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RTP in Slots

Every casino game has an RTP (Return to Player) or, more accurately, a theoretical RTP within a designated range. The RTP is a theoretical value representing the percentage of all the wagered money a slot game will pay back to players over the long term. But, it’s important to emphasize that this is not a promise of a specific return on each gaming session. In this RTP slots guide, we will tackle every aspect of RTP in slots. So, sit back, relax, and enjoy!

Let’s consider a scenario where an online slot game has an advertised RTP of 94%. This suggests that the game will theoretically pay back 94% of every £100 wagered in the long run.

So, if we were to play this game indefinitely, we might expect an average return of £94 for every £100 wagered, implying an expected loss of £6. However, this doesn’t mean that every player will experience these results every time they play; the outcome for each gaming session can significantly deviate from this average due to the game’s inherent randomness.

Are RTPs Theoretical Numbers or Real Returns?

To answer this, let’s use another simple example: What’s the expected RTP on a standard two-sided coin flip? Assuming the coin lands on heads or tails every time (disregarding the tiny chance of the coin landing on its edge), the RTP can be equated to the probability of getting either heads or tails result. This implies that the expected RTP is 50% for every single coin flip, mirroring the probability of getting either heads or tails results.

While the theoretical probability of getting heads or tails is 50%, does this always materialize in reality? Unfortunately, the answer is a resounding no. This is because, over the short term, the outcomes can exhibit considerable volatility. For example, while the expected RTP is 50%, you may witness a string of consecutive heads (or tails). This is due to the inherent randomness, often personified as Lady Luck, which can create scenarios that may seem to defy the theoretical RTP in the short term. With RTPs in slots, the percentages are part of the game construct. It’s not up to Lady Luck.

Is the RTP in Slots the Same as the Probability of Winning?

RTP (Return to Player) and probability are related concepts, but they are different. The RTP measures the percentage of total wagered money that a slot machine or casino game will theoretically pay back to players over an extended period, while probability refers to the likelihood of a specific event or outcome occurring.

In the case of the coin flip example, the RTP is equivalent to the probability because the event (heads or tails) has only two equally likely outcomes, and there’s no house edge. Each flip is an independent event with a 50% chance of landing on heads and a 50% chance of landing on tails. Therefore, a player can theoretically expect to ‘break even’ over a large number of flips, which is why we say the RTP is 50%.

However, the situation is more complex in weird casino games like slots. These games have many possible outcomes, and the probabilities of these outcomes are not equally likely. The games are designed to give a certain edge to the house, which is reflected in an RTP of less than 100%.

For instance, if a slot game has an RTP of 94%, this means that, on average, for every £100 wagered on the game, £94 will be returned to players in the form of winnings, and £6 will be kept by the house. Of course, this is a theoretical figure based on an infinite number of spins, and it does not mean that every player will get back 94% of their wagers on every session.

So, while RTP and probability are statistical concepts used to describe the expected outcomes of games of chance, they refer to different aspects and are not the same.

Who Programs the RTP in Slots to be Fixed or Range-Bound?

How are slot machines programmed is pertinent to this topic because the game developers actually program the RTP (Return to Player) of a slot machine. These developers include companies like iSoftBet, Merkur, Pragmatic Play, NetEnt, Microgaming, Playtech, and dozens of others. These software providers design and develop the games, including their features, themes, graphics, sound effects, and, most importantly, the underlying algorithms that determine the games’ outcomes and RTPs.

These algorithms play a pivotal role in determining the outcomes in all online slot games and are integral to implementing the RTP.

At the heart of every online slot machine is a piece of software known as a Random Number Generator (RNG). The RNG constantly produces random numbers, even when the slot machine is not being used. Each of these numbers corresponds to a particular outcome on the reels. When you press the spin button, the slot machine takes the next number from the RNG to determine the result.

In other words, the moment you press the spin button, the outcome of that spin is already determined. It’s worth noting that each spin is an independent event, meaning the result of one spin doesn’t influence the result of the next.

Now, let’s connect this to the RTP. When the game developers program the slot machine, they set the probabilities of each outcome. These probabilities are set such that the game will return the programmed RTP to the player over an infinite number of spins. This doesn’t mean that every player will experience this exact return. Some players will win big, and others will lose, but the game will return the specified RTP in the aggregate and over the long term.

The RNG and the game’s algorithm don’t track your wins or losses, and they don’t adjust the game’s outcomes based on past performance. The game doesn’t know whether you’ve been winning or losing, how much you’ve been betting, or when you last hit a bonus round. Each spin is completely random and independent.

Which Regulatory Agencies Test RTP in Slots Games?

It’s also important to note that independent testing agencies rigorously test and certify the RNG software to ensure fairness. These agencies verify that the RNG works as it should, that the game outcomes are truly random, and that the game delivers the advertised RTP over the long term. This means that players can trust that the game is fair and that the developer’s RTP is accurate.


