If you have played casino games at a physical casino before, you’ll probably be well aware of the concept of the house edge. That is the mathematical advantage the casino, aka the house, has over the players. House edge varies from game to game, but the basic rule is that the lower the house edge, the better the game is for the player. Blackjack, for example, has a house edge of less than 1%, and because the game involves at least some level of skill, some claim that the house edge doesn’t exist at all for the best players.
But in this increasingly tech-centered world, we also need to be aware of the term RTP. It’s effectively the house edge in reverse for online casinos. RTP stands for Return to Player, and all licensed online casino games must have their software audited for RTP, so that information is readily provided to the players. If, for example, a game has an RTP of 98.7%, we can tell that the game has paid back $98.70 for every $100 wagered. Thus, technically speaking, we could say that game has a house edge of 1.7%.
RTP can provide info on the best casinos
So, is that the explanation? RTP is the house edge in reverse for software-based games. Yes, but that does not tell the full story. The RTP is important because it does not only tell us about individual games; it can also tell us about online casinos. For instance, the use of published RTP information can help us determine which is the best payout online casino before we join. Remember that the online casino industry is very competitive on a global scale, so finding out which operators have the best conditions is paramount for players.
You might ask the question, who checks the RTP? Well, that can be quite complicated. But the good news to assure players is that licensed casinos must use independent bodies to verify the games pay as advertised. The software developers, i.e., those who provide the games for casinos, will also carry out their own checks and provide information on RTP. Noted independent bodies which verify games for RTP and other elements of fairness include eCOGRA and GLI.
RTP mimics real-world probability
One of the interesting things about RTP is that it has been developed in such a way to mimic real-world probabilities. For example, if you play European roulette at an online casino, you will see that the RTP is 97.30%, which gives the casino a de facto house edge of 2.7%. If you look at the real-world house edge of ‘physical’ roulette, the house edge is 2.7%. So, players playing at an online casino play under the same conditions as those in land-based ones.
Finally, we should make you aware that RTP should arguably only be viewed in terms of mathematics, and it is not truly a strategy for a gaming session. The reason we make that point is to stress that these calculations are carried out over millions of spins on an individual game. Because the sample is so large, it does not guarantee anything in terms of payouts for a particular casino gaming session. While it is useful to know about RTP, players should only consider it a reference in line with responsible gambling.