Explained: Return to Player (RTP), The House Edge and Volatility for Slots

rtp slots
Alexandra M
by Alexandra M
Casino Tips

Are you ready to find out everything about RTP, house edge and volatility? Jetbull has the easiest explanation you could find as well as what games to play and how to do it to make sure you have the best chances to win.

With no further ado, let’s jump straight into things.

Definition: What Is RTP In Slots?

RTP stands for Return to Player. In short, it’s the percentage of your bet that you win back after playing casino games.

A casino RTP rate is total wins over total stakes played, in theory, but this is calculated over an extended time spent playing so it’s not completely accurate for each session you play.

The simplest way to explain it is that if you would wager £100 (in €1 bets) on a video slot that has a 95% RTP you would get to keep £95. But you need to keep in mind that those £5 could end up being part of someone else’s win and you too could win £1500 with other people’s bets contributing to it because the payouts aren’t evenly distributed and you don’t know what you’ll get.

But that’s what gambling is and having a fixed payout and RTP then all the fun would be lost. With all the entertainment gone it would be like paying for a service and never really getting what you want.

Knowing the RTP of games will help you find those high payout slots that come with a big RTP so that at least theoretically you have much better chances of winning. These percentages can’t really predict things short term but are decent at predicting things long term.

When you’re looking for a casino game to play and want to have the best odds you should search for games that have an RTP that’s at least 94%, preferably higher. Anything that’s under this will probably drain your bankroll. Unless they are the kind of slots that improve their RTP in time because of levels and features, and the more you play, the better your chances get.

At this point you’re probably thinking that things are pretty simple: you find video slots that have a high RTP and a low house edge. But it’s not just that, there are other things you need to take into account, things like volatility, for example.

How to Calculate Return to Player (RTP)?

The RTP isn’t something that a player can calculate on his own. The RTP will be given by the software provider and maybe tweaked a little by online casinos. If an online casino is fair, then the RTP of their slots will never drop beneath the average imposed by the software provider and you will be able to find all RTPs on display on their website.

If for example you know that one of your favourite video slots has an RTP that’s between 98.0% and 98.5% and you find it in an online casino somewhere at 96.5% then you should stay far away from that casino.

The formula for calculating RTP could theoretically be used by players, but they don’t have all the necessary information to do it. The formula is as follows:

(Total amount returned to players) / (Total amount bet by Players) = RTP

The percentage is calculated using a lot of players over a long period of time, taking into account how much they bet, what they win, what they lose and the turnover.

The total amount bet by players is the sum of the initial bet on a casino game, by all players, over a given period of time that’s usually about a month.

The amount returned to players is the amount that the players win in a round theoretically, but here it depends on the kind of game they are playing. If they choose to play table games then the net win will be calculated instead of the return, while for slot machines or video poker the paytable of the game and the results will be taken into account.

Why Should You Pay Attention to A Game’s RTP?

If you’ve come this far you probably have some doubts whether or not the RTP can actually help you if it doesn’t really show you the effect the game will have on you and what your odds of winning are.

While it’s not 100% accurate and you can’t know exactly when and what you will win, the RTP helps you by showing you it’s reverse, the house edge. This you can calculate by yourself by subtracting the RTP from 100%. So, if the RTP is 95% then the house edge will be 5%.

Even if it’s not 100% accurate, it makes sense to check the RTP because a game with a higher RTP will always give you better chances of winning than one that has a lower RTP. So, when deciding what to play you’ll know that Mega Joker with 99% is better than Mega Moolah with 88.12% (assuming you’re not hoping to get incredibly lucky and land that huge progressive jackpot).

If you combine what you’ve learned about RTP and house edge with volatility, then you’ll get a lot more priceless information that will teach you what games to play and what strategy to use to always come out on top.

What is High and Low Volatility?

Volatility or variance refers to a combination of risk and reward. Slots can have either low volatility or high volatility. In short, the difference is small payout but frequent vs big payout seldomly. Games can also have medium volatility which is theoretically the sweet spot between the two other options.

