Slots are by far the most common and popular game at online casinos today. The average online casino typically has a few hundred of them for players to enjoy and there are always new slots being developed and released by game providers. If you’ve played slots online before - or any sort of online casino game for that matter - you may have come across the term RTP, which stands for ‘return to player’ or ‘return to player percentage’.
This simply refers to the average percentage of wagered money that will be paid back to a player over time. For example, if a slot has a return to player percentage of 95% and you place several wagers on that slot totalling £100, statistically speaking you should expect to receive £95 of your money back, with the remaining £5 going to the casino. It’s important to stress that RTP is a long-term calculation - over the short term, i.e. across a few games being played, you may well receive much less or much more money. The point of RTP is that if you keep playing again and again, over time your wins and losses will average out and of the total amount of money you’ve wagered on that slot, the percentage that has come back to you should be close to the return to player percentage.
You may have come across a similar term called ‘house edge’ or ‘house advantage’. This is simple the opposite of return to player and refers to how much money the house, i.e. the casino, can expect to receive over time. It’s essentially the opposite of RTP, so if a slot has a return to player percentage of 95%, its house edge will be 5%.
When choosing what slots to play, RTP is an important factor. Top RTP slots should be always the preffered choice. The higher the RTP, the more money the player can expect to receive over time on average. Many players therefore stick to the slots that have the highest RTP percentages so that over time they should lose less of their money than if they played at slots with lower RTPs.
A lot of online casinos have the RTP of their games displayed for players to see. You can typically find the RTP on each game’s information/rules page. Alternatively, you can look at sites such as BestRTP.com for a comprehensive list of slots and their RTP percentages. Sometimes, if a slot has a particularly high RTP, this will be displayed prominently in publicity materials promoting the slot or the casino(s) where you can find it.
Let’s have a look at what the best RTP slots are and what providers these games come from.
|Game||Provider||Free Spins||Bonus Game||Jackpot||RTP|
|Ooh Aah Dracula||WMS||Yes||No||No||99.00%|
|Hercules Son of Zeus||Pragmatic Play||Yes||No||No||99.00%|
|1429 Uncharted Seas||Thunderkick||Yes||No||No||98.60%|
|Dr Jekyll Goes Wild||Barcrest||Yes||No||No||98.28%|
|Legend of the Pharaohs||Barcrest||Yes||Yes||No||98.10%|
|Monopoly Bring The House Down||Barcrest||Yes||Yes||No||98.00%|
|Kings of Chicago||NetEnt||Yes||No||No||97.80%|
|Wild Play SuperBet||NextGen||Yes||No||No||97.46%|
|B?rk The Berzerker||Thunderkick||Yes||No||No||97.30%|
|Big Bad Wolf||Quickspin||Yes||No||No||97.30%|
|Birds On A Wire||Thunderkick||Yes||No||No||97.20%|
|Machine Gun Unicorn||Genesis||Yes||No||No||97.20%|
|Jack Hammer 2||NetEnt||Yes||No||No||97.10%|
|Rage to Riches||Play ‘N Go||Yes||Yes||No||97.10%|
|Sin City Nights||Betsoft||Yes||No||No||97.00%|
|Barber Shop Uncut||Thunderkick||Yes||No||No||97.00%|
|Dragon Born||Big Time Gaming||Yes||No||No||97.00%|
|Magic of Oz||GamesOS||Yes||No||No||97.00%|
|The Twisted Circus||Microgaming||No||No||No||97.00%|
