Slots are the breadwinners of the gambling industry. There is little doubt about that. Most estimates claim that they provide somewhere in the range of 65% to 80% of all casino gaming revenues, both in the land-based and internet sectors. They are so alluring because they offer enticing rewards and simple-to-grasp gameplay that most newbies love. All gamblers have to do to enjoy products in this gaming genre is press a spin button. Nothing more. Once they do that, a computer algorithm known as a random number generator decides if their reel rotation will be a winning or losing one. Nothing can affect the outcomes this software produces. It utilizes complex mathematical formulas that take an initial number called a seed and run it through a set of equations that create a new, entirely random figure.
However, while the results these algorithms produce are arbitrary, there are some long-term patterns in play. That applies to all reel-spinning games available at non GamStop casinos and UKGC-regulated ones. These designs get built into the math models utilized by each random number generator, determining how often and in what size prizes will slot games produce wins. Read on to learn how physical and online slots generate the winning symbol combos that appear on their reels.
What Is RTP Exactly
RTP is an abbreviation for Return-to-Player. In essence, that is the word that UKGC and gambling sites not on GamStop use to refer to the house edge of slot games. The main distinction between these two terms is that they tell the advantage a gambling operator has over its players using different percentage formats. A house edge of 3% translates over to an RTP of 97%. An RTP of 97% signifies that for every £100 wagered on a slot, that game should pay back £97 to its players. It will keep £3 of this sum for its operator.
Now, paying back that £97 happens over time, meaning millions of spins. That is far longer than what any player can spin reels hunting for riches. So, this is a theoretical number inapplicable to individual gaming sessions. Still, it gives gamblers an idea of the offered odds on physical and virtual slot games. Ones offer by brick-and-mortar locales and casinos not using GamStop.
RTP & Reel-Spinning Games
Once a provider comes up with an RNG algorithm, they set its RTP and variance. More on the latter later. Then, they run it through tests that involve the game utilizing this algorithm to churn out millions of slot spins. Once such a testing cycle concludes, the provider matches the de-facto results with the theoretical ones to see if they match up. More often than not, they will.
All licensed sites not registered with GamStop and UKGC-regulated ones partner with independent testing agencies. These include companies like TST, iTech Labs, or eCOGRA, which perform regular audits of the RNGs they use. Such checks guarantee that these algorithms run smoothly and have not been tampered with in any way.
While RTP controls how much a slot will pay back over time, variance governs in what sized portions a game will give back the funds it must return to its players and with what regularity. This specification also goes by the name volatility. Low variance means that a reel-spinner will produce small rewards frequently, and a high one denotes that only substantial prizes will get provided, but rarely.
The combination of RTP and variance tells players what they can expect to win when enjoying a specific slot. Variance is a math term referring to a statistical measurement of the spread between numbers in a data set. Information regarding a slot’s RTP and variance should be available in its paytable. Some online UK and non GameStop casinos may also list a game’s RTP percentage next to its name in a game lobby, attempting to make particular products more appealing to online gamblers.
Online vs. Machine RTP
Gambling sites, naturally, have lower overhead costs than brick-and-mortar establishments. To operate a land-based casino, operators incur staff, resources, and sizeable maintenance expenses. Therefore, the slots they feature must generate revenues that make up this difference, helping turn a profit. That is why most regulators of physical establishments allow operators to have machines with minimum RTPs in the 70% range.
The minimum slot payback percentage in Nevada, defined by law, is 75%. Online operators have lower operational costs, allowing them to offer reel-spinners that feature better odds. The average online slot RTP hovers around 96%. The Malta Gaming Authority, the top regulator of websites not on GamStop, until recently mandated a minimum RTP of 92%. Yet, since May 2021, it lowered the minimum RTP threshold to 85%.
Non-GamStop Casinos vs. UK-Regulated Ones
There is little difference between online gambling platforms licensed by the UK Gambling Commission (UKGC) and non GamStop casinos found on non-gamstop-casinos.com, which have a base of operation in a foreign country. These sites are not a part of the UKGC’s mandatory self-exclusion network GamStop because they have no UKGC license. Instead, they have site-specific self-exclusion. International regulatory bodies like the Malta Gaming Authority, Gaming Curacao, and Panama’s Gaming Control Board oversee their activities.
These organizations have been active in this industry longer than the UKGC and implement the same security measures. They get preferred by some UK players because they allow more gameplay freedom and host products unavailable at UKGC-approved platforms. That is so because the UKGC has stringent technical criteria that all games must fulfill before Brits can play them. Many providers refuse to go through this process and focus on the global market instead.
RTP-wise, both categories of gambling sites offer games with similar payback percentages. Non GamStop casinos may hold a slight advantage in this department due to the diversity of products on hand in their gaming lobbies.