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Expected Return

What is ‘Expected Return’?

The expected return of a bet is the amount a player can expect to make in profit. Sometimes referred to as the expected value, the expected return rate is the calculated probability of an outcome over one or multiple wagers, against the amount staked and the payout rate of that bet. It is essentially the amount paid out minus the amount staked, when the expected wins and losses of each bet or turn are accounted for.

‘Expected Return’ Explained

In casinos, players will often refer to the ‘expected return’ of a single bet or of a betting system. This is the amount the player can expect to make back from the bets. Players work out the chance of the outcome they pick occurring, and also the chance of a loss on their bet. This is weighed against the possible payout and the amount paid to place the bet, leaving the player with an indication of what their bet could earn.

Some games will publish their expected return rates for the players’ information. Many casinos which offer slot games will display the payout rate for each game, which is the chance of a player receiving a payout minus the stake retained by the casino. A common slot payout rate is around 97%: the house or the game operator makes profit on the 3%.

This expected payout ratio is one of the metrics used to work out the overall expected return rate. It is not an exact science, because there is the variable of random chance, but it does give the player a very good idea of the average return on any wager. However, the expected return can help players determine if a betting system will be profitable, and it is very useful when calculating accumulator and spread bets.