What is Return to Player (RTP)?

Return to Player (RTP) is the term used to describe the proportion, or percentage, of the money staked on a slot machine that is returned to players in prizes over time. In the United Kingdom, by law, a slot machine must clearly display the percentage RTP figure but, even so, RTP is frequently misunderstood. It is also worth noting that there is no statutory minimum RTP figure for slot machines.

Winning on a slot machine is based purely on chance, as determined by the machine itself. Correctly interpreted, an average RTP of 90% means that a slot machine will, on average, pay out 90% of takings over an unspecified period of time. What is definitely does not mean is that a player will win on 90 spins out of every 100, or win £90 for every £100 staked, because each spin is a completely independent, random event. RTP is an average calculated over a significant number of spins – typically 10,000 or even 100,000, or more, depending on the type of slot machine – so, in a single session, the actual RTP could be significantly lower or, indeed, significantly higher than the advertised figure.

So-called ‘compensated’ slot machines are the only type in which the results of previous spins have any bearing on future play. If such a machine is operating below, or above, its advertised RTP, it may be designed to become more, or less, generous for a period of time to compensate. However, once again, the result of each spin is determined purely by chance, so pumping money into a machine that has not paid out for a while may still not result in a jackpot payout.