High Volatility Slots

High volatility slots usually have a lower RTP and a bigger house edge, but this doesn’t mean you should stay away from them. On the contrary, for some players these are the go to slots. This is because games that have high volatility are the ones that can bring you huge wins. The downside is that it might take a while until you land that huge win.

As we discussed earlier that RTP might be divided between players or lay waiting until you finally catch a break. In high volatility slots it’s basically piling up. It might take many spins, but finally when you win you should win enough to cover your losses until then and also get a lot extra.

Low Volatility Slots

Low volatility slots are the exact opposite. Here you will win quite often but it will be in small amounts. So, for example if with a high variance game you’d win £1000 after 50 spins, with a low variance one you might win on every spin but only 1-2£.

While the payouts might be small they come along often which means that the risk is also lower. This makes them perfect for casual players that play for fun and want their budget to last longer.

Will There Always be a House Edge?

Yes. Online casinos aren’t charities, they want to have profit as well. This means that they need to make sure that even if they lose large sums they can still keep going and have a safety net. The house edge is the percentage that you give to the house so that it can continue to survive.

While RTPs and the house edge might vary, it will always exist. You might not pay it because you might get lucky and get a big win, but other players will give credits to the casino to cover your win.

Why Play Online Slots with Different RTPs?

Sure, games with high RTP are a safer bet than those with a smaller one, but this doesn’t mean that you should completely stay away from those that have a lower RTP.

It all depends on your personality and your style of playing and whether you want to play for fun or focus on winning as much as possible. If you are a risk taker and like the thrill of betting big, winning big and waiting for that perfect winning combination then a smaller RTP and a high volatility can be the right choice.

Some players only play slots because they hope to win that progressive jackpot that could bring them huge wins so for them it makes sense to play low RTP slots even though their odds aren’t that good.

Finally, it depends on what you like in terms of gameplay and risk taking, if you’re in it for the thrill then you won’t mind a lower RTP, but if you’re in it to stay on the safe side and also win then a big RTP with low variance will work better for your style. Anyway, the safest way to play is to go with the latter.

Top 10 Slots RTP List: Best RTP Slots

There are many games with high RTPs that you can find, but in order to help you find the best we’ve comprised this list below. You’ll find many different styles and themes, so there’s no way you’ll get bored of this selection.

  1. Lucky Pets

Lucky Pets


If you like fluffy things and adorable pets we’ve found the slot for you! Lucky Pets is a lovely five reels, three rows and 25 paylines video slot from Multislot filled with fluffy animals.

The gameplay is smooth and easy, and the bonus features get triggered easily by landing three symbols of a kind. There are two bonus features available, a free spins bonus and a pick-em game. In the pick-em game you have to choose a fish and then you’ll get double the value of the fish, while the free spins bonus feature will bring you up to 15 spins.

Lucky Pets Slot Game Features

RTP: 98.19 %
Reel Setup: 5 reels, 3 rows, 25 paylines
Bet level: 1.25 – 625.00
Bonus rounds: free spins, pick-em game
Free Spins: yes
Slot Volatility: medium
Why play it: The RTP from Lucky Pets combined with the medium volatility makes for a great choice. What is more, the combination of bonus features really makes things interesting.

  1. Diamond Diggin’

Diamond Diggin


If you love beautiful, sparkling gems you don’t really need to mine for them you can just play a great video slot! Diamond Diggin’ is a fun slot by Multislot that has five reels, three rows and 25 paylines. The game boosts a 98.24% RTP, medium volatility and two well-conceived bonus features.

The two bonuses bring some diversity into the picture, because while the first one is a simple free spins bonus round in which you can get up to 40 free spins, the second one is even more interesting. You will be sent to a different screen where a fun character will drive around in a mine cart getting you diamonds that translate into cash prizes.

