Regardless of how you like the gamble, the reason most of us play is for the chance of turning a profit, whether that be big or small!

For sports betting, it is clear to understand how much money you will receive if your bet wins, with the risk determined by your knowledge.

However, for games where you have no impact on the outcome of a game – such as a scratchcard – it is always good to understand how likely you are to win money. This is commonly known as RTP and is the topic of this article!

What is RTP and What Does it Mean?

The Return to Player often referred to as ‘RTP’, is the term used by betting, gambling operators and online casinos to describe the percentage of money that a player will make for every pound they spend.

The RTP is used to determine the overall return to player, often based on the total amount of fixed prizes – such as National Lottery scratchcards, or the fixed rate across all games – common in online gambling.

The RTP is displayed as a percentage, such as 96.07%.

In the above example, if a player spent £1 on a game, the expected return would be 96.07p. Or simply just 96p for every pound spent.

In the same instance, if £100 was spent on a game with 96.07% RTP, then the expected return would be £96.07.

Therefore, the higher the RTP value, the ‘better’ the likelihood of returning a higher value of your betting funds. In some instances, an RTP value in excess of 100.00 means you can ‘make’ money, but finding these kinds of RTP is near-on impossible!

However, it is important to note that the RTP is based on all outcomes, or spread across multiple outcomes. It is not a guarantee that you will always get the reported RTP, you are likely to get either higher or lower. But the more times you play a game, the likelihood is that you will reach a figure closer to the RTP.

How Do I Find the Return to Player Value of a Game?

For this, it is only fair that we discuss the RTP of two different types of games – National Lottery scratchcards and online scratchcards. However, the latter will apply to just about any online gambling game.

National Lottery Scratchcards RTP

For all scratchcards that you buy in store, it is possible to find out the RTP of every single game.

To do so, you need to head over to the National Lottery scratchcard page, where you can find the game rules for all the current scratchcard games.

Pick any game, and click on the scratchcard name in the ‘Game Name’ column to open a PDF document.

For any game, scroll to the section titled ‘Prize Value in Game’.

Here you will be given a % value, which is the RTP – albeit with a different name. The below example is a screenshot from the £100,000 Red scratchcard.

national lottery return to player screenshot

There is no fixed RTP for National Lottery scratchcards and will vary on the price of the scratchcard and the value and number of top prizes. However, as a general rule of thumb, the worst RTP values are on £1 scratchcards, and the best RTP on the £5 scratchcards.

Online Scratchcards RTP

When it comes to online scratchcards, there are plenty of options to choose from, but most sites will show you the RTP or payout for all the games with a bit of investigation.

For example, let’s look at some of Lottomart’s scratchcard games, the Europe Millions Scratch for example.

By clicking on the game, then the ‘Rules’ tab, you see different information associated with the game.

The screenshot below features a ‘Summary’ section, showing a 71.00% payout.

How is RTP Calculated?

Referring back to the previous section where we discussed RTP on real and online scratchcards, there is one obvious difference.

National Lottery scratchcards have a fixed amount of scratchcards that are printed and circulated. By knowing how much money will be generated by selling all of the scratchcards, versus knowing how much will be paid out in winnings, the RTP is calculated by diving the ‘total of prizes’ by the ‘total value of scratchcards’.

However, for online scratchcards and other games, there is no fixed amount of games.

Therefore, an RTP value is decided on and applied to different games before it is made public. As games are played, winners and losers are automatically determined by an algorithm to ensure that the overall RTP of all players is maintained!


Got more questions about RTP and expected payout?

Who Decides on RTP of a Game?

The RTP is a pre-determined figure prior for any game.

A high RTP encourages players to play, with the idea that they will have a better chance of winning. But a high RTP will also minimise online casino profits.

It is therefore common for there to be multiple games with varying RTP, to ensure players stay engaged, but the operators make money!

What is a Good RTP?

Because a RTP value is simply a percentage, the larger the number, the better chance you have or winning more money back.

An RTP value of 100.00% indicates that a player would theoretically receive all of the money they wager back, so finding a game as close to 100.00 would indicate a ‘good’ RTP.

How Do I Find RTP?

As we’ve already mentioned above, finding the RTP is relatively straightforward as all licensed casino and gambling games must display this information.

Typically, you can find the information about the game rules, or by clicking a ‘i’ icon in the corner of the game play area.

I Didn’t Win at the RTP Rate, How Come?

The RTP is an average figure that takes into account all of the different payouts and the odds associated with those payouts.

Because there are multiple outcomes with every game you play, you need to play multiple games for your chance to find these different outcomes.

Therefore, based on some complex mathematics, the more you play on one game, the more likely you are to get closer to the stated RTP.

But don’t be surprised to find that you don’t win at the expected payout rate all the time!