When you first take a look at the all-popular slots genre, things might seem relatively simple. After all, you push a button and things happen on the screen. While this is true, there is a whole slew of processes behind the scenes that you never think about. One such factor to consider is the payback percentage of online slots. It is a metric of vital importance for the whole business and one by which we judge all casino games.
The payback percentage is often one of the first things you check once you start researching games in depth and you should have a clear understanding of the role it plays in the gambling industry. To this end, we have written this review so that you can read up on this topic. In this article, you will find information about the basic functions of the payback percentage and the vital aspects that relate to it.
Payback Percentage Explained
Payback percentage and return-to-player percentage are terms that are often thrown around in the online gambling industry but what do they actually mean? The way casino slots work is that you bet money and depending on your luck you may or you may not receive a payout. For a casino to stay in business it has to bring in money and it does so by paying out less money than it takes in. The amount that it does pay out is referred to as payback percentage or return-to-player percentage. It is the primary income source of online casinos and it what makes a gambling operation profitable.
The payback percentage is different for each individual casino game and slot title. This is due to the fact that every game comes with its own different odds and payout ratios, hit frequencies, etc. There are really no two identical slots on the Internet and each title offers a unique experience. Therefore, you can expect a different return percentage from each game.
Watch How Slot Machine Payback Works
The payback percentage indicates the share of the total turnover that the casino pays out over a long period of time. Those numbers do not indicate short-term payouts and you should not confuse them as such. The data is gathered over the course of potentially millions of spins, much more than any single player can achieve in a single gaming session.
The payback percentage is the primary metric that gamblers use to judge the fairness of casino games. Basically, the higher the percentage is the fairer the game is to the player base. It means that the game will be closer to true odds and you will not suffer much from the casino advantage. Of course, you should keep in mind what we said earlier. If a game has a 95% RTP, it does not mean that you can receive $95 for every $100 you wager. The RNG system makes it so that every spin is random and the outcome independent from the previous.
Payback Percentage Additional TipsAll in all, there is not much more to consider about the payback percentage. It is a vital, yet easily understood factor in the online gambling industry. Knowing what role it plays in casino gambling in general, will allow you to make more informed decisions and have a better experience playing the hundreds of games at your disposal. While the concept of the payback percentage by itself is simple, there are other aspects that also contribute to the same area and we will go more into detail further on in the article. Be sure to read the rest of it to become better acquainted with points such as the house edge – also known as the casino advantage – and the volatility of slots.
Relation between Payback Percentage and House Advantage
The payback percentage and the House Advantage are intertwined with one another. While the payback percentage indicates how much a given casino game pays out as rewards, the House Advantage shows what percentage of all money the casino keeps as profit. The correlation between the two comes in how we calculate them. When you combine the House Advantage and the payback percentage you will always get an exact 100% or in other words, the total amount of the turnover. You can always calculate one metric if the other one is available. Therefore, if a slot game has a house edge of 5% then the payback percentage will be 95% and vice versa.
Role of Volatility in Online Slots
When you talk about RTP and House Advantage, you take into account the long-term consistency of a game. What you do not see is how the title functions in the short term. This is where volatility comes into effect. This aspect is not the most discussed or refined in the gambling industry and we have relatively little information to go on. This is mostly due to the fact that software providers do not bother with it and all the data we have about the volatility of a given game comes mostly from the user experience. While it is not as precise as RTP or house edge, it still gives us some insight as to how a game is supposed to function and what experience you may expect to have.
Volatility is a factor in modern slots that deals with how often and how much a game will pay out. It shows us the likelihood of scoring a win in the short term and with this information, we can better adjust our play style to that specific game. Slots generally fall into one of the categories – high volatility and low volatility.
High-volatility slots are more prone to infrequent payouts over the course of your gaming session. When playing such a game, you can expect to go many spins without a significant win. To offset this, these titles will give you better rewards since they come so rarely. A high-volatility can be distinguished from its opposite by the payout ratios for winning combinations. Typically, a 5x combination will pay significantly more than a 4x one of the same symbol. More often than not, the larger combination will give you between 5 and 10 times more money, though this is only an example. It is important to take this information with a grain of salt, as it may not be applicable in some cases.
As for low-volatility slots, you will find that they are the opposite of the high-volatility type. These games offer frequent hits, though at the cost of smaller rewards. You can reasonably expect to score a winning combination every few spins or so, though the rewards will not be something you write home about. Since winning spins occur more often, the payouts will reflect your odds of winning. A 5x combination will not exceed a 4x one in terms of rewards by more than 5 times.
Role of Volatility in Online Slots Additional TipsIt is up to you to figure out which type is more to your liking. Low-volatility slots are prefered by casual gamblers who do not have a large bankroll at their disposal. The small but frequent winnings, allow the players to remain in the game for longer periods of time and potentially score a worthwhile combination. High-volatility slots, on the other hand, are better suited for players with a larger budget since they can eat the cost of going for longer periods of time without a large hit.
