RTP in Slots Explained: Full Guide

Intermediate
100% 9 min

If you want to find out what is RTP in slots, you are in the right place. In this guide, we will teach you everything you need to know about the Return-to-Player.

Here are the topics we’ll cover:

Without further ado, let’s dive right in!

What Does RTP Mean in Gambling?

rtp formula

Return to Player Percentage, or RTP refers to the payouts that players can expect from playing online slots. Basically, it is a simple term that represents the amount that a casino game gives back to the player over a longer period.

For example

Consider a slot machine with a 96% RTP. This game will theoretically give back $96 for every $100 that is wagered on it. This rate will provide you with information about how much you can expect to lose while wagering on a particular casino game.

Every casino game that offers the players a chance to play for real money features an RTP rate. You can check out our free slots games list to discover games with various RTP rates that you can try in demo mode.

Considering that every game is different, knowing the RTP meaning in slots is important. It can help you get a better idea of what to expect from that particular game in the long run.

Remember

The math is simple. The higher the RTP value is the better your chances are to win in the game. Most of the best payout slots you can find on Chipy have an RTP value that is higher or equal to 97%.

How Do You Calculate RTP?

Now that you know what RTP means in gambling, it is time for you to learn how the casino RTP rate is calculated. The RTP casino rate of a game is determined by dividing the win and total wagered amount generated by that game.

For example

If after a month of wagering on a casino game that has accumulated a turnover of $1,050,000 and 985,000 in wins, then the RTP will be 94.81%. The RTP rate is calculated as follows:

985,000 / 1,050,000 = 0.93809

You can learn more about how casinos calculate the  RTP from the official UKGC page on this topic. 

Things are very obvious for the players that are wagering on casino games like Blackjack, where they know that they’ll win when they place around half of the bets. 

However, the RTP rate for the online video slots can be very misleading as it doesn’t tell how often the players can expect to win. In the long run, the RTP will always be less than the amount you wagered. 

If you want to determine how often you should expect to win, you should learn more about volatility instead.

Is There a Correlation Between Winning Frequency and RTP?

The RTP rate and the winning frequency are two separate things. The winning frequency shows how often a winning combination will be formed on the reels, while the RTP rate shows how much of the player's wagered money will be returned over a certain period.

Winning frequency is a term that is often used in online video slots, which is another important feature that you must be aware of before choosing a slot with the highest RTP rate to wager at.

The winning frequency shows how often a winning combination will be formed on the reels, while the RTP rate shows how much of the player's wagered money will be returned over a certain period.

A hit frequency, or winning frequency, is a measurement of how often a player will hit a winning combination on the reels of an online video slot. It is a value that the game providers are representing as a percentage per 100 slot spins.

Example

An online video slot with an 8% hit frequency means that the probability for you to land on a winning combination is 8 times out of every 100 slot spins

Be aware

You can usually find the hit frequency in the slot’s paytable. However, this term is more of a blanket figure, rather than some accurate statistics. Most software providers don’t offer any information regarding your odds of winning on each payline or way.

Variance & RTP: Are They the Same Thing?

Many players tend to mix up the slot's variance and RTP terms. Although both terms are closely related, you must know that they aren't the same thing. We've already revealed what is RTP in slots, which leaves us with an objective to explain the meaning of variance in slots.

Definition

Variance determines how a slot game behaves in terms of winning prizes, frequency of payouts, and the risk level in the long run. It is an indicator of whether the video slot game is of high, medium, or low risk, with the potential rewards that go with it.

In lower variance slot games, winning combinations will land more often,  but the prizes will be significantly lower, over a longer period. The high variance slot games are programmed to provide the player with less frequent hits, but the winning combination will reward much bigger prizes.

Additionally, the higher variance slot games usually have a fluctuant RTP rate that is suited for the bonus features. This can provide the player with some very big prizes when a bonus feature is activated in a video slot game.

As you can read in this volatility guide, there is a correlation between variance, volatility and RTP, but mean different things. They are all very important for the players to be aware of when choosing a slot game.

Land-Based vs. Online Slots RTP

land based slots vs online slots

Although both land-based and online slot games are similar in many ways, it is important to note that online video slots have a higher RTP rate than the highest RTP casino slot machines. 

