Slots Online Canada Home PageRTP: Return To Player

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

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.

This formula has been an accepted industry standard, for over a decade, to guage how a game performs and is verified by industry bodies such as eCogra.

If this still doesn’t mean anything to you, read on... We will explain all the basics you need to know!

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.

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%.

How the RTP for a casino game is calculated

The formula to calculate the RTP for a casino game = the total amount returned to players divided by the total amount bet by players.

  • The total amount bet 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.

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.

Is 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 win. With slots, for example, 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%.

High RTP Online Casinos

Mr Green
Number of slots
Payout percentage
Welcome bonus
Welcome bonus$1,200
Jackpot City
Number of slots
Payout percentage
Welcome bonus
Welcome bonus$1,600

Does RTP actually matter?

Yes and No. Return to Player percentages is a theoretical statistical calculation of averages.  It won't inform you when or if you will win. However, 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.

Remember: Chance rules with RTP!

When coming to grips with RTP’s it’s important to understand that ultimately, they are subject to chance thanks to Random Number Generators that govern them to make sure the results are always random and fair. Every single spin on a slot machine is independent, even if you’ve just hit a 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.

Senior Editor Gayle Mitchell

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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