What is ‘Return to Player (RTP)’?
Return to player (otherwise known as ‘RTP’) is a term used by casinos and online betting platforms to describe the percentage of any wagered money that will be paid back to players over time from slot machine games. Calculated as an average based on at least 1,000 plays, it’s an indicator of the long term performance a player could expect to see from playing that particular game – but of course this doesn’t account for what could happen in the short term.
‘Return to Player (RTP)’ Explained
For example, if the RTP on a slot machine is 90%, it means that, for every £100 played in £1 bets, a player could, theoretically, expect to get around £90 back. Of course, the actual amounts vary hugely, with weighting added in favour of the ‘house’ (bookmakers, betting shop, casino or online platform). It’s essentially the reverse of ‘house advantage’, so an RTP of 90% would indicate that the bookmaker or casino will keep an average of 10% of all money played over time.
Under UK law maintained by the Gambling Commission, all gaming machines (including fruit machines, slot machines or FOBTs) must clearly display the return to player (RTP) proportion as a percentage or the odds of winning a payout. The payouts and prizes on offer depend on the category of gaming machine. The regulations emphasise that this is a useful figure for understanding long term performance based on a significant number of plays, rather than an indication of short term probability. For instance, if a slot machine shows an RTP of 85%, a player should not expect to get back 85p for every £1 they spend on bets. There is also no standard minimum percentage payout set by the regulations.
The regulations also state that gaming machines must display whether they are ‘compensated’ or ‘random’ alongside the percentage RTP figure.