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New Slot Design and Play Changes Begin

Following last year’s UKGC consultation on introducing new player protections and controls on online slot games, we’re now beginning to see evidence that the changes have finally arrived. The removal of features such as Autoplay is, according to the Commission, intended to make “online games safer by design”.

Over the past couple of weeks, you may have noticed that some elements of your favourite slot games are no longer available. You may also have realised that the games look a little different and that pop-ups and in-game display panels are suddenly appearing. In the worst-case scenario, your go-to slots may have actually disappeared altogether!

But don’t worry, you’re not going mad as WhichBingo and thousands of other players have also spotted that changes are afoot, and it’s all down to the introduction of new guidance on the design of online slots.

What has changed?

There are four key things that are being altered or introduced.

  1. AutoPlay functionality on slot games removed.
  2. Quickspin functionality on games removed.
  3. A spin duration of a minimum of 2.5 seconds introduced.
  4. Any sounds or imagery that give the illusion of a win when the return is below or only equal to the current bet removed.

Other features that have been brought in include a game duration display (i.e. a timer which shows you how long you’ve been playing for) and a game balance display that shows the total amount won versus the total amount staked.

Why have things changed?

The “package of strict measures” is being enforced following a public consultation carried out by the UK Gambling Commission in July of last year.

The feedback that was gained via the consultation called “making online games safer by design” showed a need for tighter controls to better protect players.

According to the Commission’s Chief Executive, Neil McArthur, spin speeds faster than 2.5 seconds, losses disguised as wins, and Autoplay are all features that evidence shows “increase the risk of harm to customers”.

According to the UKGC, slot games carry “by far the highest average losses per player of any online gambling product”.

The Commission has already successfully introduced other player protection tools in the form of banning withdrawal reversals and the use of credit cards. The reversal function previously allowed players to cancel pending withdrawal requests, putting the funds back into their gambling account, which subsequently put them at risk of losing their winnings. Credit card spending meant people could spend money they may not actually have.

These changes mean slot play is changed forever. Some people will hate it and others will take it in their stride, but either way, changes will continue to slow play down and make people more mindful of how they are spending their time and money on slot games.

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