Online Slot Machines in Great Britain Ordered to Slow Down by Gambling Commission8th February 2021 |
Online slot machines will slow the games down and remove any features which might hinder the players’ awareness of how much they are actually spending, and online casinos accessible in Great Britain will have to overhaul their online slot machines.
The industry currently makes about £2.2 billion a year from online slot machines, but the revenue is expected to be dented by a series of curbs that are being introduced. The Gambling Commission is ordering companies and casino operators based in Britain to remove any misleading features from their virtual slot machines. Not only that, but other restrictions include leaving at least 2.5 seconds between each spin and removing all auto-play options, in which players may choose to set the slot machine to spin on its own. According to the commission, this is particularly dangerous as it could lead to players losing track of how much money they are losing.
Companies will also be prohibited from playing happy-sounding music or sounds when a player has lost money to avoid positive associations that trick players into thinking they’re experiencing a positive outcome despite losing, spurring them on to keep on betting. This phenomenon is known as “losses disguised as wins”. Other features that will be barred include any which give players an “illusion of control” when in reality, spins are determined randomly by an outcome generator.
A while back, the regulator had already asked British-based companies to stop offering “reverse withdrawals”, where a player decides to collect his winnings but then changes his mind and returns it to his account. This is now set to become mandatory. Operators and companies will also be obliged to display a player’s total losses and winnings, and the time spent playing at any one session. All these measures will come into effect on October 31.
Neil McArthur, the Gambling Commission chief executive, said “The evidence shows that these features increase the risk of harm to customers”. The new measures also found support from sports minister Nigel Huddleston, who said “Today’s steps will help curb the intensity of online gambling, introducing greater protections that will reduce the risk of gambling-related harm. 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 stricter measures come amidst legitimate concerns. Gambling Commission data shows that the average player spends £67 a month on slots, compared with £45 for real-event betting and £36 for other casino products. Slot machines also make up about 70% of online gambling revenue, which shot up from £2.36 billion in March 2016 to just under £3.18 billion in march 2020. Apart from that, slot machines also have higher rates of addiction, according to the latest studies on the subject.
Michael Dugher, who is the chief executive of industry lobby group Betting and Gaming Council (BGC), said that the industry was keen on promoting safe gambling and making the necessary changes.
He stated that “that’s why we welcome the Gambling Commission’s announcement, which builds on the BGC’s new code of conduct from last September for the design of online games in a bid to further improve player safety.”
The Gaming Commission’s new rules come amidst a review of the laws which have to do with gambling. The review is expected to lead to stricter regulations, including a ban on football shirt sponsorships.
Read about the Gambling Harm Prevention Programme exceeding targets.
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