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Does RTP Matter In Online Slots Play?


Written By

The King

Published On

26th November 2020

If you are new to playing slots online you might have seen the phrase RTP on various online game reviews or in the paytable of a slot you’ve played. For the uninitiated, RTP stands for Return To Player, and means the theoretical return a player can expect if the slot is played over a set length of time. SG Digital’s Rainbow Riches Cluster Magic slot has a theoretical return to player (RTP) of 96.34%, for example. This means that if you were to play this slot for 1,000 spins of £1 you could expect to see a return of £963.40. However, the RTP of every slot is calculated over a vast number of spins, usually millions, meaning there is no guarantee that you would return that much from that outlay. It could be more, it might be less. So is RTP even a factor when choosing which slot to play?

Why Do Slots List Their RTP?

blankThe whole idea behind RTP actually came about as a UK Gambling Commission directive to make online slots play more transparent for gamers and to ensure software developers were meeting technical standards. Online slot and casino game makers have to ensure that games are technically monitored, so RTPs are a part of that process to meet those criteria. These criteria are monitored constantly, which is a huge operation. Every online slots provider feeds data back to software developers. Slots houses like Casino Kings have thousands of players every single day logging in to play online slots and casino games. This data is periodically reported back to the software developers to make sure that games are falling in the right area of RTP. The more players that play each new slot release, the more data there is to include in the report and the more accurate the RTP. This ensures that there are no problems with the games and that players are receiving a fair return as advertised in each game’s RTP.

Do Slots Fans Pay Attention To RTP?

The RTP is listed in most slots reviews, and certainly in every slot review we post here at Casino Kings. It is useful information to know, but when it comes to online slots play, does a low RTP put slots fans off? If so, it is unlikely anyone would play progressive jackpot games, because their RTPs tend to be much lower. Fruit Bonanza from Play ‘N Go, for example, has an RTP of 93%, so on the face of it wouldn’t rank as highly as a slot that had a 97% RTP. However, Fruit Bonanza features four different jackpots, which can be triggered on any spin. As with many progressive jackpots the jackpot depends on the number of players spinning the reels on that slot at any one time, and on any given day. Each spin from every player across the network of games contributes to the jackpot amount, so you could bag any of the four jackpots from any spin. In some progressive jackpot slots – particularly older ones – you have to play max coins/bet in order to be able to trigger the jackpot. Some newer jackpot slots such as Eyecon’s Heartburst Jackpot can award any of its three jackpots on any spin.

"In truth, most slots come in around 95-96.5%, with very little to choose between them."

Which Slots Have The Highest RTP?

As a general rule, older slots tend to have higher RTPs than newer slots. Thunderkick’s simple-to-play 1492: Uncharted Seas weighs in with an impressive 98.5% RTP, while NetEnt’s vampire classic Blood Suckers comes in at 98% RTP and Microgaming’s Beautiful Bones boasts 97%. In truth, most slots come in around 95-96.5%, with very little to choose between them. With so much standardisation, is it fair to conclude that RTP’s don’t in fact matter? What matters more is which slots you enjoy playing, and what makes you enjoy them. When Black Pudding Games launched its revolutionary Aeterna slot it did so with a flourish as an innovative slot-come-instant game that plays superbly on mobile, factors that are far more important to slot fans than the RTP it has. Aeterna, in fact, has an RTP of 96.19%, putting it right in the middle of the average RTP bracket. Its uptake as one of the most played slot releases at Casino Kings is down to its innovative gameplay and bonus features.

Rainbow Riches Cluster Magic

Slots Don’t Need To Have A High RTP In Order To Land Wins

If online slots required a high RTP in order to award big wins, the above example of low RTP progressive jackpot slots would be irrelevant. Those jackpot slots can award the biggest payouts of all. In fact, RTP can be misleading. Because the RTP is tested and recorded over a huge number of spins, you could spin 1,000 spins as in the above example and return less than the £963.40 suggested by the RTP. But you could also return more, and that’s where the excitement of online slots play comes in. Reel King Megaways has an RTP of 95%, but a max jackpot of £250,000. Thanks to the Random Number Generators (RNGs) used in online slots to make every single spin independent of the last, you could place a single £1 bet and land that jackpot on your very first spin, which would throw the theoretical RTP out of the window!

How To Choose A New Slot Game

So if we can conclude that the RTP doesn’t matter, which slot should you fire up? This is always down to personal preference. You might like to play innovative games as soon as they are released like the Aeterna slot, which plays particularly well in portrait mode on mobile. Or you might prefer classic slots like Rainbow Riches, which hold the same appeal over time. Or you might follow particular developers. NetEnt and Blueprint Gaming forged a reputation for releasing online slots brimming with bonus features to keep the gameplay fresh. Ultimately, which slot you pick is up to you. The idea behind RTPs is to make it clear that there are no guaranteed wins when it comes to playing online slots. It is, after all, gambling.


The King

"The King" is a collective pseudonym representing the work of various former contributors to our site, who have since moved on but left behind a legacy of well-crafted online casino reviews. Our dedicated team of current writers has thoroughly fact-checked and verified the content to maintain its accuracy and relevance. While we gradually replace these reviews, we acknowledge and appreciate the valuable insights shared by "The King" and strive to uphold their high standards for our readers.

Reviewer since November, 2014