The majority of us know that casino games are set up in the casino’s favour, and if you didn’t, you do now. There is what is known as a House Edge applied to every casino game and every bet within that casino, whether that be slots, table games, live casino, or anything else.
The house edge differs from one bet to another, however, so some games/bets are easier to win than others. For example, in European Roulette the house edge for betting on red or black is 5.26%, but the edge for bettering on the first five numbers (cumulative) is 7.89%.
Slots have the same house edge as other games, but it’s represented slightly differently in the form of RTP, which stands for Return To Player. This number is presented as a percentage.
The RTP is actually quite important as it lets the user know the edge for each game. As a player, you should always be looking at games with the lowest house edge (so the highest percentage when it comes to slots).
How Does it Work?
Each slot is obligated to show the RTP percentage somewhere. This is usually set between 90% and 98% for online slots, but there are a few that cross these lines on either side. Think of the percentage as a representation of how much of your capital you are likely to get back if you play for a long period of time.
So, for a slot pays a 97% RTP, it’s essentially saying that it will take £3 for every £100 staked (£100 – £3 = 97%). The higher the percentage the less house edge that casino takes from your game.
The maths to work out how the RTP is represented is extensive and highly complicated. It includes factors like the number of average bets, average rewards, and the payouts that are on offer in each game.
How Does it Affect Each Game?
You need to be aware that the RTP is calculated over millions, if not billions of spins. It’s not going to be represented over the course of 10 or even 100 spins. So, if you bet £1 then you aren’t going to get 97p back every time as there would be no chance of winning.
The thrill of the slot then comes down to variance; how often the slot pays out. It allows you to win big with small sums invested per spin, but will level out eventually with smaller wins or losing bets. The variance could see you win big 5 times in 5 spins, but then it might not fire again for another 5,000 spins. The hope is that your session catches a good wave and that you cash out before that wave crashes.
If truth be told, most players won’t actually see any correlation to the RTP rates during their play session as they won’t play enough hands. The variance will play a big part for lower numbers of spins so any wins or losses from your time on these games will be down to this rather than the RTP rate.
Should you Search for a High RTP?
Even though we’ve said that you won’t really see a direct correlation, we still think that you’re going to be better off targeting high percentage RTP slots. It’s one of those things that can’t do any harm but might do a lot of good, and if you play a huge number of slots then it’s going to be more savvy for you to do this than it would a casual player who spends a few minutes on the odd game each week.
Players who do play a high volume of games are going to feel the effects of the RTP much more than recreational players.
How Does Volatility Work?
The volatility of a game is arguably more important to understand than the RTP because your bank roll needs to be strong enough to cope with it. Volatility is essentially broken down into three categories: high, medium and low.
This rating will highlight how volatile a game is. By this we mean the disproportion between the frequency it pays out and the amount that it pays out.
For example, a low volatility game will pay out often, but these wins will be for smaller amounts. A high volatility game won’t pay out as often, but when it does the amount will be much higher. So a small bank roll could be quickly wiped out by a high volatility game.
This has a big effect on how the game works, and you will be able to feel it from playing a much smaller range of bets than you would need to play to feel the true effects of the RTP. We are talking tens or hundreds of spins rather than millions it would take to see the true effects of an RTP.
Do the Rates Differ for Jackpot & Progressive Games?
Generally, yes. You will find that games with large jackpots or progressive jackpots, in particular, have low RTP percentages attached. The main reason is that these games don’t need to entice punters to play in the same way as the large jackpots on offer are the main attraction, so the developers can create a bigger angle.
Also, the creation of the jackpot in the first place must be viable for the casino, so they need a bigger edge to cover themselves when the jackpot lands. From a player’s point of view, the trade off for potentially winning these jackpots is a slightly worse RTP rate.
For example, Microgaming’s Mega Moolah slot has an RTP of just 88%, which is about as low as you’re going to find, but it is also one of the most popular and biggest paying jackpots on the market.
What’s a Good RTP Percentage?
The first thing that we want you to note is that RTP isn’t everything when it comes to getting value from your slot. You need to factor in things like volatility and features etc. The trade off with Mega Moolah is that you’re often playing for a jackpot of several million pounds, which is a trade-off that most are happy to make.
Having said that, finding the best RTP rates where possible can never hurt. Here’s a look at what is good and what is not so good.
|90.00% or less||Terrible|
|91% – 92.99%||Very poor|
|93.00% – 93.99%||Poor|
|94% – 94.99%||Average|
|95% – 96.99%||Good|
|97% – 97.99%||Very good|
How do you Check the RTP Rate?
All slots need to clearly state the RTP for their game by law. There are often a number of ways to find this, but the easiest is by hitting up the info section that is attached to each slot.
The above image is taken from the Bonanza slot, by BigTime Gaming. Once you’ve scrolled through the info section you come to the General Information page, where as you can see, the RTP for this slot is listed at 96%. If you find that the info is not available, then there may be another tab somewhere with the game rules, or if all else fails a quick Google usually gets you the number that you’re looking for. As a last attempt you could contact that games developer.
