If you are a regular slots player like me, then you’ll know this feeling very, very well: you’re finally having a decent session, winning nicely, so you decide to up your stake and hey... guess what? No features, no big wins, just a steady decline of funds until *boom*... it’s all gone. Seems like it happens every time, right?
Like most of us, me included at times, you then start to ask questions I’m sure. I mean, it has to be RTP* related doesn’t it? The casino must be doing something behind the scenes to claw back the money I won. The house edge has been manipulated. The bigger my bets, the bigger the house edge! That’s it! It must be.
Well I have some bad news – or actually it could be good news, depending on your perspective (I’m a glass-half-full guy myself so I’ll go with the latter). Assuming you are playing at a legitimate, licenced casino, then you’re not being mugged off here. In the “golden days” of online gambling there may well have been some shenanigans going on at some of the clip joints I’ve seen come and go but in this day and age, the regulators (and the money-men of course!) are totally on the case and both the casino and game licensing rules in most places are pretty tight now.
For example, did you know that every (legitimate!) slot game has to have a test certificate? OK, you probably did know that. But did you also know that that test certificate is only awarded to a game when it has a specific RTP? Not a range: but an actual figure. Not only that, but an RTP that has to remain static or in the case of games where an ‘event’ can change the RTP, it has to be clearly stated on the certificate and in the rules of the game, clearly visible to the player. And adding insult to injury, the certificate insists that every spin has to be truly random! It almost sounds too good to be true, right? But this time, it is.
Long gone are the days when an operator can alter the RTP of a game themselves. Not only does the certificate specify the RTP but the game code itself is not installed where the operator can access it: it is held remotely on a server accessible only to the slot developer or the platform provider (who will usually be serving many operators from one source). The only person that can alter the RTP of a game is the developer and that is done by editing and recompiling the code for the game. Not only would this invalidate the licence, it would affect every player at every operator at the same time because although it may not seem like it, we are all playing the same game at the same time.
And of course, if the slot developer is found to have been changing games behind the scenes, you can guarantee that no platform provider or casino will touch them with a bargepole as the operators are the ones who are bound by a legal responsibility to the regulators to provide fair and honest games.
The Internet abounds with “RTP conspiracy theories”. In fact, the Internet abounds with conspiracy theories full-stop because it is full of people who are speculating without knowing the facts. So next time you go on that seemingly impossible losing streak console yourself with the fact that you are probably just playing a very volatile (high variance) game. No-one is watching you, trying to make you lose (well, they may be watching you but there is bugger all they can do to manipulate the results!) unless of course, you chose a very, very bad casino with very, very dodgy games (usually their own)! The good news is that I can safely say, if you are playing at any of the casinos I list on this site then you’ll be in safe hands,playing properly licenced games.
NOTES: * RTP = “Return To Player” (TRTP = “Theoretical Return To Player”) A player will rarely see a session match the advertised RTP of a game as the figure is based on literally millions of spins. The higher the variance (volatility) of a game, the more likely you are to see longer losing streaks and bigger payouts. The RTP is allocated between the base game and the different features and the way it is split directly affects the variance of the game.