UKGC announces new measures for online slots

Simona Boshkova | Published 2 Feb 2021, 10:14 a.m.

The UK Gambling Commission (UKGC) has been implementing a lot of changes lately. At the beginning of this year, the regulator opened a consultation regarding their collecting and research data methodology. It regularly explores the UK gambling industry from different angles to figure out what changes to announce, and that’s why it extended the deadline on gambling consultation. Through this consultation, UKGC is calling for feedback from the gambling industry and other stakeholders on stronger requirements for problem gambling. Now, the regulator announced a package of strict measures which will strengthen the protections and controls for those who play online slots games.

Limits on spin speeds and a ban on some features

Yesterday, the UK Gambling Commission announced new strict measures for online slots. The new measures are part of the UKGC’s comprehensive program to make gambling safer. The program has previously seen the introduction of strengthened protections for online age and ID verification, as well as the credit card gambling ban.

Following a consultation with the gambling industry, players, and other stakeholders, UKGC announced that the operators will need to implement new player protection measures that will make online casino games safer by design and less intensive. When it comes to online slots, the new measures include the introduction of limits on spin speeds, as well as the permanent ban on features that speed up play or celebrate losses as wins. The regulator said it has focused on online slots because of its features that pose risks to players and increase the intensity of play. It was estimated that online slots have by far the highest average losses per player of online gambling products.

The new measures include a complete ban of four key features of online slot games:

  • Autoplay - which can cause players to lose track of their gameplay;
  • Slot spin speeds faster than 2.5 seconds;
  • Sounds or images which give the illusion of a win when the return is equal to, or below, a stake;
  • Features that speed up the gameplay or give the illusion of control over the outcome.

Other changes were also announced

Neil McArthur, UKGC chief executive, said that the regulator is introducing these measures to make online games safer, especially online slots. He added that UKGC is determined to take new measures where the evidence shows that there are other opportunities. In addition, the Minister for Sports, Tourism and Heritage Nigel Huddleston welcomed the UKGC’s tough measures and said that these steps will help curb the intensity of online gambling and reduce the risk of gambling-related harm. He added that the regulator will continue its review of gambling laws to ensure that they’re fit for the digital age.

Among the main measures mentioned above, the regulator announced other changes:

  • Permanent ban on reverse withdrawals, which allows players to re-gamble money they had previously requested to withdraw;
  • Operators must clearly display to the players their total losses or wins, as well as the time played during any slots session.

All of the measures that UKGC announced will need to be fully implemented by online operators by 31 October 2021.