|Hot as Hades||Microgaming||Yes||No||No||97.00%|
|Leagues of Fortune||Microgaming||Yes||No||No||97.00%|
|The Dark Knight||Microgaming||Yes||No||Yes||97.00%|
|The Dark Knight Rises||Microgaming||Yes||No||No||97.00%|
|The Finer Reels of Life||Microgaming||Yes||No||No||97.00%|
|Titans of the Sun ' Theia||Microgaming||Yes||No||No||97.00%|
|Untamed Bengal Tiger||Microgaming||Yes||No||No||97.00%|
|Untamed Giant Panda||Microgaming||Yes||No||No||97.00%|
|Untamed Wolf Pack||Microgaming||Yes||No||No||97.00%|
|Girls with Guns II- Frozen Dawn||Microgaming||Yes||No||No||97.00%|
|Girls with Guns- Jungle Heat||Microgaming||Yes||No||No||97.00%|
|Titans of the Sun ' Hyperion||Microgaming||Yes||No||No||97.00%|
|Untamed Crowned Eagle||Microgaming||Yes||No||No||97.00%|
|Rabbit in the Hat||Microgaming||Yes||No||No||97.00%|
|The Dark Knight Rises||Microgaming||Yes||No||No||97.00%|
|King of Slots||NetEnt||Yes||No||No||97.00%|
|Guns N' Roses||NetEnt||Yes||Yes||No||97.00%|
|Secret Santa||Play ‘N Go||Yes||No||No||97.00%|
|Ned and his Friends||Betsoft||Yes||No||No||96.90%|
|Queen of Riches||Big Time Gaming||No||No||No||96.90%|
|Pearls of India||Play ‘N Go||Yes||Yes||No||96.90%|
|The Wild Chase||Quickspin||Yes||No||No||96.80%|
|The Wild Chase||Microgaming||Yes||No||No||96.80%|
|Dead or Alive||NetEnt||Yes||No||No||96.80%|
|Football: Champions Cup||NetEnt||Yes||Yes||No||96.80%|
|Robin Hood: Shifting Riches||NetEnt||Yes||No||No||96.80%|
|South Park: Reel Chaos||NetEnt||No||Yes||No||96.80%|
|Aztec Idols||Play ‘N Go||Yes||Yes||No||96.80%|
|Gemix||Play ‘N Go||No||Yes||No||96.80%|
|Fairytale Legends: Hansel & Gretel||NetEnt||Yes||Yes||No||96.71%|
|Drive: Multiplier Mayhem||NetEnt||Yes||No||No||96.70%|
|Secret of the Stones||NetEnt||Yes||No||No||96.70%|
|Fruit Shop Christmas Edition||NetEnt||Yes||No||No||96.70%|
|Wild Wild West||NetEnt||Yes||Yes||No||96.70%|
|Wizard of Gems||Play ‘N Go||Yes||No||No||96.70%|
|Viking Runecraft||Play ‘N Go||Yes||Yes||No||96.70%|
|The Wish Master||NetEnt||No||No||No||96.60%|
|Fantasini: Master of Mystery||NetEnt||No||No||No||96.60%|
|Phantom of the Opera||NetEnt||Yes||Yes||No||96.57%|
|Wins of Fortune||Quickspin||No||No||No||96.56%|
|MultiFruit 81||Play ‘N Go||No||No||No||96.55%|
|Panther Queen||Pragmatic Play||Yes||No||No||96.54%|
|Jade Magician||Play ‘N Go||Yes||No||No||96.53%|
|The Epic Journey||Quickspin||Yes||Yes||No||96.50%|
|The Dark Joker Rizes||Yggdrasil||No||No||No||96.50%|
|Oink Country Love||Microgaming||Yes||No||No||96.50%|
|Creature from the Black Lagoon||NetEnt||Yes||No||No||96.50%|
|Pyramid: Quest for Immortality||NetEnt||No||No||No||96.50%|
|Champion of the Track||NetEnt||Yes||Yes||No||96.50%|
|Tornado: Farm Escape||NetEnt||Yes||No||No||96.50%|
|Gorilla Go Wild||NYX||Yes||No||No||96.50%|
|Pimped||Play ‘N Go||Yes||No||No||96.50%|
|Spin Party||Play ‘N Go||Yes||No||No||96.50%|
|Cloud Quest||Play ‘N Go||Yes||No||No||96.50%|
|Sweet 27||Play ‘N Go||Yes||No||No||96.50%|
|3 Kingdoms - Battle of Red Cliffs||Pragmatic Play||Yes||Yes||No||96.50%|
|Dragon Kingdom||Pragmatic Play||Yes||No||No||96.47%|
|The Heat Is On||Microgaming||Yes||No||No||96.45%|
|Queen of Atlantis||Pragmatic Play||Yes||Yes||No||96.41%|
|Golden Fish Tank||Yggdrasil||Yes||No||No||96.40%|
|Lucky Angler: A Snowy Catch||NetEnt||Yes||No||No||96.40%|
|The Invisible Man||NetEnt||Yes||Yes||No||96.40%|
|Aloha! Cluster Pays||NetEnt||Yes||No||No||96.40%|
|Sam on the Beach||ELK||Yes||No||No||96.30%|
|Vikings Go Wild||Yggdrasil||Yes||No||No||96.30%|
|Flowers Christmas Edition||NetEnt||Yes||No||No||96.30%|
|Jack and the Beanstalk||NetEnt||Yes||No||No||96.30%|