Information about volatility is scarce and until you have a better understanding of the game you choose, we recommend that you treat all titles as low-volatility until proven otherwise. It is important to remember that the RNG system will provide random results and that anything can happen over the course of a few spins. In any event, be mindful how you gamble your money, especially on a genre with such high degrees of randomness as slots.
FAQ about Payback Percentage
Having covered the basic aspects of RTP and its other contributing factors, we feel like you should have a proper understanding of this phenomenon by now. However, you may also have additional questions on the topic. While we cannot answer all of them here, we have formed a list of some of the most frequently asked about RTP. To give you an even deeper understanding of the topic, we have included them and their extensive answers below.
How important is the payback percentage of a slot game
The payback percentage of a casino game is one its most fundamental aspects. As we have already mentioned, there are few ways that we can judge the fairness of gambling titles and so far, RTP is the best tool that we have at our disposal. While the RTP does nothing for you in the short term, if you play a game for long enough you are likely to see it come into effect to a greater or lesser extent. If you have found a game that you like and are considering playing for a long time, then we highly recommend that you take a look at its RTP and casino advantage values to see if it is worth wagering money on in the long term.
Is the RTP of a game public knowledge?
That would depend entirely on whether or not the software provider publishes the RTP numbers of their games. This is purely on a case-by-case basis, where take this very seriously and some not so much. Microgaming is an excellent example of a transparent software provider, as you can easily find all RTP values for each of the hundreds of titles by this company. Of course, some prefer to keep that information away from the public and why they would do that is is not known to us. However, any legitimate software provider has undergone extensive audits by government regulatory institutions and their games will certainly be fair to play.
If the outcome of every spin is random, then how is the RTP consistent?
There are several aspects that factor into this equation. It is true that the RNG system produces random results on every spin. However, it does so within set parameters and the odds for each outcome are calculated and known to the software provider. Using this information, the company that produces the game can set the payout ratio for each winning outcome to be slightly lower than your odds of securing that outcome. The results are random in the sense that the game picks one at random from all the possible ones. This is how the game can give you random spins and a stable RTP value in the long term.
What is the acceptable RTP for online slots?
Online slots come in a wide variety and each title features its own unique odds and payout ratios. For this reason, RTP values can vary wildly between the different games. You will find slots with RTP values of 85% just as easily as those with 95% and everything in between. If you are looking to play in the most optimal way possible, then it goes without saying that you should pick the slot with the highest RTP. However, there are also other factors to consider in this. For example, your enjoyment of the game is also quite important. You may find a 95%-RTP title more fun than a 99%-RTP one and what do you do in this situation? Our recommendation is that you do not pay too close attention to RTP and house advantage if you are looking to have fun. Generally, any game over 93-94% will not be less enjoyable than one with a higher payback percentage based on that factor alone.
Should I play lower RTP slots?
That is entirely up to you. As long as you understand that low-RTP games are not the optimal way to gamble your money, you can play anything that you like. The online gambling industry offers you thousands of unique slots all from the comfort of your home. With online casinos hosting hundreds of titles, you will undoubtedly find a game that is both fun for you to play and has a reasonable RTP value. Even if that is not always the case, there are still thousands more to choose from at other online casinos, so keep your options open and do not settle for something that you do not want.
How do slots compare in terms of RTP to other games?
The RTP of slot games pretty much all over the place. Given the incredibly large number of slots currency circulating in the online gambling industry, this is no surprise. There are thousands of unique titles on the Internet in the slots genre and this means that we have a lot of diversity. Therefore, it is not too surprising to find out that slots range in RTP between 85% and 99%. This is a large spread when compared to most other casino genres. Blackjack and video poker are known for having the highest RTP on average, usually between 95% and 100%, depending on the game in question. Other table games such as roulette and craps usually do not go below 94%. Only slots can deliver such a diverse experience along with the positive and negative aspects of it.
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Find the answers of questions people asked so far:
What should I expect when I play a slot with a low RTP?
The first thing you might notice when you play a slot with a lower RTP is that your budget will most likely get you through fewer spinning rounds. While a difference of 2% in the RTP may not seem significant to you, the duration of your spinning session will drop by 33%. Ultimately, a lower slot RTP means that you exhaust your bankroll quicker, which will result in fewer spinning rounds. While a high RTP cannot predict how much you can win, it can tell you that you have much better chances for bigger returns in the long run. After all, playing more spinning rounds definitely provides better chances of landing a prominent payout.
How come the theoretical return on slots is way different than the actual payback rate?
In theory, if you are playing a slot with a 98% RTP, you might expect to earn $0.98 on every $1 that you bet on the slot. Meanwhile, the casino’s profit based on that RTP rate is expected to be $0.03. In reality, the return that the player enjoys over a long betting session is different and there are multiple factors that affect the actual return of slots.
As covered in the review above, volatility is one factor that will impact the return of a slot, with high-volatility slots often having lower RTPs as potentially bigger payouts can skew the balance. Other factors that also play a role in the actual return of slots include the hit frequency of the games, bonus feature frequency, special symbols, and progressive jackpots. The riskier the slot, the better payouts players might enjoy in the long run. This will automatically reduce the RTP, with the actual return often being even lower than the theoretical return.