The UKGC States that 2021 Slot Design Changes Have Had a Positive Impact, but There is No Complacency

    A report by the United Kingdom Gambling Commission (UKGC) states that changes to online slots implemented by the regulator have had a positive impact and have not led to any harmful unintended consequences.

    The report covers all UKGC licensed operators but does not refer to online casinos not on gamstop that are not licensed in the UK. Changes implemented by the UKGC do not affect these offshore operators. But they do affect casinos regulated in the UK, where an enforced limit on spin speeds has led to a drop in play intensity while having no “significant negative impact.”

    Table of Contents
    What were the changes, and when were they introduced? What did the UKGC report show?
    What did the UKGC report show? The effects of the changes will continue to be monitored

    What were the changes, and when were they introduced?

    The changes introduced by the UKGC in October 2021 came as a package. They included:

    • A ban on the speed of spins for slot machines.
    • The prohibition of features that speed up slot machine play.
    • A ban on autoplay for online slots.
    • The banning of graphics or sounds that give the impression of a win when the return is less than or equal to the original wager.

    As a result of the changes, operators must also display how much a player has won or lost in total during a particular session playing online slots.

    The aim of introducing the changes to slots was to provide an increased level of protection and control for anyone playing slots online. This aim is understandable given the problem gambling identified in a recent UK government report that is experienced by some players. The reason the measures focussed on slots, in particular, was the features of the games that increase the intensity of play and risk for players.

    What did the UKGC report show?

    The UKGC report on the impacts of its changes to online slots used data provided by “key sources” from the UKGC tracker survey. This survey collects data from around 2,000 adults aged 18+ and 1,000 people aged 16+ on a quarterly basis.

    Information contained in the report shows that the proportion of maximum value stakes decreased following the changes to online slots. In addition, the proportion of slot play sessions lasting more than one hour decreased. Also, gambling on more than one game or tab at the same time was reduced.

    These reductions happened despite increased engagement with slots online for the same period. There were also no harmful unintended consequences reported. So, the overall impact of the changes has been positive.

    The effects of the changes will continue to be monitored

    According to Tim Miller, Director for Policy and Research at the UKGC, the regulator’s assessment of the changes indicates a reduction in play intensity and no obvious negative impact. Despite this good news, Miller says that the UKGC will not be complacent and will continue to monitor the impacts of its changes.


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