Return to player (RTP) is helpful because it shows how much money, on average, you can expect to win from casino games. For example, a game with 97% RTP will pay back $97 for every $100 wagered.
Payout percentages for many online casino games are easily accessible. You can simply navigate to a game’s info screen to find this information.
Unfortunately, land-based casinos nor their developers provide the same courtesy. They don’t offer any indication on RTP for slot machines.
You can figure out percentages for land-based table games. However, you’ll need to put a little research into the matter.
With that said, should brick and mortar casinos provide RTP figures for their games? This discussion covers why they don’t currently offer this info along with why they should start providing it.
Why Don’t Land Based Casinos Display RTP
Brick-and-mortar casinos have gone for decades without offering payout percentages. Below, you can see the reasons why they don’t feel the need to start any time soon. And the truth is that they’re probably not going to be forced to start revealing this information any time soon.
Real Money Casinos Choose Different Payout Percentages for Slots
When it comes to slot machines, the developers list the RTP—not casinos. Most online slots developers choose to provide this information.
Land-based slots providers, on the other hand, don’t offer payout percentages. They actually have a pretty good excuse for not delivering this info.
As a result, developers can’t list uniform payout percentages. They simply program slot machines to pay whatever each individual operator wants. But with a little math you can find the RTP for land based slot machines.
Hard to Do With Table Games
Some table games feature common rules from one casino to the next. American Roulette, baccarat, Caribbean Stud, and European Roulette, for example, offer consistent rules across the board.
Other table games, in contrast, have varying rules. For instance, two side-by-side blackjack tables could feature different rules.
With that said, land-based casinos face a challenge in providing payout percentages for table games. With blackjack tables, they need a different RTP display for each game depending upon the rules.
Few Calls for Casinos to Provide This Information
Brick and mortar casinos might consider offering payback figures if they faced growing calls to do so. These demands, however, aren’t really coming from anywhere.
Outside of this post, most people don’t complain about the lack of RTP. They still visit land-based gaming establishments and gamble.
Of course, the same players would certainly benefit from knowing payout percentages. They’re just not demanding that casinos make this info public.
Low Paying Games Can Still Draw Gamblers
Gambling establishments make a lot of money when the odds are heavily in their favor. They especially win big through Big Six, keno, and many slot machines.
Most people who play these games don’t even know the terrible odds they’re facing. They simply see a game that looks fun and begin wagering on it.
Casinos rely on this lack of knowledge to sell certain games. After all, they’d have a tough time getting people to play a keno game with just 75% payback.
Why Land-Based Casinos Should Provide RTP
Brick and mortar casinos may not be close to offering payback figures just yet. They should strongly consider doing so, though, for the following reasons.
Many Players Would Appreciate It
Again, most gamblers don’t demand that casinos offer payout percentages. But if they had this information, they’d likely appreciate it.
Likewise, you could see that craps with 2x odds pays up to 99.55% RTP on a don’t pass line bet. Meanwhile, a craps table with 10x odds offers up to 99.77% payback on this same wager.
Save Players Some Time
Many players prefer to know the RTP behind whatever game they’re playing. They’re willing to do the research to find this info.
However, casinos could simply save players the trouble by displaying payout percentages to begin with. This way, gamblers wouldn’t need to waste their own time finding the RTP. They’d simply look at an info screen or display to see the payback.
Help Reduce Problem Gaming
Problem gamblers often play casino games without much knowledge of the payback or strategy. As a result, they treat the matter as pure gambling.
They don’t know the odds and will simply gamble just to win their money back (a.k.a. chasing losses). Some of the same problem players, though, might curb their habits if they knew the true odds.
Publicly available RTP would go a long way towards helping problem gamblers. It would show which games don’t offer very good payout percentages and, thus, present worse propositions.
How Could Brick and Mortar Casinos Implement Payback?
As covered earlier, land-based casinos face some challenges in displaying RTP. Nevertheless, they could implement payout percentages through the following ways.
Use Custom RTP Figures
The fact that land-based slots developers give operators RTP options makes displaying payback more difficult. However, it’s not necessarily an impossible task.
Developers of land-based slot machines could use the same system to provide payback. They simply need to customize the payout percentage for each casino.
Use Electronic Displays at Tables
The varying rules for certain table games make offering an RTP figure difficult. Casinos, however, could solve this problem with electronic displays.
They might use such a display to show the rules and RTP for a given game. If the rules and payout percentage ever change, they could simply switch the onscreen payback figure.
Provide RTP on the Website
Casinos don’t necessarily have to only show payout percentages in their establishment. They could also provide RTP for each game on their websites. Gambling establishments that offer particularly favorable odds should especially consider this option.
Las Vegas’ El Cortez, for example, provides some of the city’s top odds for many games. They could make this information more known by offering it on their websites and/or through social media.
Will Land-Based Casinos Ever Provide Payback?
Here are the two main reasons why online developers offer payout percentages:
- Much of the competition does so
- They’re required to in regulated markets
Regarding the first point, governing bodies and regulated jurisdictions often require online casinos to list RTP. Gaming sites don’t have a choice in this situation.
Of course, not every online casino operates in a regulated jurisdiction. They don’t have to showcase RTP if they don’t want to. Nevertheless, they do so anyways because most of their competitors are as well.
The land-based gambling market doesn’t have to show payout percentages. Regulators aren’t requiring them to offer this information.
Their competition isn’t voluntarily offering payback either. They don’t feel the need to share RTP when their peers aren’t either.
No signs indicate that brick-and-mortar casinos are anywhere close to offering publicly available payout percentages. This matter could somehow change in the future, but the pressure would likely need to come from regulatory bodies.
Our Final Thoughts
Land-based casinos don’t provide return to player for multiple reasons. First and foremost, they have some challenges in front of them regarding varying slots RTP and different table game rules.
Additionally, few gamblers express outrage of the lack of payout percentages. Casinos are unlikely to change in this regard if there’s no push for it.
Of course, the land-based gaming industry could provide benefits to players by listing RTP. Most notably, it could help minimize problem gambling. Some problem players would see really low payout percentages and avoid the associated games.
For now, though, brick and mortar casinos are content with not displaying payback. Hopefully, something will change in this regard in the future.