Diamond Diggin’ Slot Game Features

RTP: 98.24%
Reel Setup: 5 reels, 3 rows, 25 paylines
Bet level: 1.25 – 125.00
Bonus rounds: free spins, cash prizes
Free Spins: yes
Slot Volatility: medium
Why play it: Because Diamond Diggin’ it’s fun. On top of the great RTP, the two bonus features really are quite enjoyable. 40 free spins is a great number and the other bonus makes you feel like you’re in charge while you guide that guy towards better prizes.

  1. Sportfishing



Is a low volatility video slot with 5 reels, 3 rows and 25 paylines from Multislot. As most games from this software provider it has simple and fun gameplay, a wild and free spins. Those that are into fishing should definitely try it!

It takes just three Fishing Boat Scatters to trigger the Free Spins, and only 2 Wilds on any of the 25 paylines to trigger the Fisherman Wheel Bonus. Land more than 3 Scatters and you are in for up to 30 extra spins.

Sportfishing Slot Game Features

RTP: 98.33 %
Reel Setup: 5 reels, 3 rows, 25 paylines
Bet level: 1.25 – 625
Bonus rounds: Free Spins, Fisherman Wheel Bonus
Free Spins: yes
Slot Volatility: low
Why play it: There are more reasons to play Sportfishing besides the exciting RTP. First thing’s first is the well-done Free Spins Bonus round where you can get up to 30 such extra spins and then there is the straightforward well-designed gameplay, and that’s just two of the many.

  1. Koi Gate 

Koi Gate 


Koi Gate is a visually stunning slot with a 98.07% RTP made by Habanero. The classic Asian symbols like koi fish, dragons, bamboo, water lilies and specific architecture are all designed very realistically and will surely impress you.

The game has low volatility and will bring you many winning combinations with the help of expanding wilds and re-spins. The koi fish is the wild and when it forms a winning combination it will transform into a water dragon and cover the entire reel. When the wild is on screen it will also trigger a re-spin or two in which all prizes are doubled.

Koi Gate Slot Game Features

RTP: 98.07%
Reel Setup: 5 reels, 3 rows, 18 paylines
Bet level: 0.18 – 900.00
Bonus rounds: re-spins
Free Spins: no
Slot Volatility: low
Why play it: The expanding wilds from Koi Gate and the re-spin can be triggered quite frequently thus increasing your chances of winning more. The bonus features with the low volatility and big RTP make this video slot quite fun.

  1. Cash Garden 

Cash Garden 


Explore the depths of a secret garden packed with riches beyond your imagination with this online video slot from Multislot. Cash Carden will reward your efforts with an 98.02 % RTP and a multitude of bonuses like a pick-me bonus round, up to 100 Free Spins and a maximum wager for all them high rollers out there. The vividly coloured graphics and the soothing soundtrack will win you over from the first spin.

Cash Garden Slot Game Features

RTP: 98.02 %
Reel Setup: 5 reels, 3 rows, 25 paylines
Bet level: 1.25 – 625
Bonus rounds: Free Spins, Pick-em Round
Free Spins: yes
Slot Volatility: medium
Why play it: Cash Garden gives you the opportunity to spin through up to 100 Free Spins and rewards you with an RTP of 98.02 % and out of this world bonus features. Put your garden gloves on and start spinning your way to a garden of riches!

  1. The Dead Escape 

The Dead Escape 


Push through the challenges of a post-apocalyptic, as you spin the 5 reels and 3 rows of this zombie-themed online video slot by Habanero. The Dead Escape adventures include a Free Spins round, a Duel Bonus Game, stacked wilds, gamble features and an exciting 98.18 % RTP. Join a father and his daughter on their adventures, with a minimum wager as low as 0.30 and let the realistic graphics and breathtaking soundtrack immerse you into their world.

The Dead Escape Slot Game Features

RTP: 98.18 %
Reel Setup: 5 reels, 3 rows, 30 payline (both ways)
Bet level: 0.30 – 1500
Bonus rounds: Stacked Wilds, Free Spins, Duel Bonus Game, Gamble
Free Spins: Yes
Slot Volatility: low variance
Why play it: The Dead Escape will thrill you with its story and rewarding gameplay. With a staggering 98.18% RTP, up to 15 Free Spins, multipliers of up to 500x your stake and a uniquely designed Duel Bonus. If you enjoy zombies, then this Habanero video slot is the right fit for you!

