Slots Online Canada Home PageRTP: Return To Player

Published date Updated

Author Gayle Mitchell

How Return to Player (RTP) works in slots and other casino games

Published Date Updated

Author Gayle Mitchell

What you fill find on this page

What you will find on this page

You have no doubt come across slots RTP percentages many times when browsing through different online slot games. In a nutshell, RTP is a measure of the average percentage of bets a slot game returns to players over a minimum play of 1 million spins.

RTP (return-to-play) has been in use for over a decade, and all reputable casinos have been utilizing this formula to ensure a fair game for all. Being an accepted industry standard, the RTP is measured and verified by industry bodies such as eCorga.

If you feel puzzled about why RTP is important in gambling and how it can help you win, you will find your answers in this article.

What is RTP (Return to Player)?

RTP, or Return to Player, refers to how much of the total amount bet on a slot machine or other casino game, will be paid back to players over a certain time period. This amount is expressed as a percentage, and the higher the percentage shown, the more often you can win playing that game over a longer period of time. Each slot game has its own RTP and so does every online casino – based on the average value of the accumulated RTP percentages of all the games in its library.

Simply put, the RTP determines how much the online casino machine pays you back - you can win more money playing casino games with high RTP than any other game with a lower percentage. Another important factor involved in calculating the payout is the house edge, and the house edge determines how much mathematical advantage an online casino has over you.

Most casino players consider the RTP as the indication of whether a game pays out frequently; however, it is not entirely true. The RTP shows how big your winning can be, while RNG' awards' it. The RNG stands for the random number generator, which is a chip present in all games. The RTP rate is a theoretical estimation, meaning the players cannot predict the outcome.

How does RTP actually work?

First off, it’s important to note that RTP is a theoretical statistical calculation that shouldn’t be taken as gospel. It doesn’t apply to massive random wins and longer streaks of losses for example. The RTP will only tell you the average estimate for the game in question. Think of RTP as the flip side of the house edge. If you know the house advantage for a particular game is 5%, then the RTP could be seen as 95% (100%-5%) – in theory. So, if the RTP is 100%, it means the player has the same chances of winning as the casino. Should the RTP go over 100%, it shows that the casino is actually running at a loss for that game over the given time period. So, theoretically, the higher the RTP, the better payouts a slot can give. While this is not necessarily always true due to a factor called variance, it is a good rule of thumb to apply, and we, therefore, recommend that you try to avoid slots with an RTP of less than 96%.

Variance can be low and high, and it determines how often and how much the online slots games pay you. The casino games with low variance are good for people who prefer to play it safe because the player often gets rewards for their bets but of smaller value. In contrast, high variance games pay big winnings but seldom, making an exciting game for people who like to risk.

Overall, the RTP is an estimate calculation based on different factors that affect your game.

How the RTP for a casino game is calculated

The RTP can be calculated as follows = the total amount returned to players divided by the total amount wagered by players.

  • The total amount wagered by players = the sum of each initial bet per round per player for the audited period for a specific game (typically one calendar month).
  • Amount returned to player = the net amount won by a player in a round.

Here is an instance of how much you can win if the RTP of a game is 96%. For your bet of $100, you will get $96; however, it is an estimated amount of money you can receive. In casino slot games, the winning amount depends on the total number of spins, and the money you win from your wagers can be lower or much higher. If you keep paying the online slot machine, the estimated reward can be closer to the RTP value.

nother way of calculating the RTP value of 96% is considering that the house edge is 4%, meaning the casino takes $4 from your $100 wager.

Usefull Tips Note

In table games, the amount bet is not counted in the return, only the net amount won. For slots and video poker returns, the original wager is forfeited once it is made. Therefore, the amount returned to the player is the amount won based solely on the pay table for the game plus the result of the round.

RTP in Progressive Slot Machines

Progressive jackpot slot games differ from regular 3-reel or 4-reel slot machines. Many people play progressive slot games and rarely win because they are simply unaware of how they operate. Jackpot slot games accumulate a huge amount of money as a prize to award a lucky winner. Such a prize can be very lucrative, and its value constantly goes up, sometimes reaching a million. However, most players spend only a little on progressive machines when they have a spare couple of cents, and this is a 'contribution' to the total reward.

The RTP rate of the progressive jackpots is usually lower than that of traditional games; it can be as low as 90%, depending on the game. The purpose of it is to collect enough money before giving it away. House edge also takes some percentage from all spins, and the remaining sum goes to the prize.

Generally, if you want to receive the jackpots' reward, you need to make wagers big enough to be eligible for a win. Otherwise, you might be wasting your money. Online gambling games have a random number generator chip installed, so being eligible doesn't make you an instant winner.

Are RTP and Winning Frequency Connected?

The RTP for a game can be a little misleading as it doesn't indicate how often you can expect to get a reward. For example, with slot games, a game with a higher win frequency pays out more often but in lesser amounts, while a slot with a lower win frequency pays out larger sums only once in a while – yet both can indicate an RTP of 97%. Thus, the winning frequency is not directly connected with the RTP; it is the variance that decides how often you win.

How to Understand the Winning Rate of a Game?

The only way to understand the winning frequency of a game is to play it. Since online casinos do not reveal this information, a game needs to be played continuously so that this value can be more or less determined. Reading previous players' reviews can also help to analyze how the game operates.

You could calculate the difference you receive during various payouts, and if it is ten times bigger than what you wagered, there is a chance the slot machine is of high variance. The opposite of it, obtaining small rewards from your bets indicates a game is with low variance. Another essential factor that you should pay attention to is the ratio of wins. This means how often and under what combination you win the game.

High RTP Online Casinos

Mr Green
Number of slots
slots800+
Payout percentage
PAYOUT*95.00%
Welcome bonus
Welcome bonus$1,200
Jackpot City
Number of slots
slots600+
Payout percentage
PAYOUT*96.00%
Welcome bonus
Welcome bonus$1,600

Does RTP actually matter?

Yes and No. The RTP percentages is a theoretical statistical calculation of averages, and it won't inform you when or if you will win. However, in some cases, it is made publicly available on a regular basis by online casinos. It not only illustrates a level of trustworthiness but considering that rates between casinos differ, it empowers players to choose casinos that offer the best value. Some players will only be attracted by profitable casino games and other players who will look for an exciting storyline, sound effects, and other aesthetic features of the game.

The RTP in online casino games matters for those interested in long-term gaming with a perspective of significant rewards.

Remember: Chance rules with RTP!

When coming to grips with RTP's, it's essential to understand that ultimately, you win by chance, thanks to random number generators that govern games to make sure the results are always unexpected and fair. Every single spin on a slot machine is independent, and even if you've just hit the jackpot, you could still get another big hit on the next spin. Thanks to RNGs (random number generators), your chances of winning are exactly the same every time you play a game on a gambling site.

Don't forget to claim welcome bonuses from reputable casinos to increase your odds of winning, boosting your rewards, and playing with free spins to find games that suit your preferences and budget.

At Slots Online Canada, we do the time-consuming job of finding reliable gaming sites for you that provide a superb gaming experience, excellent bonuses and daily rewards, as well as responsive customer support services.

Senior Editor Gayle Mitchell

LinkedIn Profile  Email Address gayle.mitchell@slotsonlinecanada.com

Gayle Mitchell is the leading female expert on casino gambling and has written extensively, presented seminars and was editor of four gaming newsletters. She is the author of seven books, 12 Ebooks, and five Tips booklets. Online since 1999, Mitchell has owned and operated 4 gaming websites. Her writing and teaching style is targeted at educating novice and passionate casino players.

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** This page was previously maintained by a staff writer up until 26 February 2021