When you’re looking around for the best online casino to play at, there are a lot of factors that have to be taken on board – chief among them is, of course, the payout rate.
There’s a lot of misunderstanding online about what a payout rate is but the reality is fairly straightforward. The payout rate is simply the percentage of the total amount of money wagered in the casino that is eventually paid out to winning players.
One common source of confusion when it comes to the term is when the amount wagered is confused with the amount deposited. These are obviously not the same thing.
As we’ve indicated, payouts are made in relation to the amount of money wagered and, as different casinos have different games and operate on different business margins, the overall payout on offer will differ between them.
For most online casinos the payout ratio is usually somewhere between 95% and 98%. That said, it’s always important to examine the payout rate of the particular game you wish to play in any casino as no two games will be the same. The casino payout rates you’ll see listed online are generally for the casino as a whole, and can be skewed by large jackpots being won on specific games. You should always be sure to check the payout rate for the particular game you’re playing to make sure you’re looking at the right set of numbers.
Online casinos work in an extremely similar way to regular land-based casinos and it helps to think of them in much the same way. You need to be a realist and be aware from the outset that online casinos exist primarily to make money for their owners and there are specific laws that govern how they work. No two online casinos are the same and not every casino will offer the same bonuses or games, or even make the same amount of profits. You’ll need to examine each casino on its own merits and make sure you’re factoring in the particular subset of games you’re considering wagering on.
There are two issues that factor into this. The most obvious one is that casinos are businesses and there to make money. For that to happen, they need to be taking in more money than they’re paying out over time. That isn’t to say that you don’t have the chance to win big as an individual player of course. Just be aware that the odds are against the average player most of the time.
The second aspect that influences online casino payouts is that they’re an amalgam of payouts across a multitude of games, all of which have different payout rates. How those individual games are played will result in higher or lower overall casino payout rates. If you’re dealing with a casino where lower payout games are more popular (often the case), this will skew the overall payout rate listed. As we stressed above, always be sure to look at the payout rates for the particular range of games you’re looking at actually tackling – these are the only numbers that really matter at the end of the day.
The question of whether online casino payout percentages are determined by law depends entirely on which jurisdiction the online casino is licensed with and which games you are looking at.
Some regions do indeed specify minimum payout levels for certain games but the amounts you’ll see offered are usually determined primarily by both the particular type of game involved and established rates in the market. It’s worth noting that, primarily due to their reduced operational costs, the average payout rates across most online casinos tend to be slightly higher than what you’ll find with land-based casinos.
When it comes to day-to-day play, the payout percentages you’ll be dealing with will not be determined by law, but will be a result of the particular games you’re dealing with and how competitive the online market is at any given point.
You’ll nearly always see casino payout rates prominently displayed on the homepage of all reputable casinos. These casinos will be regulated and subject to verification and you’ll generally be able to see a verification certificate from the auditing firm that produced the results.
What this means is that the scope for reputable casinos to game the payout rates is actually pretty limited. You may see less than reputable casinos trying to boost their quoted payout rates by use of clever bonus systems and particular types of jackpots, however. Be sure to check the online reputation of any casino you’re considering going with to be on guard against this type of underhand manoeuvre.
There are a number of tips and techniques you can use to ensure you have the best chance possible of finding an online casino with good payouts. Let’s step through the main ones:
- Look for verified casinos: When you’re browsing quoted payout rates, always check that they’re accompanied by verified figures with a certificate from an independent auditing firm to ensure the payout rates quoted are legitimate and accurate. This is important for both the casino as a whole and individual games you’ll be playing.
- Track down payout reports: This is the next level detail after you’ve established a casino is actually verified. You should be able to find detailed payout reports available from independent organisations such as eCogra that let you really run the numbers to your satisfaction and make a truly informed choice.
- Bear geographical location in mind: Geographical location can have a significant impact on payout rates. The level of local regulation, taxation, and other associated business costs will all play a role in determining overall payout rates on offer as some casinos are able to operate on lower margins than others due to local factors.
- Check reviews and recommendations: These days there are fortunately a huge amount of casino reviews and ratings sites out there, alongside dedicated forums, that can help you get a quick feel for the reputation of a particular casino and how accurate their quoted payout rates are. Use these to save yourself a considerable amount of time when it comes to research and to narrow down your list of suitable candidates quickly.
- Focus on your game: As we mentioned above, if you’re planning on exclusively playing poker, the average roulette payouts on a particular site will be of little interest to you. Stick with researching numbers that will actually affect your play to get the clearest overall picture.
Some games are naturally more popular than others. Here’s a quick breakdown of three of the most popular casino options out there and where you can expect to find the best payouts.
- Blackjack: Easily one of the most popular casino games of all time, Blackjack is a simple game at its core – get your card total as near as possible to 21 without going over. The house edge is relatively minimal with blackjack so payout rules are primarily a function of the core rules of the game rather than anything else. You’ll see very little variation in payout rates either online or offline with blackjack. The key to getting the most bang for your buck is simply to ensure your casino offers the particular blackjack variant you tend to favour and to make sure it’s independently audited and certified.
- Roulette: Roulette is another extremely popular casino game where players bet on the final destination of a ball as it bounces around the famous spinning wheel. The house bias on this game is quite small, and it’s another example of payout levels being built into the game rules themselves. You’ll tend to see payout levels fairly consistent across all reputable casinos.
- Slots: Slot games have come on in leaps and bounds over the last decade online. New advances in graphics, gameplay, and interactive video options have combined to make them one of the fastest growing gambling options online. Payouts vary considerably when it comes to slots so it’s worth doing some serious research. Microgaming casino software rates consistently high when it comes to both choice and payout for slot games with their popular Tomb Raider title being an excellent example of both.
While it’s worth your time tracking down the best online casino payouts in the various ways we’ve described above, there are some games where payout levels will always be relatively poor. If that happens to be the case with a game you enjoy, what should you do?
Luckily there are ways you can work around this to an extent. By taking strategic advantage of bonus deposits and other offers, you can help limit your risks and give your potential payout rates a much-needed boost.
With games that are primarily based on skill such as poker and blackjack, you’ve also got the option of studying game strategy extensively to give yourself even more of an edge. It’s always worth expanding your knowledge base and skill set regardless, of course. Once you’ve made your choice regarding games and casino, the best way to ensure your payout level remains as high as possible is to understand the games you are playing deeply, focus on limiting your risks, and employ betting strategies that maximise your chances of success over the long run.
Not all casinos and casino games are created equally when it comes to payout levels so it’s in your interest to do some up-front research when you’re starting out on your online gambling journey.
Seeking out casinos audited by independent bodies that have comparatively high payout rates is a great way to ensure you have a decent chance of good payout levels, whilst understanding the level of payout and bias inherent in the game of your choice and adapting your strategies to suit can aid in getting the most out of your playing sessions.
Casinos exist to make money, and the games are always in their favour, and it is both important to understand and accept this and deal with that reality by minimizing, rather than ignoring, the effect of that. This does not mean you cannot win playing online casinos of course, people do so every day, and the casino wins overall, not necessarily with each individual.
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