Payout percentage (also known as payout ratio) refers to the total payout by the casino to the players as compared to the total amount wagered by the players, for a period of time. It can be presented in terms of monthly, quarterly or annually. For example, if the casino receives a total bet of $1,000,000 and payout $975,000 to the players for a particular month, then the monthly payout percentage reported for that month will be 97.5%.
Payout percentage are often reported as an overall average by the online casino, but the percentage for individual games like slot machines, video pokers and table games are also available. Payout percentage varies between online casinos, games and reporting periods, because it is influenced by various factors as described below:
- Size of player base – An online casino with a small number of players will probably see a large deviation in the payout percentage between the reporting periods. A more popular online casino with a large player base will most likely generate consistent results over several reporting periods.
- Type of game – Slots and some table games like roulette belongs to the group where winning depends purely on luck. On the other hand, games like Blackjack or Video Poker depend on the skill of the players as well, and the skill element ensures that the payout percentage differs from other games. Even when comparing the same game against several casinos, they tend to differ as well.
- Reporting period – In general, the longer the assessment period, the more accurate will be the result. For example in slot machines, it is possible that the previous reporting period had a large jackpot payout and none in the current reporting period. The payout percentage for these 2 periods will be very different. A longer assessment period will be able to smoother this deviation.
From the above explanation, it should be clear to you that a $1,000 wagered on a particular game with a payout of 97.5% will not return you $975 of winning as expected. Remember that the payout is derived from the bets from many other players and over a long period of time.
As an online casino player, it is advisable to source for an online casino with the highest payout to reduce your risk. In general, a payout percentage of 95% and above is considered as a good payout. When comparing the payout percentages, players should not look at the overall payout for that particular online casino only, they should compare the payout percentage of the particular game that they will be playing against other online casinos. Players are also advised to look out for online casino/game with fairly consistent payout percentage over several reporting periods.
Some online casinos will post their payout percentage on their websites and they are updated from time to time, typically monthly. Sometimes, historical percentages are posted as well to allow comparison for consistency. If the information is not available on the website, you can always drop them an email or give them a call to request for the report.
When reading the payout report, players should take note whether they have been certified by any external auditing body. It should not be difficult to identify the auditing body that certifies the report by looking for the logo of the auditing body and the signed off portion at the bottom of the report. Some of the most common and reputable auditing bodies in the online casino industry are Technical Systems Testing (TST), e-Commerce and Online Gaming Regulation and Assurance (eCOGRA) and PricewaterhouseCoopers (PWC). A quality and trustworthy online casino would be one which updates it verification certificate regularly every month.