Why slots don’t typically have really high RTPs is fundamentally down to economics. Casinos and game developers are businesses, and they need to make a profit to continue operations. So, if a slot had an RTP of 100% or more, it would mean that players would break even or make a profit over the long term, leaving no margin for the casino.

The difference between 100% and the actual RTP is effectively the house edge. This edge is what gives the casino its profit over the long term. While it’s possible to have short-term variance (where players can and do win, sometimes even large jackpots), the RTP ensures that, on average and over a large number of spins, the casino will keep a small percentage of all wagers.

It’s also worth pointing out that regulatory bodies often require a minimum RTP for games to ensure fairness. This minimum varies by jurisdiction but is often around 80-85%. As such, while game developers and casinos are making a profit, they also have to adhere to standards that ensure players are treated fairly and have a reasonable chance of winning.

Why Don’t We See 100% RTPs in Slots Games?

The RTP (Return to Player) is a theoretical long-term measure. However, in practice, it’s extremely rare to find slot games with an RTP over 100%. The reason for this is fundamentally tied to the business model of casinos and game developers.

In principle, an RTP over 100% would mean that players would win more money over an infinite number of spins than they wagered, making a profit on average. Unfortunately, this would be unsustainable for casinos and game developers, as they would be losing money over the long term.

For a casino, the house edge (100% – RTP) is effectively their operating margin. It’s how they cover their costs and make a profit. If they were to operate games with an RTP over 100%, they would be losing money on every spin, on average, over the long term. So, this would not be a sustainable business model.

But there’s an interesting analogy to point out here. We know that RTPs are theoretical and hardly ever generate those returns to players over the short term. So, what if an online casino created a game and advertised its RTP as 100%? The answer is sobering and quite unexpected. Advertising a game with a 100% RTP to attract players, even though it’s practically impossible for players to achieve that return, could be misleading.

In many jurisdictions, regulatory bodies (MGA, UKGC, Government of Gibraltar, etcetera) have strict rules against misleading advertising in the gambling industry. Advertisements must be honest and not mislead consumers, and penalties for violations can be severe.

Plus, knowledgeable online casino players understand that RTP is a theoretical measure that applies over infinite spins and that their results in any given session will likely differ from the advertised RTP. As such, advertising a 100% RTP might not be as enticing to experienced players as it sounds.

Finally, it’s worth mentioning that some video poker games, when played with perfect strategy, can have an RTP of slightly over 100%. However, these games are the exception rather than the rule, and perfect play is required to achieve these returns. These games are not as common and are more challenging to play, which is likely why they are not the norm.

If I Win a Lot of Money Playing Slots Online, Does This Affect the RTP?

The RTP (Return to Player) concept in slot games can sometimes be misunderstood. However, it is indeed a crucial factor to comprehend for anyone playing online slots games.

Recall that the RTP does not guarantee individual session performance, nor does it have any bearing on the immediate results a player might see. So, if you win a significant amount playing an online slot, it doesn’t alter the RTP of that game.

Understandably, a player might think otherwise. But remember, RTP in slots games focus on an infinite number of spins (outcomes). That’s an impossible number to conceptualize, so any wins (which are fixed in nature) cannot possibly impact a long-term infinite RTP.

And remember that the RTP is predetermined by the game developer and programmed into the game’s software. It is fundamentally a theoretical calculation designed to indicate the expected return over the long haul. The RTP doesn’t change based on who wins or loses or how much they win or lose. The game doesn’t track your wins and losses, and each spin of the reels is independent of the previous one.

For instance, let’s assume a slot game has an RTP of 95%. This means that, theoretically, over an inconceivable number of spins, for every £100 wagered, £95 will be returned to players, and £5 will be kept by the casino, also known as the house edge since the overwhelming number of people are short-term players (a session here or there at the casino). Folks rarely experience the true RTP in slots. That’s why you can easily burn through your entire bankroll in seconds or walk away with a huge jackpot.

Speaking of which, let’s say you win a large slots jackpot. This doesn’t affect the game’s RTP because the RTP isn’t calculated on a per-player basis or even on a per-session basis. Rather, your big win is part of the overall statistical distribution of outcomes the game’s algorithm will generate over its lifetime.

In fact, your big win could, for a short period, make the actual RTP exceed the theoretical RTP for the set of players playing the game around the same time as you. However, as more spins are played, the actual RTP will converge to the theoretical RTP.

How is RTP in Slots Related to Statistical Distribution, Variance and Volatility?

In the world of statistics and gambling, distribution refers to how outcomes are spread out over a range of possible results. In the context of slot games, this concept is closely related to variance and volatility, which are key to understanding how slots work in conjunction with the RTP.

