The Effect of the Gambling Review Act on Slot Players
In September 2021, the UK government announced its plans to conduct a comprehensive review of the country’s gambling laws.
This review was intended to cover various aspects of the gambling industry, including online gambling, advertising, and the role of the Gambling Commission.
Suffice it to say that there’s been plenty of trepidation within the gambling sector since the announcement. On March 27 2023, the white paper was finally unleashed. Although not everything is concrete as of yet, there’s no doubt that significant changes are afoot.
Here’s how the review is going to affect web-based gamblers, in particular slots players using UK slot sites.
New Stake Limits for Online Slot Games
A new maximum stake for online slots will be unveiled, ranging from £2 to £15 per spin. This is however subject to further consultation.
The aim here is to curb excessive and life-altering losses while also bringing online operators into line with their land-based counterparts: there are currently no betting limits on online slots,
In contrast, physical slot machines in pubs, arcades and bookmakers have a £2 limit, while casinos have limits of up to £5.
This move is motivated by research conducted by Public Health England which found that younger adults were especially vulnerable to gambling-relating harm.
The research showed that problem gambling rates stand at 8.5% for online slots, casino and bingo games.
Player Protection Checks
Betting operators will also have to perform seamless player protection checks on high-rollers to ensure that they’re not enduring harmful losses.
However, these checks are instant and won’t have a noticeable impact on actual gameplay. With that said, intervention will take place if there are indications of financial harm such as declared bankruptcy or significant debt.
Bonus Offer Restrictions
Research also indicated that vulnerable players were more at risk from aggressive advertising and promotions. The types of advertising include free spins incentives, which the Gambling Commission believes can motivate players to spend more money.
Although no measures are yet in place, the commission plans to examine how online casino bonuses are constructed with a view of preventing them from being used in ‘harmful ways’.
These include a potential cap on re-wagering requirements and the designation of an acceptable timeframe for customers to claim bonuses.
Affordability Checks for Financial Vulnerability
There are to be two new forms of financial risk check. The first check relates to moderate spending which is identified as a £125 net loss within a month or £500 a year.
For higher levels of spend that may indicate binge gambling, this increases to a net loss of £1,000 within 24 hours or £20,00 in 90 days. These figures will be halved for players in the 18 – 24 year age bracket.
The above changes look set to have the biggest impact on slot players. Rhe Gambling Commission is clearly encouraged by the measures voluntarily adopted by operators in September 2020.
These included the removal of turbo play, game cycle adjustments and the removal of multi slot play.
Since being enforced, it’s been found that the average amount staked per player has fallen by 20% with average total losses per player reduced by 35%.
In conclusion, the goal of the Gambling Commission is obviously to make games, including slots, safer for players, while also leaving room for operators to continue innovating and developing their products.
Time will, of course, tell about the impact the new measures will have on the gambling sector, especially considering the rise in popularity of online slot games.
At the very least, players can look forward to more protective measures as the Government’s campaign to ensure safer gambling continues.