|Dr Jekyll & Mr Hyde||Betsoft||Yes||No||No||96.20%|
|Sheik Yer Money||WMS||No||No||No||96.20%|
|Tower Quest||Play ‘N Go||Yes||Yes||No||96.20%|
|Matsuri||Play ‘N Go||Yes||Yes||No||96.17%|
|Theatre of Night||NextGen||Yes||No||No||96.14%|
|Well of Wonders||Thunderkick||No||No||No||96.10%|
|Elvis The King Lives||WMS||Yes||No||No||96.10%|
|Jackpot Block Party||WMS||No||Yes||No||96.10%|
|Lady of Egypt||WMS||Yes||No||Yes||96.08%|
|Aztec Warrior Princess||Play ‘N Go||Yes||Yes||No||96.08%|
|Hong Kong Tower||ELK||No||Yes||No||96.03%|
|Rainbow Riches Pick 'n' Mix||Barcrest||Yes||Yes||No||96.00%|
|Kingdom of the Titans||WMS||Yes||No||No||96.00%|
|Red Flag Fleet||WMS||Yes||No||No||96.00%|
|Super Monopoly Money||WMS||Yes||No||No||96.00%|
|Wishing You Fortune||WMS||Yes||No||Yes||96.00%|
|Wizard of Oz||WMS||Yes||Yes||No||96.00%|
|Wizard of Oz Ruby Slippers||WMS||Yes||Yes||No||96.00%|
|Alice and the Mad Tea Party||WMS||Yes||No||No||96.00%|
|Break Da Bank||Microgaming||Yes||No||No||96.00%|
|Break Da Bank Again||Microgaming||Yes||No||No||96.00%|
|Invaders from Planet Moolah||WMS||Yes||No||No||96.00%|
|Game of Thrones 15 lines||Microgaming||Yes||No||No||96.00%|
|Game of Thrones 243 ways||Microgaming||Yes||No||No||96.00%|
|Star Trek Episode 1 ' Red Alert||WMS||Yes||No||No||96.00%|
|Super Jackpot Party||WMS||No||Yes||No||96.00%|
|Wizard of Oz Wicked Riches||WMS||Yes||No||No||96.00%|
|Double Buffalo Spirit||WMS||Yes||No||No||96.00%|
|Epic Monopoly 2||WMS||No||Yes||no||96.00%|
|Monopoly Once Around Deluxe||WMS||Yes||No||No||96.00%|
|Wizard of Oz Road to Emerald City||WMS||Yes||Yes||No||96.00%|
|Legend of the Golden Monkey||Yggdrasil||Yes||No||No||96.00%|
|Elements: The Awakening||NetEnt||Yes||No||No||96.00%|
|Wolf Gold||Pragmatic Play||Yes||Yes||Yes||96.00%|
|Dragon Spin||Bally Technologies||Yes||No||No||95.96%|
|Black Knight 2||WMS||Yes||No||No||95.90%|
|Gems Gems Gems||WMS||Yes||No||No||95.90%|
|Bruce Lee Dragon's Tale||WMS||Yes||No||No||95.90%|
|Sea of Tranquility||WMS||Yes||No||No||95.90%|
|Foxin' Wins Again||NYX||Yes||No||No||95.90%|
|Fruit vs Candy||Microgaming||Yes||No||No||95.77%|
|Queen Of The Nile 2||Aristocrat||Yes||No||No||95.60%|
|Hall of Gods||NetEnt||Yes||Yes||Yes||95.50%|
|Man of Steel||Playtech||Yes||Yes||Yes||95.05%|
|Heart of the Jungle||Playtech||Yes||No||No||95.00%|
|Wheres the Gold||Aristocrat||Yes||No||No||94.90%|
|Merlin's Magic Respins||NYX||Yes||No||No||94.90%|
|Choy Sun Doa||Aristocrat||Yes||No||No||94.60%|
|Balthazar's Wild Emporium||Core Gaming||Yes||Yes||No||94.02%|
|Mega Moolah Isis||Microgaming||Yes||No||yes||89.00%|
|Beauty and the Beast||Yggdrasil||Yes||No||No||97.10%|
NetEnt is one of the most respected and successful software developers in the online gambling industry today. It was established in 1996 and has grown to become particularly successful, commanding almost a third of the European market. Its games library contains several hundred titles and includes games such as slots, mini games, table games, lotteries, video poker, jackpots and a range of other games. Its vampire-themed Bloodsuckers slot has a return to player percentage of 98% - it has five reels and 25 paylines, as well as free spins and a bonus feature. Stakes can be made for between 1p and £500 and the maximum win is a very large 7,500x your initial stake. Its Mega Joker Jackpot has a slightly better return to player percentage of 99% - the five-payline, nine-reel progressive slot has a fruit theme and is designed to replicate the classic fruit machines found in pubs.
