Jelena Kabic is a sports betting writer that focusses on responsible gambling. A psychologist by vocation, Jelena volunteered in a rehab facility, where she worked with gambling addicts. She now reviews all our content to ensure it discusses betting in a socially responsible way.
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7 months ago
What is Return to Player and How Does it Affect Casino Gambling?
Think of a casino game and the first thing that will pop into mind is probably its theme or gameplay. Many end up neglecting a fundamental factor: RTP.
RTP or return to player is more than an acronym. It reveals how much you’re getting from your time playing.
There’s a simple reason why it matters: RTP clearly shows how likely it is to earn money in the long run in games such as slots, blackjack and roulette.
We’re going to cover everything you need to know about the return to player.
Learn how it’s calculated, but most importantly, how it can help you make better decisions when playing at the best online casinos.
In the long run, you’ll be able to use this information to potentially improve your winning odds!
What is RTP?
As we’ve mentioned previously, the return to player rate is a percentage that shows how much the player can get back from the casino playing a particular game.
The higher the RTP rate, the more you can expect to see money returning to your pocket.
When it comes to slots, it’s easy to figure out the maths at play using a straightforward calculation.
Let’s assume a theoretical RTP of 100%. That means that for every $50 you bet, you’d expect to win the same $50 back.
As a result, neither you nor the casino win nor lose.
If the RTP rate is above 100%, the casino will lose money in the long run.
It’s no surprise you can’t find these lying around, as they go along with casinos that run out of business – it just doesn’t happen!
Casinos usually present games with an RTP range between 80-95%. Yet, a special few offer rates of 98% and above – we’ll show you which!
How is Return to Player Calculated?
Fortunately, you don’t have to be a maths genius to calculate the RTP of a game, as you can follow a rather straightforward approach:
- RTP = Total amount won by players / Total bet amount placed by players
Again, remember this calculation represents results in the long run. When it comes to slots, it can easily mean thousands or hundreds of thousands of spins. That’s also why the actual RTP of your gambling session can vary considerably.
We’ll make a stronger case through the following examples:
- You place $100 in a single spin
- You win $40 back
- Following the previous calculations, our RTP = 40/100 = 40%
Even though you won $40 in a single spin, you could as easily win $80 or $150. Each will obtain a completely different RTP value.
As a result, estimating the RTP of a game over a short period or across only a few rounds of a game is not a reliable approach.
If you toss a coin once, you have a 100% chance to land heads or 100% to land tails.
Throw it 1000 times, and the odds drastically change. That’s the basic principle behind RTP in casino games.
- You play 100 rounds and bet $1 on each (you still end up betting the same $100 as before)
- After 100 rounds, you earned $98
- The RTP of that session is the result of 98/100 = 98%
The more rounds you play, the more accurate the RTP is. The same applies to your expectations since there is no guarantee that you’ll face a similar result during your time playing.
That said, don’t go overboard. Always set spending, winning, and losing limits, and be wise with your bankroll management.
We can never forget the fact that casino games are mainly dependent on luck.
You may as easily scream “jackpot” after a single spin or spend considerable time and money to walk away with a loss. The vital perception when it comes to RTP is that it refers to wins and losses over an extended period.
Even if you lose 100 rounds in a row, nothing can predict whether or not you’ll win on the next round. You should consider the effect of the gambler’s fallacy and assume each game round is completely independent of the previous one.
Remember: when playing slots and most casino games, the previous spin has zero effect on the following one.
How to Figure the RTP of a Game
Gambling regulators make it mandatory for online casinos to reveal a game’s RTP in certain countries, and the best slot pages in Canada transparently advertise this information.
If your favourite gambling page doesn’t disclose this information, don’t worry. A little research will grant you the RTP value of the game(s) you wish to play.
We recently did a bit of our own research to come up with highest RTP casinos overall!
That value is usually the same regardless of where you play it since software providers have them tested frequently by third-party agencies.
Consider the famous slot Book of Dead slot by Play’n GO. Its return to player is currently at 96.21% and results from thousands of spins over an extended period.
Again, these get audited constantly and are approved by third-party entities within the industry.
RTP Differences: Brick-and-mortar Casinos vs Online Casinos
Online casinos exist in a vastly competitive universe.
There are many more pages, bonuses, promotions, and games available, but the competition amongst each gambling platform is fierce.
As a result, RTP rates are higher online, resulting in increased opportunities to win, attracting more players to the most generous pages.
These values are even higher thanks to reduced operating costs when in comparison to the brick-and-mortar competition.
Even the best online casinos in Canada will have a team looking after your safety, promotions, customer service and several other areas, but the lack of need to hold and maintain a huge building represents considerable savings.
How Important is the RTP in a Casino?