  1. Golden Legacy

Golden Legacy


Wands up as you step into the world of magic and fantasy with this online video slot from MultiSlot. Spin your way to the unbelievable treasures of this 5 reels, 3 rows and 25 paylines game, from a minimum bet as low as 0.01. Know your symbols, for they are key to revealing the true potential of the 98.25% RTP.

Golden Legacy Slot Game Features

RTP: 98.25 %
Reel Setup: 5 reels, 3 rows, 25 paylines
Bet level: 0.01 – 31.25
Bonus rounds: Wilds, Scatters, Multipliers
Free Spins: no
Slot Volatility: medium
Why play it: Golden Legacy will captivate you with incredibly designed characters, which in turn are key to unlocking the real treasures of this slot. The gameplay has a natural flow to it, even without an abundance of bonus features. For an enchanting time, this definitely is the video slot to play.

  1. Cinema Classics 

Cinema Classics


Camera, set, action! Spin the 5 reels and 3 rows of this cinema-themed online video slot from MultiSlot. While discovering any of the 25 fixed paylines, be on the lookout for Movie Flapper Wild – land and you’ll be in for the 5000 coins bonus. The Free Spins bonus has anywhere from 10 to 60 extra spins on offer. But, wait, there’s more. Cinema Classics has an impressive 98.47% RTP and low volatility, which translates into exciting prizes.

Cinema Classics Slot Game Features
RTP: 98.47%
Reel Setup: 5 reels, 3 rows, 25 paylines
Bet level: 0.25 – 50
Bonus rounds: Free Spins, Wilds, Scatters
Free Spins: yes
Slot Volatility: low
Why play it: Cinema Classics is a video slot for all movie fans and more. There are two highlights when it comes to bonuses – the 5000 coins jackpot and the up to 60 Free Spins to be triggered. The 98.47% RTP shines, while the gameplay design and graphics make this slot a pleasure to spin.

  1. 1429 Uncharted Seas 

1429 Uncharted Seas


Prepare yourself to become an explorer of treasures hidden deep below sea level, with one of the greatest video slots from Thunderkick. The innovative graphics of this 5 reels, 3 rows and 25 paylines game will thrill you even more than the 98.63% RTP. There are up to 50 Free Spins to be triggered, as well as expanding wilds and many other surprises.

1429 Uncharted Seas Slot Game Features

RTP: 98.63 %
Reel Setup: 5 reels, 3 rows, 25 paylines
Bet level: €0.10 – €100
Bonus rounds: Free Spins, Expanding Wilds, Multipliers
Free Spins: yes
Slot Volatility: low
Why play it: 1429 Uncharted Seas is one of the best video slot games from Thunderkick, both in terms of graphic design and gameplay. The unique symbols, the easy flow of the game, as well as the opportunity to win up to 50 free spins and the impressive 98.63% RTP contribute to making it one of the most rewarding slots out there.

  1. Mega Joker


Mega Joker is a classic slot by Netent that has a whopping 99% RTP and high variance. This game is a complete mystery for all those that have played other NetEnt games. The fact that it’s a fruit slot that comes with a progressive jackpot and two bonus features confuses people even more. While it doesn’t look like much, everything about it is quite epic. Try it for yourself!

Slots RTP, House Edge and Volatility Summary

If you want to be the best player you can be, you need to know everything about the games you play. Knowing your favourite slots’ RTP, house edge and volatility, you will be able to choose wisely what to play and how to play it.

When you choose at what casino to play at, you should make sure that they have the list of RTPs for their slots and that every information is transparent. For example, on Jetbull you can find a list of the casino games’ RTP so that you can make a conscientious decision.

For more information Jetbull is always available so send us a message and the customer support will get back to you with all the information you need.

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