RTP is a statistic in slot games that describes the percentage of all wagered bets you can expect to win in the long run – but it’s a bit more nuanced than that! Read on to find out how it all works, and to get the lowdown on the highest RTP slots you can play!
What does RTP mean in slots?
RTP is an acronym that often comes up when talking about the best real money slots(at sites like Microgaming casinos, Play’n GO websites, EGT casinos), but what is it and how does it affect your gameplay?
RTP stands for Return to Player, and is basically a percentage of how much of the money wagered on a video slot players can expect to make back.
Let’s take one of the best Thunderkick slots as an example. In 1429 Uncharted Seas the RTP is of 98.5%. This means that for every €/£/$1 players wager, the game will return 98.5c/p.
But wait! Things aren’t that simple. If slots were so predictable, they’d be no fun!
RTP is calculated over the course of hundreds of thousands – sometimes even a million or more – spins. That means that while the game will return that much back to players over the long run, each player’s experience can be very different spin-to-spin!
Certain slots have two RTPs. In a game like Ooh Aah Dracula by Barcrest, the base RTP is 96%, but it goes up to 99% during the bonus features. Meanwhile, in King of Cats Megaways™, which is an amazing Big Time Gaming slot, the RTP is 96.72% during the Lion Mode and 96.70% during the Puma Mode.
Why Should You Care About Slots RTP?
Sometimes it may seem that slots RTP doesn’t make much of a difference. After all, with the above in mind, a slot that has an RTP of 97% and another with an RTP of 99% can potentially return the same amount when you spin it only a few times.
But that’s not how it should be looked at.
Instead, we should think of RTP as the odds of winning the game. So, the highest RTP casino slot machines do actually give you a better chance of winning – or, at the very least, of recuperating a larger chunk of what you wager.
And this is especially true if you play the same video slot often. Over time, the game’s return will even out and edge closer and closer to its stater RTP.
The same game by the same game developer can sometimes have a different RTP at different casinos. This is because these developers offer casinos the option of choosing between a range of RTPs. Nevertheless, an RTP of 97% or 99% will not really make a huge difference to players in the short-run, so that shouldn’t worry you too much.
RTP & Volatility
Whether you’re going to play one of the highest RTP slots or one of the lowest, the title will come with other values you should know about… The most important of which is the volatility.
Volatility refers to how often a slot will issue payouts in the short-run, and its value can be high, medium, low, or anything in between!
- High volatility means that payouts are infrequent but larger in size.
- Low volatility means frequent, but smaller payouts.
Sometimes, volatility is also confused with variance. But variance, while it refers to pretty much the same thing, is about the long-run.
Together, volatility and RTP give you a clearer idea of what you can expect in terms of payouts.
So, as an example, the highest RTP slots, which also have high volatility, will still return payouts at infrequent intervals, but the size of those payouts should, in theory, be larger as there is a larger amount that needs to be redistributed.
Should I choose a high or low volatility slot?
Choosing a game with high or low volatility depends on your budget! If your bankroll is large enough to afford losing multiple times in a row, then one of the best RTP slots with high volatility may make sense, as payouts when they happen tend to be larger. If your bankroll is more modest, however, one of the highest RTP slots with low volatility slot can make getting some money back faster. Either way, there is no guarantee of a win or a loss.
Slot RTP Explained – An Example
RTP is not always a straight-forward affair – especially now that we’ve discovered that RTP isn’t always the same for every individual spin. But the reason for that is quite simple.
Imagine your weekly drive to the supermarket. As you drive to the supermarket, there may be times you hit the 50km/h mark, and other times when you’re stuck in barely-moving traffic. At the end of your journey, you’ll have an average speed, which reflects both the slow and fast driving spells throughout your journey.
RTP is the same. In fact, it’s measured over a million – or even a billion – spins. So while the RTP has to be accurate and certified, it does not mean that you will always get that percentage of your wagers back on any given spin, or number of spins.
Let’s take Relax Gaming’s Book of 99 to illustrate this point. This is one of the slots with the highest RTPs in the world, set at 99%. Now, in theory players should get 99c/p per €/£/$1 wagered. But someone may wager €/£/$100 in one session and get 30% of that back, while someone else may be lucky and hit the 5,000x-their-stake max jackpot with a €/£/$10 bet.
