Entertainment Developer

Learn About Payback Percentage for Games at Online Casinos

Posted On: March 6, 2013

Even though it may not seem like it sometimes when you're losing money, online slots games don't keep all of the money put into them. A certain percentage of the money played through the games is returned to the players in the form of credits and jackpots. That percentage is called the payback percentage, and knowing more about it can help you make smart decisions about which games best suit your playing style.

It's a well known fact that casino operators can adjust the payback percentage on individual games, controlling exactly how tight or loose they might be. What isn't as widely known is that there is also a payback percentage for the entire floor (in a physical casino) or the overall group of slots games (for an online casino). It's this overall percentage that is regulated by the licensing body for each casino to ensure that players aren't getting ripped off. In truth, it behooves casinos to stick to a certain level of payback on their own, because word would get around if their games weren't paying out, and players would simple migrate elsewhere.

Each game contributes to the overall payback percentage based on its denomination, so a $1 slot "counts" the same as 100 1-cent machines in what's known as a weighted average. Because of this, low denomination machines are almost always set to pay back less than the larger denomination games. There are exceptions, such as progressive machines that take small amounts of each bet to go toward the progressive jackpot. But in general, the more you have to pay to play, the more the game is going to pay back in the long run.

Knowing that, it becomes easier to figure out a basic rule for getting the most bang for your buck when playing slots online. All other things being equal, you should play at the highest denomination that you can afford to play, because it's extremely likely that a lower denomination game will chew up your money faster and provide you with less winning spins.