Article By
Last Updated:

Understanding the RTP, or 'Return to Player', is crucial for anyone delving into the world of online gaming. This percentage provides insight into the potential returns a player might expect from a game over time. In this article, we'll unpack the nuances of RTP, helping UK gamers make informed decisions on the virtual casino floor.

The 'Return To Player' (RTP) is a term you might see often, and it explains the theoretical amount a casino game or slot is expected to pay back to players like you over a significant period, expressed as a percentage. Think of RTP as the opposite of the 'house edge' - the casino’s mathematical advantage in any game.

Imagine you place a single spin for £2, win £100, and cash out, achieving a 50x profit and a spectacular RTP for that session. But remember, casinos operate based on long-term strategies. Most games typically offer a long-term RTP of 95-97%, meaning the game aims to return 95 to 97% of every pound you wager over an extensive period of gameplay.

How do you calculate RTP?

Calculating the RTP (Return to Player) of a game may seem straightforward in theory: simply divide the total amount returned to players by the total amount gambled by them. However, understanding RTP, especially for UK online slots, can be a bit tricky since it doesn’t directly inform you about the frequency of wins.

For games like Blackjack, you might anticipate winning roughly half the bets you place. Contrast this with slots, which might payout less frequently but offer massive jackpots when they do. Regardless, the principle remains: over time, an RTP reflects a return to players just shy of the total turnover.

Here’s a general look at the RTP of various casino games:

• Online Slots: 93-99%
• European Roulette: 97.3%
• American Roulette: 94.7%

Calculating RTP for some games becomes more challenging as it hinges on the player’s strategy. For instance, Craps offers various bets and therefore a wide RTP range from excellent to dismal, while a lot of skill and strategy is involved in Blackjack. A skilled strategy could bring an outstanding RTP (over 99%), while a less knowledgeable player could substantially lower their own RTP by making poor decisions, such as drawing on 17 when the dealer holds a 6.

How do Online Casinos Apply RTP to Games?

RTP, which stands for Return to Player, is really important for online casinos because it helps them manage money and make a profit. Even though it's kind of like a profit margin, it's different from how UK bookmakers use odds to ensure they make money. It has its own unique way of working.

Let's delve into an analogy: in a theoretically balanced six-runner horse race, each horse should be priced at 5/1. If a prominent bookie takes £100 on each horse, they accrue £600, and no matter the winner, the payout will also be £600, resulting in zero profit and equating to a 100% RTP.

In reality, bookies might price each runner at 4/1, ensuring the incoming bets sum up to £600, but the payout will only be £500. This scenario suggests a betting percentage of 120% - £500 is paid out for every £600 received, creating a 20% yield. This shouldn't be confused with a clear profit margin because a 20% profit on £120 is £24, not £100. Consequently, RTP in casino contexts is different and generally, a bit more straightforward to comprehend.

Online casino games, encompassing scratch-cards, deal or no deal, slots, etc., often require intricate algorithms and thorough testing to validate that a stated RTP is accurate. To assure fair play and customer protection, these RTP figures need to be verified, certified, and routinely tested to procure a licence from the UK Gaming Commission.

Applying RTP understanding to games like Online Roulette is simpler. Estimating the house edge on a wheel that features 18 winning numbers and 19 or 20 losing ones (depending on single or double zero wheel play) is achievable with some elementary calculations.

Established 1997

What Percentage Do Slot Machines Payout?

When you hear about RTP, or Return to Player, in the context of online slots, it's really talking about the money that you might get back over time as you play a particular slot. A higher RTP suggests that you'll get more of your wagered money back in the long run. So, if you're pondering over which slot to choose, spotting those with higher RTPs might be a good strategy. Interestingly, as players like you started preferring higher RTP slots, many of them have become even more generous than before.

In the early online casino days, some slots dangled low RTPs, like around 93%, and these had to be ditched from a few dubious online platforms. Fast-forward to today, and you'll observe that slots in physical casinos sometimes showcase commendably high RTPs. Nevertheless, they may still not quite match up to the offerings found online.

You might encounter a few online slots that can be labelled as "greedy", meaning they might have RTPs of 95-96%. Some online casinos might actually exclude these from counting towards bonus offers, which feels like a fair move, doesn’t it?

Now, diving into why you might opt for a slot with a leaner RTP: It’s all about the thrill. Some slots might not shower you with small wins frequently but hold the promise of a big win from a progressive jackpot slot when they do payout. Is risking a lower RTP for a shot at a substantial win worth it? For many dream chasers, the answer is a resounding yes.

RTP in American Roulette

When you play roulette, whether it’s the European or American roulette version, you essentially engage in two types of games: First, you have the even-money bets like choosing between odd or even numbers and red or black colours. Second, you have a variety of bets you can place directly on the numbers - this could be a straight-up bet on a single number, a split bet on two numbers, or betting on a row, corner, or street of numbers. It might surprise you, but not a lot of the betting action in roulette comes from 2/1 shots, like betting on dozens and rows.