When playing both low and best RTP slots, you may experience winning or losing streaks. This may give you the feeling that there is something wrong with the slot, or that the casino has rigged the slot. This is practically never the case, especially if you opt for a legal and licensed casinos. Instead, this is just the RTP doing its work.
How is RTP calculated?
Calculating RTP is an easy affair in theory. At the risk of making you feel like you’re back in a physics class, the formula for RTP is as follows:
(how much is won by players) / (how much is gambled by players)
So, in one of the best RTP slots like NetEnt’s Blood Suckers, players get 98c/p for every €/£/$1 wagered, leading to an RTP of 98%.
As we’ve said before, however, the RTP is an average over many spins, and is not indicative of what you’ll receive per single spin. In fact, if you had to calculate your own RTP, you’d probably find that some spins result in a much smaller percentage, while others in a much higher one.
Slots RTP of titles by reputable developers is certified by independent testing laboratories like eCOGRA, GLI, and iTech Labs. Moreover, casinos cannot change a game’s RTP at will. In fact, developers go to great lengths to ensure that a game is fair and according to the law.
House Edge & RTP
Percentages are, by their very nature, out of 100%, which means that even a best RTP slots title like Mega Joker by NetEnt, which has an RTP of 99%, leaves 1% out.
That 1% is what is called the house edge, which results in 1c/p profit for the casino for every €/£/$1 wagered on average.
Traditionally, slot machines at land-based casinos have an RTP of between 70% and 90%, making their house edge one of the highest for any casino games. Comparing this to the 1.06% house edge on a Banker bet in Baccarat, or a 5.26% house edge on a Double Zero in online roulette, slot machines have a high house edge.
Having said that, online video slots RTP and house edges are different: with the average RTP being 95%, the average house edge is down to 5%. This, however, is still higher than for most other online casino games.
This is why we always recommend playing video slots with the highest RTP – so of at least 96%, but preferably over 98%. These best RTP slots reduce the house edge drastically, giving you a better chance of winning.
Some slots may list the RTP value as ‘theoretical’. This, understandably, can seem confusing to players, leading you to wonder whether the RTP advertised is even real at all.
What developers mean by ‘theoretical RTP’ is exactly what we’ve mentioned above, however, which is that not all players will receive the same percentage back.
This is especially true in the highest RTP slots with high volatility, where long streaks of losing can be more commonplace.
The Malta Gaming Authority & Low RTP
It might be interesting to note that one of the more popular casino licenses now allows for slots to have an RTP as low as 85%.
The Malta Gaming Authority (MGA) argues that this will bring online slots closer to their land-based counterparts in terms of RTP. As we’ve seen, land-based slot machines often have a lower RTP. This is because physical space is at a premium, and therefore the game needs to provide more profit compared to online slots.
All of this makes those online casinos offering the best RTP slots even more special.
Pros & Cons of Playing Best RTP Slots
Like everything else in life, playing the highest RTP casino slot machines comes with advantages and disadvantages. Here they are at a glance.
- Highest RTP slots give you better odds at winning.
- The Best RTP slots can have great themes, top graphics, and fantastic soundtracks.
- Such slots by good makers have a certified RTP.
- Many casinos carry one or more of the top RTP slots (98%+)
- Highest RTP slots tend to have fewer bonus features.
- The high RTP may be made up of the base RTP + an extra percentage for bonus features.
- The RTP doesn’t reflect what you can get per spin, but rather over thousands of spins.
Finding the RTP of a game is actually rather easy. Here’s a step-by-step guide on how to do it.
How to Find Slot RTP
- Find a slot you like the sound of. This could be because of its theme or its features.
- Check out the game’s review on a site like ours, were we have plenty of the best casino slot reviews. These sort of articles always include RTP and volatility, as well as detailed explanations of how the game works, betting range, bonus features, and lots more. Alternatively, you can also Google ‘
RTP’ – though check more than one source to make sure it’s correct.
- If you’re happy with the RTP, visit some of the top casino sites to find one that stocks it, sign up and play the game!
BONUS: The 3 Best Payout Online Slots
We’re not done just yet! Instead, here is a bonus section focused on the three best payout online slots, which have massive max payouts. These jackpots don’t fall often and you shouldn’t chase them, but they’re well worth knowing about!
