UK Gambling Commission Announces Heavy Online Slots Restrictions

With the increase of online gaming options, rose the need for measures to ensure safer experience. For that end, the UK Gambling Commission announced a package of changes that are supposed to strengthen the protections, as well as the control of online slots play.

Measures include introduction of limits on spin speed and a permanent ban on features that increase the game’s speed or “celebrate losses as wins.”

The operators had to go through a consulting period with the public and players, with the gambling industry and other shakeholders. Then they will have to implement new player protection measures, which need to be stronger to ensure safety.

The aim is to make online casino games less intensive and safer by design and as a result, the players will have more control over their gambling.

Online slots were the main focus for the Commission since their features often increase the intensity of play and thus the risk for players. Slot games also hide the highest risk for losses among all the gambling products.

The Rules

The new rules include the ban of four key features on online slots. The feature that speeds up play, thus giving the illusion of control over outcome, slots spin speed, autoplay, which was proven to lead to losing track of players’ play, sounds and imagery that can also create illusions.

It is proven that reverse withdrawal functions lead to bigger temptation for players to continue gambling. On the other hand, the removal of the feature is associated with increase intensity of play among other things.

As part of the new changes, operators must display in a clearer way to players their losses or wins, as well as the time they played during any session.

The Commission also introduced a permanent ban on reverse withdrawals for all online gambling.

The new protection measures must be implemented by all operators by October 31 2021.

According to Neil McArthur, Gambling Commission chief executive, the ban over some features is necessary for they present a risk for the customers.

He added: “This is another important step in making gambling safer and where the evidence shows that there are other opportunities to do that we are determined to take them.”

In the meantime Minister for Sports, Tourism and Heritage Nigel Huddleston said: “Today’s steps will help curb the intensity of online gambling, introducing greater protections that will reduce the risk of gambling related harm.”

He added:“I welcome the Gambling Commission’s tough measures as we continue our comprehensive review of gambling laws to make sure they’re fit for the digital age.”

The new rules are part of a more extended player protection caimpaign led by the Commission. As many physical casinos remain closed players opt for online gambling experience. The aim is to make gambling fairer and safer while introducing strengthened protections around players age and their ID verifications.

The other changes include improved customer interaction practices and gambling credit cards.

The Commission also launched last year a consultation on customer interaction, the outcome of which is expected later this year.

Source: “Gambling Commission announces package of changes which make online games safer by design”, Gambling Commission, February 2, 2021

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