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Understanding RTP in casino games

Return to player or RTP as it is simply known, is a term which is widely recognised amongst any online slots loving player or any casino player for that matter.

Sept. 28, 2022 in Guides
By Jennifer Saunders

Return to player or RTP as it is simply known, is a term which is widely recognised amongst any online slots loving player or any casino player for that matter.


RTP is the abbreviation we use when referring to return to player percentage, which is the amount an online slot will return to the player over a length of time (large number of spins), usually communicated as a percentage. For example, an online video slot with a 96% RTP will generally give back $96 for every $100 that was spent. So essentially, this affords you the opportunity to predict how much you can expect to lose playing a particular online slot or exactly how much advantage the house has. For example, if an online slot has an RTP of 80%, then the house advantage is 20%, meaning that over time, the house/machine will keep about 20% of all money that was spent and the remaining 80% will be returned to the player in winnings.

It’s important to note that this percentage is calculated based on millions of spins.

RTP calculated your chances of hitting a win at a particular online video slot, based on previous wins. RTP is a measure of probability and therefore gives the player an advantage over the house, if they know which online slots to visit.

Being clued up on what RTP a particular video slot has and other game info will allow you to make an informed decision regarding the right online slot to play.


RTP in casino games is not just a percentage that has been thumb-sucked. Its actual data taken from the total number of wins against losses and then seeing who has the advantage – the casino or the player. RTP can be calculated in exactly the same way each time.
I use RTP to guide me in choosing the correct online slot to play. Example, I prefer to not play casino games with an RTP of less than 95%, meaning essentially that over time, I will most likely only lose 5% of my money. On the flip side, the higher the RTP, the higher the possibility is that the online slot will pay out.

Its important to read online slot reviews, visit the casino and try out the games in demo mode to make sure that you are choosing the correct game for you. The reviews are generally written by experienced online casino experts and other players, so the information given will be accurate and you can then make an informed decision.


RTP and variance of a game is very similar, but often mistaken to be one in the same.

Variance is defined as the way in which a game’s RTP is generated. Online slots with a lower variance typically return frequent, smaller payouts, which aids in your credit balance staying afloat and keeping your reels spinning.

Higher variance slots generally have its RTP mainly in the games bonus features, which can return some massive wins and payouts.
That being said, not all online slots with a high RTP percentage will be pocket-friendly. Based on experience though, online slots or games with a higher RTP is always a better choice than ones offering a lower RTP, making you have to spin for hours before hitting some sort of win or feature.


Many players who have made the transition from land-based casinos to the online casino world have realised that playing online not only affords you the opportunity to literally play from anywhere, anytime, whenever it suits you, but that the payouts are generally better than that of land-based casinos.

The majority (if not all) online slots have a much higher RTP than that of the slot games offered at a land-based casino. For instance, land-based casinos RTPs are generally in the 70 – 90% range, peaking up to 92% if you’re lucky. In the online space however, its fairly uncommon that you will find an online slot with a RTP of 95% or less. If you do, these are generally considered “bad” games. These are generally found with your older games and many of the new game releases will have RTPs of 96% and up.

The reason for the above is quite simple – actual casinos have limited space when it comes to slot machines on their floors and they therefore have to make more money (hence the low RTP) in order to keep up with their expenses and to still churn a profit. Add to that the pandemic which has hit the entire world and you’re sitting with land-based casinos that will need to make their funds back threefold.

Online casinos on the other hand, have no physical limitations on the number of games they can have and therefore you’ll find that some casinos offer 500+ video slots at any give time. That is why they are able to offer online casino games with higher RTPs.

Just to dispel any myths there might be around online casinos and the manipulation of their slots RTPs. This couldn’t be further from the truth. Online casinos don’t own the online slots offered as part of their game’s suite – this belongs to various game providers. The online casino games are rented from the game providers and the online casinos generally don’t have access to be able to change the core settings such as RTP. This sits solely with the game provider.

So, it's safe to say that playing video slots online as opposed to in an actual casino will be better for your pocket, in the long term and will afford you the opportunity of hitting a big win more often than not.

So, click on over to your favourite online casino, try the game in demo/free mode and get a feel for it. You will quickly be able to see what the hit rate and payout frequency is and the casino would generally list the RTP on the game info as well. This will allow you to make an informed decision about the slot you want to play. Anything with an RTP of 95% or below, I’d be cautious.

I hope the above helps you understand RTPs in casino games a little better.

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