Home » Online Slots RTP and Volatility – What Does it Mean?

Online Slots RTP and Volatility – What Does it Mean?

The online casino industry has a host of important terms you will often hear. Phrases such as no deposit bonuses, wagering, and free spins are commonplace. Two important terms that you should understand when playing any online casino game are RTP and volatility. We explain these key phrases and the implications they have below.

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RTP – Return to Player

RTP stands for Return to Player. It is often used in conjunction with the term House Edge. When understanding how online slots work, you must know what RTP is, and how it works.


RTP is the return a player should expect to make of their original stake when playing a slot game over a prolonged period. Still, confused? Let’s look at an example:

The popular video slot Starburst by NetEnt has an RTP percentage of 96.01%. This means that if you spend $100 playing this game, over time, you expect to get back 96.01% or $96.01 of your original stake – or make a loss of $3.99. This loss is known as the house edge.

Key points

You can use RTP percentages to look at your potential chances of winning. Ideally, video slots with a higher RTP percentage are preferable. The key points are, however, that this is an expected percentage. Also, it applies mainly when you play multiple times – RTP percentages often aren’t reflective after only a few spins.

Volatility – The mechanics of winning and wining volume

Aside from RTP, the other important factor for winning is volatility. The volatility of a slot dictates how often you are likely to win, but also, the volume of your winnings. Slot games are usually split into three types of volatility – high, medium, and low:

High Volatility – Less often, but higher winnings

High volatility slots are more unpredictable and better suited for those who want to take a risk. When playing these slots, you will not score winning reels often. However, when you do win, there is a greater chance of the win being a higher value.

High volatility slots could be compared to placing a higher odds sportsbook bet. There is much less chance of the outcome happening, but if it does, you will receive a sweet payout. This type of video slot is generally better for risk-takers and those who like a little excitement and unpredictability.

Medium Volatility – A balanced chance

Medium volatility strikes a balance between high and low volatility slots. This type of game is better suited for those who don’t really want to play it risky but also want a better chance of cashing in with higher winnings. You could compare this to betting evens on a sportsbook bet – its essentially a 50/50 chance, and the payout is OK, but not amazing.

Low Volatility – More often, but lower winnings

Low volatility slots are for the safe gambler – the person who wants consistent winnings. Low volatility slots payout more often, but the payout value is much less. There is less risk involved in this type of game, but you aren’t likely to hit many huge wins either. This could be compared to a favourable sportsbook bet with lower odds – something you would consider to be a safe bet but will only have a marginally profitable payout.

Chose volatility to suit your playing style

As you can see, slot volatility has a great effect on the gaming experience. You should therefore pick volatility that you are comfortable with!

Check RTP and Volatility so you Understand your Chances of Winning

Before you play any video slot game, we always advise checking the RTP and volatility. This will ensure you are prepared, and you are fully aware of the games payout mechanics, and how likely you are to make a profit.