RTP Guide – Should Players Really Be Paying Attention to It?

RTP Guide – Should Players Really Be Paying Attention to It?

Return to Player (RTP) is often cited as the most important piece of information about an online slot game or other virtual casino game. After all, RTP basically does what it says on the tin – it is the amount of money that the game expects to pay back to players over time. So, for example, if a game had an RTP of 97.30% – as most standard European roulette games do – then the game would return $97.30 to players for every $100 wagered. Simple, right? It is, but there is a little more to it than that. 

Most casinos will provide information on payouts, fair gaming, RNGs (random number generators), etc., on their casino site FAQ section. And while RTP figures can be found for entire casino platforms, most players look to the RTP of individual games. Gaming providers like Playtech, for example, will be the ones who decide that a certain title will be given a specific RTP figure, and it is, thus, up to the casino whether they want to stock that game or not. 

Slots usually have RTP in the mid-90s

Anyway, looking at the RTP of slots, we know that they tend to range from around 90% up to 98%. Normally, though, you are most likely to see games somewhere between 94-97% RTP. The vast majority of slot games have RTPs around the latter range. So, if you have a choice between Slot A, which has an RTP of 94.1% and Slot B, which has an RTP of 96.8%, it’s better to choose Slot B, right? After all, it is literally programmed to pay more money back to players. 

While Slot B seems the natural choice, it’s worth bearing in mind that RTP is only one aspect of slot behaviors that players should take note of. Volatility – often called variance – is another. A volatile slot will deliver bigger “hits”, but it is much less dependable, for want of a better word. A low volatility slot will deliver frequent wins, but they are usually much smaller. Arguably, knowing this is much more beneficial to a player than knowing that a slot pays back a couple of percentage points more than another. 

Hard to tell the difference

In addition, it’s worth bearing in mind that RTP is calculated over long periods of time, with the analysis consisting of millions of spins. The pool of data is so large that it makes little difference to a player coming in for 50 spins in a quick gaming session. You can, therefore, be almost certain that the average player would not notice the difference between a high RTP slot – NetEnt’s Blood Suckers (98%) is probably the most famous example – and a low RTP slot. The slot’s behavior – its volatility – is arguably more essential to your individual session. 

mega mullah video slot

Still, there is a sense in saying that, on balance, you are more likely to win on a game that pays back more over time. But you should remember that there are other factors. For example, some progressive jackpot slots use wagering contributions to fund the prizes. As such, a slice of the RTP is taken to build the cash payouts, which usually trump standard slots. Mega Moolah, which is probably the most famous progressive jackpot slot in the world, has a low RTP when you factor in the progressive payments. But it is one of the most popular games around. That’s worth bearing in mind.

About Adam Green

Adam Green is an iGaming industry written that has been covering industry regulation and events for the past 11 years. He has written for a number of other publications including iGaming Insider, IGB Magazine and Gambling 911.