What is Return to Player and How It Works25 October 2017
When a person gets into online gambling and starts browsing through casino sites and reading about slots and other games, a term ‘return to player’ comes up quite early into the whole process of getting familiar with the matter. The acronym RTP is also used quite often to describe this value offered in a percentage that is obviously meant to mean something to online gamblers. It does mean something, and it’s quite important, although it falls under the definition of a theoretical statistical calculation that shouldn’t be taken completely literally. Is something to keep in mind, but not start a religion based on it.
What is RTP?
In a typical gambling session, one can expect wins as well as losses, and by balancing out the two you can prolong the session and enjoy a series of smaller wins in between reasonable losses. Since online casino slots are games of chance, you can never know when the big hit is coming up, and these types of events won’t go into what is known as average. RTP is, on one hand, related to what is average for a particular slot.
Return to player rate is the flip side of the house edge, and we know that the house edge is a calculation used by gambling service providers to ensure the casino ends up with a profit from every session. It’s also known as the house advantage. Well, the RTP is the rest of 100% of the winning opportunities offered by the game. The RTP percentage tells the player how much of the money wagered on a casino game will be paid back after a certain period of time. As mentioned, this is a value expressed in percentage, and the higher it is the better – a higher RTP means the wins will come often over a longer period of time. The key to understanding RTP is to know that the values are given in regards to the long term. In short term, anything can happen – it’s gambling!
How RTP Works?
One could also say that the return to play percentage is house edge in reverse. Let’s take a slot machine, for example, and say that it has a house advantage of 4.3%. This means the RTP will be 95.7%. Over time, the machine (aka casino) will keep 4.3% of the money placed in bets and the rest will be returned to the players in form of random winnings.
The RTPs are calculated through statistical long-term methods and are given in theoretical and approximate percentages. Every slot game has one, but the thing is not every software provider or casino manager wants to publish it. You should also know not to confuse win frequency with the return to player rate. The RTP doesn’t tell you how often you can expect to win; both low-frequency payout slots and slots with higher win frequencies can have the same or similar RTP.
As a player, you don’t need to work out the complex mathematics behind RTPs. What you can and should do, is choose online casinos that are consistent in posting return to player rates for their slot games. These are meant to be public and used as a helpful piece of info that doesn’t only speak of the game, but also about the trustworthiness of the casino.