STRICT new measures are to be introduced to protect slot machine players.
Today, the Gambling Commission has introduced a list of changes, including a permanent ban on features that speed up games or celebrate losses as wins.
Other changes include banning "autoplay", which means games will not automatically allow the player to continue.
Sounds and imagery which give an illusion of winning when the player has lost and features that speed up play faster than 2.5 seconds are also to be banned.
Research has shown that autoplay features have been linked to players losing track of time when they play, which makes it more difficult for some to stop.
A permanent ban is being put on games giving players the option to reverse a withdrawal, which is when a player is allowed to re-gamble the money they requested to withdraw.
Evidence shows that reverse withdrawal features create more temptation for players to continue gambling.
Online slot gambling rule changes explained
WE explain the five new rules that will affect players.
- Autoplay on games banned
- Sounds and imagery suggesting a win when the return is equal to or below a stake banned
- Reverse withdrawals which let players re-gamble their win banned
- Features in games that speed up play banned
- Operators must clearly show the total time played and money won clearly on games
Getting rid of it means players won’t be able to change their mind and spend their winnings, continuing the cycle of playing the game.
Operators will also have to clearly display the total losses, wins and time spent playing the online slots game.
The new rules were announced today and then operators have until October 31 this year to make changes.
Why are the rules being changed?
Getting rid of these features will mean the player is given more control over how much time and money they spend playing them.
The reason they’ve been banned is to make games less intensive.
Following scrutiny against online casinos, the Gambling Commission said it was "monitoring online operators closely" throughout the pandemic and would step in with action if necessary.
Changes will need to be put into action by online operators by 31 October 2021.
Online casino profits increased from £2.36 billion in the year to March 2016, to £3.17 billion in the year March 2020. Slot machines online make up around 69% of that income.
Data collected during the pandemic shows the average amount of money a player spends on a slot game is £67, compared to £36 for casino products and £45 for betting on events.
CEO of Gambling charity GamCare Anna Hemmings says these changes are an important step in making online gambling safer.
“GamCare’s service users have told us that the ability to cancel their withdrawals compounds their gambling issues, and GamCare has encouraged operators to remove this function."
“As part of their consultation process, GamCare surveyed users of our online forum about the impact of the auto-play on their slots gambling. It revealed that auto-play was a contributing factor that lead users to spend more time or money than they originally intended to on slots gambling."
Will there be more changes to come?
It is possible there may be future changes but none have been confirmed.
The new measures come with the Government's review of UK gambling laws which started in December.
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