If you’re an avid online gambler, you’ve no doubt visited a game guide at least once. If you haven’t: dude, WTH? There’s so much valuable information in a game guide, you’re doing yourself a serious disservice by not checking it out. Go on, log onto an online casino like LeoVegas, 888 Casino, Casino.com , or whichever is your personal gambling mecca. Now select any random slot and go to the game information.
Did you notice, among the game information, that they list the game’s RTP? It’s usually a percentage, and it’s your guide to just how lucrative a given game is going to be.
Return to Player (RTP) is the percentage of total money bet on the game that will, on average over time – usually, at least a million bets – be paid back to all players. Therefore, the higher the RTP, the more money makes its way back into player pockets. So, go for high RTP games for the win, right? Well, yes and no.
Just because a game has a high RTP, doesn’t mean you’re guaranteed to win. This number only represents the total amount of money that will eventually be won by everyone.
Marcus signs into his favorite casino and selects a game with an RTP of 96%. Marcus believes that this means, for every $100 spent, he will win back $96. However, this can’t work in the long run, if you think about it. What happens when someone else wins big? How does the casino pay out?
It’s simple: the RTP is an average over time. If, for example, five hundred people sit playing the same game for eight hours a day for a full year, the average numbers will start to even out. For every $100 bet, $96 will be paid out, but not always to the same player, and not to every player.
The only thing RTP indicates is the total average of bets paid as winnings.
RTP doesn’t only apply to the online or video game casino environment. RTP is also used as a measure in live dealer games, both online and in brick-and-mortar casinos. It’s important to remember that the RTP applies to the entire game, not to specific types of bets within a game. For instance, you can’t apply RTP to figuring out whether the roulette ball will land on black or red; nor does it help you decide whether to hit or stay in blackjack. These are in-game odds that work differently, and which we cover in another article.
Similarly to RTP, the casino payout percentage is the total average percentage of all bets placed that the casino itself expects to pay out over time. While RTP is game-specific, casino payouts are across the entire casino ecosystem. If an online or onsite casino offers a variety of games, their casino payout percentage will work out to an average of all the games’ combined RTPs.
As with RTP, the percentage doesn’t guarantee a win, nor does it indicate what your winnings or losses for the night will be. It simply indicates which casinos pay out more or less on average.
Just about every game in an online casino environment uses a random number generator (RNG) as its foundation. If you want to find out more about RNGs, read our article here. RNGs are designed to be random, allowing for games to be both completely unbiased and more secure.
Built into the algorithm that controls the RNG is an RTP. This serves to ensure that the game always maintains a house edge. That, however, doesn’t mean you can’t win. As the name suggests, the RNG is totally random, and your chances of winning a life-changing amount of money are just the same as anyone else’s. The RNG algorithm simply ensures that, over time, the game remains profitable for the casino, and therefore available for you to play.