For the Discerning Gambler

Pokie Odds

The ‘Return to Player’ (RTP) rate is the percentage of the money gambled in games of chance that is required by law to be paid back to gamblers as ‘winnings’, over time. In formal terms it is referred to as an estimated statistical expectation of the minimum player return. That is, if there was only one gambler they would expect within a specified period to win back this percentage - the RTP - of the money they bet. So if the RTP is 50 per cent this single gambler could expect to lose, averaged out over many bets, half of everything they bet. The other half would come back as ‘winnings’.

Source: Pokies, Lotteries, Keno: What is Return to Player? - Victorian Responsible Gambling Foundation

As a pokie gambler you need to know about the approximate RTP of the game you are playing. Why? Because the RTP is the main determinant of whether you will win or not. Lets look at the minimum RTP rates for offline pokies in Australasia:

Legislative Zone Clubs/Hotels Casinos
New South Wales 85% 85%
Australian Capital Territory 87% 87%
South Australia 87.5% 87.5%
Northern Territory 85% 88%
Tasmania 85% 85%
Western Australia N/A* 90%
Queensland 85% 85%
Victoria 85% 87%
New Zealand 78% 87%

Source: ANZ Gaming Machine National Standards 2015

*Gaming Machines are banned from clubs and hotels in WA. Source: History of Western Australian gaming legislation

In the UK it is even worse:

There is no statutory minimum percentage payout for a gaming machine. The technical standards for legacy gaming machines however, do put a lower limit of 70% as a % RTP.

Source: UK Gambling Commision

We can see that the lowest RTP for pokies in Australia is 85%. Contrast this with the minimum RTP for Lotto in Australia being 60%* which puts pokies in a good light. But hold your horses, what about online pokies? While online gaming providers often don't release RTP data on their games, NetEnt, one of the most prominent providers has published on their website that the RTP for their pokie games ranges between 95-98%. Good RTPs for online casinos can be explained by the fact that they have to compete with hundreds of other online casinos for players as a player can easily just move on to the next casino. These good RTPs tend to come as no surprise to pokie veterans as they have often learnt through experience that the reputable online pokies tend to pay a lot better than offline pokies.

*Source: Gambling Regulation Act 2003

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