The RTP (Return to Player) is a long-term measure that tells us what percentage of total wagers the game will pay back to players over an infinite number of spins. However, this doesn’t tell us how those returns are distributed — that’s where variance comes in.

Variance, or volatility as it’s often called in the context of slot games, refers to the level of risk associated with a game. It gives players an idea of how the game payouts are distributed, i.e., are they distributed more evenly over time (low variance), or are there more significant swings with bigger wins but less frequent payouts (high variance)?

Low variance slots tend to offer more frequent but smaller wins. This means the distribution of results is more tightly clustered around the mean, resulting in a more consistent playing experience. In other words, low-variance games stick closer to the RTP more of the time, but the potential for huge wins is typically lower.

On the other hand, high-variance slots offer less frequent but larger wins. The distribution of results in these games is more spread out, meaning you could go long periods without any significant wins, but when you do win, it can be a substantial amount. As a result, high-variance games can deviate significantly from the RTP in the short term, but over an infinite number of spins, they will still converge to the same RTP.

Understanding that neither variance is ‘better’ than the other is crucial. It comes down to personal preference. Some players prefer the thrill of chasing big wins and are willing to endure longer losing streaks, while others prefer a steadier, albeit smaller, stream of wins.

This understanding of distribution, variance, and RTP is essential for players to decide which games to play based on their risk tolerance and entertainment preferences. Don’t forget: RTPs are identical if you play slots on your mobile, PC or tablet.

How to Find the RTP in Slots?

Knowing the RTP (Return to Player) of a slot game can be an essential part of a player’s strategy, as it can give them a sense of how much they can expect to get back over the long term. While finding the RTP of online slots is often straightforward, it can be more challenging for land-based machines. Here are five methods to estimate or determine the RTP:

  • Check the Game Information: For online slots, the RTP is often listed in the game rules, about section, or paytable data. This is the most direct and accurate way to determine the RTP of a game. Players can access this information by opening the game and navigating to the game rules or paytable section.
  • Software Provider’s Website: Some software providers list the RTP of their games on their websites. This is especially common for larger, well-known providers such as NetEnt, Microgaming, Pragmatic Play or Playtech. If you know the slot provider you’re interested in, visiting their website can be a great way to find the RTP.
  • Game Reviews: Accurate and reliable game reviews can be another source of RTP data. Many online casino review websites provide detailed reviews of slot games, including their RTPs. However, players should ensure the reviews are from a reliable and reputable source, as not all information on the internet is accurate.
  • Regulatory Bodies: In some jurisdictions, regulatory bodies require casinos to disclose the RTP of their games. This information may be available on the regulator’s website or upon request. For example, in the UK, the Gambling Commission has regulations that require transparency regarding the RTP of games.
  • Testing and Certification Bodies: Independent testing agencies such as eCOGRA, TST, iTech Labs, and GLI test and certify the fairness and accuracy of the RNGs (Random Number Generators) used in online slots, and their reports often include the RTP of the games they test.

As for volatility, while it doesn’t directly indicate the RTP, it can provide additional information about the game’s payout pattern. For example, high volatility slots tend to have bigger but less frequent payouts, which might indicate a higher RTP but with a greater degree of risk. Conversely, low volatility slots have more frequent but smaller payouts, suggesting a lower RTP but with less risk.

Players can try the game in demo mode or real money mode to discern volatility. If the game provides frequent wins but with smaller amounts, it can be inferred as low volatility. Conversely, if the game provides less frequent wins but with larger amounts, it can be inferred as high volatility. However, it’s important to note that this is a rough estimate, and the actual RTP might not correlate directly with the observed volatility.

High RTP Slots vs Low RTP Slots

Your decision to play high RTP (Return to Player) or low RTP slots depends on individual goals and risk tolerance.

High RTP slots are often appealing as they theoretically provide a higher return over the long term. They can benefit players looking to maximize their playtime and minimize their losses, as they’re expected to return a higher percentage of the wagered money over a large number of spins.

Low RTP slots, on the other hand, typically have a higher house edge but also often come with the potential for bigger wins. This makes them attractive to players who are willing to take on more risk for the chance at larger payouts.

As for which types of slots typically have higher RTPs, it’s challenging to generalize as the RTP is determined on a game-by-game basis. But we do know that classic slots tend to have higher RTPs compared to progressive jackpot slots. This is because a small portion of each bet on a progressive slot is diverted to the jackpot pool, reducing the amount returned to players on non-jackpot wins.

Video slots can have a wide range of RTPs. Some offer RTPs comparable to classic slots, while others have lower RTPs but offer bonus features and gameplay elements that can lead to large wins, making them more volatile. Click for more information on how to play progressive slots games.

