RTP at Casinos and Its Meaning for Gambling

RTP at Casinos and Its Meaning for Gambling

In 1994, Microgaming opened the first online gambling site; after this, more and more online casinos started to appear. For years, authorities didn’t know how to regulate online gambling. As a result, many players visited fraudulent sites, played scripted software, and lost money. Nowadays, there are a lot of licensed casinos that are regulated by gambling commissions and offer original titles from official providers. This software works on a random number generator; the providers set the return percentage to show how profitable it is to place bets in a specific slot machine. In this article, we’ll talk in detail about the RTP casino meaning in gambling in the USA.

How Gambling Works & Game Mathematics

Casinos are a business; their owners don’t work at a loss. Gambling titles are programmed to keep online casinos in the black. They receive profit in the long run because the house edge is implemented in the rules. The return means that the casino is guaranteed to earn a certain percentage of all customers’ investments.

The fact that the gambling site always wins honestly makes it impossible to deceive customers. Thanks to the RNG, no one can influence the results of the game, so you have a chance to win no matter how often or how much you bet.


The RNG is responsible for the results of the game. This algorithm determines the probability of receiving winning combinations in slot machines, blackjack, poker, and baccarat; it also decides the winning numbers in roulette. To ensure random results, the program selects a specific value with hundreds of decimal places. Then, it produces the final result. Subsequent outcomes don’t depend on the previous ones, so your winning chances remain the same even with a long series of losses.

There are two types of RNG: hardware and pseudo-random. The latter is used mainly in online casinos and is checked by independent auditors; if it’s not available, the casino risks losing its license.

The random number generator is implemented by the provider, and the code is securely encrypted so that casino representatives cannot access it and change the algorithms in their favor. Before the release, the slot machine has to receive a certificate by passing a test for the RNG operation. Audits are carried out by independent laboratories such as iTech Labs.

Meaning of Return to Player at Casino

There is a good definition if you have a question “What does RTP mean in gambling?”; this is a slot return percentage that shows how much money from the total amount of invested funds it returns to players. It’s applied not to a specific user for one gaming session, but in the long run for all customers placing real money bets in a specific slot machine.

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For example, if the RTP of a slot machine is 95%, then the slot returns $950 out of the $1,000 to all users that place bets there. The remaining 5% of this amount is the casino’s guaranteed income. You won’t receive 95 cents from each dollar wagered; the invested funds are distributed among all players. Due to the RNG work, winnings happen randomly and chaotically, without any patterns. Therefore, dozens of players can lose all the money, and one can hit the jackpot by spending just a few dollars.

The RTP is an average value that works in the long run. To be more specific, the return on slots declared by the provider should be feasible after about 300 million spins; these are the requirements of the laboratories for one of the well-known Swedish providers.

There are a few facts about RTP that will help you understand how this option works:

  • It shows the average payback of the game over a long period of time.
  • RNG reflects the percentage of guaranteed casino income.
  • It applies not to the bets of one player, but to the bets of all users.
  • The optimal RTP is at least 95%.

You can evaluate your winning chances not only by checking the slot machine RTP. There are several other important criteria.

What Is Hit Frequency

Having dealt with the online casino RTP explained, you should also learn what volatility is. It shows how often winning combinations appear on the reels of the slot machine. The frequency of wins directly affects the average payout. For convenience, it’s divided into three levels.

VolatilityPayout Frequency
LowRegular but little prize money
HighWinning combinations are rare, but the prize money is large
MediumEqual probability of big and small wins

The frequency of prize combinations is not directly related to the RTP. However, the larger the return, the lower the payout ratios. However, this is not observed in all slot machines.


Often this term is considered synonymous with volatility, but this is a mistake. This indicator came from the theory of probability and shows how much the actual RTP of the slot machine differs from the declared one. The higher the dispersion, the higher the increase of returns. Respectively, the level of payments is higher than the theoretical one.

