous 55% RTP. There you will very quickly notice a difference to a 97% slot without having to bet 10 000 times. Often you notice it already after 20 spins because you have very often loss series with such a bad paying slot.

Verification of the RTP by the licensor

The UK Gambling Commission is probably the leader in this field and takes it very seriously. Therefore it’s hard to keep yourself as a frivolous casino. The Gambling Commission has been calling for live RTPs since 2016. The RTPs calculated by the manufacturers may differ from these live RTPs. That is logical, because these are only a theoretical value. So if a casino would try to cheat you will see very quickly that the live RTP is very different. So e.g. instead of 96% it’s only 91%.

What you have to say is that the sample size has to be very large. Here a confidence interval of 95% is calculated, which means that there is a 95% probability that the live RTP differs from the theoretical RTP. A higher probability is hardly possible because one would need much, much larger samples for this and it can take months or years until one can make a statement.

That means: The Gambling Commission wants to see about 400.000 spins to be able to say that a deviation of about 2% is not normal. Simply put: The live RTP is 93%, the theoretical RTP 95%. Over 400,000 spins are required that one can now say that there is a significant difference. Only then would the Commission intervene and complain or ask why such a deviation exists.

You can read more about this topic here.

Slots with the highest RTP 2020

The RTP is now treated very transparently. In the past, manufacturers made it even more of a secret. This was mainly because the RTPs were quite low and nobody should know how much money you actually lose with online slots in the long run. This has now changed and the RTP is usually found right next to the game.

However, an RTP is only a theoretical value. There are slot machines which are 1:1 comparable. These are machines without a jackpot and without a variable payout. There are exceptions to this rule. The RTP depends on certain factors. The theoretical payout can then be astronomically high, the average RTP is actually lower.

So it all depends on how you look at an RTP. If you want a slot machine with a theoretically very high RTP, then a Jackpot Jester slot or similar is an option. Under certain circumstances, these machines will pay out 99% or more. But only under certain circumstances.

Slots with a progressive jackpot, for example, only have a low RTP without the jackpot. With jackpot a very high RTP, on the other hand, which can theoretically be over 100%.

These are the two types of slot machines with very high RTP – theoretically and not at all times.

When it comes to slot machines that are supposed to have a very high RTP at all times, you have to exclude these machines. There are still slots like Blood Suckers from Netent or 1429 Uncharted Sees from Thunderkick that simply have high RTPs and are fixed.

How to find RTPs on Slots

Leading online casinos are now quite transparent with the RTPs. That means you can find the RTP in the respective description or even in the game overview. This service has only been offered recently and is mainly due to the fact that licensors like in the UK demand more transparency. And what could be better than to tell the player immediately how much loss he has to expect in the long run with this game.

Alternatively you can use websites like ProfessorSlot which list at least the best and worst RTPs from certain slot machines.

Best Paying Slot Games

We are often asked what the slots are that pay the best. And the problem is already the definition: what is the best payout? For example, an RTP does not have to be carved in stone. An RTP can also be associated with extremely high variance. If you want to win in every session, you probably prefer a low-variance slot machine that often pays out. You will then be happy with a 0.5% lower RTP, for example. Others are just looking for the big money. They prefer to play at jackpot slot machines where the RTP can be over 100% but only every few weeks or months. Without winning a jackpot, the RTP is low. So you’ll have to do more than just ask for the slots with the highest payout.

FAQs about Return to Player

Is the RTP the same for all games?

No, it really isn’t. At least with some manufacturers like PlayN Go. There are actually two variants of Book of Dead with different RTPs. This has to do with the UK market and some casinos offer the low RTP variant. This is then often not specified. With good casinos like LeoVegas the RTP value is always displayed next to the game so that it is comprehensible.

What is the difference between the RTPs?

There are slot machines that reach 99% at least theoretically. There are also those that can theoretically have over 100% – this is the case when the progressive jackpot is high. But on the other hand: When do you win it?

And there are common differences. Some manufacturers actually offer slot machines with a very low RTP of sometimes less than 90%. Very good slot machines, on the other hand, are 97%. The difference can therefore be 10% and there is only one way to prevent you from ending up in a bad paying slot machine: You have to know the RTPs!

Which slot machine manufacturers have particularly high RTPs?

There are actually no manufacturers that stand out here. However, there are manufacturers who do not offer slot machines with very low RTPs. This is also very important and good to know. Because if you know that a manufacturer like Yggdrasil doesn’t offer low RTPs you don’t have to know every single RTP. You can simply play at all machines and you will certainly not feel cheated.

Are the RTPs listed the actual RTPs?

Theoretically they must, otherwise it would be cheating. But the problem is this: Statistically a very, very large sample size is necessary to actually be able to say that an RTP deviates from the given value. If it’s supposed to be 97% and in reality it is only 96.9% then it will take a few million spins to prove it. In reality this will only work on a few top slot machines that are played very often. So, if you want to be sure, stick with exactly those machines like Starburst, Gonzo’s Quest, Bonanza, etc.

What are the best slots to play on 888 casino?

We recommend: Millionaire Genie, Jacks Pot, Blood Suckers 2, Nightmare on Elm Street and Starburst.

Return to player explained in one sentence

Return to player is the percentage a player can expect to receive back from a casino game on average.

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