Online gambling services in the UK have been receiving quite a lot of attention throughout the past year as a number of changes put in to place have made many sites much less accessible – back in April of last year a change was introduced to ban all credit card gambling in an effort to make it more difficult for problem players to overspend, similarly another change was made to place a temporary restriction on all advertising for gambling services throughout the early pandemic period for similar reasons. All have worked hand in hand with Gamstop, an initiative to reduce access for problem players, and although there had been a large number non-gamstop services like these launched, those within the UK still suffered a little.
Since then, a package of other changes has been targeted to continue the goal of making online gambling sites within the country much more accessible, and much safer for regular users, with the package mostly aimed at online slots with the intensity of play and the risks often associated with playing. With the rules set to come into effect before the end of 2021, they may continue to have a wider impact on the biggest operators – but what changes are included?
- Any feature that speeds up play or give the illusion of control over the potential outcome of the game will be banned and are expected to be removed, including features like turbo play.
- Slot spin speeds that are faster than 2.5 seconds are also to be banned and removed –although there isn’t information on what a potential future maximum could be, the benchmark of 2.5 seconds has been set.
- Auto-play features will also be banned and removed in an effort to reduce risks of players losing track of their play time.
- Any sound or imagery which gives the illusion that a win has happened when the return is either below or equal to the stake placed.
- Operators must also display a player’s total wins and losses as well as time played during a session to give better tracking on how much has been played and spent.
- A permanent ban on the ability to play with reverse withdrawals – this function allowed players to re-gamble the money they had already requested to withdraw.
It’s expected these changes will be just the first of many to come, and whilst these are currently only aimed at slot games some will certainly be applicable to other games too – it is part of the ongoing process within the UK to fundamentally change gambling services, and with other features of gambling such as loot boxes in gaming another target too, there’s no slowing of preparing changes to benefit the consumer.