What is a ‘Payback’?
In simple terms the “payback” is what a player could expect to see back from their cash investment in placing bets. Usually averaged out over thousands of games, the expected payout is usually expressed as a percentage – known as the “return to player” (or “RTP”) figure. All slot machines and fixed odds betting terminals in the UK, for example, must display this average clearly to players in order to comply with gambling regulations, as set by the UK Gambling Commission.
Gamblers should look for games which have the highest payout percentages to maximise their winnings. Return to player (RTP) and estimated payout or payback figures should also be taken with a pinch of salt. They are averaged out over thousands of plays and should not be used to predict the outcome of games in the short term (the payout percentage could be much lower or higher immediately). The theory is that the longer the player continues to play the game, the closer they will get to the given RTP or estimated payback figure. For instance, a slot machine may have a 95% payback percentage, meaning that for every $100 played, $95 would go back to the player and $5 would be kept as profit by the “house” (the casino, bookmaker or gambling platform). If a player on their first game bet $10 and won $20, the RTP percentage for that individual game would be 200%. However, it’s likely that over hundreds of plays, the player would start to see results closer to 95% RTP, losing on average 5% of the money they bet.
Payback percentages normally range from 85% and 95%, usually sticking to the rule that the higher the RTP percentage, the higher the denominations of money in play. The RTP figure is highly regulated in the UK. Casinos, bookmakers and gambling businesses must account for the figure they display for auditing. Because of this, they don’t change very often once assigned to a specific machine.