Even the same slot machine game can differ from casino to casino. The slot provider usually offers the casino the option to choose the RTP range (e.g.: 90.2% - 94.5%). The casino operator will usually choose the rate based on their cost of business and the player’s needs. 

Be aware

The volatility and hit frequency of the slot will also differ based on the RTP rate set by the casino operator.

If you are wondering which slot machines pay the best, you should know that online slot games will pay even better. On top of that, online casinos are transparent about their RTP and they clearly display it in the game menu. 

On the other hand, you must understand that land-based casinos tend to hide that information.

How Do Online Casinos Apply RTP to Games?

The RTP rate is important for online casinos, as that is the best way for them to make a profit in the long run. For them, it is a profit margin, but very different compared to the bookmaker's odds percentage.

Please note

Casino games are being supplied by the software providers with included RTP rates, but online casinos can also change that rate as they please. Usually, the majority of online casinos tend not to change the RTP rate of the games, as that can lower their popularity.

But those online casinos that do change the RTP rate of the casino games, tend to do that in a way that brings them a solid profit, while still being worth it for the players. 

So, small changes in the RTP rate of the games by the online casinos tend not to cause major disadvantages for you.

4 Truths and Myths About Slots RTP

myths vs facts about slots rtp

You might have come across a few myths about slots RTPs that seem too good to be true. Below, we will debunk the top five myths about slots RTP:

Myths Truths
Online video slots are not as fair as land-based slot machines. Both types of slot games are using a random number generator (RNG) and an RTP rate to determine the payouts. Thus, they are equally fair.
All slot games are paying out the same amount to the players. No. Each slot pays according to its RTP rate, which is set by the operator and the provider.
Casinos tend to hide the slot games with the highest RTP rate from the players. Although this is partially true for land-based casinos, online casinos are fully transparent with the players about the RTP rate. Hiding it would have no benefit for them.
The RTP rate of a slot game is totally irrelevant for a single gambling session. As the outcome of the slot games is totally random and anything can happen whilst spinning the reels, the RTP rate is important in most cases. An online video slot with an RTP rate of 96% will be better to wager at than, for instance, a video slot game with an RTP rate of 86%.

Bonus: Top 5 Highest RTP Casino Slot Machines

To help you with your pursuit of the best slot game, below we will list the highest RTP slots 2022.

1. Mega Joker (NetEnt) – up to 99% RTP

Mega Joker is a retro-styled video slot game from NetEnt that features three reels and five paylines. It is played with all the classic fruit symbols that feature on the slot machines.

2. Jackpot 6000 (NetEnt) – up to 98.86% RTP

Jackpot 6000 is another fruit-themed video slot game from NetEnt that is being played on 3 reels with 5 paylines. The players that are wagering on this slot game have a chance to win a maximum of 6,000 coins.

3. The Catfather (Pragmatic Play) – up to 98.10% RTP

The Cathfather is a super exciting video slot game from Pragmatic Play that has 5 reels and 9 paylines. It features a cat theme where the highest paying symbol is giving out a prize of up to 1,000 coins.

4. ChessMate (Multislot) – up to 98.72% RTP

ChessMate is a video slot from Multislot, a relatively unknown provided, which features 5 reels and 15 paylines. This video slot is very colorful and it also features some amazing animations.

5. 1429 Uncharted Seas (Thunderkick) – up to 98.50% RTP

1429 Uncharted Seas is an amazing video slot game from Thunderkick that is being played on 5 reels with 25 paylines. The players that are wagering on this video slot have a chance to win up to 670x the bet.

Final Thoughts

The RTP rate is amongst the most important criteria in a slot game, as it reveals the amount that you can expect to get back on the longer gambling session. 

Every player should check the RTP rate of a slot game before they choose to wager on it with real money.

Pro Tip

Choosing a slot game with a higher RTP rate will give you much bigger returns than a slot game with a lower RTP rate.

Now that you've learned everything there is to know about the RTP rate in slot games, you can check out our slot guides, tutorials and tips collection.

Have fun!

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Vlad Stanescu
Vlad Stanescu Gambling Specialist and SEO Content Editor
Vlad joined us in early 2022 and from then on, his main goal is to share all his knowledge about slots so our community can have the best gambling experience.
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