What does the Return to Player of a slot mean?

Slots are the most popular games at many casinos, contributing up to 80% of annual revenues. People love these games for different reasons: Nostalgia, escapism, minimum bets, ease of playing and the chance to win money. 

And sure enough, you can win up to €20 million playing progressive slots. There’s no secret on beating the house at slots except for perhaps playing high Return to Player (RTP) Games. RTP is a measure of a game’s average payback rate.

If a machine pays back often, then it’s a good game because it gives you a decent chance to win. If it has a low-RTP, then it’s a game you should avoid. 

Which slots have the best RTPs?

By law, slot machines are designed to pay back a specific percentage of wagered money over time. In Las Vegas, the magical figure is 85%. That means the least paying game in Nevada should theoretically payout $85 out of every $100 wagered.

At online casinos, slots payout at much better rates—up to 99%. However, you don’t get $99 for every $100 you bet because RTP is a theoretical figure based on wagered money over time. Nonetheless, you should choose high RTP slots since they payout more often than low-paying games.

In case you’re wondering, below are the top five best RTP slots:

  1. NetEnt’s Mega Joker—99% RTP
  2. NetEnt’s Jackpot 6000—98.6% RTP
  3. Thunderkick’s 1429 Uncharted Seas—98.5% RTP
  4. Quickspin’s Joker Strike—98.11% RTP
  5. NetEnt’s Blood Suckers—98% RTP

Low RTP versus High RTP: Which is better?

As mentioned, many jurisdictions have laws meant to protect players from extremely tight slots. That why’s many games seem to payout at over 90%. Unfortunately, a 90% RTP is still considerably low. To provide some context, progressive jackpots like Mega Moolah and Mega Fortunes have RTPs ranging from 85% to 95%.

Yet, these games are highly volatile and many people complain regularly about never winning. The thing is, jackpots are designed be mean to most players but extremely generous to a few. On the contrary, high-RTP slots are generous to a lot of players, making them the games you want to play.

To be clear, how slots payout is not black and white. High RTP games don’t payout in the same way. Some games pay up small amounts regularly. Others are moderate while others have dry spells and a few high-paying spells. This is called variance or volatility.

Average RTP for online slots – 96.5%

There’s something about the number 96 that software providers like. It’s not low or average so as to make their slots undesirable. And it’s not too high to bankrupt casinos. It’s above average, which pleases both the operators and players.

Most of the best online slots, come with an RTP of 96%. And this trend didn’t start recently. Gonzo’s Quest, the trend-setting NetEnt slot that introduced cascading reels to the world, launched in 2010. It has a 96% RTP. Starburst, another award-winning machine from NetEnt launched in 2011 with a 96% RTP.

The beauty of 96% RTP slots is that they come in all types and designs. If you like games themed after TV shows, you have these one-man bandits to play:

  • Game of Thrones by Microgaming–
  • Tarzan by Microgaming—96.48%
  • Love Island by Microgaming—96.39%
  • 24 by iSoftBet—96.07%
  • Family Guy by IGT—96.8% RTP

Then there are Megaways slots like Bonanza, Extra Chilli and White Rabbit. On the flip side, you can play new 96% RTP games like Harlequin Carnival Slot, Money Train and Super Burning Wins. 

Average RTP for land-based slots (85% to 92%)

Land-based casinos traditionally have low RTP games for several reasons. First, they have a lot more expenses than online casinos. Think of the costs of setting up infrastructure, paying hundreds of employees, dealing with stock and maintaining the machines. 

Another reason why brick and mortar casino games have lower RTPs is that many of them were designed a long time ago. Just take a look at these popular slots in Las Vegas. They’ve been around for decades:

  1. Wheel of Fortune
  2. Triple Red Hot 7s
  3. Megabucks
  4. Double Jackpot
  5. The Monte Carlo

Because these games are so popular and successful, casinos and developers in Vegas don’t bother to improve their RTPs. The goal is to maximize profits after all. At online casinos, though, the competition is high and casinos must provide the best games to thrive.

How is RTP calculated?

RTP is the amount of money wagered on a slot less the house advantage. Every game has an in-built advantage meant to help the casinos winning over time. It’s often calculated as a percentage and varies from 0.5% for slots to 40% for games like Keno.

Another way of calculating a slot’s RTP is to check the percentage of money a slot pays back after one million spins. This is meant to provide a realistic estimate.   The figure is calculated by dividing the total amount of money paid to winners by the amount of wagered money and then multiplied by 100.

Why you should check a game’s rules before you play it?

Although a slot’s RTP is important, don’t play a game solely because it comes with a high RTP. Some games have RTPs that change. Take the Ooh Aah Dracula slot by Barcrest. The game has an advertised RTP of 99%. Pretty amazing, right? 

But there’s a catch. You must play high roller bets to benefit from the high RTP. Precisely, you need to place five spins at a cost of $20 or five spins for $30 with the benefit of a bonus round. If you decline the high roller option, the game’s RTP is reset to 96%.

Besides confirming how a game’s RTP works, another benefit of reading the terms is to understand the overall features to expect from a game. You also need to understand the bet sizes and symbols to activate to win various rewards in the game.