Commission targeting speed play

The UK Gambling Commission (“the Commission”) has announced a new set of rules targeting speed play.

By October 31, operators will need to comply with a range of measures designed to slow players’ bet frequency. The rules will apply to online slot games, and will see four common practices banned.

  1. Quick spins (spin speeds faster than 2.5 seconds)
  2. Autoplay
  3. Sounds/imagery giving the illusion of a win when the return is in fact equal to, or below, a stake
  4. Any features encouraging faster play or giving players the illusion of outcome control

The first three are pretty clear cut. The fourth is perhaps a little more open to interpretation. There may be battles fought over this one.

Speed Roulette

Playtech’s Speed Roulette table. Not yet the Commission’s cross hairs

It’s the latest in a series of measures introduced by UK regulators to try limit how much Brits spend gambling online – amounts they are clearly still not comfortable with.

A ban on credit cards came into effect in April last year. Next in the cross hairs were VIP programmes. Operators now have to carry out a series of checks (occupation, wealth, identity etc) to make sure their VIP players can in fact afford to be playing like high rollers before being encouraged to do so.

Still hanging over the industry like the sword of Damocles is rumour that the Commission is considering the introduction of blanket player loss limits of £100 a month.

The new bans on speed play have been limited to slot games for time being. These are seen to be the worst games for uncontrolled and binge play. It’s also the game category that results in the largest average player loss (£67 per month versus £36 per month for other casino games).

But an extension to other casino games probably wouldn’t be too surprising. After all, other online casino games, live dealer included have a healthy smattering of the four elements being targeted.

Whether your game’s live blackjack, roulette or baccarat you’ll have no trouble finding a speed deal/spin table. There are probably more speed baccarat tables than ‘regular’ deal speed tables now. Auto bets have long been a feature on live roulette tables. And the illusion of a win, with that sweet little sound of chips being returned to your balance, when you push or ‘win’ less than your original bet is the norm.

Of course if the £100 a month loss limit comes in, the above measures will become irrelevant. Along with the industry maybe.

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