For players that not only want to be entertained by slots but also want to approach slots with payouts in mind, it is important first to get to know exactly how slots work.
Unfortunately, there’s nothing you can do strategy-wise when it comes to the odds of winning with any given slot. It does not matter how many lines you play, what your bet size is or if you use the autoplay button or not. However, there is one thing you do have control over – which slot you choose to play. And while all slots are, in essence, built around the same principle, they do have different payout percentages.
A higher payout percentage can mean the difference between winning and losing, between hitting it big and going to bed with your tail between your legs.
What are payout percentages?
The payout percentage is also known as the return to player, or RTP and tells you how much money is returned to the player by way of a percentage. The higher the payout ratio is, the better it is for you, the player. In the United Kingdom, it is regulated by law that casinos must keep their slot machine payout percentages at 80% or higher.
The difference in payout percentages between online and offline casinos
Now, bear in mind that the % above is a minimum rate. Online slots will typically have a return to player percentage in the region of 95% – 96% or even higher. Slots in brick and mortar casino are known to have payout percentages of 92%-93% while the dreaded FOTB's, often referred to as the crack cocaine of gambling, will have even lower RTP's.
In fact, it’s even possible to come across online slots with payout percentages as high as 99%. In short, this means that if you are looking to maximise your chances of winning and minimise losses, you are best off playing at an online casino.
Online casinos have lower overhead and expenses as their brick and mortar counterparts (less personnel, lower energy costs, no rent, etc.). The difference in operational costs is (in part) given back to the players in the form of bonus offers and, you guessed it, higher payout ratios.
Why payout percentages matter
Do payout percentages make a difference? In a word, yes. A higher payout percentage will either increase your odds of winning, increase your playing time or both.
To put it all into a working example, if you signed up with an online casino and decided to play any given slot with a payout percentage of 90%, this means that for every £100 the machine takes in, it keeps £10 and pays back the remaining £90.
However, if you were to choose a slot machine with a 98% payout percentage, this would mean that for every £100 put into the machine, it will pay back £98 and keep just £2 in profit.
So, which one would you prefer? A slot machine where you lose £10 for every £100 you put in or a slot where you lose £2? Exactly.
Nevertheless, it’s important to remember those payout percentages are calculated as an average of hundreds of thousands or even millions of spins. Which is precisely why you may win £500 with your first tenner and lose £300 the next day. A slot will always show variance in its winnings and losses. Sometimes it will be on a hot streak and pay out lots of wins, where other times it will feel ice cold and pay out hardly anything. The higher the variance of a slot, the more it can pay out and the streakier it will be.
In any case, return to player percentages are extremely important and are considered better when higher.
Generally speaking, the best paying online slots are from Scientific Games Barcrest, Netent and Thunderkick, with slots that pay in the region of 97% – 99%.
Should you trust advertised payout percentages?
Some people have tried to calculate their chances of winning at a slot machine. This is, however, not an easy task. You need to consider the number of reels, number of pay lines, multipliers, prize values and so on – and what about all those unique bonus rounds which usually feature plenty of different mini-games with their specific odds. It is nearly impossible to do if you don't have access to the inner workings (or code) of the video slot.
Another method is to play ten of thousands of spins and keep immaculate records of stakes, losses and winnings. A painstakingly long – and dull task.
All of which is exactly why the vast majority of people choose to simply look at the return to player percentage of a slot machine that is provided by the casinos or slots providers themselves.
And why wouldn't you? Independent third parties regularly audit these return to player percentages. All reliable slots providers will provide the RTP information in the payout tables or the game information of the slot machine. If you find a slot machine that does not provide the theoretical return to player, you should avoid this slot altogether.
Contrary to popular belief, the vast majority of online casinos do not lie about their payout percentages. They have no reason to do so.
If a slots provider were to provide false return to player percentages and get caught, the outcome would be nothing short of catastrophic for the provider – all players and casinos would drop them in a heartbeat.
Which slots have the best payout percentages?
Of course, if you are looking for slots with the highest payout rates, we are here to help. We have compiled a useful list of the top 15 best paying online slots for you. Does playing at these slots guarantee that you will win every single time? No, of course not. But you do have a better chance of winning and will lose less than at other slots with lower payout percentages.
Casumo: home of high paying slots
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