Modern-day slots go through many processes before we can play them online. From functionality to entertainment, aesthetics, and the mathematics that neatly wraps it all together, game providers have to get every aspect right before you can spin the reels. Return-to-player (RTP) is one aspect of an online slot that separates the great slot titles from shambolic ones only meant to suck your bankroll dry.
Put simply, RTP is the metric that indicates the amount in winnings a player is likely to get from a slot. You want to play slots with high RTP because these give you a higher chance of winning. The majority of online slots have RTP set at between 95% and 96%. The best paying online games have slot RTP at 99.6% even though they are a rare find that eludes even the best players. With an RTP of 95%, the slot machine will return 0.95 of every dollar it collects in wagers. Thus players get back 0.95 for every dollar wagered. To give a more realistic view of this, a player that wagers $100 on a slot should expect $95 back. As such, you wouldn't have lost much when the metric levels things out. However, RTPs average out over a long period of time, so a short session of wagering does not necessarily guarantee wins in tandem with the RTP. The period it takes a slot to average out varies from slot to slot raising the question about slot RTP accuracy.
Setting slot RTP is where the mind-numbing mathematics we talked about earlier comes in. Slot providers don't just pick a percentage to set as the RTP. The process of setting slot RTP takes into consideration all combinations possible in a game for all the symbols used. They also take into account the jackpots and other bonus features attached to the game to determine how to distribute wins. RTP is then established after some number crunching with all these aspects included.
Next, developers add the random number generator (RNG) that dictates how the reels spin and what symbols you draw. Not the casino, nor the player has control over how a slot machine pays. Only the developers have the formula that chucks out the wins.
Following that game providers attain slot RTP from a mathematical formula, indicates that the metric is impartial and pays out as set by the game provider. Theoretically, a game with a higher slot RTP should give you back more of what you bet. Even so, this is not always how things pan out. That's because, as aforementioned, slot RTP balances out in the long run. As such, you may play a game with high slot RTP with little to no luck, even though the leaderboard keeps posting players who've won playing the same slot. This is the beauty of online slots. There's no telling what you might win once the RNG comes into play. You could have a short session that wins you much more than you put in or a long session that simply drains your bankroll.
While there are claims of rigged slots with sham slot RTPs, this is a rarity rather than the order of the day. Different jurisdictions regulate online casinos with the laws in place for online gambling. Regulators work to audit the casino and ensure that they remain fair in all the games they offer. You would only find a slot with rigged RTP if you played at a pirate casino with no regulation.
We have already mentioned that you might have to play for a long time before seeing your wins replicate the set slot RTP. What we didn't say is how slot RTP affects your winnings when you play online slots.
The mathematical formulas behind online slots affect payments in two ways. You have high variance low hit frequency slots that pay large sums with more extended periods between wins. The second type of payout scheme is low variance high hit frequency slots where players are more likely to win when they play, but the payouts are low.
Every player knows that slots are a game of chance, and there is no guarantee that you will get the big win. Nevertheless, you are better off going for games with slot RTP at 97% or higher. Even though the RNG might randomize things for a bit more suspense, you are more likely to win playing high-paying slots with high RTPs. Besides more wins, high RTP also indicates higher amounts per win for every time you spin the reels.
Regulatory authorities are continuously implementing stricter measures for casinos to keep them in line. That means that RTP remains unprejudiced as long as you are playing at a legitimate casino. The effect of RTP is unquestionable if you're playing slots with free spins online. However, with a wide range of titles and game providers in the market, you have room for experimentation when your luck runs out for one slot.