Slot Machine Payouts Explained
If you're one of the millions of people who love playing real money slots, it's an absolute must that you fully understand the payout percentages of slot machines. In this guide, we'll take a deep dive into everything you need to know, including offline and online casino payout percentage, return-to-player (RTP) percentage, house edge, where to find the loosest slots, plus tons more.
What are Slot Payout Percentages?
To put it simply, the payout percentage is the average amount of money that will be returned to a player in the form of winnings, compared to the amount that the player wagered. The key word here to remember is average. The payout percentage can't guarantee how much you'll win in one session, or even in 100, but the more spins you make, the better the chances are that your results will be closer to the machine's payout percentage.
Let's look at an example:
- Your favorite online slot has a payout percentage of 90%.
- You bet $100.
- On average, the machine will return $90 in winnings to the player.
It's easy to see that a higher payout percentage favors the player. That's why it's really important for you to do the research and focus on the slots with the highest payout percentages.
Casinos make a profit by building an advantage right into the rules of the game. That's reflected in the payout percentage and it applies to all casino games, not just slot machines. But, like we said before, that's just an average. In a single session there's always the potential for a big jackpot or, on the other hand, a cold streak of rotten luck. That's one of the reasons people love slots. They give you the opportunity to blow the payout percentage out of the water with one big win.
Play Slots with Record Payout Percentages
As a smart gambler, you know you need to find the slot machines with the best odds. It's fine to play for entertainment, and that's usually a priority for slots players, but it's also more fun when you have the best chance of winning and you know you're getting the best value for your money.
In the next section we'll explain how to find the best games and how to give yourself the best chance of hitting a big jackpot. Or, if you're itching to get in on the action right away, browse our comprehensive online slots reviews for a shortcut to the very best games the internet has to offer.
Best Payout Slot Machines
In addition to reading slot reviews, there are several other ways players can find slot games with the best payouts. Always check a slot's pay table before inserting money. This will tell you the maximum payout you can win on the symbols, as well as any caps a casino may place on a jackpot amount.
Players should always check what kind of slot game they are playing. That's not to say Vegas slots will never offer payouts as big as a progressive jackpot slots. However players expecting to win millions on a penny slot machine will be left disappointed. Finally, players should always check the payout percentage of a game. Find a slot title with an RTP of 90% or higher; these games will usually pay out more often than slot machines with an RTP below this.
|Ranking||Slot Game||RTP||Jackpot Value|
|3||Mega Moolah||88.12%||$1,000,000 minimum|
|8||Book of Dead||96.21%||$250,000|
|9||Wheel of Fortune||94.22%||$250,000|
|13||Game of Thrones||95.07%||$121,500|
Play these top slot games now with our recommended casinos.
How to Find the Payout Percentage on Slot Machines
Online and offline games operate on the same basic principles as far as how slot machines pay out. Remember, it's equally important to know the numbers whether you're playing on the internet or in a brick and mortar casino.
If you're looking for online casinos that actually pay out, taking a closer look at the payout percentages is a great place to start. You're probably wondering where you can look to find the stats. With online casinos it's usually pretty straightforward.
The payout percentage is sometimes posted on the rules or information page for the game itself, or as a list on either the online casino or the game developer's website. If you're having trouble finding where the slots payout percentage is posted, try a quick Google search of the game's name and either "payout percentage" or "return to player". If that doesn't work, a good last resort is to contact the casino directly using their live chat or customer support tools.
Generally speaking, online casinos offer better payout percentages compared to brick and mortar casinos. That's because they have lower overhead and an unlimited number of people can play the same game at the same time. It's common to see slots with payout percentages in the high 90s which is a lot harder to find in real life.
Slot Machines in Land-Based Casinos
When it comes to payout percentages, it's all about how slot machines are programmed. To make matters trickier, casinos and game developers don't always publish the numbers for specific machines. However, there are ways players can figure out which machines have more favorable payouts.
Luckily, other people have already done most of the hard work for you. There are tons of great forums and resources for bettors online and the best place to start is with a quick Google search to find the numbers for the game you're looking for.
The geographic location can also tell you something about the payouts. In the US, casinos must meet a minimum payout percentage which is set by the gaming authorities in that region. It varies by state but is usually 80% or higher. It's also true that the payouts vary even within the same game depending on how much you're betting. Usually the more you bet, the more favourable the payout percentage is.
Return-to-Player (RTP) Explained
Another name for payout percentage is RTP. That stands for "Return to Player" and just like the name implies, it's the average amount that will be returned to the player in the form of winnings compared to how much the player wagered. It's represented as a percentage with 100 being an even-money game with no casino advantage.
Let's look at an example:
- Your favorite slot machine has an RTP of 95%.
- Over the course of one year you play your favourite slot machine every weekend and wager a total of $1,000.
- On average, that machine should return $950 to you in the form of winnings.
The most important thing to remember is that the RTP is a statistical average. The larger the sample size of spins on a certain slot machine, the closer the actual results will be to the RTP.
Even though the RTP can't guarantee results, choosing machines with a higher RTP is always a smart move. The more you plan to play, the more important it is to find a game with a great RTP.
The House Edge Explained
When you hear bettors talk about "the house edge", they're actually referring to the same thing as the RTP and payout percentage. The house edge is the casino's statistical advantage that's built right into the rules of the game.
