Slots RTP Made Simple: Your Chances of Winning in 2020

From your chances of winning slot games to the highest RTP slots, here’s a simple guide to return to player (RTP) and how payout percentages work.

The online slots sector comprises of games developers that provide online casinos with entertaining ways for players to win and lose money. And it’s the winning that we’re interested in today. If you play slot games using real money, what are your chances of winning? In this Slotsquad case file, we’ll look at slots RTP (return to player), volatility and your odds of winning when you play online slot machines.

How RTP slots work and calculate your chances of winning

We’ll also look at the best and highest RTP slots currently available in 2020.

Ok, so you play online slots. What do you look for before you play? Title, theme, bonus features, paylines? What about how much to play?

What you might not consider is variance, volatility or return to player RTP.

But what does RTP even mean?

You probably know that it stands for return to player, but why does this percentage even matter?

RTP slots, volatility and your chances of winning slot machines

In 2020, online slots and casino games are some of the most dazzling and entertaining ways to win prize money. But behind the graphics, animation and the sound is the mathematics that makes everything happen. Everyone likes a good free spins bonus and hundreds of pay lines that use special features and mechanics – but whether you win or lose, that’s all down to RTP and slots volatility.

What is RTP in slots?

RTP means Return to Player and is a metric that online slots developers use when they build slot machines. The RTP percentage is the amount of payouts paid back to players over many thousands of cycles. In theory, slots with the highest RTP will pay back more than slot machines with lower RTP percentages.

How to calculate Return to Player RTP

You can calculate the return to player (RTP) by dividing the win and turnover figures generated from a slot machine game. For example, if after one month of play a game, designed with a 96.68% RTP, has earned an online casino £1,200,000 against £1,100,00 in wins – you can work out the RTP as follows:

1,100,000 / 1,200,000 = 0.916 

In this scenario, the online slot game’s actual RTP is 91.6% – and would fail the certification test. An online slot machine with a 96.68% RTP should pay out £966,800 in wins for every £1,000,000 spent on the game. So the online casino would make £33,200 for every £1,000,000 wagered by players, which means a house edge of 3.32%. Slots with the highest RTP mean a lower house edge for the casino over time.

How does return to player RTP work?

Online slots use an algorithm to determine your chances of winning. Have you ever heard of a random number generator (RNG)? It’s the application of clever mathematics that control the outcome of symbols appearing on paylines and trigger bonus features such as free spins. 

Players tend to look for the best RTP slots with the highest percentages.

The return to player percentage is responsible for ensuring the online slot machine pays out within the set tolerance. Slot machines must operate within the acceptable performance with online casinos raising alerts if they don’t. Errors may affect a game’s RTP and result in either overpaying or underpaying players.

RTP works over many cycles/spins and doesn’t apply to your single gaming session. Let’s say you are playing a fruit machine in the pub with a payout rate of 96.87% RTP. If you wager £20 in bets, a 96.0% RTP fruit machine will not pay back £19.20 in a 10-minute spin session. You might win more or lose everything, but the 96.0% return to player will happen over many players, many spins and many thousands of pounds in bets. It’s the same principle with online slot machines.

What is volatility in slots and online slot machines?

Volatility in slot games refers to standard deviation – a mathematically calculated figure (square root of the game’s variance, where the variance depends on the game’s cycle and prize frequency). The larger the deviation, the greater your chances of winning smaller prizes. If you choose to play slots with high volatility, then you can win much bigger prizes but at shorter odds. Play slot machines with low volatility and your odds of winning smaller amounts increase.

Hit rate or hit frequency is another way of saying volatility. You’ll often see some online slots advertised as having a high hit rate or win frequency; this is basically saying the game is a low volatility slot. Meaning, yes, there is a good chance of winning, but those wins are likely small and much more frequent than big wins.

If you’re a conservative and cautious casino player, look for the best low volatility slots with a higher RTP. If on the other hand, you take risks and play loose, then you might be more suited to high volatility slots with a lower RTP.

RTP Vs Volatility

RTP is the percentage of wins paid back over many cycles of play, while volatility is how much and how often. But what’s more important? Most players think its return to player but volatility is also a deciding factor in the outcome of your spin.

And since RTP is measured over hundreds of thousands of spins, it’s the volatility that you’ll notice when you play, not the RTP.

Low volatility slots Vs slots with high volatility

Volatility is the online casino industry jargon for risk, and most online casinos and experts agree that risk is ultimately the responsibility of the gambler. But how much are you willing to risk?

If it’s more, then you play high volatility slots for bigger prizes but at lower odds. If you want to take less of a risk, then you play low volatility slots with better chances of winning smaller rewards.

