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Should There Be a Minimum RTP for Casino Games?

minimum rtpIf you’re familiar with online casino games, then the chances are that you have become privy to the return to player (RTP) rates associated with them. These RTP rates dictate the potential payout that you can receive from a game over an extended period of time playing it. The information regarding this is given in the form of a percentage, and the higher that percentage is, the better off the game will be for payouts over time. And while it is vital to know that the RTP rate is calculated over thousands and thousands of spins or game rounds (sometimes millions of spins or rounds), it is also necessary to ask the question of if there should be a standard minimum rate for this on all games.

It is not uncommon to find some online casino games that have terrible RTP rates when compared against the general average. Often times, options like scratch cards and other instant win games are the worst offenders for this, with virtual sports and other mini games falling in line with them where RTP rates are concerned. But even some slot games have awful RTP rates associated with them, meaning that you don’t get to benefit as much from spinning their reels as you would playing other titles. A minimum RTP rate would cancel out the possibility for game developers and online casinos to get more out of you than they really should. After all, can it be said that you losing more money on games to the house is providing an enjoyable experience?

What is Considered a Low RTP Rate for Casino Games?

rtpThe RTP rate of an online casino game is determined based on a number of factors. This means that at times, it can be difficult to figure out what can be considered a low-paying option and what is a higher-paying option to access. That being said, you can utilise various pointers to root out the low paying games, by realising what a fair RTP rate is.

It is important to note that there are no two games that feature the same sort of payback, meaning that you need to view each different game as an individual product. As far as the RTP rate is concerned, at least.

Let’s take a look at what affects the RTP rate of playing blackjack. As it happens, blackjack serves as one of the best casino games for payouts, but the table’s rules do affect this percentage. While one blackjack table may incorporate a single deck of cards and payouts of 3:2 for natural blackjacks (favouring you, the player, greatly), another could have a 6:5 natural payout and eight decks of cards in action. That can only negatively affect your chances. Certain blackjack rules affect the payback of a game, including the decks in use, the natural blackjack payouts, doubling down on any total, re-splitting aces, and more. But a table with ideal rules will have an RTP rate of around 99.5% to 99.77%. The worse blackjack games have an RTP rate of about 98% or below.

If you were to play a slot machine, on the other hand, you will be in the company of some of the most variable RTP rates. These can run from around 80% right up to 96% in land-based casinos, while online casinos offer them right up to 99%. Land-based machines do not have RTP rates visible on them though, whereas online casino lobbies are required to provide this insight. A good general average for online slots is around 96%, and many of them provide this kind of long-term payout. Yet some of the older slot releases can be as low as 90% and even below this level, which is a stark contrast.

Without a doubt, playing casino games online often provides you with a better RTP rate. And people clearly realise this on some level, because the activity at online gambling platforms has been on the increase since 2019 and before.

To answer the query noted at the top of this section, a low RTP rate for casino games depends upon the type of game you’re playing overall. But generally speaking, anything above 95 – 96% should be considered as a release that can provide a good payout.

What About a Minimum RTP Rate?

maximum minimum signsAs things stand at the moment, according to official information from the United Kingdom Gambling Commission, there is no minimum RTP rate on any gaming machine. And this has been the case throughout the liberalised legal gambling scene in the UK, dating back to 2005. Therefore, in a very outrageous scenario, it could be that a game is created with a 40% RTP rate. Of course, a developer wouldn’t design such a game because people would find it to be exceptionally unfair and not playing it. That being said, there are many people who don’t actually look at the RTP rate of a game and simply play it, so there is every chance that some players would completely miss out on the fact that it’s such a low-paying game.

Would it be beneficial for games to have minimum RTP rates included in them by law, though? If there was a minimum rate of 90%, for example, then this would mean that a game could not lean in favour of the casino by more than 10%.

Scratchcard and other instant win games are some of the biggest offenders when it comes to savage RTP rates. Take a look at the 2021 release entitled Eggstravaganza from G.Games, which only has a 50% return to player. Considering the general average for video slots is around 96%, that’s a ridiculously low rate in comparison. And it’s not only these instant win games either, because several slot releases come with visibly silly RTP rates. For example, the 2020 release entitled Samantha Fox by MGA Games only comes with an RTP rate of 80.08%, which is proportionately very low to many others.

