Payout percentages are the reason countless players make the slots their game of choice. Although the look of the game has moved well beyond the original "one-armed bandits" the concept behind the play hasn't changed at all. Slots are a highly volatile casino game. Wager results can jump from massive wins to long losing streaks in a short period of time, and it is this high degree of volatility that produces the large jackpots which are characteristic to slots. Those jackpots keep players coming back with the hope of being on the receiving end of a large win.
The following information is intended to explain how slots payouts are calculated, and how online gamblers can identify which online casinos offer the best slots payouts overall. First, let's take a closer look at what separates online slots from brick 'n mortar slots in terms of payouts.
Do online casinos offer better slots payouts than brick 'n mortar casinos?
For the most part, yes. In the world of online gambling, the best casino slots have consistently offered higher payouts than their land-based counterparts for a variety of reasons. One of the more obvious reasons is due to the paramount difference between operating a land-based casino and online casino, as well as the nature and mode of business.
The expected reason might be that because online casinos have far less overhead and operating costs than brick 'n mortar casinos, they can afford to offer better slots payouts. But the more likely reason is that the ease of access to online casinos gives players more choice and therefore more power. Players who lose too often will quickly migrate to a casino that provides better odds. While online casinos aren't going to move the odds completely in favor of the player, they know a fraction of a percentage point can make a difference in the number of players on their site.
Online casinos also provide plenty of incentives to draw players to their site. These may include matching a player's deposit or giving away bonus cash. These marketing tactics are designed to encourage players to make deposits with a particular casino and the "rebet" requirements before the bonuses can be claimed keep the players on that site. A new tactic being tried by many online casinos is to offer players a free balance in their account just for signing up. These amounts range from $8 up to $20 but have an extended replay requirement before players can claim any winnings. The goal here is simply to draw the player into the site and make them comfortable enough playing for them to invest their own money.
What new players to an online casino may not realize is that these casinos are seldom "stand alone" operations like you would find in Las Vegas. Instead many casinos are usually networked together through the software company that provides their games. For slots with progressive jackpots, an individual casino is not responsible for generating the entire jackpot amount. This means that online casinos can offer large and enticing jackpots to their players. Keep in mind that machines offering large progressive jackpots often payout less often on small wins. Instead that money goes toward building the jackpot itself. So more players on more virtual machines means a larger jackpot.
Players looking at payout percentages for a casino they want to play at should keep in mind that the casino lucky enough to be home to a large progressive win will show a very favorable payout for that time period. But this is type of win occurs very infrequently and is not going to be a reflection of a player's true experience at the game. Generally slots is a exercise in losing money. That said, one of the factors players need to look at when searching for the best slots payouts is the software network of the online casino.
The largest, reputable networks out there are Microgaming, Playtech, Cryptologic, Real Time Gaming, Vegas Technology and Rival Gaming - the latter three still doing business in the U.S. These are reputable in the sense that each software platform holds fairness certifications through third-party testing facilities and are "large" in the sense that they each consistently generate accumulated jackpots over the $1 million mark.
Now, it should go without saying that all of the information thus far shared in regards to slots payouts only applies to legally licensed and regulated online casinos. There are online casinos in business advertising great slots payouts, but who don't hold accreditations to back up their claims. Of course if these unproven claims are taken into account when evaluating online vs brick-and-mortar slots, they can artificially inflate the payout numbers in favor of the online slots.
The best online casinos, not to mention regulatory bodies, have responded to player's demands to provide greater transparency. As such, certified slots payout percentage reports can now be viewed with the click of a mouse. The same cannot be said for brick 'n mortar online casinos. In order to get the best slots payouts online, it is imperative to consult independently prepared payout reports, which also confirm proper RNG operation of the software platform used. It is the RNG which determines what symbol combinations will show up on the reels at the precise millisecond the mouse is clicked.
Many of these slots payout percentage reports can be found on an online casino's "games" page, or via a logo or link at the bottom of the casino website. eCOGRA certified casinos are required to post monthly payout percentage reports on their website via an eCOGRA logo, while many other online casinos opt to do so on their own accord, raising the bar and developing trust with their players. The online gambling industry's leading slots payout report auditors include the aforementioned eCOGRA, Gaming Associates, iTech Labs, Price Waterhouse Coopers, Technical Systems Testing (TST), Certified Fair Gaming (CFG) and BMM International. Most payout reports also include table games and certain other individually selected games like video poker, blackjack and roulette. The slots payout is an average of all slot machines offered and not one particular slot machine.
Getting the best slots payouts definitely sounds like a good thing, but, what does it really mean?
Payout percentage is defined by the amount of funds wagered in ratio to the amount of funds paid back to players. As mentioned, there are several factors which have an impact on a slots payout percentage. Just because the payout is higher than average (in the upper nineties percentile or greater), does not mean the slot machine is paying out money left and right. It could simply mean that a handful of very large jackpot wins took place in the time period which the payout percentage applies to. Finding progressive jackpots that have not hit in a good while or online casinos which consistently return the best slots payouts from month to month should be the primary concern.
What online casinos offer the best slots payouts?
Since payout percentage can vary by the millisecond, it's impossible to say which online casino is offering the best slots payouts right at this very second. However, it is possible to gauge payouts by looking at monthly averages, progressive jackpot tallies, and software platform. The latter of these factors, software platform, needs some further explanation in regards to its relationship to payout percentage.
All online casino software is programmed by a "source code," which essentially directs the RNG of the software platform to deliver unpredictable hand results according to inherent game odds. In other words, the source code ensures that all cards, slots symbols, dice rolls, etc. have an equal chance of coming up on each wager. Some software providers and regulatory jurisdictions explicitly prohibit online casino operators (software licensees) from altering the source code, while others allow manipulation within minimum bounds.