Your first reason for playing casino games is likely for the entertainment value. But another key reason is the hope of winning a lucrative jackpot (or at the very least, not losing money). This second reason is why one of the metrics you should pay attention to is the payout. 

We’ll take a look at the definition in detail in the next section below but overall, it determines how much money you can expect to win back if you were to play the game over a considerable period. This should factor into your decision on the game you choose.

What Does 'Payout' Mean?

Online casinos are businesses. So how do they take care of their costs? From the money that players bet. Yet, they have to make sure the winnings remain sizable in order to keep the majority of players interested, excited and engaged. That can only happen by making sure most money goes back to players as winnings.

The payout is the proportion of their money that players should expect to receive back as winnings over the long term. You could call it their return on investment. You determine the payout by taking the total money wagered, subtracting the money withheld by the house as profit and establishing the remaining balance that gets back to players. It is also referred to as the Return to Player (RTP). 

For example, if a slot machine has a payout of 98%, it means for every $100 wagered, $98 is returned to players as winnings while $2 is the house edge, i.e. what the casino retains as profit for managing its costs.

The payout is an average. The effective payout for any session of say 10 consecutive games may be higher or lower than the stated payout. However, over the long term, the average rate eventually levels out to the stated payout.

Why do you need to know a game’s payout? Because it varies from one game to the next and determines your chances of winning. 

Comparison of Payout Rates of Popular Online Casino Games in NZ

So what do the payout rates of popular online casino games in NZ look like? While actual rates may vary from one casino to the next, there is an industry average that the overwhelming majority of casinos do not deviate much from.


When it comes to payout rates, traditional (i.e. physical) slot machines have an unattractive rate, anything from 85% - 90%. Online slots offer much better RTPs, typically 92% - 97%. Each online slot's RTP is unique due to key factors such as game volatility, jackpot size, bonus availability and bonus types. 

As a player, the best slot for you will be determined by your playing objective. If your goal is frequent but small wins, you may be best served by slots with higher RTP and low volatility. On the other hand, if the objective is large but rare payouts, opt for slots with low RTP but high volatility.  

To jump to our section on the best paying online slots, click here.

Video Poker

Video poker blends traditional poker with the presentation of slot machines. As a card game, it combines elements of luck with playing expertise. Video poker has relatively attractive payout rates which usually range between 95% and 99.5%. Actual rates are determined by the type of video poker played as well as a player’s in-game choices. For example, Deuces Wild and Jacks or Better usually have higher RTPs.  


Blackjack is second in popularity only to slot machines. With an RTP in the 98% - 99% band, its ultra low house edge is certainly a major draw in addition to the thrill of executing an appropriate strategy. The better your understanding of the card game’s rules and techniques, the better you can make the RTP rate work for you. 


A game associated with the glitz and glamour of the casino lifestyle, roulette has multiple options for play and this contributes to your chances of winning. It comes down to the type of bet you choose to place. If you go with red/black or even/odd bets, expect lower payouts (effectively a 50% shot at winning). Bets with a lower likelihood of winning have large payouts (such as 35 to 1). As far as RTPs go though, roulette ranges between 94% and 97%.


Baccarat is traditionally associated with the casino’s high rollers. RTPs are quite favourable hovering at 98% to 99%. Certain types of bets such as the banker bet have an ultra low house edge. The banker bet’s attractive RTP is however somewhat cancelled out by a 5% commission taken from winnings. 


Craps is a dice game that some people avoid due to a perception of complexity of game rules but is actually not that difficult to learn. It’s exciting too, requiring a combination of luck and skill. RTPs vary depending on the bet type. For example, Pass Line bets have RTPs of 98% or higher while Hard ways bets could have payouts of 90% or lower.

The Highest Paying Online Slot Games in NZ

Moving on from average payouts for different types of games, let’s focus on pokies, which are the most popular casino game in NZ. Here are some of the top paying online slots in NZ!

Mega Joker - 99.00%   [PLAY NOW]

Jackpot 6000 - 98.90%   [PLAY NOW]

Blood Suckers - 98.00%   [PLAY NOW]

Immortal Romance - 96.86%   [PLAY NOW]

Joker Pro - 96.80%   [PLAY NOW]

Thunderstruck II - 96.65%   [PLAY NOW]

Book of Dead - 96.21%   [PLAY NOW]

Starburst - 96.10%   [PLAY NOW]

Bonanza Megaways - 96.00%   [PLAY NOW]

Mega Joker - 99.00%


Jackpot 6000 - 98.90%


Blood Suckers - 98.00%


Immortal Romance - 96.86%


Joker Pro - 96.8%


Thunderstruck II - 96.65%


Book of Dead - 96.21%


Starburst - 96.10%


Bonanza Megaways - 96.00%



Knowing the payout rate of each online casino game you are interested in is vital to choosing the one that’s best aligned to your betting objective, strategy, budget and risk appetite. A high RTP does not guarantee higher chances of winning compared to a game with a lower RTP. How well you understand the game and apply this knowledge in gameplay matters too.

About the author 

Peter Clayton

Peter is one of Indivisible Gaming's developers and has been working with us since 2015. When he isn't busy working on an upcoming game, he loves writing about all the games that he has played and tested. His experience in the industry is second to none, and we are grateful to have him on our team.