Understanding The House Edge for Online Slots

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For every casino gamer, it’s essential to understand the house edge. This is the percentage of bets that a casino stands to gain, and it makes a big impact to the overall results of gamers. Playing a game with a low house edge and a high return to player (RTP) gives you the best odds of winning. It should be the primary factor when selecting slot games to play.

This article will introduce you to the idea of house edges in slots, how it works, and how you can pick the best slot games for your money.

What Is the House Edge?

The house edge is the expected value that the casino stands to make from a given game. The easiest way to understand the house edge is to examine the RTP percentages of the games. 

The RTP stands for “return to player”. It is the percentage of the wager that the players can collectively expect to see returned to them as wins. This sounds more complicated than it actually is. 

Let’s say the casino game has an RTP of 98%. This means that for every $100 wagered, the player will, on average, win back $98. The casino will take the 2% as their house edge, making them profit in the long term.It’s crucial to understand that this figure is theoretical. It is not the actual amount that a single player will stand to make.

It takes millions, if not billions of spins to come close to the actual percentage value. In the short term, statistical variance means that a single player could lose the full $100, or could hit the jackpot.

This is what makes slots exciting – the possibility that the reels will drop and the machine will pay out big.

What’s important for players to know is that the higher the RPT, the better the odds are for the player. In some games, the RTP is built into the odds of the game. For example, American roulette has an RTP of 94.74% (because of the green ‘0’ and ‘00’), while the European roulette has an RTP of 97.3%. In blackjack, the RTP depends on how good the player is.

Optimal play in blackjack can result in an RTP of 99.54%. In slots, the RTP is set by the slot developer, though the casino or online casino may be able to run the game at various RTP percentages.

Difference Between RTP in Casino and Online Slots

As developers and sometimes casinos have the ability to set the RTP, you would think that they would aim to take the maximum house edge possible. Thankfully, this is not always the case. The competitive nature of the industry means that developers have to find ways to attract players. One way is for the developers to work on making the visuals, themes and bonuses that slots offer attractive to players.

Another way is to set competitive RTPs. Naturally, players who are aware of the idea of odds want to play the slots that offer the best returns. They also have plenty of choices when it comes to the games that they play. Developers have to set high RTPs, especially when it comes to online slots.

Online slots generally have a higher RTP. They are even more competitive than casino slots, and with such a high volume of players the online casinos can still make their money from lower percentages. There are hundreds of thousands of online slots, dozens of reputable developers and plenty of top-rated casinos.

Still, the house edge can vary from 20% or more, to 1% or less. It’s well worth shopping around to find the online slots that fall into the top range of 90 – 99%. 

Independent commissions often regulate payout percentages. In the UK, the Gambling Commission regulated the payouts to ensure fairness, while random number generators are tested by third-party companies to guarantee true randomness and to make sure the games are not rigged. 

Slots with a low house edge and high RTP are known as ‘loose slots’

Other Paying Online Slots Example with RTP 

It can be difficult to gauge the RTP of slots and online slots, if the casinos and online casinos are not required to display them. The good news is that the RTP is available to the players in most places where casino gaming is regulated. 

As mentioned, the RTP for online slots can vary hugely. To make matters more confusing, some slot games allow the casino site to choose from several RTP options, so even the same game may offer different house edges across sites. The RTP for progressive jackpot slots tends to be lower too, as a portion of the wager goes towards funding the jackpot. 

Moody Fruits by Relax Gaming has a generous RTP of 99.91%, while a slot game called The Zombies has a low RTP of 76.27%. This is a significant difference for the player, so it is always worth checking. Most slots released in June 2019 fell into the 95 – 96% range.

When we take a look at online slots from Playtech, it’s clear to see the variation in house edge between games, even within the repertoire of one developer. 

At the high end of the spectrum are games like Goblin’s Cave, which has an RTP of 99.3%, Ugga Bugga and Ocean Princess, both of which have a 99.1% RTP. Wall Street Five Reel has 97% RTP, while Aces and Faces has a 98.28% RTP, though this drops to 95.44% for 25 line Aces and Faces. 

On the low end are games like Age of Gods: Ruler of the Sky, which has an RTP of 91.04%. Leprechaun’s Luck has an 88.01% RTP, but it’s much more common for Playtech games to fall between the 90 – 99% range. 

The best advice is to avoid slots that do not display RTP percentages. Shop around for different demo slots to find the ones with the highest RTP. This is the way to make your money go further and give yourself the best chance of winning. 

Is A High Payout Percentage On Slots Always Good for You?

Your first thought is probably going to be that a big RTP is automatically great for you because the lower the house edge, the better your chances of winning. Sometimes it’s not necessarily true because there is one more factor you need to take into consideration: volatility. Volatility (or variance) refers to the way in which slot game usually pays out. You can have low, medium or high volatility. Low volatility means that the slot pays out often but in small amounts, while the high volatility means large sums but seldom. 

Payout Percentage for Slots with High Volatility

So high volatility slot games are the ones that will pay the biggest amounts of money. While this is true, it’s also harder to actually get those winning combinations so patience is required. Since the machine is basically storing bets to contribute to bigger, yet less frequent wins, it’s normal to get a lower RTP than in other slots. Generally, unless it’s a progressive jackpot slot game a good high volatility RTP should be above 97%. For progressive jackpots when we’re talking about life-changing money and really high volatility (usually) you can expect them to be around 85%+.

What about low volatility slots 

The exact opposite of the previous volatility slots, low volatility slots usually have bigger RTPs, but lower payouts. If you’re in it more for the fun rather than wins, then this is the perfect option. You will win frequently but in small amounts. But you get to play for longer periods of time because your budget lasts longer this way so more fun is guaranteed.

Here on this page are some of the most amazing low volatility slots, that depending on or independently of the RTPs and with the help of bonus features can bring you a whole lot of fun and even some nice wins.

Final words about medium volatility slots

While most of the time you will see that volatility on slots is divided into high and low, you need to remember that not everything is black and white and you can have something in the middle. This is where medium volatility slot games come into play. Basically, you win half the time than when playing low variance slots but half as much as you would with high variance slots. In our opinion, this is the sweet spot and the slots that fall into this category are your best bet for equilibrium between fun and wins. These are the most popular medium volatility slots: 

In the end, while RTPs are important and different people might enjoy different kinds of volatility, it’s your choice what slot games to play (either in demo mode or for real money) but you need to make sure that you are informed before choosing what to play.

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