Calculating the likelihood of winning in an online casino can be a tricky business, which is why most casinos are committed to transparency, and provide a range of statistics to help potential players decide how to gamble. On top of these stats, most casino games have recognised rules with calculable returns. It’s just a matter of knowing where, and how, to look.
In short, payout rates are statistics designed to give players an idea of how likely they are to win at a game, or how much they can expect to lose in pursuit of that one big win. Commonly expressed as a percentage, casino payout rate figures indicate how much of the money wagered in a casino (or on a specific game) is returned to players on average. They can be expressed in a number of different ways, all of which are useful for slightly different reasons.
The best online casinos commission monthly reports from independent testing organisations like Gaming Laboratories International (GLI) or eCOGRA, which provide what’s known as a percentage payout report.
Frequently accessed via links at the footer of online casino web pages, in help sections or fairness policies, these publicly available test results show the average return to all players who took part in a particular game type during the last month. For example, a recent eCOGRA report for 888 Casino showed that, across the entire site, 96.91% of money wagered in June 2014 was returned to players, and 99.08% of money bet on Baccarat was returned.
As this is an average taken across all players betting on the site during the named period, it means that some players will have won above the average, and others below. Comparing average returns can give a good idea of how rival casinos measure up.
For more specific details about individual games, RTP percentages are a useful indicator. Commonly found for online slots, though occasionally for other games, these operate in a similar way to monthly payout percentages, but are calculated by running simulations through games rather than monitoring actual player betting activity.
Often these can be found in the catalogues of game software suppliers such as NetEntertainment, who have a document available via the company website, in online slot reviews, or in the information pages for the slot at each casino.
Again, many players win above or below these figures. With slots it’s important to check how high variance the game is. If massive jackpots pay hundreds of thousands of pounds, a small number of players will win returns in excess of 1,000% or more, meaning lots of players will be returned less than the average.
As with RTP percentages, they give an average based on probability, and offer a good indication of which bets to place and when. In instances where strategy can affect the house edge, players are advised to work on their skills in order to maximise returns, so it really does pay to practise.