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What is a mobile slot house edge?

Updated Nov 15th, 2023

The house edge definition of a slot is basically how much the mobile casino will get from the slot machine over its lifetime.

Why should you care? Because the lower the house edge of a slot machine, the better the odds that this casino machine will pay.

Now, it’s not always as simple as “the lower the House Edge, the better”, but well… kinda. First, you need to understand what a return to player rate (RTP) and a house edge is. Then, you need to understand the slot machine volatility, which we will investigate later.

This will help you pick the kind of slot machine that you enjoy most and then recognise others that may appeal. It will essentially make your gambling more fun and is not as complicated as you may think.

Explaining the house edge of a mobile slot

Ever heard of the saying ‘The house always wins?’ That’s because the mobile casino has a house edge or house advantage on every casino game. Mobile casinos wouldn’t last very long if they didn’t make a little off the top.

Now, that doesn’t mean the house will always win; it just means they’ll win in the long term. This is why you need to pay special attention to slots house edge.

You may have read on some mobile slot machines something like “This slot has a return to player rate (RTP) of 95%” – that’s basically another way of saying that the house has an edge of 5%.

Say you put in 1 coin. Of that one coin, the mobile casino will get 5 cents, and players will get 95 cents back. Think of it as their commission for hosting the game.

Bet you are now raising your eyebrows and going: “euh… no… I don’t get 95 cents back all the time… what?

Ok, yes, it’s not quite as simple. Sometimes, your 95 cents go towards someone else’s win. It’s not evenly distributed; otherwise, it wouldn’t be gambling so much as paying 5 cents to press a button.

The mobile slot is constantly making calculations and equalising, taking your 95 cents and giving it to another player, taking two players 1.90 and giving it to you, and… round and round it goes, over millions and trillions of spins. (This is, in fact, infinitely more complicated, with a percentage of your cent going to pay out different wins, but for simplicity’s sake, this will do.)

So, as you can imagine, a high house edge means the machine will give more to the casino and less to the players. It’s usually in your best interest to find mobile slots with house edges of 5% or lower.

Why a low slots house edge is not always good

Here is where we need to start talking about the slot volatility, sometimes also known as variance. We have written a whole section on slot volatility to explain it in more detail, but we are going to touch on some of it here.

Here is a quick definition of the different types of variance for slots:

High volatility slots & house edge

Think of these as high-risk and high payouts. By high risk, we mean you’ll find yourself spinning quite a few spins but not getting a whole load back. That’s because (to use our previous analogy) your 95 cents are getting ‘stored up’ to create one big payout. Whether or not you get it, or another player does, is down to the random number generator.

Hence, it’s high risk. It’s easier to walk away with nothing with high volatility mobile slots, but also greater chances that when you do win, it’s a life-changing amount.

As such, you’ll find that these machines tend to have a higher house edge than most – usually anything between 5% and 10%.

Aim to find mobile slots closer to the 5% than the 10%, but it’s usually ok for these machines to have high slot house edges. Some of our favourites, such as Thunderstruck, Great Blue or Gonzo’s Quest, have a house edge of around 8%.

The higher house edge is there to make up for the big payout when it comes.

Low volatility slots & house edge

These are low-risk slots with, you guessed it, lower payouts. The good thing about low-volatility mobile slots is that they pay out often, meaning your bankroll lasts longer. The maximum amount you can win on these tends to be lower than the high-variance slots.

Though some do have decent max win amounts, these tend to be when you spin the maximum amount of coins at the highest bet level.

That doesn’t mean you can’t come out on top. Potion Commotion and Foxin’ Wins are two wonderfully fun slots that are low volatility and we’ve often walked away with a smile on our face from an entertaining evening and winnings in our pockets. Huge, perhaps not so much, but it certainly made our day.

With low volatility slots, aim to find machines that have a 3% or 4% house edge. With these machines, the lower house edge is better, as how much you’ll enjoy this slot game will depend on how long you can make your budget last.

Progressive Jackpot slots & house edge

One type of slot with one of the highest house edges (lowest RTP) is jackpot games. These typically increase the house edge of their games to consider the dramatic size of the jackpots you can win.

For every bet you take on a casino jackpot slot, a portion goes towards increasing the jackpot prize(s). The size of the jackpots can be in the millions, like the Mega Moolah slots. Casinos like to see the jackpot total creep up before it hits.

This limitation means you’ll often find lower in-game wins and less frequent big payouts due to the lower RTP.

What if a mobile slot review has no house edge?

When we first started this slot reviews website, we only sometimes put in the house edge. We wrote reviews about how we played them and didn’t include everything we should have. Wherever we can, and whenever we know, we will write the return to player rate on all the slot machines we review. It’s as accurate as possible, though sometimes these can vary.

We’ve gone back and tried to add many, but with so many slots, as you can imagine, it’s taking some time. We are just a little two person team of gamblers. So, if a slot machine review doesn’t have a house edge, it could be one of two things:

  1. We haven’t gotten around to it yet. But we will.
  2. We don’t have this information – the casino didn’t release it to us, so we just don’t know.

Here’s what you should do: first, read the mobile slot reviews. Chances are we may have mentioned a thing or two about it if we didn’t write a comment in the comment box below the slot review. We will see it on the day, respond, and add that information if we have it. Plus, say hello to you. We like to say hi!

Not sure where to go from here? How about reading some of our beautifully written mobile slot reviews? And by ‘beautiful’ we mean, you know, in English, with words.

Alternatively, now is as good a time as any to learn a little more about slot machine volatility. That way, you can start testing the kind of player you are.


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