The UK Gambling Commission (UKGC) will close its public consultation on online slot design and in-game features today (3 September), concluding its gathering of opinions and insights on how to safeguard slot development and making games safer for the general public.
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Marked as a key research directive, the UKGC launched its consultation on slot design at the start of July, seeking to gain wider input on protections related to the industry’s ‘most intensive product range’.
The Commission stated that it would assess game features related to the ‘speed of play and frequency of betting opportunities’, alongside further factors which may influence or increase players’ risk to gambling harms.
“Our interest in online slots is because it is the largest online gambling product by gross gambling yield – played by relatively few but with a high average spend. Structurally it has a number of features which can combine to significantly increase intensity of play,” the UKGC stated at the time of launching the consultation.
Overseeing the regulatory development of UK gambling, the Commission highlighted that it needed to ‘keep pace’ with game design changes as the sector adopts a new comprehensive framework of changes to make online gambling safer.
Last April, Commission CEO Neil McArthur published UK gambling’s ‘2020/2021 Business Plan’ confirming that the industry would adopt a new code for game design featuring compulsory safety features to be adopted by all licensed incumbents.
The code, which will be published this September, will ensure that UK licensed operators must operate a slots inventory that ensures:
- A minimum spin speed of 2.5 seconds across all slot games
- Removal of game features which may encourage intensive play such as slam stops and turbo buttons
- Prohibiting split-screen slots which have been associated with a ‘potential loss of control’
- The development of a more detailed work plan which will include in-game messaging and the creation of a Betting and Gaming Council Testing Lab to look into other game features.