House Edge Explained

Another term that should be explained for USA players is the house edge. This criterion is available in casino table games. House edge and the RTP have the opposite meanings. If the RTP means the average amount returned to players, then the house edge is the average amount paid to the casino. In European roulette, the house edge is 2.7%; respectively, the return percentage is 97.3%.

The house edge varies depending on the game type and the betting option. For example, the winning probability in the European roulette is only 2.7% if you bet on a specific number. If you bet on equal chances, for example, on even numbers, it increases to 48.46%.

Even in this case, the probability doesn’t reach 50%, because there are 37 sectors in the roulette, one of which is zero. This sector provides the house edge. In American roulette, the advantage of the gambling site is almost doubled due to a double zero sector.

Below, we consider the advantage of the casino in the most popular table and card games. It varies depending on the game type and what you are betting on.

Game TypeHouse Edge
Slot machines1.0-15%

RTP on Slot Machines

Providers adjust the RTP for slots depending on the number of reels, paylines, bonuses, and other additional features that affect the gambling experience. They program returns so that you get back a percentage of the total amount of money you invested, in accordance with the theoretical indicator.

Playing field of the Bugga Ugga slot machine
The RTP of this slot machine varies from 98.74 to 99.07%

Guide for RTP on online casino slot machine offers you slots from leading providers that have the highest return:

The optimal RTP for a slot machine is 95% or more. If the return is lower, this is most likely a high-volatility slot where you’ll have to wait a long time for a win; however, the win itself can be huge.

Other Games With RTP

The return percentage is used not only in slot machines, but also in table and card games. All of them are assigned a certain RTP:

  • Blackjack — 99.45%.
  • French and European roulette versions — 98.65% and 97.3% respectively.
  • American roulette — 94.74%.
  • Baccarat — 98.4-85.64%.
  • Craps — 98.6-95%.

There is even a roulette with three zero sectors; therefore, the return percentage is even smaller. However, casinos may lure you to play this version due to reduced limits on the minimum bet.

How to Find RTP at Top Casino Sites

In older developments, providers rarely indicated the return percentage. However, there are no problems with looking for the RTP in modern slots. You need to open the paytable or the game rules by pressing the “i”, “Help”, or “Rules” button on the playing field.

Game rules with RTP indication
You can find the return percentage directly in the game

If there is no information, you can find out the return on the developer’s official website. RTP is also available on reputable thematic resources. Experts collect data on returns by testing slot machines.

Using RTP for Casino Bonuses From Online Gaming

Before activating bonuses, we recommend you read the terms and conditions and check in which games of chance you can wager them. This is especially true for free spins, because often you can use them only in certain slots. Activate only bonuses that are available for wagering in slot machines with high RTP. This way, you have more chances to successfully fulfill the wagering requirements and increase your bankroll multiple times.

Difference Between RTP in Land-Based Venues & Online Gambling Sites

Online casinos and brick-and-mortar gambling venues use different slot machines; however, the definition of the RTP is the same. Experienced players note that online casino slots have higher RTP, while this criterion is rarely higher than 92% in land-based casinos. This is explained by the fact that it’s physically impossible to place thousands of slot machines in the gambling halls. The maintenance of land-based casinos requires large investments, so the gambling venues should receive more profit.


No. If it's the same game, the RTP is the same too.

No. The program code is encrypted, and the results are determined randomly.

Independent laboratories (iTech Labs, eCOGRA, Technical Systems Testing, etc.) test slot machines.

They consider gambling commission requirements, country legislation, mechanics, free spins, jackpots, and other bonuses.

No. It’s impossible to change this criterion after the slot release.

Publication Author
Donald Peterson
Author of articles
Donald Peterson is an avid gambler from Edmonton, Alberta, who also writes about his experience with casinos. He’s been in the business for over 10 years, following the ever-changing industry landscape. His articles are aimed at helping beginners with choosing casinos, suitable games, and strategies.
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