For years now there has been talk of changes being made to the way gambling operators run their operations and particularly, their slot machines in Great Britain.
2020 seemed to be the year of change. It was a year when new rules were introduced, mostly as a direct result of the Gambling Commission’s comprehensive review programme – with the pandemic and increased risk for problem gamblers acting as a catalyst for change.
In April ¹, the credit card ban came into effect outlawing credit cards as a means of paying for gambling, a move designed to stop players gambling with borrowed money.
Skip forward to May and the UKGC instructed operators to ²:
-Strengthen their player ID verification
-Stop offering bonuses and promotions to those showing signs of harm
-Improve customer interaction practices, including with those who have play sessions of over an hour in a day
-Conduct affordability assessments including reviewing spend thresholds and triggers
-Remove ‘irresponsible VIP customer practices’
And; probably the most noticed by players:
The suspension of reversals meant that once the player had elected to withdraw their funds, there would be no option to double back on that decision and use those funds to continue gambling. A move designed to reduce heat of the moment decision making and minimise player losses.
Since the suspension, it has been speculated that reversals would never make a come back and yesterday those predictions were confirmed. The permanent ban on reversals will formally be brought in with a fresh batch of changes to be implemented by October 2021.
The Big Four – Changes you’ll notice no later than 31/10/21:
-Slot spins must take more than 2.5 seconds
This means that from the moment you hit spin, there will need to be a waiting time of 2.5 seconds or more before the outcome of the spin is revealed. A move designed to slow down gameplay.
-Features that speed up gameplay or give an illusion of control to be banned
Slot game outcomes are decided by a random number generator (RNG) but some games are thought to give players the impression they have control. It is unclear specifically which games this refers to but we expect it could be the likes of bonus rounds which require manual selection of items.
-Autoplay to be banned
The feature that allows you to set the number of spins the computer will automatically make on your behalf. The GC state that these features ‘can lead to players losing track of their play’.
-Sounds and images which give the false impression of a win to be banned
If you’ve ever been in a situation where you make a spin and the machine seems to launch into a frenzied celebration, but ultimately you notice that whilst you’ve won some money, when you take your stake into account you’ve made an overall loss… – This scenario will be banned and win celebrations (including imagery) will only be allowed where there has been an overall win.
What else is coming? ⁴
-Wins and Losses – Display
You’ll probably be pleased to learn that operators will be required to display the amounts won/lost during a slot gaming session – a move designed to help you keep control of your spending.
So those are the changes you can expect to see. Operators in Great Britain have until 31st October 2021 to tweak and change their sites to remain above board. It seems clear that whilst 2020 was a year of change, 2021 is set to be equally revolutionary.