The house has an edge on almost every bet in the casino, but the size of that edge varies dramatically depending on the game, or even between different bets within the same game. The house edge is represented as the average percentage of your bet that the casino will keep. A game with a payout percentage of 95%, for example, has a house edge of 5%.
|Casino Game||House Edge|
|Craps (odds bet)||0%|
|Baccarat (betting on the banker)||1.06%|
|Craps (pass line bet)||1.41%|
|Blackjack (single deck)||1.5%|
|Pai Gow Poker||1.3%|
|Roulette (European wheel/single 0)||2.7%|
Variance in Slots
Whenever players discuss payout percentage in slots, the topic of variance usually follows. Also known as volatility or payout frequency, variance refers to how often a slot pays out jackpots, and the size of the winnings. Slot variance can be broken down into three types:
- Low variance slot games - these games land wins frequently, but the amounts are usually small token jackpots.
- Medium variance slot games - with these slot games, players can expect to hit wins fairly frequently, with a combination of small token wins and larger payouts.
- High variance slot games - players may experience long droughts in wins with these slot games, but when they pay out, the winnings are huge.
Casinos and slot games will not usually feature the volatility of a game on the paytable. However players can find this information online or themselves through free slot games. Simply spin the reels 100 times in a free game and record what wins you land. If you triggered the paylines frequently but the amounts were mostly no more than 2x the original stake, then the game is a low variance slot. If the opposite happens, then it is a high variance slot game.
Generally, low variance slot games can be found on penny slots and games with small jackpots, such as Quick Hit. Most progressive jackpot slots such as Mega Moolah, have high variance, which is unsurprising given the massive jackpots they offer.
Loosest Slot Machines
What is a loose slot machine?
When people call slot machines "loose" and "tight" they're referring to the payout percentage. A looser machine pays out more often and at a higher percentage while a tighter machine has a lower RTP and pays out less frequently.
The looser the slots, the better it is for the player. That's why you'll often see casino billboards advertising "The Loosest Slots in Town!"
In addition to the RTP, another important stat to look for is called the "hit frequency". This number is also a percentage and refers to how likely each spin is to result in a winning outcome for the player. It doesn't say anything about how much the player wins, just how often the player will win money on a spin compared to losing. A game with a 20% hit frequency will result in a winning combination one in five times on average.
How to Find Loose Slot Machines
If you're looking for the loosest slots around, the best answer is the internet. Online casinos can offer the highest RTP because they have much lower overheads than brick-and-mortar casinos. When it comes to slots in a land-based casino, gamblers have developed a few theories about how to find the loosest games.
Some players believe the loosest slots are always positioned in the most visible areas of the casino since the house wants new customers to see people winning and be inspired to get in on the action. Machines close to cash redemption machines are also thought to be loose since the casino wants players cashing out to see people winning and be lured back to the games. The same theory says to avoid slots near lines like the buffet and shows. The casino knows people here are just killing time while they wait and won't be playing for very long.
Slot Machine Payouts by State
As we mentioned earlier, casinos and game developers aren't forced to release the payout percentages for specific games, but they still publish some valuable information on slots. First, most states set a minimum and maximum payout percentage that casinos must follow. Second, they release average payout percentages that include all the casino's gambling machines. By using these numbers, we can get a general idea which of states have the loosest slots and the highest RTP.
Explore the Thrills of Progressive Jackpots
Another reason so many people love slots is the chance of winning a truly life-changing jackpot. Everyone knows it's a longshot but players love dreaming of what they'd do with millions of dollars if they get lucky and hit it big. In terms of RTP and payout percentage, however, there's always a trade-off with games that offer big jackpots.
Progressive jackpots work by taking a small piece of every bet and adding it to a prize pool that continues growing until someone wins it. It's not unusual for these jackpots to get into the millions of dollars. The biggest ever? A $39 million score at the Excalibur in Las Vegas.
If you're interested in the biggest prizes online, check out our progressive jackpot page for a comprehensive list.
It's true that the odds of winning a huge jackpot are slim, maybe even similar to winning a live lottery, but there's a big difference between the lottery and slot machines. With slots you can have lots of smaller wins in addition to a chance at the jackpot. The truth is, people play the lottery their entire lives and never win a cent, which makes slots a much smarter bet.
If you're still hungry for more in-depth slots payout percentage resources, check out these two advanced studies:
- A Personal Guide to Electronic Slot Machines by John M. Pacyniak, Ph.D.
- Slot Machine Payback Percentages: The Devil is in the Moment by Scott Farrow and Jackson Costa of the University of Mayland, Baltimore County.
What percentage do slots pay out?
Each slot machine will pay out at a different percentage depending on its return-to-player percentage. Generally, slot machines pay out somewhere between 74% and 99%
What slot machines have the highest payout percentage?
The Ugga Bugga slot machine game has the highest payout percentage, at 99.07%. The second highest is Mega Joker by NetEnt, with a 99% RTP. Jackpot 6000 by NetEnt and Uncharted Seas by Thunderkick come in second and third, with RTPs of 98.8% and 98.6%, respectively. In fourth place is Blood Suckers at 98% RTP, also by NetEnt. Starmania by NextGen takes fifth place, with an RTP of 97.87%.
What casino has the best slot payouts?
Record-breaking payouts on slots have all occurred in Vegas casinos, such as The Mirage, The Freemont, and The Excalibur. We recommend players visit casinos that offer a huge variety of slot machine games to find one they enjoy and might payout. The Bellagio in Vegas, for example, has 2,300 slot machines.
Can casinos control slot machine payouts?
While a slot machine has a chip that controls its payout percentage, casinos operate these chips on computer systems. A casino can control the payout percentage of slot machines by adjusting their RTP, but this is also regularly inspected and regulated by independent gambling authorities.
Is it better to bet max on slot machines?
Whether playing online slots or on slot machines, players should max bet if they can afford it. Slot payouts are exponentially higher when making the maximum bet compared to the minimum bet. This means when a winning payline lands, players can receive a much bigger jackpot.