Why Return To Player (RTP) Is An Important Factor To Consider When Playing Online Pokies

Suvrat Singh
Why Return To Player (RTP) Is An Important Factor To Consider When Playing Online Pokies
Why Return To Player (RTP) Is An Important Factor To Consider When Playing Online Pokies

Online pokies, also known as slot games, are immensely popular among casino enthusiasts. Understanding the Return to Player (RTP) percentage is crucial for making informed decisions when choosing which games to play. RTP represents the average amount a player can expect to win back for every unit wagered over the long term. This blog will explain the concept of RTP, its importance, how it is calculated, and why players should pay attention to this metric.

What is RTP?

RTP stands for Return to Player. It is a theoretical percentage that indicates how much of the total money wagered on a slot game will be returned to players over time. For example, if a game has an RTP of 95%, it means that, on average, the game will return $95 for every $100 wagered. RTP values typically range from 75% to 98%. Higher percentages signify better odds for players. For instance, the game Mega Joker has an RTP of 99%, making it highly favorable for players, while Jackpot Giant has an RTP of 94%.

Importance of RTP

RTP is a critical factor when selecting online pokies. It provides a clear indication of the potential return on investment. Higher RTP games offer a greater probability of returns over extended play sessions. For example, playing NZ online pokies at Christchurch Casino, which often feature high RTP values, increases the chances of getting more value from your wagers. However, it is important to remember that RTP does not guarantee short-term wins. Slot outcomes are governed by randomness, ensuring that each spin is independent.

Examples of High RTP Slots

Several online slot providers are known for offering high RTP games. Here are a few examples:

NetEnt: Average RTP of 96.45%. Popular high RTP slot: Mega Joker (99%).

Play’n Go: Average RTP of 96.00%.

Betsoft: Average RTP of 95.49%.

Barcrest: Average RTP of 94.95%.

These high RTP games provide better long-term returns, making them attractive options for players seeking value for their wagers.

By understanding and considering RTP, players can make smarter choices and improve their overall gaming experience.

RTP Calculation

Theoretical Calculation

RTP is calculated using two primary methods: theoretical calculations and simulations. The theoretical calculation involves analyzing every possible combination of symbols on the slot game’s reels and their respective payouts. For example, if a slot game has 1,000 possible combinations and each combination’s payout is known, the RTP is determined by summing the payouts of all combinations and dividing by the total number of combinations.


Another method to calculate RTP is through simulation. This involves running a large number of spins (often millions) to observe the outcomes and calculate an average return. Testing labs like Gaming Laboratories International (GLI) use sophisticated programs to simulate these spins, ensuring that the theoretical RTP aligns with the actual game performance over an extended period.

Importance of Accurate RTP Calculations

Accurate RTP calculations are crucial for player trust and game fairness. Players need to know that the advertised RTP is a reliable figure. This transparency helps maintain the integrity of online casinos and ensures that players are treated fairly.

RTP Disclosure


In some jurisdictions, like Australia and the UK, casinos must disclose RTP information to players. This regulation aims to protect players by providing transparency about the expected returns of slot games. By knowing the RTP, players can make informed decisions about which games to play.

Player Awareness

Despite regulatory requirements, studies show that many players do not fully understand the concept of RTP. This is particularly true for non-native English speakers. To address this, casinos and game providers must educate players about RTP and its implications for their gaming experience. Clear communication about RTP helps players make better choices and manage their expectations.

Why Return To Player (RTP) Is An Important Factor To Consider When Playing Online Pokies

Factors Influencing RTP

Game Design and Mechanics

The core design and mechanics of a slot game significantly impact its RTP. Elements such as the number of reels, paylines, symbol payouts, and bonus features all contribute to the overall payout percentage. For instance, slots with simpler gameplay and fewer paylines often have higher RTPs. In contrast, games with complex features, like expanding reels and cascading wins, might have lower RTPs due to the higher potential payouts from these features.

Bonus Features

Bonus rounds, free spins, and special features can boost a game’s RTP. These features offer enhanced winning opportunities, thereby increasing the overall RTP. However, the frequency and potential payouts of these bonus features must be balanced to maintain fairness. For example, a slot game with frequent free spins may have a higher RTP than a game without them, as these spins increase the chances of winning.


Volatility, also known as variance, measures the risk associated with a slot game. High-volatility slots tend to have larger but less frequent payouts, while low-volatility slots offer smaller but more frequent wins. The volatility of a game directly influences its RTP. Low-volatility games often have higher RTPs because they provide more consistent payouts over time, whereas high-volatility games might have lower RTPs due to the larger, less frequent wins.

Software Providers

RTP values can vary among different software providers. Each provider designs games with unique features and payout structures, resulting in RTP differences. For example, NetEnt has an average RTP of 96.45%, Play’n Go offers 96.00%, Betsoft provides 95.49%, and Barcrest has 94.95%. Renowned providers often offer higher RTPs to attract players, while lesser-known providers may have lower RTPs.

Game Variants

Different variants within a game category can have distinct RTPs. For example, a slot game with more paylines or bonus features may have a different RTP compared to a basic slot game. Understanding these differences allows players to select games that align with their preferences and playing style.

Why Some Slots Have Higher RTPs

Game Design and Mechanics

Simpler slot games with fewer paylines and less complex bonus features often have higher RTPs. This is because there are fewer elements requiring payout adjustments. For example, classic fruit slots typically have higher RTPs due to their straightforward design and fewer features.


Slots with lower volatility generally offer higher RTPs. These games provide more frequent but smaller wins, allowing a higher percentage of wagers to be returned to players over time. In contrast, high-volatility slots, with their fewer but larger payouts, result in lower overall RTPs.

Software Providers

Different slot providers prioritize RTP to varying degrees. For instance, NetEnt, Relax Gaming, and Thunderkick are known for offering slots with very high RTPs, often exceeding 97%. These providers focus on delivering games that maximize player returns. Conversely, providers that emphasize innovative features and graphics may have lower average RTPs across their game portfolios.

Jackpots and Bonuses

Slots with large progressive jackpots or frequent bonus rounds tend to have lower base game RTPs. A portion of the RTP is allocated to funding the jackpot or bonus features, reducing the amount returned through regular payouts. Games without these elements can allocate more of the RTP to standard wins, resulting in higher RTPs.

Targeted Player Base

Some providers design high RTP slots to attract specific player segments. For example, classic fruit slots with high RTPs appeal to players seeking a nostalgic experience with better chances of long-term returns. More complex slots with lower RTPs cater to players prioritizing entertainment value over pure profit potential.

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