Dec 3, 2021
Casino strategy

Return to player in Gambling Explained

Return to Player is a very commonly used term among casino players. And if you too want to play at an online casino often, you should familiarize yourself with it as well. So what is it? Return to Player refers to the amount of money from bets that is paid back to the player.

Return to player is an essential concept in gambling. It shows how much a game pays in winnings back to the players, on average. It is, therefore, desirable to play casino games with a higher return. At this point, it is relevant to say that you can win one time, even on games with below-average RTP. However, the longer you play, the more you get closer to the number.

So how does RTP work? Let's say you're playing a slot machine with a 90% Return to player. That means, for every £100 you bet, the game pays back £90 on average. It's important to mention the word "average" here. After all, slots are games of chance, and anything can happen in the short term.

It is also crucial not to mix the return to players with the frequency of winning. The frequency of winning tells us how often we can expect to win on average. For example, let's look at roulette and its colour bet. The probability of winning is 48.6%. It means that, on average, you will win roughly every second bet. But the return for a player betting on colour is 97.3% (European roulette). We'll get to that below.

How Is the Return to a Player Calculated

Suppose we talk about the return to player in overall. The calculation is straightforward then. We take the total amount of bets placed and subtract the amount of wins. For specific games, the return is calculated as a probability, which we adjust for the payout.

The calculation formula for the return to player:

(Number of winning combinations x payout)/number of total combinations

And let's get straight to the examples. The easiest way to illustrate this is with European roulette. When we bet on one particular number, there is only 1 winning combination, the return is 36 coins, and there are 37 numbers in total in the roulette. So the formula will look like this.

  • (1x36)/37 = 36/37 = 0,9729
  • The return will therefore be 97.3%

Let's take a look at the colour bet mentioned above. In this case, there are 18 combinations, the return is 2 coins, and there are 37 numbers in total.

  • (18x2)/37 = 36/37 = 0,9729

But the problem arises with other casino games. Roulette has relatively simple rules and, above all, a betting system. It takes only a few minutes to calculate the return to the player. But what about other games.

Return to Player at Slots

The concept of return to player is most often used in gambling for slot machines. However, you cannot calculate the slots' RTP by yourself. You would need to know the distribution of symbols on the reels. However, this information is not available to the public and is only known to the software providers. 

Want to know more? Check out our article How to calculate the probability of winning at slots.

However, this does not mean that you can find out the slot return. In fact, most online slots give this information directly. All you have to do is search well. You can usually find the RTP under the question mark icon or about the game information. The return rate of online slots ranges from 90% to 99%. 

Some mechanical slots can have a significantly lower RTP. However, it should never decrease below 75%, as the law in most western countries states.

Best Return to Player Online Slots

Now you must be wondering which slots have the highest return to player.

  • Ugga Bugga (Playtech) - 99.07%
  • Uncharted (Thunderkick) - 98.6%
  • Blood Suckers (NetEnt) - 98%
  • Rock On (Rival) - 98%
  • Cosmic Quest (Rival) - 98%
  • Break Da Bank (Microgaming) - 98 %
  • Joker (Yggdrasil) - 98%

Of course, it's not that you can't win more on slots with lower RTP. But casinos indeed earn less on average on slots with higher RTP.

Return to Player Blackjack and Table Games

RTP can be calculated/determined easily for blackjack and other casino games. It can be done using the formula we presented above, or you can use a little trick. If you want to know the return to players for casino games, you need to know the value of the so-called house edge. The house edge actually tells us how much percentage the casino keep, on average. It is, therefore, the inverse of the RTP.

  • 100% = House Edge % + Return to Player %

after adjustment

  • Return to Player % = 100% - House Edge %

Roulette example

The house edge for roulette is 2.7%. 100 - 2.7 = 97.3%. Which is the same result we reached in the example above.

The House Edge for individual games is no secret, and you can Google it very quickly. To make the comparison easier, we have prepared a table showing the house edge and return to players on the most popular casino games.

Game Bet House Edge Return to Player
Baccarat Banker 1.06% 98.94%
  Player 1.24% 98.76%
  Tie 14.36% 85.64%
Blackjack   about 0.5% 99.05%
Craps Pass/Come 1.41% 98.59%
  Don´t pass/Don´t come 1.36% 98.64 %
Keno   25% up to 29% 71% up to 75%
Roulette European 2.70% 97.3%
  American 5.26% 94.74%
Video Poker Jak or Better 0.46% 99.54%
Online slots   2% up to 25% 75% up to 98%


The return to players tells us how much, on average, each game pays back to players from all the bets placed. And therefore, it pays out to find it out. Especially when you play the game often and for a long time. If anything is unclear to you, leave us a question in the comments, and we'll be happy to answer it.

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