House Edge of Slots
A key question you should ask when deciding which online slot to play at your favorite US real money casino or slots site is, what is the house edge of the game? The house edge is effectively the profit margin the casino has built into the game and represents their advantage over the player. The house edge is the common term for most casino games and can be used for slots but RTP (Return To Player) is more commonly used when we are talking about slots.
RTP and house edge effectively express the same thing, albeit in different ways. Both the house edge and the RTP are expressed as percentages but the former is the amount the house can expect to win whilst the latter is the amount the player can expect to get back. For example, whilst the house edge on video poker or blackjack may be less than 1%, the RTP on slots is more likely to be 95%.
The interesting thing about the difference between playing slots and almost all other casino games is that with games such as online roulette or craps, the house edge is fixed and is common knowledge. Rule variants, especially in games like blackjack or video poker can alter it slightly but even then, these can be calculated simply enough.
However, with slots the RTP is not a simple product of the rules and cannot be mathematically ascertained but is instead set, a manufactured product of the desires of the software company that made the slot or in some cases the online casino in which you are playing.
This makes it trickier to know the house edge of any given slot and whilst some real money casinos list the RTP in the slot info on how to play, others don’t. In this case it’s worth simply asking customer support and if they won’t tell you, perhaps that’s a slot best avoided.
Of course, the RTP/house edge isn’t the only important factor in choosing what game or slot to play. As a general rule slots tend to have a bigger house edge than most other casino games but this reflects three things.
Firstly, slots tend to be a lot more fun to play and, linked to this, there are new ones coming out all the time and consequently development and licensing costs. Finally, slots, especially progressive jackpot slots, offer the chance to win a huge amount, many, many times greater than your stake. This explains why some slots have a house edge of up to 15% but we guarantee you won’t complain if you hit a seven figure jackpot!
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