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Daniel C. White
13.04.2021

One Slot, Different Returns. Operators Can Choose RTP

Many players complain that they have been cheated and robbed, as games don’t pay as they should. Most of this comes from ignorance of how online casino games work, but sometimes these suspicions lead to surprising discoveries.

One such case was with GameArt demo games. The players began to complain that the test game was much more profitable than in the real mode. This was initially denied as impossible, but in the end, it turned out to be true, indeed. Moreover, the developer admitted this. You can learn the details here.

Play’n GO and Different Versions of Slots

Another case dates back to early 2017, when a player posted information on different returns of the same slots in different casinos on the Casinomeister forum. They were Play’n GO slot machines. At the time, there was a discussion about deceiving the players and accusations of the developer and the casino.

It turned out that there was no crime – it was legal and worked as follows: some developers release multiple versions of the same game with different returns. This is done to make their slots sell better. Some casino will want a 96% return version, while others prefer a minimal return. This “flexibility” in choice brings developers more customers.

Regular manufacturers have all these versions with different returns licensed, but in different jurisdictions. The operator is not able to influence the results of the game. At most, it can choose which version it will offer. However, it is not known whether this choice is fixed, or the casino is free to change the percentage over the course of time.

Neither the developer nor the casino breaks laws or cheats players, since all versions are licensed. It’s just that in some cases this information is concealed on legal grounds. Strong jurisdictions such as the UK and Malta require the RTP of each slot to be specified.

However, the Curacao casinos are not required to provide this information, as you might expect. Now guess what they will prefer: a higher return or a minimum. The requirement to specify the RTP may influence the casino to prefer a higher percentage of return. However, in the case of the Curacao casino, you can only guess which version you are playing. Obviously, maximum return is not their most popular choice.

The fact that operators can choose the percentage of return became clear from the response that one of the Casinomeister representatives received from a Play’n GO manager. Here’s what was said about this:

casinomeister_rtp

According to one of the forum members, casino operators are offered three versions of Play’n GO slots: with RTP 89%, 94% and 96%. However, the user noted that he was not 100% sure about this.

Microgaming Slots With Fixed Return

It is believed that Microgaming slot machines do not have different versions with varying returns –although they are licensed in multiple jurisdictions as well, the RTP is always the same. This was claimed by the owner of the Casinomeister website, who spoke with Microgaming representatives.

Is RTP a Secret or Not?

Do the developers conceal the fact that they are releasing multiple versions, or just keep silence about it? Perhaps, no one has asked them before – or they were asked by people who they do not reckon and can ignore the request. Anyway, the fact is that at least Play’n GO did not mislead anyone and said everything as it was – even though this was unpleasant news for the players.

It is unknown who else operates like this, but most likely, many operators do. This is especially true for new developers who need to somehow make their way into the sun in this busy industry.

If the operator is not given a choice of return, the developers risk being left without demand for services. The developers are not directly involved in the casino business, but they depend on it. Therefore, it is no surprise that studios tailor their products to the operators’ needs.

Some argue that casinos always choose higher returns due to competition, but we can’t agree. After all, in many cases players do not even know which version they are playing, and it impossible to determine judging by feelings only.

It can be assumed that not all casinos have freedom of choice. For example, if the UK recognizes its own standards only, then operators will be forced to offer only one version of the game on this market, which is licensed there. On the other hand, if the jurisdiction recognizes other licenses, then casinos can choose which version to offer. This is probably common among the Curacao casinos – most likely, they have a huge selection.

Different RTP in Land-Based Casinos

Players may be surprised to know that online casino software developers offer different versions of the same game. However, this has long been practiced in land-based casinos. Back in September 2019, Kevin A Harrigan and Mike Dixon published research results that shed light on this practice.

They study the effect of different returns of the same slot on the development of gambling addiction in their research. However, the study contains very useful information in general – for example, they say the following in the published material:

They also mention that they contacted the local Grand River Raceway casino and asked which versions of the four games they had. It turned out that out of the four games, the same land-based casino had 9 or 8 versions for three games, with different theoretical returns from 85% to 98%. Only one of the games had a fixed return of 92.6%.

It means that the casino can have the same slots, but with completely different returns – all of them installed in the same casino. Moreover, this is completely legal, and casinos in Ontario are not required to tell players which slot is configured for which return.

Overall, for now, you can be happy that online casinos are obliged to indicate the theoretical return of slots in reputable jurisdictions, at the very least.