Slots Showdown – Microgaming vs RTG

Frequent any of the player forums out there and you’ll often see debate over which online casino slots are the best. There are four primary sofwtare providers powering most of the “reputable” online casinos, notably RTG (Realtime Gaming), Microgaming, Playtech and Cryptologic. However, with the latter two not accepting US players, the big battle comes down to RTG and Microgaming. So who has the best slots?

Options & Selection

RTG have two sets of slots: The “Real Series” and their standard 3-reel or 5-reel video slots. As with all providers they add new ones from time to time, but nowhere near as frequently as Microgaming who usually release 2 a month. You could argue that this is overkill and many are simply clones of existing slots, and you’d be right, but every now and again, a gem pops up which makes for better diversification.

RTG have approximately 50 slots available while Microgaming have over 140 as I write. While RTG’s Real Series offer a good range of “free spin” options and lots of variation, Microgaming cover more bases. Therefore, Microgaming take this category hands-down at the moment.


Graphics & GUI

RTG have a very distinct style, while Microgaming tend to have more variation. Both have some duffers in the slots drawer (“Tiger Treasures” & “Fruit Frenzy” on RTG look especially naff IMO) but overall, they are well presented. Microgaming has a wider range of “sounds”, some of which are spot on (“Thunderstruck” & “Hitman” spring to mind) and the latter “Hitman” slot arguably has the best graphics on any slot designed to date.

Payouts & Variance

Both providers have a range of low variance and high variance slots with more scattered imbetween, but it’s on expected returns (“ER’s”) where you will likely see the biggest difference. On the face of it, RTG and Microgaming slots have similar ER’s and while not published, these are generally in the 95% range give or take a percent or three depending on the slot.

The major difference is however less obvious: RTG Real Series slots all have a “Random Jackpot” which starts at $1,000 and rises, sometimes rising well above $10,000. This has a bearing on the overall ER of the slot, so in fact a 95% slot could quite easily be a sub-90% slot if you don’t hit the jackpot. By the law of averages, if you play for long enough, you will probably get one…I’ve had 4 in the past 9 months or so playing pretty regularly. But if you’re “in for a quick hit”, you’re probably going to get a significantly lower return than the equivalent Microgaming slot without a jackpot payout.

Of course, Microgaming also have jackpot slots so in the Microgaming vsRTG battle, you could argue that these slots are equal. However while the jackpot is present on every RTG Real Series slot, only a handful of Microgaming slots carry one, and in fact at writing, only one slot (Mega Moolah) has a “random” jackpot – the rest are all based on lining up symbols on a given payline.


It’s probably pretty obvious by now, and it is of course one man’s opinion, but Microgaming slots win the battle – quite convincingly IMO. Both RTG and Microgaming slots are fun, can be profitable and give a lot of people a lot of entertainment (RTG slots spin slower and take a bit longer), but given a choice, I’d go for “Thunderstruck”, “Hitman” or another in the Microgaming slot range.