Very, if you’re in it for the gain as most players are; after all, it’s great to witness juicy bonuses, promotions and exclusive games.
But most importantly, knowing the RTP of any game beforehand takes you a step closer to winning some money.
Do your best to learn more about the RTP of the games you prefer before you start playing.
Different versions of the same game may present very different values. Even if this percentage is by no means a guarantee – unless you’re planning to play the same game in the long run – it’s undoubtedly the best insight to moderate your expectations.
The RTP Rate in Different Casino Games
As mentioned previously, different versions of the same game can present a different RTP rate. That’s also true for each category of games, including some of the most popular amongst Canadian players.
A classic example where within the same category, you can find very different values at play. Slot machines are by far the most popular casino game on earth.
It’s essential to look at the RTP of each title, as well as its volatility. You’ll notice some slots reward you more frequently with smaller wins, while others hand out bigger prizes less regularly. That adds emotion but also unpredictability to the outcome when playing.
Pick your game well and consider most slots present an RTP somewhere between 90% and 96%. We would recommend playing anything that aims at the 95% range or above.
The queen of any casino room, the roulette will reward you accordingly to the type of bets you place. Keep in mind there are internal and external bets in the table, which translate as follows:
- Internal bets: less frequent, but more significant wins
- External bets: more frequent, but smaller wins
It’s all a matter of risk and how far you’re willing to go. Some prefer the thrill of a big bet and accept it may turn into nothing, while others prefer a more cautious approach. Either way, playing the roulette for real money is never short of exciting.
Most importantly, it would be best if you considered that not all roulettes are created alike. Most online casinos will present you with the European and American versions.
Considering the RTP alone, the European version is slightly more advantageous, with a rate of 97.30%.
It’s easy to understand why blackjack is popular amongst Canadian players. Not only are its rules simple to follow, but it also offers you endless excitement along with a fantastic RTP.
Here, the result is not dependent on any machine’s random number generator but on your decisions and how accurate they can be. It presents the highest RTP of all casino games, averaging a whopping 99%.
It may take you some practice to get your hand closer to this number, but with some patience and knowledge of the game’s mechanics, you may find it as rewarding as it is fun.
Our Tips to Make the Most of a Good RTP Rate
Observing the RTP of any game before you start playing is always a great tip, but what is there more to it?
We share a few essential ideas to ensure you’re not only keeping the numbers in check but also making the most of your time playing.
The Golden Rule: Walk Away While You’re Ahead
Easier said than done. Accept that the casino always has an edge, and once you find yourself on a winning streak, it may be time to stop playing.
It’s hard to trigger action against such a strong emotion – we all love winning.
But if you’re at all serious about making a profit, the best approach is to ensure you don’t lose the money you earned up until that point.
Know Each Game’s Limits
Each game has its secrets and mechanics. A slot that paid small prizes throughout its history – even if frequently – shouldn’t have you playing in the hope of winning a jackpot.
Knowing the RTP is essential, but so is it to understand more about its volatility. It all goes down to how much risk you are willing to accept and how your expectations compare to real-world results.
Each game’s design pleases a particular type of player and approach, so before anything, get to know your game’s limits and your profile as a gambler.
Play it in Demo Mode
If you’re unsure where to start, why not play the free demo? That way, you can test a game and how its bets turn out without risking a single cent.
This approach is as helpful for those starting today as it is for veterans. A “try before you buy” is always welcome on any entertainment, especially those that involve money. You’ll learn a lot about the game, but also about yourself as a player.
Establish a Budget (And Stick to It)
It’s easy to fall into an emotional response, especially if things aren’t turning out how you’d expect them to.
The most significant risk with gambling is chasing your losses. Accept that you may win, but the bigger picture tells you the house always has that edge we spoke of earlier.
Keep playing with money you don’t mind losing in return for the excitement you get from your favourite games.
What is RTP or return to player?
The return to player value or RTP is the margin of profit a game will pay to the player. It results from all bets placed, and the money won back, calculated over an extended period. As a result, a single gambling session may vary considerably in terms of RTP.
What can be considered a good RTP?
Casino games that present an RTP equal to or above 90% are worthy of your time. Many slots aim to provide games with a return to player of 95% and above, while games such as roulette reach 97%. The crown belongs to blackjack, with an RTP slightly above 99%.
Can online casinos fake the RTP of a game?
Yes. Unfortunately, there are many fraudulent online casinos out there. That’s also the main reason why you should only gamble on pages that follow strict online gambling guidelines. Canadian players can look for casinos approved by the Malta Gambling Authority (MGA) or the UK Gambling Commission (UKGC).
How is the return to player rate calculated?
A straightforward approach considers the total amount won by players divided by the total amount of bets. The advertised RTP of a game results from thousands or hundreds of thousands of bets and wins over an extended period, therefore take it as merely indicative.