The online casino payback percentage refers to the percentage of the total money wagered on a game that the game returns to players over time. By comparing percentages, you maximise your chances of winning and your playing time. The higher the percentage, the more of your bets will be returned to you. Competition from both casinos and game manufacturers has driven online casino game return rates to very high levels.
If you’re interested in slots like most people, the return rate is an important metric that tells you a lot about the game. In this article you will find comprehensive information on the subject, as well as the best online casinos for playing fully-tuned games.
If you want to be sure that you will find the best return rates for slots at a casino, choose a site that offers a large number of games in general. That way, you’re more likely to include games with high return rates.
In this selection of online casinos, you’ll find plenty of casino games to choose from slots, blackjack, baccarat to video poker!
The casino also affects the game’s return rate
A fairly new phenomenon that has surprised the industry is that casinos themselves have the ability to influence the return rates of games. After all, players have long suspected that games are being manipulated, especially when payouts are not forthcoming.
This is not what we are referring to, but to the fact that game producers have started to make different versions of their games, differing only in terms of the return rate. Play’n Go is certainly the best known of these, but in its wake also come Red Tiger and NetEnt, among others.
Play’n Go has a relatively wide range of game return rates, ranging from 88% to 96%. For a player, it makes a real difference whether he loses $4 or $12 on a hundred. It’s worth comparing the percentages of your favourite games at different casinos to see if it’s worth the money.
If you are playing under a Maltese license, you should be able to check the casino’s refund rates. If the information is not found on the game itself, you can ask the casino’s customer service. The Curacao license does not have similar requirements, so the payback percentages are often a mystery.
Best return rate by casino games
Slots rate of return
Slot payback percentages are certainly of most interest to casino players, as they are by far the most popular games in online casinos. Slots with the best payback percentages are always the mathematically sound choice. The more of your money you get back, the longer you can play. Your bankroll won’t dwindle as quickly as it would in games with lower payback percentages.
Slot games often have slightly lower return rates than table games and video poker. Online casino slot machine payout percentages nowadays mostly range between 92% and 97%. So there are worse and better options for players in slots too. As a rule of thumb, a return of less than 93% is considered low, and as a player you should aim for games with a return of more than 96%.
The best return rates can be found in more and more casinos in specific categories. For example, Unibet’s best return rate is found in its super casino category and is 98%. There are also a number of games with a bumped up standard return rate. For example, Butterfly Staxx, which has a base return of 96.8%, is available at Unibet with a 98% return.
Another good way to find the best slots payback percentages is to take a look at the bonus terms and conditions. Games with exceptionally high RTPs can usually be found on the list of banned games or games with low payout percentages.
Netent – best return rate
NetEnt is the most popular and, for many, the best game maker today. Impressive graphics, innovative bonus games and big payouts have propelled NetEnt games to their current position.
When it comes to the best payback percentage, the best NetEnt slots are:
- Mega Joker (99%)
- Jackpot 6000 (98.86%)
- Blood Suckers (98%)
- Kings Of Chicago (97.8%)
- Devil’s Delight (97.6%)
The return percentages for the most popular NetEnt games are as follows:
- Gonzo’s Quest (96% return rate)
- Starburst (96.1% return rate)
- Jack and the Beanstalk (96.3%)
- Dead or Alive (96.8%)
- Guns N Roses (96.98%)
- You can play NetEnt games at all casinos on our site.
Best return percentages – Microgaming
Microgaming, another of the most respected casino game providers, has the best return rates for the following games:
- Wild Orient (97.5%)
- Retro Reels Extreme Heat (97.5%)
- Hot Ink (97.5%)
- Arabian Rose (97.5%)
- Couch Potato (97.43%).
Below we have listed the payout percentages for the most popular Microgaming casino games:
- Immortal Romance (96.8%)
- Thunderstruck II (96.6%)
- Terminator II (96.6%)
- Game of Thrones (95-96%)
- Tomb Raider (95.2%)
The impact of bonus games on slot return rates
The payout percentage for slot games can be divided into two different parts: the base game payout percentage and the bonus game payout percentage. The base game is the normal game that is played when you start playing a slot machine. A bonus game is a feature of a slot machine that you can access by, for example, three Scatter or Bonus symbols, depending on the game.
These two games may have different return rates. Very often the base game has a lower payback percentage than the bonus game. The closer the payout percentages of the two games are to each other, the lower the volatility of the slot. And the higher the payback percentage of the bonus game compared to the base game, the higher the volatility of the slot game.
In this way, the payback percentages of the base and bonus games control the volatility of the slot game. This information may be relevant for the bonus wagering. We have included both the payback percentage and volatility in our slot reviews.
Video poker return rate
Video poker payout percentages can be as high as 99.5% at online casinos at best. There are different versions of video poker, with some variation in the return rates between them. However, it can be said that almost all video poker games return at least 95% of the stakes to the player over the long term.
What video poker has in common is that the choices made by the player always affect the final return. Thus, a high video poker return rate is only possible by playing the mathematically correct way. Below you will find the most popular variations of video poker and the payback percentages for those machines:
- Jacks Or Better (NetEnt) 99.56%
- Deuces Wild 97.97%
- Joker Wild 97.97%
- Jacks Or Better has developed a basic strategy to ensure the highest possible return rate.
Roulette bounce rate
Even Albert Einstein is said to have said, “You can’t win at roulette except by stealing money while the operator looks the other way.” It doesn’t take a genius like Einstein to realise this fact, but by using the mathematically correct strategy and choosing a roulette game with a high return rate, you can significantly increase your advantage over the casino.
