For casino players who are not only looking for entertainment in a slot but also want to look beyond the bells and whistles, it can be very interesting to look at how well a slot pays out.
To get a good understanding of this, it is crucial to know how a slot works.
Unfortunately, it’s not possible to use a strategy when playing slots to increase your chances of winning. It doesn’t matter how many lines you play, whether you use the autoplay button or how much you bet. And rubbing the screen at every spin doesn’t make much sense either, except that your cat might look a little strange at you.
Slots all work according to the same principle: they are random and, on average, pay out a little less than what is put in.
However, there is one thing that you can influence – which slot you choose to play. Although all slots work mostly the same way, they do differ in one respect: they have different payout rates. Some slots pay out significantly better than others.
A higher payout rate can make the difference between winning and losing. The difference between a nice amount in your account or going to bed with your tail between your legs.
What does the payout rate mean?
The payout percentage is also called Return to Player (or RTP). The higher the payout rate, the better it is for you, the player. There are legal provisions on how high payout rates of slots should be. In many countries, a slot machine in a cafe or an arcade has to pay a minimum of 60%. For slots in your local land-based casino, this percentage is at least 80%. Slots in Las Vegas casinos often pay between 88% and 93%.
The difference between payout rates in online and offline casinos
Please note that the 60% and 80% payout rates are a minimum. In reality, the payout rates of slots in pubs, bars and arcades are around 80% – 85% while slots in your local, land-based casino pay out around 88% – 93%.
What about payout percentages for online slots? On average, slots at an online casino payout around 96.5%. But there are even online slots that pay out 98% or even 99%. That’s a huge difference compared to slot machines in pubs, bars and land-based casinos.
Online casinos have much fewer overhead costs such as staff, rent, energy costs, security, etc. and in no small extent give these benefits back to online casino players in the form of bonuses, promotions and, you have guessed it, (much) higher payout rates. If you want to have the best chance of winning a session, you should play at an online casino.
So, if you decide to play a slot machine at an offline casino, you could argue that you are shortchanging yourself.
Have you ever wondered why it seems almost impossible to leave a land-based casino in Las Vegas or your home town with a profit? Now you know why.
Does a higher payout rate really make the difference?
In a word: yes. A higher payout rate results in a higher chance of winning, more playing time or a combination of both.
For example, if you play a slot with a payout rate of 85%, the slot will take $€ 15 from every $€ 100 that is wagered. The remaining $€ 85 goes back to the player.
However, if you play a slot with a payout percentage of 98%, the game will return $€ 98 of every $€ 100 played. In this case, the casino will be left with $€2.
What do you prefer? A slot where you lose $€ 15 for every $€ 100 you deposit, or a slot where you lose only $€ 2 for every $€ 100 you put in? Exactly.
Remember as well, that payout rates are calculated over hundreds of thousands, perhaps even millions of revolutions. That’s why you may win $€ 500 one day with a deposit of just a tenner, and you might lose $€ 200 the next day. A slot always shows variance in payouts. Some days it looks like you can’t lose and other days it feels like you are going nowhere fast.
In short, the payout rate of a slot is extremely important for a player and as a general rule: the higher the percentage, the better it is for you.
Payout rate versus the variance of a slot
Another vital factor to consider is the variance of a slot.
The higher the variance of a slot, the more risk there is in the game. High Variance slots may pay out huge prizes reaching up to tens of thousands times your total stake. While the possible rewards are high, the chances of hitting such a big win are low. These massive payouts are rare.
A low variance slot will offer you a high ratio of small and medium-sized wins. You will get plenty of entertainment for your money, but the chances of winning big are slim.
If you like the sound of getting bigger wins while taking higher risks, be sure to have a look at our top 10 high variance online slots list.
Can you trust the published payout rates?
Some people have tried to calculate the payout rates of slots themselves. However, this is very difficult. You have to take into account a lot of different things such as the number of (virtual) reels, paylines, multipliers and bonus games. Some slots are incredibly complicated, making it impossible to calculate the payout rate if you don’t have access to the software and mathematical models.
Another method is to play thousands of spins yourself and keep track of everything by hand: bets, wins and losses. A massive – and tedious – task.
That’s why most online casino players look up the payout rate in the slot rules. Almost all casino game creators include this information in the slots rules. Can’t you find the payout rate anywhere? Then we suggest you choose another slot that isn’t secretive about this essential information.
External parties regularly audit these published payout rates, and contrary to popular belief, reputable online casinos don’t lie about payout rates. There is no benefit in it for them.
In an environment where it is all about the confidence a player has in the casino, it is awful for business for an online casino to be found out that their slots are paying out less than they’re supposed to.
Players would immediately abandon that casino in large numbers.
Where can you find better-paying slots?
If you are looking for slots that pay out better than other slots, we can help you. We have put together a top 10 of slots that pay out the most. Will you win every time you play these slots? Of course not.
But do you have a (much) better chance of winning with these better-paying slots? Absolutely.
Our research shows that some of the best paying online slots are made by Netent, Scientific Games (Barcrest) and Thunderkick. These companies have released several better-paying slots with payout rates ranging between 97% and 99%.
Slots Million: The best place for slots that pay better
Slots Million is a very reliable online casino where you can play thousands of the best online slots from the very best casino game makers such as Netent, Thunderkick, Scientific Games (Barcrest), WMS and many more.