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What is Return to Player (RTP) in casinos?

Profile Picture: Simon Young

Simon Young

February 15th, 2022

Every time you play a game in a casino, the odds are stacked against you. Before you start crying foul, let’s examine this a little more rationally. Can you imagine one casino game where the players had the edge over the casino? If that were the case, all of us would ignore the other games or slots and play that profitable one instead.

Each of us would begin to turn a profit, which we would all think is marvelous until, that is, the casino closes down, which it would do in a matter of weeks.

How else can it pay for the property or online platform? Give all their staff a salary? Invest in new entertainment and marketing? Of course, it needs to make a profit to do all of this, and that’s why there is a house edge.

No matter if you play blackjack, roulette, slots, baccarat, or video poker, the casino has an advantage. That’s not to say you can’t win on a given day or week. But if you were to play continuously, then the house edge kicks you in the butt.

The good news is that some popular games you find at TwinSpires Casino have a better house edge than others. Blackjack and baccarat, for example, have a lower edge for the casino. But before we look at how various casino games stack up, let’s look at how the edge is measured.

RTP in Casino Gambling

One way of explaining the house edge is in terms of the return to player percentage, or RTP. This is a straightforward percentage number that determines, statistically at least, how much of your bets you would get back while playing a particular slot.

RTP casino numbers are usually used for slot games. A slot with an RTP gambling number of 97% means that if you were to bet $100 on the game, you should expect to get $97 back. In other words, a $3 loss. Of course, you may get lucky and win a big cash prize on one spin, or even a jackpot payout, in which case your gambling RTP is blown out of the water.

But for the great majority of players, the RTP casino figure will be accurate if you play multiple times.

What is the RTP on Casino Slots?

An average RTP for slots would be around 96-97%. You can look for a slot RTP in the game’s paytable or by searching online. Popular games like NetEnt’s Starburst have a decent RTP, paying out little amounts often, so players feel like they are getting a winning experience. If they stopped to think about it rationally, they might accept the RTP as a small tax on their casino entertainment.

Slots with a lower RTP, like Microgaming’s Mega Moolah (88% RTP), are generally "tight" because they grow a huge jackpot figure. So, most players will not experience regular, small payouts. Instead, that money goes towards an ever-increasing jackpot total, which one lucky player will win.

RTP in Casinos Expressed as a House Edge

In most casino table games, you will see the RTP gambling figure expressed as a house edge percentage instead. It means much the same thing as RTP but in reverse. Take the example of European Roulette, which has a stated house edge of 2.7%. That figure means that for every $100 the player wagers, they are expected to lose $2.7.

Again, this may not seem a lot, and there is always the chance you can walk away from a single session as a winner.

But it’s worth knowing that the house edge varies between games. American roulette, for example, has a more punishing house edge of 5.26% because it has an extra 00 pocket that, like the 0 pocket, trumps all other bets.

Blackjack is the one game where you can influence the house edge. For the novice player, you can expect it to be 2.3%. But more experienced players who follow a basic blackjack strategy can bring this down to 0.5%, one of the best house edge figures in the casino.

Baccarat can also have a slender 1% house edge, so long as you always bet on the Banker. Backing Player brings a house edge of 1.24%, while the Tie is a whopping 14.36%.

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Red and green chips on a baccarat gaming table. (Photo by Visualize Creative/Shutterstock)

Learn to Live with the Gambling RTP and House Edge

Now that you understand the casino must have the edge to survive, you can begin to live with it. If someone asks you: what does RTP mean, and why have it? just tell them that it’s a small price to pay for your gaming entertainment.

By all means, learn to play decent blackjack to bring that house edge right down (video poker is good, too), but where’s the fun in worrying too much about it? Casino gaming is supposed to be a form of entertainment, after all.

And there’s always the chance you might get lucky and win a fortune. Just ask our player Laura H. from Michigan, who won $100,000 playing on the Green Machine Deluxe slot last week!

Join TwinSpires Casino Today

Sign up with TwinSpires Casino and experience how the gambling RTP figure or the house edge can change from one game to another.

Be sure to claim the generous welcome bonus when you sign up by using the promo code FREEDAY. Right now, you get any first-day net losses back, up to $500, plus 250 free spins. Then, make your first deposit and hit the tables and slots. Good luck!