Tombstone RIP by Nolimit City
Video slots don’t come any darker than Nolimit City’s Tombstone RIP, a western-themed game with bandits running amok and a hanged woman for a Wild symbol. In fact, this game is not for the fainthearted as even some of the bonus features can work against you: in the xRIP feature, for example, if your winning combination is worth less than your bet, no payout is made.
But don’t let this fool you. Tombstone RIP also has some favourable features including three different Wild symbols and two kinds of free spins. In one of the free spins the RTP, which is 96.47% in the base game, goes up to 97.03%.
With very, very high volatility and one of the weirdest grids we’ve ever seen (2-3-3-3-1), this game has one of the best max wins out there: up to a staggering 300,000x your bet!
Starburst XXXtreme by NetEnt
Few games have reached the iconic status of Starburst™, a NetEnt slot that first burst onto the scene in 2012. Even today, you’ll find plenty of top casinos with NetEnt games that offer free spins on this game, with some of the best ones listed in our Starburst slot review. But back to Starburst™ XXXtreme…
This title is the latest reincarnation in the series, and it’s an extreme version of the original. In fact, on top of having a five-by-three grid and nine fixed paylines, the game has a Random Wild with a multiplier that goes up to 150x the winning combination’s value, respins, and an XXXtreme spins feature which you can buy into it.
This game’s RTP is just 96.01% and it’s got high volatility, which is not terrible, but what makes it well worth playing is the max win… of up to 200,000x your stake! How’s that for a best payout slot?
Peking Luck by Pragmatic Play
At first glance, Peking Luck may not seem like a special slot at all. It’s five-by-three grid and 25 paylines are as standard as they come; while it’s graphics are slowly starting to show their age – the game was first released in 2018 so it’s by no means a new Pragmatic Play slot…
But this game, which has an RTP of 96.5% and super high volatility, still has something to offer punters… It’s free spins feature!
When you land three Scatter symbols, the game gives you an option between a myriad of beautiful fans and fearsome dragons. Picking the right two could result in 38 free spins an 18x multiplier, which has a max win of 180,000x your stake!
Final Thoughts on Slots With Highest RTP
Like all casino games, video slots are based on luck… But the highest RTP slots give you the best chance of getting lucky – if not to win, at least to get back some of what you’ve wagered. Even so, you should always play a game that excites your senses and you should never wager more than you can afford to lose.
Our Top Table above lists the best four casinos for the five highest RTP slots available to players in your area. Some of these casinos are also among our top low deposit casinos, so you don’t have to break the bank to play these high RTP slots!
This depends on which of the best online casino bonuses you get your hands on. Normally, casinos tell you which games are eligible for free spins bonuses, but bonus money can usually be used on any slot, even the highest RTP slots.
The best RTP slots are those with a score 98% or higher. Anything between 95% and 97.99% is considered average, while anything under 95% is considered low. It’s also good to know that most low stake slots have an average RTP, which is not bad at all!
NetEnt and Playtech would be our top picks for the best RTP slots. NetEnt is the maker behind Mega Joker (99%) and Blood Suckers (98%), while Playtech have created Goblins Cave (99.32%) and Ugga Bugga (99.07%). The latter two aren’t included in our Top Table List because they’re very hard to come by these days!
To our knowledge, Playtech’s Goblin’s Cave is the game with the highest RTP. At 99.32% it’s the absolute best RTP slot. In fact, it’s hard to beat it, but it may explain why many casinos don’t carry this game.
RTP tells you how much of the players’ stake the game will return; while volatility is how often the game awards payouts in the short-run. They’re not directly related, but they do work hand-in-hand when it comes to the best RTP slots.
RTP is normally measured by certified third-parties that look at how much of all the players’ wagers (collectively) are returned to players (collectively) within hundreds of thousands of spins.
High RTP is always a good thing, but you shouldn’t play the highest RTP slots just because of that. Instead, find a game you like and play it because it’s fun to!
If you like the look and feel a video slot, then you should not let its low RTP stop you. Playing slots is meant to be fun, so it makes no sense to play one of the best RTP slots just because of its RTP.
There is no catch, really. The only downside to these games is that they tend to come with fewer bonus features. This is because bonus features tend to pay out more than the base game and that, coupled with the high RTP, would not make financial sense for the casino.
Some game developers offer casinos their games with a variety of RTPs. And so you may play a game somewhere with an RTP of 98% and somewhere else for 96%. Having said that, casinos cannot change the RTP of a game at will, and there are strict laws against it.