Some of the best low volatility slots to play are the games with extra bonus features. That’s because while your wins might be smaller, activating the free spins rounds at a greater frequency could still lead to big wins.

Remember, the best payout slots online are not necessarily the games with the highest RTP. They’re the slots with low volatility, a high RTP and lots of bonus features.

How to find RTP on slots?

It’s not always easy to find the RTP on a slot machine, but these simple steps should help:

  1. Choose the online slot you wish to play – real money or demo
  2. Select the information icon to access the slot machines pay table
  3. Navigate the in-play bonus features and symbol values
  4. Look for terms including hit frequency, win rate, volatility and variance
  5. Identify the Return to Player RTP – normally between 93.0 – 98.0% RTP
  6. If not available, check in your online casinos help menu to see if slots RTP data is published
  7. Check developers website for RTP information Play’n Go, Quickspin, NetEnt etc

What is the best online slot machine to play?

There are several factors to consider when choosing the best slot machines. These include gameplay, features, paytable, return to player RTP, volatility, cost per play and jackpot. Once you’ve got the information, you can help make an informed choice.

While it’s true that the highest RTP casino slot machines pay back more in the long term, you shouldn’t overlook volatility and features. In fact, volatility and bonus features are more likely to affect the short term; that’s your session. Based on everything we’ve put together, the best online slot machine to play is one with low – medium volatility, low minimum stake, enhanced features and an RTP above 96.0% return to player.

What is a good RTP score for slot machines?

Some of the highest RTP slots work above 98.0% return to player. At the low end of the scale, it’s closer to 92.0% RTP. A good RTP score is anything above 96.0%.

Best RTP slots scores for new games in 2020

Just to give you an idea of some of the best RTP slots in 2020. We’ve put together a list of return to player percentages found in new games from top developers. It’s interesting to see that most new online slot machines are programmed in the region of 96.0% RTP.

Let’s take a look.

Yggdrasil Gaming
Play'n Go

Who tests the RTP of slots?

Slot machines don’t cheat; they can’t cheat. Online slots are programmed to pay out in line with the RTP. But who tests the RTP of slots? It’s a good question.

Let’s look at this more closely.

Firstly, only approved testing houses such as ecogra, gaming labs and bmm labs can test the RTP of slot machines. These labs are independent and make sure slots and games are fair to players.

All online casinos that serve remote gaming operations to UK players must hold a UKGC licence. Plus all licence holders (UK casinos) must comply with the UKGC technical standards and requirements – including RTP percentages.

As of 1 September 2016, the UK Gambling Commission requires all online casinos to monitor the performance of their games. Slots developers use independent testing labs to verify RTP while a testing strategy for compliance includes the following checks:

  1. Pre-release testing of games and slots RTP
  2. Post-release game performance monitoring
  3. Annual information security audit
  4. Annual games testing audit

Slot machines cannot be made available to UK players unless sufficient testing has been carried out. Tests on game rules, random number generators (RNG) and RTP results mean slot games remain fair to the consumer at all times. If there is a malfunction, then the online casino must log the event so that players can challenge any cancelled wins. 

How slot machine return to player is measured

Return to player can be calculated by dividing the win and turnover figures, but it’s measured over time. According to the United Kingdom Gambling Commission website, you measure RTP over a significant amount of plays. Looking at one of their tables, it takes around 1 million slot spins for a slot machines RTP to fall within the set tolerance. That’s approximately 30 days of play.

Finding the best RTP slot games

Given that RTP is a percentage paid out over hundreds of thousands of spins, bigger isn’t always better. The highest RTP slots might look good on paper, but those results mean nothing in your game. Finding the best RTP slots is more than just a high percentage. Players should consider price, volatility, features and gameplay above return to player.

Price – good news for responsible gaming. Keep betting costs low when you play with smaller bets.

Volatility – reduce your risk further by choosing low volatility slots over games with high volatility. Alternatively, play highly volatile games with more risk but greater rewards.

Features – benefit from free spins, bonus levels and more when you play slot machines with features.

Gameplay – modern technology means the very best experience, look for new online slots with immersive gameplay.

Slotsquad’s best RTP slots to play in 2020

There are loads of great games available at online casinos, but why go for the highest RTP slots? You don’t need to!

We cover the best titles with a mixed bag of volatility. Tracking some of the top casinos in 2020, these are the new slot games you need to play. Covering popular themes, loaded with bonus features and geared up with great gameplay – each game has a score above 96.0% RTP.

Choose between low volatility slots and highly volatile slot games. Engage excellent features on slot machines with a chance of winning. Enjoy graphics, clever game mechanics and high RTP percentages.  Don’t just focus on the highest RTP slots, go for games with the whole package.

