In October 2021, the gambling regulator in the UK, the Gambling Commission, implemented changes that affected online slot products. Those changes were part of a campaign to protect customers from excessive gambling and gambling-related harm. Strengthening the controls for online slots, the changes limited the speed of spins and discontinued speed-up play options.
Additionally, the changes banned autoplay functions, as well as celebratory messages or effects for losses disguised as wins (LDWs). LDWs, deemed as the illusion of winning is when a player receives a payout that is equal to or below the wagered amount. Finally, the changes made it mandatory for operators to display important statistics for the players such as total wins or losses and duration of the online gambling session.
Now, the Gambling Commission published a new report, outlining the impact of the changes that were implemented to online slots. The gambling watchdog confirmed that the changes did not bring unintended harmful consequences and at the same time helped reduce play intensity. More importantly, the Commission highlighted that there was “no increase in staking activity in response to the limit on spin speeds.”
“An assessment of the impact of the Gambling Commission’s online game changes for slots products indicates that it has resulted in reduced play intensity and that it has not resulted in harmful unintended consequences,“
reads a statement released by the UKGC
The UKGC Remains Vigilant
Tim Miller, the Commission’s director for policy and research, explained that after assessing the impact of the changes, it was uncovered that they did not have a negative impact on player behavior. Moreover, he reiterated that the changes reduced play intensity. Still, Miller pointed out: “That’s positive, but we aren’t complacent and will continue to monitor this specific part of the sector for both any unintended circumstances, or non-compliance.”
“Our assessment of the changes to online slots games has shown indications of reduced play intensity with no significant negative impacts on play or behaviors.“
Tim Miller, director for policy and research at the Gambling Commission
Citing monitoring data, the Commission confirmed that although the changes introduced a limit on the maximum spin speed, a decrease in the number of high-value stakes was observed. At the same time, it said that gambling sessions that surpassed one hour also declined. Besides observing no harmful unintended consequences, the latest assessment uncovered that the simultaneous play of multiple games also decreased since the implementation of the changes.