What is Return-to-Player (RTP) in Online Casino?

While playing at online casinos you would surely have come across the abbreviation RTP plenty of times. The acronym RTP stands for Return to Player, and in a nutshell, it indicates how high a game’s payout percentage is. Don’t worry if this doesn’t make sense to you yet, we’ll take you through the basics of RTP, what it really is, how it’s calculated and why it should (or shouldn’t) matter to you.

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RTP Explained

So, what exactly is RTP you ask? Well, first off, it tells you how much of all the money bet on a casino game / online slot game will be paid back to players over a certain period of time. RTP is always expressed as a percentage, and the higher the value, the more often you can expect to win over a certain amount of time. Not only does each slot have its own RTP, so too does each online casino, and it is based on the average value of the RTP percentages of all the casino games they have.

Having said all that, it’s important to note that RTP is only a theoretical statistical calculation and should in no way be taken entirely at face value. RTPs don’t consider huge random wins and longer streaks of losses, it only gives you an average estimation for the game in question.

RTP can also be looked at as the flip side of the house edge. If a game has a house advantage of 5.26% for example, the RTP could be seen as 100% i.e. 5.26% = 94.74%. But again, this is in theory only.

RTP and win frequency

If you’re wondering whether there is a correlation between win frequency and RTP, we can tell you that a game’s RTP will not tell you how often you can expect to win. To illustrate, a low frequency payout online slot with an RTP of 97% might only produce a winning combination on average once in every 10 spins, while a high frequency payout slot with an RTP of 97% might have winning combos once in every three spins on average. The catch? Slots with higher win frequencies pay out more often, but in smaller amounts, while lower frequency slots pay out larger sums only now and again.

Random and fair payouts

Casino game statistics are governed by Random Number Generators (RNGs) which mean the outcome of games are fair and subjective, and your chances of winning are always the same. There’s no way that anyone can tell you with certainty that a slot will pay out regularly – it’s a myth – the machine doesn’t know if it has just paid out a huge win, every single spin is independent, and you could very well still hit a big win on the next spin.

Why RTP's are important

  • Casinos that unequivocally post RTPs for their games are more trustworthy than those who don’t.
  • By understanding the nuances of RTPs you can play online casino games a lot more strategically to get the best potential win rate.
  • By “knowing the numbers” you can learn to balance your expectations – do you want more consistent wins, or larger payouts? (If it’s the former, then you should base your playing decisions on a game’s RTP score)

Conclusion

The bottom line when it comes to RTPs is that it’s purely a promise, not a fact. Thanks to RNGs it cannot be controlled or predicted. For the best online experience, it is advised to consider all the stats, especially if there are jackpots involved – i.e. the slot’s RTP scores plus jackpot payouts history, and aim for somewhere in the middle.

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