RTP relates to the percentage of payouts vs. wagers in online slots

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If you ever wondered if there’s a way to determine the effectiveness of an online slot game, you’ll be pleased to hear that there is. If you want to make sure that you get the most bang for your buck and ensure that your bankroll goes further, you’ll need to gain an understanding of a slot’s return to player (RTP) percentage. Put simply, an RTP is the percentage of the total wins a slot is likely to pay out compared to the overall stakes wagered.

Every slot is designed to have an RTP attached. Although this provides transparency for players, the UK Commission warns that it equips you with the average RTP percentage achieved over a larger number of spins, not every time the slot is played. Once you find an online slot platform that offers a variety of options in one place, you can then start to comb through the site to find the RTP of each slot title that takes your fancy.

How is an RTP percentage measured?

Typically, most RTPs for online slot titles are measured over tens of thousands of spins or more. This is to ensure that the RTP percentage is as accurate as possible over the long-term. Of course, if you only plan to play an online slot for a short time, you might get lucky and have more frequent payouts than the RTP suggests, but if you were to play over the long term the number of payouts would eventually balance out.

The best way to describe an RTP is to talk about it in financial terms. Let’s say, for example, that you choose to play a video slot with a 93% RTP. This means that for every £100 you stake, you are statistically likely to win back £93 over the long term. However, we will reiterate again that you shouldn’t expect to win an average of £93 for every £100 you spend during your gaming session, as the RTP is calculated over 100,000 spins or more.

Other slot factors that are just as important as RTP

  • Slot volatility

    Most online slots will have their volatility expressed as a number between one and ten. One being low and ten being high. A low volatility slot means that you can be sure of picking up plenty of regular wins, but the payouts will be that much smaller. Higher volatility slots will not pay out so regularly, but when they do you can be sure of bigger, more lucrative payouts. It ultimately depends on whether you prefer chasing the big jackpots or enjoy accumulating lots of small but frequent win multipliers.

  • House edge

    It’s also good to be mindful of just how much of a house edge each slot has for your chosen online casino. The edge is basically how much of your wager automatically goes to the casino. Even slots with the highest available RTPs will give 1-2% of your wagers to the casino.

  • Hit frequency

    Online slot developers and the casinos aren’t duty bound to disclose the hit frequency of a slot, in addition to its RTP. However, there are some developers that will disclose this in the terms and conditions of the slot in and around the paytable. The hit frequency will denote how frequently the slot will award a win, but be warned that this figure is also calculated over tens of thousands of spins, just like the RTP percentage.

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There are some occasions when playing slots with lower RTP percentages could be profitable. The slots with lower RTPs tend to be those with progressive jackpots attached, that can be triggered at random during base game spins. These jackpots are often pooled as part of a network of slots, meaning the payouts can be astronomical if luck is on your side. Meanwhile some of the slots with the highest RTP percentages are actually off limits when it comes to using bonus funds, so it’s not always possible to play the high RTP slots anyway.

Nevertheless, all online casino platforms that are reputable and licensed must be open and transparent with their RTP percentages to customers or risk being shut down. eCOGRA is one such independent testing agency that conducts biannual checks on the RTP data of a site’s slots to maintain fairness. This openness puts all the power in the hands of the players, giving you the freedom to choose slot games based on your very own risk-reward ratio.