What Does RTP Mean?

A customer puts down five USD 100 bills on a blackjack table. Ethan Miller/Getty Images/AFP

You may notice that online casinos provide their customers with an RTP ratio on the slots and table games they host. This article explains what it means and highlights what constitutes a strong RTP.

What is RTP?

RTP stands for Return to Player. It highlights the percentage of the money wagered on a game that will be returned to the players over a prolonged period of time. For example, if a slot has an RTP of 95.6%, it tells you to expect $95.60 back for every $100 wagered over time. The closer the RTP is to 100%, the greater the return you can expect.

It is a theoretical figure based on average payouts over a long period of time. Some players will be returned more than the RTP, and some will be returned less. The RTP simply tells you the average return, and it allows you to gauge the sort of house edge that the developers have built into the game.

How Does RTP Differ from House Edge?

The RTP ratio also tells you what sort of house edge the casino takes on each game. You simply subtract the RTP from 100 to calculate the house edge. For example, if the RTP is 95.6%, it tells you that the house edge is 4.4%.

Games with the highest RTP have the lowest house edge. Casino players, therefore, spend time searching for games with RTP ratios close to 100.

How Does the RTP Work?

The results on slots and virtual table games are governed by Random Number Generator (RNG) software. The RNG will deliver random results, which dictate the symbols that appear on a slot, the hands that are a lot of games like blackjack and baccarat, and the pocket that the roulette ball falls into.

Blackjack players with dealer Leah Prerost. Ethan Miller/Getty Images/AFP

These RNG algorithms are regularly tested by external examiners to ensure they are working correctly. The RTP ratio essentially explains how favorable the results delivered by the RNG software will be for players in the long term. The examiners ensure that the RNG is living up to the RTP that is advertised.

Why Play a Game with an RTP Below 100%?

All casino games have a house edge built into them. It is the same with sports betting lines, horse racing odds, and so on. The operator needs a house edge to earn a profit and to maintain the service it provides – for example, investing in software, customer service, bonuses, licensing fees, rent, and staff costs.

If you play for a very long time, it is likely that you will eventually lose. However, everything is random, so it is possible to go on exciting winning streaks and earn large profits. The most successful bettors know how to quit when they are ahead.

These games are highly entertaining too. You can play for free in demo mode, but most people enjoy the thrill of playing for real money.

A man plays poker on his computer connected to an internet gaming site from his home. AFP PHOTO/Karen BLEIER

It is also worth noting that bonuses, promotions, and loyalty points eat into the house edge, essentially giving you a higher expected return on an overall basis. Bonuses and promotions provide you with a better chance of securing a long-term profit.

Which Casino Games Have a High RTP?

Classic blackjack is renowned for having a very high RTP of 99.41%. Some games, such as Classic Blackjack Gold, go all the way up to 99.9%.

A banker bet on baccarat has a theoretical RTP of 98.95%. If you prefer roulette, French roulette offers the highest RTP, followed by European roulette. American roulette has the lowest RTP due to the double zero.

Dancing Dealers pose at a roulette table. Ethan Miller/Getty Images for Circa Resort & Casino/AFP

The average RTP for an online slot is around 96%. However, a Playtech slot called Ugga Bugga has an RTP of 99.07%. NetEnt’s Mega Joker is another high RTP slot at 99%.