Guide to Online Casinos

How Payout Percentages Work at Online Casinos

The old adage that the house always wins is true enough when it comes to online casinos. But did you know that there's actually a set amount that those casinos expect to win at each game over the long haul? That's because they use formulas called payout percentages to control exactly how much money people win or lose when averages out over all of the games the casino offers.

Factors That Determine Online Casino Payout Percentages

Understanding casino payout percentages might sound difficult, but they are based on fairly simple math. To see how they work, let's consider a small online casino with just 10 slots games. If the casino wants the slots games to payout at 90 percent, that means that on average, every dollar wagered will return 90 cents to the players, with the casino keeping the other 10 cents. This doesn't happen on every spin, of course. Rather, it's an average of what the losing spins give to the casino and the winning combinations and jackpots pay back to the players over the long run – meaning thousands or even millions of spins.

Casinos can and do make adjustments to the individual games to make sure the overall percentages stay where they want them. It's well known that penny slots tend to pay out at a lower rate as a group than dollar machines in order to have the former make up for the big jackpots sometimes won on the latter. Table games like blackjack work somewhat differently using a concept called the hold, but the basic math behind it is similar. When all the games in the casino are taken together, it's possible for the ownership to understand exactly what they can expect to win on an average day, and while there are deviations in both directions, over time results will fall within an expected range.

The people who have the final say over online casino payout percentages are the ones working for the government agencies that regulate the casinos. To ensure fairness for all players, these regulatory bodies demand that casinos operating under their jurisdiction pay out at minimum percentages. Regular tests and audits are done to make sure the gambling sites stay in compliance with these rules. Yet even if there wasn't anyone looking over their shoulders, online casinos would probably find that lowering the payout percentages too far would lead them to ruin. After all, there are plenty of online casinos out there, and no one wants to play at a site where no one ever wins.