RTP and Its Importance at Minimum Deposit Casinos

RTP and Payouts

Short for Return to Player, RTP is a fundamental concept within online casino gambling that determines the potential returns you are expected to make from your wagers over a long period of time. Different casino games have different RTPs, consequently making some more profitable to play than others.

Understanding RTP is crucial to make your gambling budget last for longer and to increase your chances of making a profit. Let’s teach you all about it!

Key Takeaways

  • RTP (Return to Player) is the percentage of wagered money a casino game is designed to pay back to players over an extended period.
  • Understanding RTP is crucial for making your gambling budget last longer and increasing your chances of profitability.
  • Game developers determine RTP by simulating millions or billions of game rounds and using independent testing companies for certification.
  • The same game can have different RTPs at different casinos, so it's important to check the RTP at each casino.
  • RTP is closely related to the concept of House Edge, which represents the casino's statistical advantage over the player. House Edge is calculated as 100% minus the RTP.
  • Volatility, or the fluctuation of RTP, affects short-term winnings. Low-volatile games are more likely to pay close to their RTP in a shorter period.
  • In games like Blackjack and Video Poker, player decisions can impact the actual RTP experienced, as optimal strategies can lead to higher RTPs.
  • Regulatory bodies often set minimum RTP requirements that casino games must adhere to, ensuring that players are protected from unfairly low payout percentages.

How RTP Works

Every casino game, be it a slot machine, table game, video poker or scratch card has a certain probability for some kind of win to occur. It also has a cash prize tied to that win. This is hardcoded into every casino game by the game developer.

The ratio of the probability and how much you win is what ultimately becomes the RTP. For instance, if a six-sided dice is rolled and you win five times the amount you bet for predicting the right outcome, the RTP would be 83%.

This is because the probability of hitting a winning outcome is 1 in 6 (which is 16.6%), and the win of five times the amount you stake multiplied by 16.6% is 83%.

How RTP Affects Your Winnings

RTP represents the percentage of all wagered money that a casino game is designed to pay back to players over an extended period. In the aforementioned dice example, the RTP is 83%. This means that you could anticipate that, on average, €83 would be returned to you for every €100 you’ve wagered.

This is over the long haul and is not to say that every time you’ve wagered €100, you’ve gotten €83 back. Not at all. If you roll a dice ten times, you could be lucky and win on every single dice roll which would make you a big profit. However, you could also be unfortunate and not win on a single one.

This variance and factor of luck is why RTP is calculated in the long run. Anything can happen during a fixed period. However, the longer this period is, the more likely it is that you end up with a result that matches the casino game’s RTP.

In other words, if you throw the dice 1 million times and bet €1 every time, it is very likely that you’d end up with a result of €830,000 in wins (thus, losing a total of €170,000).

Now, if the dice paid six times your bet amount instead of five, the RTP would be 100%. In such case, throwing the dice 1 million times would likely have you ending up with just about as much money as you’ve wagered. No wins and no losses.

Where RTP Is Found

The vast majority of casino games have their RTP displayed within the instructions or pay table of the game. This is often a regulatory requirement. Thus, to find the RTP, you only need to go to the settings, pay table, or information section within the game. There is no universal place where all game developers put the RTP so you need to do a bit of searching to find it. However, it should always be there.

How Game Developers Determine RTP

While RTP is easy to calculate when a game only has one outcome and one prize as in our aforementioned dice example, many games these days are very complex, especially slot machines. They have thousands of different outcomes due to multiple symbol combinations with varying payouts and a wide variety of bonus features.

Because of this, game developers tend to simulate millions or even billions of game rounds to establish an accurate RTP. As a regulatory requirement, they also use independent testing companies that do this for them, such as Gaming Labs and BMM Testlabs.

The games being certified by these testing companies is how you can be sure that the RTP displayed in them is accurate. In turn, this transparency allows you to get an idea of what to expect from each game and to choose to play those that have a higher RTP and are more likely to pay you.

Varying RTP Between Casino Sites

An important aspect of RTP is understanding that some game developers manufacture their games with different RTP settings that they allow gambling sites to choose from freely. This means that the same game can have a different expected payout between different minimum deposit casinos.

Back in the day, this was never a thing that players had to be concerned about. If they knew what the RTP was in the game, they knew that it was the same no matter where they played. However, nowadays, you basically have to check the RTP in each and every game at every casino site to know what the payout percentage is.

