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Average Payout Percentages in Slots Games

By: Mark Freedman , Tuesday April 6th 2010
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The "average payout percentage" of an online casino game is an indicator of how player-friendly that game is. It is known by several other names such as "expected payback" and "long-term average return". The average payout percentage is a number expressed as a percentage such as 95%. What this indicates is that if a player wagers $100 then in the long term he can expect to get back $95. Therefore it stands to reason that players should opt for online slot games with higher average payout percentages.

The problem with this is that the average payout percentages of online slot games are not commonly known. Nor can the average payout percentage be calculated in the way that is done for games like roulette. If it is known how many numbers of the different types of symbols appear on a reel then using a complicated mathematical procedure the average payout percentage can be calculated. But this information is not in the public domain. The only agencies that are privy to the average payout percentages of online slot games are the developers of the slot games and the agencies that certify the randomness and fairness of the slot games. But these agencies rarely provide the information up front to online casino players.

There are two online gaming software providers that do publish this information and they must receive all credit for doing so. One of them is Rival Gaming. In order to access this information the player must open the relevant online slot game and click the Help button. The page that opens reveals the information. Rival Gaming uses the term "expected payback" and reports than number as an integral percentage. For example the expected payback for Global Cup Soccer is 94%, the expected payback for A Switch in Time is 95% and the expected payback for Candy Cottage is 96%. The other online gaming software provider that releases the average payout percentages of its slot games is WagerWorks. WagerWorks uses the term "long term average expected return to player". It reports the number as a percentage to two decimal places. For example the return for Play Your Cards Right is 93.97% and for Monty’s Millions is 94.98%.

eCOGRA releases average payout percentage figures for the online casinos that it audits. Unfortunately the figures for individual slot games are not released. What is released is the average payout percentage across all the online slot games offered by the casino. This information is of no use in selection of individual online slot games based on average payout percentages.

Finally it is essential to discuss the practical utility of the average payout percentage to the slots player. Based on the information available it is believed that an overwhelming majority of online slot games will have average payout percentages between 94% and 96%. Assume that a player wagers $100 a day for 300 days. The total amount wagered becomes $30,000. If this amount is wagered at an average payout percentage of 94% the player can expect to lose $1,800 over the 300 days. If it is wagered at an average payout percentage of 96% the player can expect to lose $1,200 over the 300 days. The difference is $600 over $30,000 wagered. Each player will have to take an individual call on whether this is material for him or not. If it is material then it is recommended that the player wagers on online slot games whose payout percentages are known and are in the region of 96%. If this amount is not material then the player should forget about the average payout percentages and select slot games on the basis of features offered.

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Comment by: Joshua On: April 19, 2010
I love that fact that the payout percentages playing online are higher then playing in land based casinos it definitely does make it more encouraging to play at online casinos if you ask me.
Comment by: Alison Pravda On: April 15, 2010
Anything that's between 90% - 96% is really good for online considering that some online casinos are in the low 80's in terms of payout percentages on their slots games. I think that players are generally much better off playing online then in land based casinos!
Comment by: Thorton On: April 07, 2010
I think that sites like Casino Advisor that do publish these values can be trusted as they likely have a way around getting the information.

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