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What does ‘Return to Player’ (RTP) mean?

November 11th, 2016 Casino, Matched Betting

Return to Player (RTP) is the term casinos use to describe the percentage of all the wagered money a slot or casino game will pay back to players over time.

The higher the percentage, the more often a player will win in the long run. At 100%, the chances of a player winning are equal to that of the casino. If the RTP climbs above 100%, it shows that the casino actually lost money to its customers on that game over the time period concerned.

For example, if you make a hundred £1 bets on a slot or game on which the RTP is 95%, you might expect to get back about £95 in wins (end result being you are £5 down). RTP is generally calculated over the long term. Almost anything can happen in the short term, so you should only ever bet with money you’re prepared to lose.

RTP is the opposite of the other important casino term, “House Advantage”. While RTP displays a player’s potential winnings, House Advantage displays the opposite – the percentage advantage to the casino – though one is simply the inverse of the other.

Where do I find the Return to Player value?

With a little investigative work you should quite easily be able to find the RTP for any slot or game offered by the online casino. Some are easier to find than others but you can generally find the RTP by viewing the help section for the game.

Examples:

LADBROKES
1. Open up any slot or game and click on the tool icon as highlighted below:
Rainbow Riches return to player eg2. Select help from the dropdown

Another window will open up with the guide to the game for you to scroll through to find the RTP:

Rainbow Riches expected value eg

BETFAIR
Betfair is very similar to Ladbrokes

1. Open up any slot or game and click on the tool icon as highlighted below:

Betfair casino game

2. Select help from the dropdown

Another window will open up with the guide to the game for you to scroll through to find the RTP:

Expected Value Return to Player Betfair eg

A great website covering many onlite slot game RTPs can be found here.

How the RTP Affects the EV of a Promotion?

As matched bettors, we only want to be participating in offers that we deem to be +EV (Positive Expected Value).

As we now understand the meaning of RTP and also how to find the RTP % for each game, the question now becomes: how can we use this knowledge to determine if an offer or promotion is worth our time and effort? The answer? By calculating the Expected Value before opting in to any promotion.

How to calculate Expected Value

Expected Value = Bonus – (Wagering x House Edge)

To calculate the Expected Value of an offer we need to know the following:

  • The bonus amount awarded
  • The amount of wagering we need to complete before we are able to withdraw
  • The RTP of the games we need to play to complete the wagering.

For example, Coral have an offer for new casino players – Deposit £10, Get £50 (with a wagering requirement of x24 the bonus amount). Therefore, using the above, we now know the following:

  • Bonus = £50
  • Wagering = £50 x 24 = £1200

We now need to look at the games to see what the Return to Player percentages are and determine if the offer has +EV and is therefore worth attempting.

Example: Age of Gods

This slot has RTP 93.88%. If we were to complete our wagering (£1200) using this slot, we would expect (on average) to lose 6.12% (100% – 93.88%) of the total amount wagered.

  • Expected Value = £50 – (£1200 x (100%-93.88%)
  • Expected Value = £50 – (£1200 x 6.12%)
  • EV = £50 – £73.44
  • EV = -£23.44

As you can see using the example above, the offer would not be recommended as you would expect (on average) to lose £23.44. Our loss would only be £10 but we would more than likely bust out before being able to complete the wagering.

BUT

What if there were games with a better RTP? Would the offer be +EV?

How can we work out what the RTP% would need to be to make the offer +EV?

To calculate the minimum RTP to make this offer at least EV = 0 then the calculation is:

Min EV = 1 – (Bonus/Wagering)

Using the Coral offer as explained above the calculation would be:

  • Minimum Expected Value = 1 – (£50/£1200)
  • Mininimum EV = 1 – 0.04167
  • Min EV = 0.9583
  • Min EV = 95.83%

We now know that to make this offer +EV, we need to look for eligible games above 95.83%. By looking through the games as described earlier in the guide we can then see if there are any games that are above this minimum requirement of 95.83%.

Example: Ocean Princess

This slot has RTP 99.07%. This is great as we know this is above our minimum requirement. So what would be the EV if we were to complete the wagering using the Ocean Princess slot game?

Remember, the calculation is:

Expected Value = Bonus – (Wagering x House Edge)

Therefore:

  • Expected Value = £50 – (£1200 x (100%-99.07%)
  • EV = £50 – (£1200 * 0.93%)
  • EV = £50 – £11.16
  • Expected Value = £38.84

Hopefully you should be able to see the importance of understanding RTP, how we can find the RTP and use this to calculate if an offer has +EV and is worth completing.

“However, you must also understand that the RTP and EV are long term figures and do not guarantee that every offer will end up in profit.”

As I said earlier, Return to Player is generally calculated over the long term. Almost anything can happen in the short term, so you should only ever bet with money you’re prepared to lose.

It is purely a guide to calculate if we, as matched bettors, have a long term edge completing the offer.

By only participating in +EV offers you should find over time a profit will be achieved.

For loads more advice on slots and casino offers, check out our guides which are available to all OddsMonkey Premium members.

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