Online slots RTP? What’s that? Confused by the terminology? Be confused no longer. We have created a guide to help you understand the mathematical advantage casinos have over the players. Yes. The saying is right: the house always wins in the long run. In this article, we will provide you with both a simple guide to the theory of slots outcomes, as well as with an in-depth overview. Interested? Continue reading to find out more!
Online slots RTP: the simple version
If you’ve come here to look for a natural explanation regarding online slots return to player (RTP), you’ve come to the right place. If you want to condense it into the bare minimum, it can be done in a single sentence.
The return to player (RTP) of an online slot is the percentage of the stake returned to the player
This number is never higher than 100%! Wonder why? Because that would mean that the casino would lose money. Factoring in over a million individual games/bets, the casino always takes an edge. It means that even if you are winning on slots, somebody else is losing money. It has to be done to maintain profit for the casino and the slots games to even exist. Theoretically, the higher the RTP, the better payouts a slot can give. While this is not necessarily always true due to a factor called variance, it is a good rule of thumb. If you want an easy-to-follow sentence to live by:
Try to avoid slots with an RTP of less than 96%
Generally, most providers these days do not even create slots with an RTP that dips below this magic number. Several old games from online casino game developers may have a lower RTP. Therefore it is wise to stay updated and learn about new games. UKGC/MGA rules state that the RTP must be visible on either the help file or website of the game. This doesn’t apply for providers licensing their games out of Curacao. Hence, Play’n’Go games may have different RTP values depending on the casino you are playing on. Therefore, it’s advised to play on trustworthy online casinos that are licensed by the MGA. Good examples are Mr. Green, as well as other certified casinos we have covered beforehand.
Another good rule of thumb to stick by is to remember to stick to online casinos. Land-based casinos generally have a lower RTP, down to an EU-wide mandated 85%. The reasoning behind this is simple. The cost of running a physical casino is higher. Operators have to purchase physical slots, as well as rent property. All online casinos and slots games certified by the MGA must have an RTP of at least 92%, but this is the lower end of the spectrum and not generally seen.
Online slots RTP: the deep dive
So, you’ve learned the basics of RTP and understand how casinos and operators make their money. Congratulations! Want to find out even more? No problem! First, let’s meet a particular gentleman.
Meet Jacob Bernoulli, prominent 17th-century mathematician, also known as the pioneer of the law of large numbers. According to his rule, the more times an experiment is concluded, the more it will approach the experiment’s expected value. The law is crucial to the way any casino games are played, not only to online slots RTP. Ever thought that you could win an unlimited amount of money by continually doubling your bet on games like roulette? That is called the gambler’s fallacy and was disproven by Bernoulli himself.
When we apply this to rolling dice, it becomes easier to understand. If we consider our pair of dice to be fair and just, we can believe that on average, the result will be 3.5. How can we prove this? Easy. By rolling a pair of dice even a thousand times, we will start to get results which approach this 3.5 mark, with a million rolls giving us an even more precise number. If you flip a coin five times and it always lands tails, you might think the chance of a coin flip hitting tails is 100%, the law of large numbers disproves that. If we know the expected value, in this case, 50%, we understand that our chances will eventually even out, meaning that a streak of lucky coin flips is just a small streak in a factor of a million different outcomes.
Fun factor: Variance & playtime
Let’s see how this applies to online slots RTP. Let’s say you are playing a game which has an RTP of 97% and you win a 100EUR on your first spin. You might think that the chance for this slot to pay out is huge! Unfortunately, you are wrong! If you were to play the same slot a million times, you would eventually lose, on average, 3% of your bankroll. So you might ask, why even play slots at all then? That’s where variance comes in!
Slots cluster into two variants: low-variance and high-variance. In this sample, we’ve taken a hypothetical “low-v” slot with a starting bankroll of 100EUR on the y-axis and a 240-minute playtime on the x-axis. Let’s consider that you end up losing. As you can see, low-variance slots provide you with a smooth ride. Every once in a while, you win some sum of money, but the bankroll decreases very slowly. Of course, low volatility slots can provide you with big wins, but that would be a statistical outlier. On average, you can play these games for a more extended period. Unfortunately, the chance of winning is lower as well. This is why these slots are preferred for wagering casino bonuses!
Online slots RTP applied to high-volatility games
You’ve got the basics down. Great! Let’s use the same experiment to a theoretical and highly-volatile game. Let’s consider that you end up losing, start with a bankroll of 100EUR and end play after 60 minutes.
As you can see in this example, the fluctuations of balance are much more volatile and unpredictable. You may initially start out with a series of losses, followed by big wins. If we remember the law of large numbers, the outcome for the casino or slots provider is mostly the same, but there is an inherently more substantial chance for an initially high win. These games are riskier to play, but can provide big wins! If you are seeking to maximize your playtime, it would be best to avoid games from providers such as Big Time Gaming. The swings can be much higher. But of course, if we remember our earlier statistics lesson, the result, in the long run, will be the same.
Conclusion about online slots RTP
In the end, it’s important to remember that in the long run, the house will have the edge in any casino game. This doesn’t mean that it’s impossible to win. It’s rare that a player will play a million games. But it’s important to understand: both your win streaks and loss streaks are only a part of an enormous sample size. If you want a summary, remember these key points:
- Online slots RTP is regulated by MGA/UKGC. Try to avoid games with less than 96% RTP.
- Both win streaks and loss streaks are not abnormal; they are a part of a significant statistical pool.
- Avoid land-based or live casinos, as their RTP values are lower than online.
- Choose to play on reputable casinos certified by MGA/UKGC to guarantee yourself a fair game.
- Play low-variance games if you want to wager, play high-variance games if you’re going to risk more to win more.
- Watch casino streamers on Twitch and Youtube streaming platforms and interact with the casino streaming community to find the current best games.