However, it's crucial for you to know that every bet you place, no matter what type it is, carries equal weight when figuring out the overall RTP on an American roulette wheel. Let’s get clear on the facts: with 38 numbers, all bets on an American ‘double zero’ roulette wheel have a lower RTP compared to bets on the European wheel.

RTP in European Roulette

European roulette wheels offer you a noticeably better Return to Player (RTP) compared to the ones prominently featured in Las Vegas casinos. While a 2.6% difference might not seem like much at first glance, it becomes significant when focusing on even-money bets. To give you a clearer picture of how different RTPs impact you, consider this: a zero is going to land twice as often on the American wheel, meaning those even-money bets will result in a total loss twice as frequently!

What RTP Can You Expect Playing Blackjack Online?

Numerous online casinos present various versions of online Blackjack, each with its own unique RTP. Versions like Ultimate Blackjack, Surrender Blackjack, Switch, Super Fun 21, Spanish 21 Blackjack, Perfect Pairs Blackjack, Pontoon Blackjack, Hi Lo, and many others typically have lower RTPs compared to the traditional, original Blackjack game. Premium Blackjack boasts a theoretical RTP of 99.67 percent when played with a flawless strategy, with Classic Blackjack closely following at 99.4 percent. Yet, maintaining optimal strategy is a challenging task for many players, and even with a touch of imperfect strategy, the RTP in even the least favourable Blackjack variants rarely falls below 95 percent.

Established 2012

Our Top 5 Tips for RTPs at the Best Online Casino and Slot Games

Tip 1: Prioritise High RTP Games

When navigating through the sea of games in an online casino, always prioritise games with higher Return to Player (RTP) percentages. High RTP means that, over time, you're more likely to retrieve a larger portion of your wagered money. This could potentially extend your gameplay and increase your chances of securing a win.

Tip 2: Understand RTP Implications

Ensure you have a firm grasp of what RTP implies for your gaming. A slot with an RTP of 96% does not guarantee you will win 96% of your bets. Instead, it indicates that, over a prolonged period, the game pays back 96% of all wagered money to players collectively. Understand that RTP is a long-term average, not a short-term promise.

Tip 3: Balance RTP with Volatility

Don’t select games based solely on RTP. Consider the volatility or variance of the slot. High RTP games with low volatility tend to offer smaller, more frequent payouts, while high volatility games might offer larger payouts but less frequently. Choose a game that matches your risk tolerance and budget.

Tip 4: Explore Game Features

Sometimes, slots with slightly lower RTPs offer exciting features like progressive jackpots or innovative bonus rounds. These features can provide a thrilling gaming experience and offer substantial wins, which might compensate for a lower RTP. Be sure to explore these features and understand how they work before diving in.

Tip 5: Gamble Responsibly

Remember that gambling should be entertaining and not be relied upon as a source of income. Regardless of a game’s RTP, gambling always comes with risks. Establish a budget, set limits, and ensure that your gambling activities do not negatively impact your mental, emotional, or financial well-being.

Note that UK players should ensure that the online casino they are using is licensed and regulated by the UK Gambling Commission, ensuring a safe and fair gaming environment. Always be mindful of your gambling activities and utilise responsible gambling tools provided by online platforms.

Our Final Thoughts

RTP percentages serve as a crucial guide for any dedicated online casino player, pointing toward the best betting value across all games. The top online casinos, known for clear payouts, prominently display their RTP for all their games. Identifying and opting for games with the highest RTP not only ensures prolonged casino play over time but also enhances your chances of winning more frequently. Additionally, the potential for large jackpots can be gauged through RTP percentages, where typically, lower RTP slots tend to be of the 'higher variance' type. If a jackpot prize is what you seek, it's likely to be found in a slot with a lower RTP.

Recommended Casino Sites

Affiliate Disclosure: At Gambling.com, we want to ensure that players are matched with the right casino and sportsbook offers for them. For this reason, some of the recommended site links are affiliate links.
1. 1
Established 2019
Extensive Library of Slots & Jackpot Slot Games
Weekly 'Rainbow Friday' Cashback
Earn Spins on 'The Wheel of Vegas'
Bonus Code
Bonus Wagering
35x
Payout Time
Instant
Our Rating
99
Casino Games
7400+
Live Casino Games
650+
Mr Vegas Casino stands out with its vast games inventory, including thousands of slots titles. It also offers a 'Rainbow Treasure' reward program - the more you stake during the week, the more cash-back you get the following Friday (up to £300 per day).
2. 2
Established 2024
3. 3
Established 2023
4. 4
Established 1997
5. 5
Established 2012
6. 6
Established 2022
7. 7
Established 2014
8. 8
Established 2012
9. 9
Established 2016
10. 10
Established 2018