Why RTP Matters

While we’ve already touched on the subject, there are four main reasons why RTP matters a lot when it comes to online casino gambling:

  • Maximizing Winnings: Games with higher RTP inherently offer greater potential for winnings over time. By gravitating towards such games, you can maximize your chances of a profitable outcome and mitigate losses as much as possible.
  • Informed Decision Making: Knowing the RTP of games, allows you to make an educated decision when selecting what games to play. You get an idea of what to expect from each game in terms of probability, which can be used to make strategic decisions that benefit you. You get to decide if it’s worth playing the game or not. If the RTP is too low, you may want to avoid it.
  • Fairness and Transparency: RTP serves as a barometer of fairness and transparency within the gambling industry. It provides you with the reassurance that the games are not arbitrarily rigged but rather operate according to predetermined mathematical principles. This, however, assumes that the games have had their RTP certified by an independent testing company.
  • Regulatory Compliance: RTP is subject to regulatory oversight in many jurisdictions, ensuring that casinos adhere to established standards of fairness and consumer protection. Regulatory bodies impose stringent requirements for RTP reporting and auditing, thereby safeguarding the interests of players and upholding the integrity of the gambling industry.

RTP and Its Relation With Volatility

While RTP indicates how much you’re expected to win in the long run, it’s important to note that volatility is a factor that affects your short-term winnings. If you want to maximize your chances of making a profit from a single gambling session, volatility is almost as important to keep in mind as RTP.

The definition of volatility is the fluctuation of RTP. As an example, if a game has an RTP of 96% and you are guaranteed to be paid 96% for every bet you make, there would be no volatility at all. You place your €100 bet and you win €96 every time.

When there is volatility in a casino game, which there is in all of them, you don’t know how much you will win from a bet. However, a low-volatile game (also known as a low-risk game) is more likely to pay you close to its RTP over a short period of time than a high-volatile one (also known as a high-risk game).

For instance, betting on red or black in roulette is a very low volatile bet. Many slot machines, on the other hand, are highly volatile – especially when they can pay 10,000 times your stake or more. In general, the higher the potential winnings of a game, the higher the volatility is.

RTP vs. House Edge

When discussing profitability from online casino games, not only RTP is commonly brought up, but also house edge. These two terms go hand in hand with each other. If you know the RTP, you know the House Edge and if you know the House Edge, you know the RTP. The House Edge is simply 100% – the RTP, while the RTP is 100% – the house edge.

As already covered, RTP represents the percentage of wagered money that you are expected to win from a casino game. It serves as an indicator of the game's generosity where a higher RTP suggests a greater likelihood of winning.

House Edge, on the other hand, represents the casino’s statistical advantage over the player. This ensures that the casino makes a profit from you in the long run. For instance, if a game has an RTP of 96%, the House Edge would be 4%. This means that, on average, the casino retains 4% of all wagers placed on the game as profit over time.

Factors Influencing RTP

There are several factors that can influence the RTP of casino games, ultimately deciding how much you win in the long run. This includes:

  • Game Design: The inherent mechanics, odds, and payouts that game developers program their games with will have a direct impact on the RTP. In many games where several different bet options are available, you also find that the RTP will vary between these options, making some more profitable than others.
  • Casino Decision: In some games, casino operators have the autonomy to choose from different payout settings created by the game developer, thereby influencing their RTP values. Optional activation of certain features, such as progressive jackpots can also affect the game’s RTP, influenced by the casino.
  • Player Behavior: In certain games, such as Blackjack and Video Poker, there are strategic elements of decision-making that can be more or less profitable. While the game may display an optimal RTP of 99.50%, the decisions you make may result in a much lower RTP because they are not the most optimal ones. Additionally, using bonus buy features in slots may also result in a different RTP than playing the slot normally.
  • Regulatory Requirements: Regulatory bodies often impose standards and guidelines for RTP that casinos and game providers must adhere to. These regulators set a minimum limit that prevents games from having an outrageously low payout percentage.
  • Competition: The competitive landscape within the gambling industry can also influence RTP values. Casinos may decide to make their games more profitable with a higher RTP and use this as a selling point to compete with other casino sites.

In conclusion, understanding the concept of Return to Player (RTP) is indispensable for anyone engaging in online casino gambling. It not only informs you about the potential long-term returns of your wagers but also plays a crucial role in strategic decision-making and maximizing winnings or minimizing losses.

With games offering varying RTPs and casinos having the flexibility to adjust these values, the importance of checking RTP cannot be overstated. Additionally, RTP's role in ensuring fairness, transparency, and regulatory compliance in the gambling industry highlights its fundamental importance.

Whether you're a novice or a seasoned gambler, grasping the nuances of RTP can significantly enhance your gambling experience, guiding you to games that offer better chances for profit and ensuring a more enjoyable and reliable gaming journey.

Mattias Fröbrant is a seasoned iGaming journalist with over 8 years of professional experience in the online gambling industry. Having worked with leading gambling companies such as Betsson Group, reviewed over 300 online casino sites, and gambled himself for over 15 years, his deep understanding of the industry sets him apart.
With a focus on providing accurate, reliable, and up-to-date information that’s backed by extensive research, Mattias specializes in crafting comprehensive reviews, guides, and news articles related to minimum deposit casinos.
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