What is RTP?
7 min left

RTP (Return to Player) is the theoretical return to players. When playing online casino slot machines, the RTP is typically found to be around 96%. In land-based casinos, on the other hand, the RTP is more likely to be between 85% and 90%

How does RTP work? 

RTP is calculated over hundreds of millions of spins. Before a slot machine receives authorization from the respective authorities, the gaming supplier performs millions of spins on it over several weeks. This enables them to give players the most accurate RTP possible. 

For example, when a machine displays an RTP of 96%, this means that for every $100 invested, you should theoretically receive $96 in return. Of course, this is only theoretical. If you're lucky, you can earn more than that. On the contrary, you could also receive much less. This is just an example, because the reality is that there are hundreds of millions of spins. 

RTP is calculated over the very long term 

As you'd expect, online casinos, like land-based casinos, calculate RTP over millions of spins, and therefore over the very long term. 

The longer you play a slot machine, the closer you'll get to the theoretical return on this creation. The same applies to live games and original creations. 

There is no slot machine in either online or land-based casinos that has an RTP above 100, which would mean that the game supplier's creation would lose the company money over the long term. 

Game providers such as Pragmatic Play, Nolimit City, and Hacksaw Gaming display the theoretical return to players in the rules listed for their respective slot machine games. 

What's the difference between RTP and variance? 

RTP and variance are two completely different things. RTP is calculated over the very long term, while variance is calculated over the short term. 

RTP can change depending on how you play... and so can variance! 

In fact, depending on how you play, the RTP won't be the same. For example, when you play blackjack, without a side-bet, the theoretical return will be around 99.29%. However, the variance will also be very low. The lower the RTP, the lower the variance/volatility. 

On the other hand, if during a blackjack session you decide to bet on side-bets, your RTP will be much lower: 

  • 95.5% for perfect pairs 

  • 99.30% for 21+3 

The variance, on the other hand, will be much greater. 

The most obvious example is roulette. If you play on the colors red or black, the RTP of roulette will be very high, but the variance will be very low, because the payout is only x 2 your initial bet. 

However, if you decide to bet on specific numbers, your RTP over the long term will be lower. In addition to this, the variance over the very short term will be drastically greater, with a payout of 36 times your initial stake if you manage to find the right number. 

On slot machines, the theoretical return can also change depending on how you play. This is the case with the game Madame Destiny Megaways from Pragmatic Play

If you play in the "classic" way, without the "Ante Bet" or "Buy Bonus" feature, the RTP is 96.56%. If, on the other hand, you decide to play only with double chance (Ante Bet) or by constantly buying the bonus, it rises to 96.67%. 

Variance/volatility isn't just something reserved for live games. In fact, if you're playing a slot machine game like Da Vinci's Treasure, the variance will be extremely high. If you want to win the biggest bonus (the progressive free spins), you might spend a lot of money to obtain it, without the assurance of getting any money in return. 

However, if you're lucky, the explosiveness of this slot means that you could walk away with very high winnings, even with a low stake. 

Variance according to your balance 

If you're looking for a balance boost, you'll tend to play slots with a very high volatility. As explained with the Da Vinci's Treasure example, if you're lucky, you can leave with a much higher balance than when you arrived. But given the extreme variance on this slot machine, it's very likely that you'll spend a lot of money without getting a single bonus behind it. 

Your stake also influences your variance. If you start with a balance of $100 and decide to bet $0.50 per spin, your variance will be very high: if you're lucky, you can drastically increase your balance, but if not, your online casino session could be over very quickly. 

Variance in slot machines 

Low-variance slot games 

A low-variance game will tend to give you money back on a regular basis, but only in small amounts. On these games, you'll have virtually no chance of getting the maximum payout or a very large balance boost. 

Here are our three favorite games with low variance: 

Medium variance slots 

These games can be a good way to get a balance boost without taking a big risk. These games pay out fairly regularly, and you can also land some very big wins if luck is on your side. 

We like to play them when we get a boost balance, but also when we're under a wager. It's a great way to try and get another big win, without taking too much risk. 

We love to try our hand at these games: 

High-variance slot games 

These creations allow you to potentially win the maximum payout of a game, but they won't give you much less money back. These games are very popular for trying to get a very large balance boost, even with small bets. 

There are thousands of volatile games, but here are our three favorites: 

Find the RTP on slot machines 

For those who don't know, you can find the theoretical Return to Player (RTP) on slot machines. Depending on the game supplier, this information may be displayed directly on the game. 

If not, there's another way to access the RTP. It will take you longer to find it, but we strongly advise you to look at what the theoretical Return to Player is before playing the creation. 

Our experts are going to share with you two tips for finding this information quickly, without wasting an inordinate amount of time looking for it. As you'll read, some suppliers test out their games more than others. 

Play'n GO isn't a very transparent games supplier, as it doesn't display the RTP on its games, or on their site. This is a black mark they absolutely must improve. 

Nevertheless, you can find their slots on Casimba Casino

Official supplier websites 

Some game suppliers don't display the theoretical Return to Player directly on the slot machine. This is the case, for example, with Quickspin and Thunderkick. We regret this, and it's vital that both companies are more transparent about this information directly on their games, without forcing the player to have to search for it on the internet. 

If you absolutely must know the RTP, you can find it directly on the company's website. On Quickspin, just click on the game name, and the RTP will be displayed directly on the game image. 

Thunderkick, on the other hand, lists this information below the game, on a page dedicated to its creation. Other information includes the maximum payout and release date. 

Different options for finding the RTP

Online casinos 

On the vast majority of online casino sites, it's impossible to know the RTP of a game without playing it and going over its rules. However, there are some gaming platforms that are an exception to this. 

As soon as you hover your mouse over the slot machine thumbnail that is available at these online casinos, you'll see its theoretical return to players displayed, as in the screen below. It's a feature that sets these sites apart from the rest. 

We really appreciate this, and it should be a widespread feature on all casino sites. It will enable many players to find out the RTP of a game without having to look for it elsewhere. 

About the authorMelanie Cazenave
63 articles
✅ Reviewed by Head of Content
Expertise :
A specialist in online casinos, she also loves proofreading. With her, it's impossible for mistakes to slip through the cracks. A true lover of letters, she binds articles and retouches them to make them as perfect as possible.

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