Microgaming claims to have developed the very first online casino back in 1994. The company is one of the best known and respected in the industry thanks to the high quality of its gaming content and its varied library of over 600 games. A significant number of the developer’s games are slots and some of these have particularly high RTPs. The Dragon Dance slot has a return to player percentage of 98% and a lively Chinese dragon theme. It has five reels and a total of 243 paylines, with a re-spin option and a maximum win of 165 times your initial stake of between 25p and £125. .
Stockholm-based Thunderkick was founded in 2012 and focuses on developing unique and original games for online casinos. The company specialises in slots and rather than regularly releasing new gaming content, it chooses to take its time and focus on quality rather than quantity. There are only 19 games developed by the company, but they come in quite unique themes you most likely won’t see from any other developer. One slot in particular, 1429 Uncharted Seas, has a return to player percentage of 98.6%. It has 25 paylines, along with a bonus game with free spins and an expanding wild. The slot has a vivid sea creature theme and those lucky enough to win the top prize will win 50x their initial stake, which can be between 10p and £100.
Founded in 1999, Playtech is a major player in the online gambling industry and offers games in pretty much every category. The company develops slots, casino games, live casino games and fixed-odds arcade games, while also offering bingo and sports betting. It’s currently the largest company of its type to be traded on the London Stock Exchange and has over 5,000 employees working in development centres in 14 different countries. Its slots have some of the best slot RTPs you’ll find. The company’s Goblin’s Cave slot has a very impressive return to player percentage of 99.3% - one of the highest you’ll find at online casinos today. The slot has a simple design along with three reels, three paylines and a multi-spin feature, with wagers between 10p and £5. The maximum payout for this slot is 150x your initial stake. There’s also a bonus round where players can pick from several chests to win a prize. Both the Ugga Bugga and Ocean Princess slots have return to player percentages of 99.1%. Ugga Bugga is a three-reel, 10-payline slot with an African tribal theme. Players can hold on to any number of symbols in the first payline and all of these will be held for the remainder of the spin, which can result in some pretty big wins. Ocean Princess has a pleasant underwater theme and is a three-reel, five-payline slot with a bonus multi-spin feature. Another Playtech game with one of the best slots RTP is Tropic Reels, which has a return to player percentage of 99%. The three-reel, five-payline slot has a jungle/animal theme and like the Ugga Bugga slot, it has a feature that lets you hold on to valuable symbols. None of the Playtech slots mentioned so far has a progressive jackpot - one slot with a very high RTP that does have a progressive jackpot is the Cinerama slot, whose return to player percentage is 98.4%. As its name suggests, it’s themed after the movies and its progressive jackpot is activated when players land five active projected wilds on a pay line that’s active with the maximum bet placed.
Manchester-based Barcrest specialises in developing fruit machines and slots. The company has installed many fruit machines throughout the UK in pubs, clubs, arcades and the like. The company was established in 1968 and would go on to become the UK’s largest and most successful fruit machine developer. Though the company was purchased by IGT in 1998 then sold off to Scientific Games in 2014, it still continues to develop games under the Barcrest name. Its Red Hot Wild and Wild Times slots both have a very solid RTP of 98%. The former is themed to fruit machines and has three reels and five paylines, with wagers of between 10p and £500 welcomed; the maximum you can win is 1000x the amount of your initial stake. As for the latter, it’s again themed to fruit machines and has three reels and 27 paylines. Just as with Red Hot Wild, you can place stakes of between 10p and £500, the the maximum you can win is 500x your initial stake. The horror-themed Ooh Aah Dracula slot has a return to player percentage of 99% during the High Roller feature - at other times, it’s 96% which is still pretty good. The five-reel, 10-payline slot has four bonus rounds in total and wagers of between 10p and £500 can be placed.
Also known as Williams Interactive, WMS is among the oldest companies in the gambling industry. The company entered the online market in 2010 and has since continued developing high-quality slots, all of which are based on slots found in land-based casinos and other gaming venues, though of course they’ve been slightly optimised to better suit computers and other devices they’re played on. The Nemo’s Voyage slot has a very impressive return to player percentage of 99%, though only when the depth gauge is maxed out; at other times, it’s 95.1%. Wagers can be placed for between 40p and £200 on this Nautilus-inspired slot.