TIP: If a slot game has plenty of in-game features such as free spins rounds, bonus rounds, multipliers, gamble features, video overlay bonuses, the RTPs tend to be significantly lower.

Regarding demo mode, RTPs should not change whether you’re playing in demo mode or real money mode. Game developers use the same software and algorithms for both modes, so the gameplay experience should be the same. The purpose of demo mode is to give players a true reflection of what the game will be like when playing for real money.

However, it’s important to stress again that RTP in slots is a long-term measure that applies over infinite spins. Short-term play in demo mode may not accurately reflect the RTP, as individual sessions can vary significantly due to the inherent randomness of slot games. You’re actually seeing patterns of volatility in slots, not RTP in slots.

By deduction, demo mode can give you a feel for the volatility of a game, but it won’t give you a precise measure of its RTP.

Slots with Higher RTPs

  • Ugga Bugga (99.07%)
  • Mega Joker (99%)
  • Book of 99 (99%)
  • Ooh Aah Dracula (99%)
  • Monopoly Big Event (99%)
  • Jackpot 6000 (98.86%)
  • 1429 Uncharted Seas (98.6%)
  • The Catfather (98.1%)
  • Blood Suckers (98%)
  • Starmania (97.87%)
  • White Rabbit (97.72%)
  • Medusa Megaways (97.63%)
  • Guns N’ Roses (96.98%)
  • Blood Suckers 2 (96.94%)
  • Jimi Hendrix (96.9%)
  • Butterfly Staxx (96.8%)
  • Dead or Alive (96.82%)
  • Fruit Shop (96.7%)

Every online slot has a theoretical RTP rate, representing the average return to players. Of course, the outcomes are always random, resulting in wins for some players and losses for others. However, playing high RTP games theoretically enhances your likelihood of winning over time.


Slots with Lower RTPs

Low RTP slots in the online casino arena also feature prominently as some of the best online casino games. These slot games tend to have a Return to Player percentage lower than 95%. While it’s possible to list scores of games with low RTPs, we prefer the best low RTP slots games – those that players love and enjoy the most. These include the following selections:

  • Fire Joker 96.15%
  • Court of Hearts – 96.27%
  • Mammoth Power – 96.2%
  • Undying Romance – 95.01%
  • X-Men 50 Lines – 92%
  • Temple of Fortune Slot – 92%-94.90%
  • Mega Moolah – 88%
  • Lucky 5 Reeler Slot – 87.80% – 94.70%

The best RTP depends on what slot game suits your personality and risk tolerance. Whether you prefer more consistent wins with smaller payouts or the thrill of chasing big jackpots will guide your choice. As always, the golden rule of gambling applies: only wager what you can afford to lose, and consider it a cost of entertainment rather than a way to make money.

Best Strategies for High RTP Slots

  • Set a Budget: Before playing, determine how much money you will risk. Stick to this budget and avoid the temptation to chase losses.
  • Understand the Game: Familiarize yourself with the game rules, bonus features, and paytable. Knowing how the game works can improve your gaming experience and decision-making process.
  • Manage Your Bankroll: Consider your total bankroll and adjust your bet size accordingly. Smaller bets can extend your gameplay and potentially increase your chances of hitting a big win.
  • Utilize Casino Bonuses: Many online casinos offer bonuses that can extend your gameplay. However, ensure you understand the wagering requirements associated with these bonuses.

Remember, while a high RTP can theoretically improve your chances of winning over the long term, it does not guarantee a win. So always play responsibly at Wink Slots and view gambling as entertainment, not a way to make money.


What does RTP mean in slots?

RTP stands for Return to Player and is a percentage that indicates the theoretical return that players can expect from a slot game over an extended period. For example, a slot with an RTP of 96% suggests that, on average, players can expect to receive $96 back for every $100 wagered.

Does a higher RTP mean I’m guaranteed to win more?

Not necessarily. RTP is a theoretical measure that applies over an infinite number of spins. It does not predict the outcome of any individual spin or gaming session. You can still lose money on a high RTP slot and, conversely, win on a low RTP slot. RTP indicates how much wagered money is returned to players over time.

Can I find the RTP for a slot game I’m playing?

Yes, in most cases. The RTP is often listed in the game rules or paytable information for online slots. Some software providers also publish this information on their websites. However, this information may not be readily available for some land-based slot machines.

Do casinos alter the RTP of slot games?

No, the RTP of a slot game is determined by the game’s software developer and cannot be changed by individual casinos. However, some games offer different RTPs depending on the specific rules or play mode.

Should I only play high RTP slots?

Not always. While high RTP slots theoretically provide a higher return over the long term, they may not offer the excitement or potential for big wins that some players seek. The perfect casino games depend on your personal preferences and risk tolerance. It’s always a good idea to balance the RTP with other factors like the game’s volatility, bonus features, and your enjoyment of the game.