Expected Reading Time | 5 Minutes
Last Updated: February 14, 2024
Written by Yvonne Greenwood
Did you know that online casinos can now change the RTP on slot machines? But what do the regulations say? Are online casinos really allowed to change the RTP and can they do it on any slot machine?
These are some of the questions we will answer in this article.
We will also cover which slots online casinos can and cannot change the RTP for as well as give you some tips on what you can do about it.
If you want all the answers in less than 30 seconds, scroll down to the article summary at the bottom of this page. For more in-depth explanations, continue reading.
WHAT IS RTP AND WHY SHOULD YOU CARE?
RTP stands for Return to Player. Displayed as a percentage, the RTP determines how much of your initial stake you get back on average when placing bets on a slot machine or casino game.
So, if a slot machine has an RTP of 95%, then in theory you will get back 95 pence for every pound you bet.
It is important to note that the RTP of slots is calculated over hundreds of thousands of spins, sometimes even millions. So, in reality your actual return rate is likely to differ from the theoretical RTP. It is therefore possible to receive both more and less of your stake than what is indicated by the RTP of a slot.
The RTP is just an indicator of how much of your stake should be returned to you in theory if you play enough. You should therefore not take a slots RTP too seriously. However, you should not ignore it either as it will have a serious impact on your expected return rate if you are a regular player.
WHAT DO THE REGULATIONS SAY ABOUT RTP AND SLOT MACHINE PAYOUTS?
Different countries and licensing authorities have different rules for online slots and RTP, so the rules that apply to a particular online casino in one country may be different from the rules that apply to another online casino in another country.
For example, all casinos (both land-based and online) holding an MGA licence must have a minimum RTP of 85% on slots regardless of the country they operate in. As long as the RTP is above 85%, online casinos can legally change it if the game provider behind the slot allows them to.
In the UK, things are a little bit different. This is what the UK Gambling Commission says about RTP for all gaming machines:
“There is no minimum RTP on a gaming machine.”
“Gaming machines must make information available about their category, %RTP and whether they are compensated or random. This must be on every machine and could be in the form of a label or notice attached to the machine. It may be shown on a game help screen or in some other screen area within the game.”
So as long as UK online casinos display the RTP, they can change and use any RTP they want on their slots (as long as the game provider behind the slot allows it).
However, what online casinos cannot do is manipulate the RTP. The RTP displayed on the slot is the RTP you get. They are never allowed to display a false RTP.
CAN ONLINE CASINOS CHANGE THE RTP ON ANY SLOT MACHINE?
No, online casinos cannot change the RTP on any slot, nor can they change it to a random number. Not because the rules do not allow it, but because the game providers do not allow it. They can only change the RTP on a slot machine if there is an option for it.
Today, almost all of the slots you find at online casinos are made by third-party game providers. The casinos do not own the slots themselves, they merely rent them. It is the game providers who determine the slot’s RTP, as well as whether or not casinos are allowed to change it.
Whilst some game providers produce slots with fixed RTP rates (this means that casinos cannot change it), others produce slots with adjustable RTP rates (this means that casinos can change it). Some game providers even produce slots with both fixed RTP and adjustable RTP.
Moreover, the providers that allow online casinos to change the RTP of their slots have predetermined ranges that the casinos must adhere to. Most often these ranges are two to four different RTP levels somewhere between 87-96%.
ON WHICH SLOTS CAN ONLINE CASINOS CHANGE THE RTP?
Slots from the following game providers have both fixed and adjustable RTP rates. Online casinos can therefore change the RTP on some of these slots. So if you play slots from one of these providers, you may get different RTPs depending on where you play.
- Play’n GO
- NoLimit City
- Push Gaming
- Pragmatic Play
- Red Tiger Gaming
ON WHICH SLOTS CAN ONLINE CASINOS NOT CHANGE THE RTP?
Slots from the following game providers only have fixed RTP rates. Online casinos are therefore unable to change the RTP on slots from these providers. So if you play slots from one of these providers, you will always get the same RTP regardless of where you play.
- Relax Gaming
- Big Time Gaming
- NextGen Gaming
- Yggdrasil Gaming
- Iron Dog Studio
- Elk Studios
- Kalamba Games
WHAT CAN YOU DO ABOUT CASINOS CHANGING THE RTP?
You cannot stop an online casino from changing the RTP to a lower figure as they have every right to do so. Although it may seem unethical, they do it to increase profits.
So what can you do about it?
First of all, you should always be well informed before playing. You need to check the RTPs of the slots you intend to play (here is an article explaining how you can find the RTP).
Once you have checked the RTPs, compare them to the default RTP rates listed on the official websites of the game providers. If you notice that an online casino is lowering the RTP, you can simply switch to another casino that does not do so.
You can also avoid slots with adjustable RTP rates altogether. If you stick to slots with fixed RTP rates, you will always get the same RTP as casinos cannot change it.
A third option is to only play high RTP slots. These are the slots with the highest RTPs in the industry. They always have an RTP above 97%.
- Online casinos are allowed to change the RTP, but only on certain slots when the game providers allow it.
- They cannot change the RTP to a random number as they must adhere to specific RTP levels within a certain range set by the game provider.
- Online casinos must display the RTP for each slot somewhere in the game.
- Casinos are never allowed to manipulate the RTP or display a false RTP.
- You cannot stop casinos from changing the RTP.
- It is up to you to ensure you are playing with the highest possible RTP.
Greetings, I’m Yvonne Greenwood
Yvonne Greenwood is our talented writer. In the office she goes by the nickname ‘The Machine’ because of her ability to always smash out excellent and relevant articles for our readers at SlotsHawk.com.
Content writer since 2020