What many people don’t understand is that every casino game has a different payout percentage. This doesn’t just vary from game to game, but it also varies from casino to casino. The payout percentage is also known as the RTP, or Return to Player. So, what are they and how exactly do they work?
Estimated reading time: 4 minutes.
What is a payout percentage?
A payout percentage is essentially the amount that a casino will pay back to the player on average of every spin. So if a video slot has an RTP of 96% it means that for every R100 that you wager, you will get R96 back. This gives the gives the house an edge of 4%. They will make R4 from every R100 that you place as a wager. Of course, this doesn’t mean that you can’t win when playing, it just means that some people might walk away losing all of their stake, some people will just lose some of it and some people will make a profit. Your aim when visiting a casino is to ensure that you’re one of the people walking away with a profit.
Is it different at land based casinos and online casinos?
Put simply, yes it is. For example, video slots at brick and mortar casinos tend to have an RTP of around 70-75%. In an online casino they tend to have an RTP of around 95-96%. This means that players who play at online casinos have a much better chance of getting their money back when playing video slots.
The main reason that the RTP at land based casinos is so much lower is because they have much higher running costs. So a video slot will be using electricity in between games and will use even more while it’s being played. This means that a land based casino has to have a higher house edge in place in order to cover these extra costs. An online casino cuts down on these costs in a large number of ways, this is why it is able to cut down on the house edge by so much. Even the live dealer casino games cost significantly less than in a land based casino.
Who sets the payout percentages?
This all depends. There are no laws that say a casino has to have a certain payout percentage in place. The casino can choose the RTP themselves in general. This doesn’t tend to be the case with video slots where the software developer will choose the RTP for the game. Of course, if the RTP is too high then the casino might choose not to offer it, so it is in the best interest of the developer to not make video slots with super high RTPs.
When it comes to online video slots the actual RTP can vary from time to time. This is due to the number of people who are playing them and how many big payouts they have made recently. Obviously, a large payout will impact on the overall RTP which will have a slight impact on how it reacts in the short term. In the long term though the RTP should remain at a consistent level.
Can you check the payout percentages?
The answer to this is both yes and no. You could carry out a test on a particular video slot and then try to work out the RTP over a period of time. However, this would take a lot of time and resources to carry out. So it’s not really possible for you to check the payout percentages yourself. There is a solution to this problem though.
Companies like TST carry out independent test on the RTP of casino games. This means that if the casino you are playing at has the TST logo in place then you will be able to simply click on this logo and then you will be taken to the certificate that shows the true RTP of the game. This allows customers to see if the game truly returns what it advertises.
Who are TST?
TST are also known as Gaming Laboratories International. They are an independent company who specialise in the testing of casino games. Because they are independent, it means that they are not influenced by the companies that they test and you can trust the results of their tests. It’s a US based firm and since 2010 has been regarded as the industry authority on testing casino games.
Because TST testing is not a mandatory requirement it means that any casino that does submit to TST testing offers a great deal of transparency. If you find a casino that does this it means that they have nothing to hide and you have a better chance of being able to trust them. It also means that you will be able to find out which games offer the best return which should improve your playing in the long run.