Whether you’re a sports bettor that spends days looking at the NFL stats to find the best bet on the upcoming matchday, or if you’re a casual bettor who places an occasional bet on the weekends, you should have heard of the term RTP before. Although RTP, or Return To Player, is not necessarily used too often in the world of sports betting, it’s essential in the gambling world – more precisely in the world of online casinos.
Admittedly, online casinos and sports betting are not the same things, but you won’t be able to find a casino player who hasn’t placed a bet before, just like it’s impossible to find a sports bettor that has yet to try his luck on online slots. So no matter what kind of a gambler you are, understanding gambling terms such as RTP comes in handy.
What Does RTP Mean?
RTP, or Return To Player, is a term used to explain how much money a casino game or a slot pays back. It is often expressed as a percentage and calculated to show an average over a long period of time that is as close to the correct number as possible.
A simpler way to explain what RTP is would be that it’s the exact opposite of the “house edge,” i.e. the mathematical edge the casinos have over the players.
The formula to calculate the RTP is straightforward. You need to divide the total amount of money returned to the players by the total amount that the players gambled.
For example, if a particular slot has paid out $100,000 in winnings but collected $200,000 from gamblers, its RTP would show 0.5 ($100,000/$200,000). The 0.5 indicates that for every one dollar players gamble on the slot; they can expect to lose 50 cents in the long term.
Obviously, the above example of 0.5 RTP is abysmal, and it will never happen in real life. Even though casinos are here to make money, they will never take it as far as to charge you 50 cents for every dollar you gamble on their slots.
Online Slots and RTP
While the physical slots’ RTP is between 0.95 and 0.97, the variance in online casinos is much greater. There is no correct way to calculate the exact RTP number of all online slots, but generally, it sits between 0.93 to 0.99.
RTP in online casinos is also far more relevant since online slots allow you to play much quicker and go through far more plays than physical slots. And since RTP is a statistical average, the more games you play, the closer you will get to that average.
All online slots need to have their RTP written somewhere, so it’s wise to keep an eye on the number to ensure you’re picking the best game. Some slots with a diabolical 0.93 RTP had to be removed from online casinos in the earlier days, and they’re still very rare, but while you should avoid those like the plague, the 0.95 RTP slots are not a great choice either.
With them, you will be losing 5 cents per dollar or $5 for every $100 gambled. While that might not seem like a lot, $500 for every $10,000 gambled is not a small amount of money by any measure.
Interestingly, online slots with 0.95 RTP are still better than the American roulette (0.947) but worse than the European roulette (0.973 RTP). Perhaps it would be more accurate to say that they’re “less bad” rather than better since you’re losing money either way.
While there are many different types of slots, none will come close or pass the 1.00 RTP since it wouldn’t make sense for the casinos to offer games that guarantee them to lose money. Technically the best game a casino can offer is blackjack, whose RTP can theoretically reach 0.9967, depending on which blackjack you decide to play and the strategy you use.
But no matter how deep you look or how many games you try out, there isn’t a single slot worth playing for the sole purpose to become rich. You might get lucky and hit the jackpot, but it likely won’t happen.
Whether you want to believe it or not, you can never make money with slots in the long run. But you can minimize your losses by playing slots with higher RTP, ensuring that you’re losing the least amount of money while enjoying playing a game that is designed to make you lose money, to begin with.