What does RTP Mean in Gambling?

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Published

17 Jun, 2022

RTP stand for Return To Player and is the denominator for a casino or bingo game’s payout frequency. The RTP value indicates how much of a bet will return to the player after the game circle has ended.

For example, if you stake £10.00 on a video slot with an RTP of 95%, you will lose 5%, which equates to £0.50 (£10.00/100(x)5=£0.50), of your bet on average.

How the RTP works in gambling 

  • Software developers test the RTP of their games by simulating a sample size of millions of bet circles to find the exact figure that returns to the player on average – which results in finding the theoretical RTP.
  • Online casinos test the RTP of their stocked games by measuring and dividing win and turnover figures – which results in finding the actual RTP

Online casinos need to send data reports of their games’ actual RTPs to Gambling Commissions who then work in alliance with various testing bodies to affirm that the figures do not deviate too much from the allowed thresholds.

That process ensures the operator does not temper the payout algorithm of the casino games they lend from software developers.

How the RTP is calculated

Online casinos calculate the RTP by dividing the win and turnover figures which they pull from historic play data. 

For example, if a casino game with a 95% RTP is live for two months and it collected wagers worth £10,000,000 while paying out 9,000.000, the actual RTP would be 90% – a 5% deviation from its theoretical RTP of 95%.

10,000,000/9,000,000=0.90

The games’ actual RTP will get closer to the theoretical RTP the more game circles are complete and must always be in the range considered within the realm of the possible. If the numbers differ too much, operators risk having their license suspended as it would indicate they fixed the games’ payout mechanic.

Game circles Deviation 
100,000 3.470%
300,000 2.003%
500,000 1.552%
800,000 1.227%
1,00,000 1.097%

In short, gambling commissions ensure that casino games do not rig their games by comparing the actual RTP to the theoretical RTP that the developer designed. 

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Author bio

I am Max and have a special interest in everything related to online gambling, but especially online poker. I have been working in the field for over ten years and love writing about my experiences.