Check back every month for a new slot machine, and compare high RTP games based on volatility, features and gameplay. Don’t miss out on these five!

1. Frozen Gems
Why play this game? Frozen Gems features frozen BONUS SYMBOLS on top of the reels that, once unfrozen, apply unique effects on the reels below.
Frozen Gems Slot Machine
  • Software: Play’n GO
  • Volatility: High
  • Theme: Arctic Adventure
  • Paylines: 243 – 8,748 Ways to Win
  • RTP Payout Rate: 96.36%
  • Features: Cascading Reels, Bonus Reel Features, Frozen Spins
  • Max Win: 10,000 x
  • Bets: Free Demo / 20p – £100

Featured Casino Bonus
Christmas Casino Bonus at Karamba
Play Frozen Gems at Karamba
100% Bonus up to £50
+ 100 Spins
18+, new customers only, T&Cs apply, 35x wagering, min deposit £10.

2. John Hunter and the Mayan Gods
Why play this game? 10 paylines packed with a Progressive Free Spins Feature that offers more Free Spins with each level you achieve!
John Hunter and the Mayan Gods Slot Game
  • Software: Pragmatic Play
  • Volatility: High
  • Theme: Exploration
  • Paylines: 10
  • RTP Payout Rate: 96.51%
  • Features: Expanding Wilds, Free Spins, 6 Level Bonus, Retrigger
  • Max Win: 500 x
  • Bets: Free Demo / 10p – £100

Featured Casino Bonus
Watch My Spin Casino
Play John Hunter and the Mayan Gods at Watch My Spin
Up to £100 Bonus
+ 50 Spins on Starburst
18+, new customers only, min deposit £10, 4x conversion, 40x wagering (bonus and spins), T&Cs

3. Katmandu Gold
Why play this game? Katmandu Gold introduces the option to buy the bonus game feature. Either the standard bonus or a super bonus starting with an x10 multiplier.
Katmandu Gold from Elk Studios
  • Software: Elk Studios
  • Volatility: Medium
  • Theme: Himalayan Trail
  • Paylines: 4,096 – 531,441 Ways to Win
  • RTP Payout Rate: 96.2 – 96.4%
  • Features: Betting Strategies, Avalanche, Big Symbols, Ice Climber, Multiplier Free Drops, Buy Bonuses Feature
  • Max Win: 10,000 x
  • Bets: Free Demo / 20p – £100

Featured Casino Bonus
888 Casino
Play Katmandu Gold at 888 Casino
£88 Free No Deposit
+ 100% up to £100
18+, Opt in required. New UK customers only. Opt in required. 1x per customer. Min. £20 deposit. 1st deposit only. Selected games only. Max. Bonus £50 with 35x wagering and 50 Free Spins at £0.20/spin on Starburst™ with 35x Wagering. Free Spins and Bonus credited once deposit amount has been wagered on slots. Bonus and Free Spins expire 7 days after issue. Game weighting, game, country, currency, player restrictions and terms apply.

4. Christmas Megaways
Why play this game? Tumbling Reels and up to 117,649 ways to win, nothing beats the Megaways engine at Christmas!
Christmas Megaways Slot
  • Software: Iron Dog Studio
  • Volatility: Medium
  • Theme: Christmas Holiday
  • Paylines: Up to 117,649 Ways to Win
  • RTP Payout Rate: 96.2%
  • Features: Cascading Reels, Multiplier Wilds, Free Spins, Retrigger
  • Max Win: 40,000 x
  • Bets: Free Demo / 20p – £20

Featured Casino Bonus
Best RTP Slots BGO Casino
Play Christmas Megaways at BGO Casino
Deposit £10
Win up to 500 Free Spins
18+, new customers only, T&Cs apply, 65x wagering, UK only. Win up to 500 Free Spins from Mega Wheel on 1st deposit. 24-hour expiry. Max Bonus win £150. No Neteller/Skrill. Min deposit £10.

5. Slot Vegas MegaQuads
Why play this game? Play 4 slot machines for the price of 1!
Slot Vegas Megaquads
  • Software: Big Time Gaming
  • Volatility: Medium
  • Theme: Las Vegas
  • Paylines: Up to 16,777,216 Ways to Win
  • RTP Payout Rate: 96.59%
  • Features: MegaQuads Mechanic, Symbol Multipliers, Free Spins, Rainbow Wild
  • Max Win: 25,200 x
  • Bets: Free Demo / 20p – £20

Featured Casino Bonus
Grosvenor Casino
Play Slot Vegas MegaQuads at Grosvenor Casino
Deposit £20
Play with £50
18+, new customers only, T&Cs apply, 5x wagering, min deposit £20.