You may have heard the term “payout percentage” often when reading about the online casinos, but never fully understood what it refers to. Here we will talk about this feature of the online casinos (and casinos in general) and unlock the mystery behind this number purported by many of the internet casinos.
For this to happen, first we need to start with how the casinos make money from gambling. Every casino, be it offline or on the Internet, works in the same way – it offers a number of gambling games to its patrons and those games will pay back a certain amount of money the players put in the games. This amount is based on a percentage, which is built-in the game itself, which is why it is a well-known fact that the casinos never lose money (from gambling, that is). Basically, the casino expects that from a certain amount of money gambled by the players, a percentage will be given back to its customers and a portion will be retained by the casino as profit from gambling. The percentage of total money given back to the players in the form of game wins is known as payout percentage.
There are two basic types of games at the casinos – the table games and the video slots. The table games itself already come with this payout percentage built into them, although it is more commonly referred to as “house edge” or “house advantage”. This is essentially the same as “payout percentage”. i.e. the amount of money the casino expects to win in the long term, expressed as a percentage of the whole (or amount of money wagered on that game). With the common table games, this advantage itself comes from the game rules, created in such way that a small percentage will always come to the casino. Some casinos can slightly manipulate the house edge, for example by changing the payout rules of blackjack from 2/1 to 3/2 or by using higher number of card decks. But in general, those percentages will be rather uniform across the casinos.
This is not the case, however, with the video slots, the most popular form of gambling at any casino. The video slots also have a payout percentage, but this number is set by the developer of the video slot machine and can often be changed by the casino operator to improve the return of that particular video slot, within limit, of course. After all, no video slot developer want to be known as offering the tightest slots, that would be a business suicide. But with the video slots, the machine will be set to pay back a certain percentage of the money it takes. For example, if a slot is set at 96% payout, it means that it will pay back $96 for every $100 the players lose, guaranteeing the casino a long-term profit of $4 on every $100.
As you can clearly see, the higher the payout percentage, the better the slot, for the player, that is. Generally, a payout percentage over 96% is considered great for online casino, the average payout being somewhere around 94%-95%. Of course, there are exceptions to every rule. A lot of online casinos will have video slots similar to the retail loss leaders, i.e. video slots that would pay out over 100% of the money taken in, which would result in a total loss for the online casino from that slot. The casino, however, aims to use those slots as an attraction, to get the players to join the casino and hopes to make the money back from other slots paying on lower percentages.
Keep in mind, however, that just because an online casino has a very high payout percentage, for example 95%, it doesn’t mean that if you sit down and lose $100 you will get $95 back. Those percentages are in play over the long term, while short term is governed purely by the randomness built into the games. That’s why a high payout video slot may go tight for a while, then all of a sudden – pay a huge jackpot to one lucky player. Or vice versa, the slot will pay a big jackpot, the go quiet for a while. The important thing to understand here is that the payout percentage is just a general guideline and based on long-term, while short term the video slots will still remain dependent on the random number generator.