Boosting VLT Appeal Through Optimized Return-to-Player Metrics

Players Using a Video Lottery Terminal

At a time when lotteries are looking for ways to attract a more diverse audience, grow sales, and return more funds to good causes, Video Lottery Terminals (VLTs) are an appealing new face of the game. With more audiences around the globe encountering and embracing this play style, lottery operators who are considering expansion into the world of electronic gaming machines are learning how to manage the components of their VLT offering to optimize and balance the player experience. Among the many factors that impact the experience, one of the most important is the Return-to-Player (RTP) element of a game.

A comprehensive VLT offering is typically considered to be a mix of three components: the physical gaming-machine cabinet, suited to the retail distribution style; the game content, relevant to the market, delivering a world-class player experience in the context of the distribution outlet; and the central system that operates and manages VLT machines and networks. With these components in place, the end-to-end player experience must also take into account the value that players gain from the time and money they invest in their entertainment. This is precisely where the RTP metric comes into play.

The RTP of a game is simply the proportion of a player’s wager that he or she should win back on average over the complete cycle of a game (i.e., if all possible combinations were played). This theoretical metric is calculated using formulas based on mathematical probabilities, and can be set on a game-by-game basis. As with any game component, the right RTP is essential to balancing the enjoyment of the player experience with the returns to the lottery and to good causes - making the selection of the optimum RTP a key decision for operators. And while the RTP metric is one of the most powerful elements of both player experience and game performance, the nature of its power is often misunderstood.

This is a preview of an upcoming article. To learn how lotteries can optimize RTP in their VLT programs, look for the full article, coming soon in the Summer 2018 issue of the WLA Magazine from the World Lottery Association.

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