RTP is always presented as a percentage and calculating that percentage is quite a complicated process. This is because the calculations take into consideration pretty much every single aspect of the game, including its different payouts, its probabilities and how many different ways you can score a win. The larger and more complicated a slot is, the more challenging it is to determine its RTP - there are some that have hundreds or even over 1,000 ways of winning so calculating the RTP for these certainly takes a lot of work indeed. To give you an idea of how the calculation process works, we’ll have a look at an imaginary slot that has 10 possible outcomes and each of these has an equal chance of happening. You gamble with £10 on 10 spins and you win £1 on nine of the 10 spins. That means after placing a wager of £10, you’ve won £9 back - the remaining £1 going to the casino, or house - so you could say the slot as a return to player percentage of 90%. This is just a bare bones example - the larger and more complex a slot is, the more intricate and detailed the calculation becomes.
We’ve looked at online casinos and the RTP of online games so far, but what about traditional brick-and-mortar casinos and the RTP of their games? Generally speaking, the RTP of slots you’ll find in land-based casinos is on average lower than what it is for most online slots. This is simply because the online casino market is much more competitive - online casinos compete with other hundreds of other online casinos for customers from all over the world, whereas for most land-based casinos it’s about competing with a few others physically located in the same area. RTP tends to be higher at online casinos because of the increased competition there is in the online casino market. Slots in land-based casinos typically have a return to player percentage of around 80-90% or so, whereas for online ones, it’s usually at least 95%, with many offering top slot return to player percentages around 97-99% or even higher.
You may have come across the term ‘slot volatility’ before - while RTP gives you an idea of how much of your money you can expect to win back over time, slot volatility essentially refers to how often payouts occur. If a slot is said to have high volatility, what this means is that its payouts are larger, but they occur less frequently. A slot with a low volatility has more frequent payouts, but they’re typically smaller. So to improve your chances of winning big, stick to slots with high volatility and to make your money last longer, make sure the slot also has a higher RTP. Choosing best RTP slots is always a wise move.
Generally speaking, yes it is important to know what the RTP of slots is. If you play slots with a high RTP, chances are you will lose less of your money over time, whereas if you play slots with low a RTP, you’ll probably lose a little bit more of your money. So if you want to try to avoid losing as much money as possible, find out what the RTP of a slot is before you start playing and make sure you only play slots that are going to give you back more of your money over time.
Much work is done to ensure that the RTP calculations are as accurate as possible. Licensing bodies such as the UK Gambling Commission insist on new games being thoroughly tested and independently audited before they’re released to the public. eCOGRA is an example of a third-party company that tests and authenticates casino games; it works to ensure that casino games are fair and that casino operators are honest, reliable and trustworthy. The company typically tests games once a month.
Of course it’s possible to win big at a slot with low RTP. That is, if the slot has a big jackpot. Remember that RTP is a long-term average, so no matter what the RTP of a slot is, you could still land a huge cash prize after playing for a short while; on the other hand, you could land a huge loss. In either of these two cases, your own RTP would be vastly different from the slot’s listed RTP. If you carry on playing, chances are your own numbers will average out and will gradually get closer to the slot’s listed RTP.
Casinos are businesses, not charities, and they need to make money in order to stay in business. Therefore, all of their games need to retain some of the money that’s spent on them. If slots, for example, had a return to player percentage of 100%, then over time all the money a player would spend on the slots would go back to the player and there wouldn’t be any money going to the casino. To avoid this, casino games, not just slots, are specially designed to have a return to player percentage of less than 100%; this enables casinos to make money from people playing the games. No matter what slot you play, the long-term odds will always be against you.
While many slots are themed according to what the developers have in mind, some are themed after popular films, TV shows and the like. Some examples of branded slots include Jurassic Park, The Terminator, Nightmare on Elm Street and the various slots themed after DC Comics characters. Developers have to pay a lot of money to be able to legally use the name and images associated with intellectual properties. In order to make some of that money back, branded slots typically have a lower RTP than non-branded slots.
You may well have seen return to player percentages listed as a range of numbers, i.e. 97-98%, as opposed to a single number. The reason for this is that when playing certain slots, the RTP goes up the higher your wager is. For every slot there’s a minimum amount you can wager (usually 1p-10p) and a maximum amount (usually in the hundreds of pounds). For some slots, place a smaller wager and over time you’ll get slightly less of your money back; placed larger wager and you should in theory stand to win more of your money back over time. Also, RTP may increase or decrease during certain elements of gameplay; for example, during certain bonus rounds it may go up a few percent. If you see the RTP listed as a single number, this is typically the maximum RTP the slot offers, though be aware that it might not offer this maximum RTP at all times.