There are different versions of Roulette, and the return rates between them are different. The main advice is to forget about American roulette and focus on the European or French version. In American roulette, there are two zeros instead of one, (0 and 00) and this alone increases the house edge considerably.
The special feature of the French version is that when the ball hits zero, the player can take back half of his bet and give half to the bank. The other option is to leave the bet on the table. If the player wins on the next spin, he wins nothing but gets his bet back.
The return rate for American Roulette is around 94.7% and for French Roulette at best 98.65%.
Several different betting methods have been developed for roulette. In the long run, however, these do not affect anything, but only change the variance.
Blackjack payback percentage
Often in blackjack bar games, the starting point is already bad for the player. In these games, if the player and the house are tied, the house takes the bets. In casinos, the bet is returned to the player in such a situation. So the first step to improving the return rate is not to play at tables where this “bar rule” applies.
At bar tables, blackjack return rates can often be less than 90%. When playing with casino rules and an optimistic strategy, the return rate rises to over 99%.
Once the right table has been chosen, it’s time to start playing the game with the right strategy. For more on blackjack strategy, read our Blackjack Strategy article.
Online casino payback percentage – general information
Return to Player (RTP) is a basic concept for casino players and is especially common in slot games. It tells you how much a game pays out in relation to the money played over a long period of time and in large numbers of games. Conversely, it also reveals what the casino’s margin is on that game.
The higher the return percentage, the higher the percentage of bets returned to players and the higher the chance of winning. For the casino, this means that its “house edge” is small.
If the game has a 97% payback percentage, for every $100 played, around $97 will be paid out in winnings. The casino takes a $3 cut of its own. If the return is 92%, players will get $92 in winnings and the casino will take $8.
The fierce competition in online casinos has pushed casino payback percentages much higher than in brick-and-mortar casinos. However, they can no longer afford to rise much. If the return rate were 100%, there would be no house edge and the player’s chances of winning would be the same as the casino’s. If the payback percentage exceeds 100%, the casino starts losing money.
We would like to emphasise that the return rate only works for large numbers, even when we are talking about millions of spins. It does not apply to a single game round or a single round of play. If you were to play a game now with a 97% return and bet $100, you would most likely leave with less than $97 in your pocket. Only the small chance of hitting a big win, which is what drives us to overplay, can turn your account into a plus.
That said, the return rate is a useful tool for comparing games. In principle, you lose money more slowly with higher return rates than with lower return rates.
Can you influence the return rate of casino games?
In blackjack and video poker, you can systematically influence the return rate with your own playing strategy. When playing with an optimistic strategy, the return rate can be as high as 99% at best, while it can be as low as 90% otherwise.
In slot games, strategies have traditionally not mattered. In newer games, players are given choices, and these affect the overall return rate of the game.
For example, Playtech’s Goblins Cave slot has the best 99.32% return rate, which can only be achieved by playing the maximum bet. Otherwise, the game has a below average return of 94.5%.
In Yggdrasil’s Jokerizer game, the theoretical payback percentage ranges from 88.8% to 98%. To get to the top, you need to activate Jokerize mode whenever possible. If you never activate the mode, you will end up with the lowest reading.
Best return rate – compare casino games
If you include all types of casino games, the best return rates are achieved in blackjack and certain video poker games. In the list below you will find the best return rates for different casino games:
- Jacks Or Better video poker: 99.56%
- Goblins Cave slot 99.32% (Playtech, only available with max bet)
- Blackjack: up to 99.0%
- Mega Joker slot 99.0% (NetEnt)
- Jackpot 6000 slot 98.86% (NetEnt)
- European Roulette 98.65%
- 1492 Uncharted Seas Slot 98.5% (Thunderkick)
- The Catfather Slot 98.1% (Pragmatic Play)
- Blood Suckers slot 98.0% (NetEnt)
- Deuces Wild video poker 97.97%
- Joker Wild video poker 97.97%
- Starmania Slot 97.87% (NextGen)
- Kings of Chicago slot 97.8% (NetEnt)
- Devil’s Delight slot 97.6% (NetEnt)
Frequently asked questions
How is the refund rate calculated?
Technically, the payback percentage is calculated by dividing the total winnings by the total number of bets. If a game is played for $1 million and the payout is $960,000, the payback percentage for the game is 96 (i.e. $960,000/$1,000,000).
Does the payback percentage tell me how much I win from the casino games?
The return rate doesn’t really tell you anything about how an individual game session is going. The payback percentage is only determined and realised over hundreds of thousands or millions of rounds of play. Nevertheless, the return rate is useful information when comparing different games.
Why can’t the return rate be above or equal to 100?
If the payback percentage was exactly 100, this would mean that players would be paid back all the money they had wagered on the game in full. In this case, the casino would make no profit at all. If the payback percentage were over 100, the casino would pay out more in winnings than the players would play and would soon be bankrupt.
Is the return rate the same as the volatility?
Volatility and return rate are not the same thing. Volatility, or variance, determines how different sizes of payouts in a game vary and how often they occur. Low volatility means that the game distributes small wins frequently. High volatility means that wins are less frequent, but larger. In simple terms, you could say that the payback percentage determines how much money is distributed in winnings, and the volatility determines the packages in which this money is distributed.
How can you win at casino games if the return rate is always less than 100?
Onnella. Most players lose, and these losses allow the lucky few to win. It’s the kind of gambling that fascinates.