A minimum RTP rate law would certainly stop this from happening, especially if it was set at something more helpful to players. And in the end, how could it be justified for a game to have RTP rates that go lower than such a level? Obviously, the RTP rate of a game isn’t everything, but it is very much important. Different features in slots all contribute towards the total RTP rate, so certain features of low RTP slots may still be worth playing for. And the highest wins don’t always come from the games with the high RTP rates.

However, it’s difficult to figure out which low RTP rate games are worth playing. Doubtless, many people try to seek out the games with the rates that stand at higher levels, and more so around the average RTP rate. It seems quite senseless trying to play a low RTP rate game when there are various other options with much better returns available, right?

Are There Any Benefits to Low RTP Rate Casino Games?

pros and cons

Two primary reasons exist for people opting to play low RTP rate games. First of all, the entertainment level of them may be enough for some players. Gaming is not all about winning money for many people, so if a slot or other game provides plenty of entertainment, then they will likely continue playing it for that reason. And generally speaking, casino games should be played for entertainment purposes. It’s silly to focus on them solely as a way of making money.

Secondly, despite low RTP slot games having a low return on your wagers, many of them come with large payouts involved in them. Sometimes, they can offer the highest payouts possible in the lobby. Progressive jackpot slots, for example, tend to on average have lower RTP rates than non-jackpot games. And some people have figured out that those games with low RTP rates and medium volatility levels that feature fixed jackpots are the best to play. Fixed jackpots don’t reach such high heights as progressive jackpots can, but you have better odds of winning them more so than progressives. Plus, they have better payouts with their bonus features most of the time.

For a prime example of this, you only need to take a look at the Mega Moolah online slot game from Microgaming. The RTP rate that is involved in this slot is 88.12%, and it has a medium volatility level. It’s also a progressive jackpot slot game that has been active since 2006. It is also one of the best slot games to play for progressive payouts, frequently awarding players with huge rewards. In October of 2015, for example, it paid out a record-breaking £13.2 million to a British player. Former soldier Jon Heywood wagered 25p on the game at the Betway casino and hit the massive payout, despite it having the 88.12% RTP rate that is lower than a lot of other slots.

It’s not all doom and gloom when it comes to low RTP rate casino games, if you know which ones to look for and play. And in this case, is it really necessary to have a minimum RTP rate law introduced for these games?

An Introduction as Part of the White Paper?

rulesWe already know that the UK Government is presiding over the alterations to the gambling legislation in the country. This was brought about in 2020 as a way of tackling growing concerns over the regulation of the industry, which has been said to not be up to date with the modern digital age. Rumours have abounded about what will be changed, added and taken away from the laws of the UK’s gambling scene, although nothing has been set in stone as of yet.

A white paper is expected to be published at some point in May, although this has been pushed back a few times already, much to the chagrin of both players and operators in the UK. Could it be possible that a law surrounding RTP rates is introduced as part of the new legislation for the country?

It’s not very likely, considering that the revamp of the Gambling Act 2005 was brought about so as to ensure the laws are right for this modern day and age. And furthermore, campaigners have been focusing on the fact that the UK has witnessed increased levels of gambling addiction and problem gambling across the country. This was another reason for changing the laws to protect minors and vulnerable people. A minimum RTP rate law wouldn’t really have any effect on these areas, and it is more than likely that the government hasn’t even thought of this as being a particular feature to work on.

Considering the fact that people are still able to win big amounts from slots and other casino games with low RTP rates, it can’t really be labelled as a contributing factor to problem gambling more so than anything else. Besides which, that white paper is more likely to include changes such as maximum wagers on games, frequency of being able to play a round, and other such strict rules.

Of course, as a player of casino games, you may be more interested in the RTP rate for your own knowledge. Yet if you’re only playing one or two spins or rounds on a game, then it’s really not so relevant. Unless you’re intending to come back to the game for frequent sessions with it, then it really won’t matter if it’s a 99% RTP game or an 88% RTP game. You can still win and lose on both of these rates, although on average, the slot with the higher RTP rate will payout more than the one with the lower RTP rate.

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