Highest RTP Slots
Below we have listed a number of the highest paying online slots in the industry right now. This list is subject to change as new games are released literally every week.
- Mega Joker (NetEnt) – 99.00%
Coming in at the top of the pile is Mega Joker with a bonkers RTP of 99%. The slot has been able to make a name for itself over the past few years as the highest rated RTP game online and it’s still hanging tough.
The game is about as old-school as they come and includes just 5 paylines in total. It almost has the feel of an old fruit machine you’d find in the pub. It has just two bet amounts as well and whilst not exactly advanced in terms of features, it remains a decent enough slot, especially with an RTP like that.
- Cosmic Quest 2 Mystery Planets (Rival) – 98.95%
Rival Gaming table their classic game for a second time in the form of Cosmic Quest 2. This is a follow up to the original, and even though the second edition has seen an update it’s still quite a dated slot to look at.
The RTP is insane to be honest, and although its age is showing it isn’t quite in the same category as the old fruit machines – it still counts as a newer generation slot.
The game comes with 20 active paylines and if you are into your astrology then you’re likely going to enjoy this one.
- Chess Mate (MultiSlot) – 98.70%
This is the first slot in our list from one of the smaller game developers in the industry, and even though MultiSlot are still growing, they’ve a decent number of games behind them already. Again, it’s another simple theme, based around chess obviously, but it’s still good fun to play.
The game includes just a free spins round and wild symbols, but even though it is lacking in terms of features, it comes in with another sky-high RTP. It’s worth noting that even though Chess Mate is the only slot representing MultiSlot in our list, this particular developer has released a lot of high RTP titles.
In fact, the percentage of their games that fall into the very good category in the table above makes them on of the best in the business for consistently high RTP percentages.
- 1429 Uncharted Seas (Thunderkick) – 98.6%
Thunderkick are one of our favourite developers and they’ve been able to bring 1429 Uncharted Seas to the table of insane RTP slot games.
As you can imagine, the game is based under the sea and the plethora of bonus rounds and even free spins make it a firm favourite on our list.
What’s great about this one is that it would still find a place on our ‘top games’ list even if the RTP wasn’t so high. So you are getting a fantastic RTP and a solidly entertaining and playable game all in one. If you’re into your aquatics or just fancy a change from the norm, this slot needs to be tested out.
- Ragnarok (Genesis Gaming) – 98%
Ragnarok is the brain child of Genesis Gaming, but it has to be noted that the company are actually owned by industry powerhouse, Microgaming.
Ragnarok is based around the mythology of the Gods such as Thor, Freyr, and Odin. It’s a beast of a game with 25 paylines in total and a stonking RTP of 98%.
What’s been great to see from this game is that it’s actually been tweaked quite a bit over the years and the RTP has been a benefactor of that.
- Blood Suckers (NetEnt) – 98%
Blood Suckers is probably the biggest and best-known game on the list so far, and its 98% RTP has made it a huge success for slots masters, NetEnt.
The game comes with a romantic vampire theme (think Twilight) and a 25 payline offering that works really nicely alongside.
The game’s speed and the graphics are two of the standout features, but we also loved the gameplay with features such as wilds, scatters, and free spins creating a great overall package.
- Future Fortunes (Rival) – 98%
Another inclusion from Rival (we could include more but don’t want to flood the list with their games) and this one is actually their flagship game, Future Fortunes.
It’s simple but it’s effective, and we like things like the magic 8 ball, the all-seeing eye, and Tarot cards, which add to the occasion.
The game is easy to play, easy on the eye, and carries a good number of features. Coupled with a 98% RTP you can’t really lose.
- Reel Crime: Art Heist (Rival) – 97.97%
One more from Rival is the culturally comical Reel Crime: Art Heist.
The game is a stunning example of their iSlots functionality and comes with a number of different slots and mini games as you work your way through.
It’s probably about as close to a computer game as you get with slots; there is a game map to progress through which hooks you into the storyline, which sets this game apart from its rivals – no pun intended.
- Kitty Cash (1×2 Gaming) – 97.90%
The first inclusion to the list from 1×2 Gaming is that of Kitty Cash.
It’s a pretty basic slot to be honest with nothing but the most basic of features, and the graphics could be better too.
It works because of its high RTP rate which is also the only reason we mention it here, but in all honesty it is probably the weakest inclusion on this list.
It does go to show, however, that the RTP isn’t the be all and end all of a slot game.
- Kings of Chicago (NetEnt) – 97.80%
There’s little doubt that Netent are one of the best game developers in the industry, and they have been for some time. They have a huge catalogue of games and one of their highest rated RTP’s comes with the game Kings of Chicago.
This game is another that is quite basic and whilst we enjoyed playing it, it certainly isn’t one of their flagship titles. The inclusion of sticky wilds and scatters were a nice addition though and added some depth to what is otherwise a pretty simplistic game, albeit one with an enticing RTP.