RTP Payout Percentage 101

You’ve joined the hype and checked out online casinos, but now you’re stuck with all the new terms.

What are payout percentages, and what does it mean for you when you start playing at online casinos? 

When you start playing at online casinos, it’s essential to always look for a safe online casino that uses a testing agency and promises a fair gaming experience. This includes knowing that their payout percentages are fair and tested independently. Luckily, we’re here to explain what payout percentages in casinos are, how they’re tested and how they influence your gaming experience.

Return to Player Definition

The payout percentage at a casino, land-based or online, is also known more commonly as the Return to Player (RTP). There’s no general RTP across the board, as all games have their own payout percentage. When talking about RTP, it refers to the percentage of returns a player can expect to receive when playing a game. Basically, it estimates how much the casino game or slot pays back to the gamer. 

This percentage is calculated over a long period of gameplay from thousands of players, so it’s not a clear-cut certainty each time you play the game. It gives a theoretical estimate of what you can expect, but depending on your luck, you could hit the jackpot and win more or be on a losing streak much lower than the payout percentage. 

If a game’s RTP is 95%, it means that for every £1 you play, you can estimate a £0.95 return. Alternatively, for every £100 you invest in a game, you’ll receive an average return of £95. Though it’s not the same as the juice or vig on sportsbooks odds, it’s similar in that it’s the cut the casino or game provider takes. The £5 essentially goes to the casino, as their primary objective, as with all businesses, is to make money.

It would be best to remember that the RTP remains a theoretical payout percentage. Don’t depend too much on it, or believe you’re fine as long as a game has a high RTP, as that percentage is worked out over a long period of time and doesn’t apply to every time an individual plays the game.

Testing Agencies

Several third-party testing agencies put the casino games through a series of tests to determine their fairness to calculate the RTP of casino games. Not only do they test whether the games are fair and numbers generated randomly, but also the RTP percentages. They ensure the RTP percentages are what the games state. 

A well-known UK-based testing agency is eCOGRA, which has built a name in the industry over the last decade. Another is GLI Gaming Labs, an international testing agency known for its high and fair standards. The UK Gambling Commission not only licenses online casinos but also ensures they’re fair and operate within the law and regulations. 

What It Means

While an online casino can have an overall RTP, finding individual RTPs published in the games’ information is much more common. It’s also a much more reliable theoretical percentage. A casino’s payout percentage would average all the payout percentages, so it’s not always accurate. Slots generally have RTPs between 93% and 99%, loosely calculated by dividing the total amount returned to gamers by the total amount gamers had gambled.

This RTP also goes hand in hand with whether a game has a low or high variance, also commonly known as volatility. Low variance means you win more often but in smaller amounts, while a high variance means you win less often, but you win higher amounts.

When it comes to games of skill, the RTP can vary depending on how skillful a player is. Depending on the strategies used, you can either heighten the RTP or lower it. Table games like Roulette, Blackjack, Baccarat, and Poker vary between 94% and 99%, depending on the game type.

Overall, understanding the payout percentage means you know what games to look for and understand what it means if a slot has high volatility with an RTP of 97%. It allows you to game at online casinos, understanding what you’re getting into and not having false expectations. 


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