UKGC Announces Strict Player Protection Measures on Online Slots

On February 2, the UKGC announced new rules on online slots to strengthen player protection. Auto-play, fast spins, and reverse withdrawals will be permanently banned.

Permanent Ban on Misleading Slot Features

Following a consultation launched last summer, the UK Gambling Commission (UKGC) announced today the introduction of “a package of strict measures” on online slot gaming to improve player protection protocols. According to the UKGC, some game features, such as auto-play and fast unlimited slot spins, are misleading and reduce the control players have over their gambling habits. Those options can potentially lead to customers gambling on various platforms at the same time and a bigger loss rate.

The UKGC said that all licensed slot operators will be required to implement the new rules by October 31, 2021. Common slot gaming features will be permanently banned, including auto-play, which led to players losing track of time, and spin speeds under 2.5 seconds. Other options speeding up games and giving a false sense of control over the win rate, as well as sounds or visuals falsely suggesting a win (when the win falls below the amount initially bet), will also be removed from all slot titles available in the UK.

Additional measures will ban reverse withdrawals, an option allowing customers to gamble money for which they had already requested withdrawal from their player account. According to the UKGC, research indicated that reverse withdrawal increases risky gambling behaviors.

Greater Protections Against Problem-Gambling

Nigel Huddleston, the Minister for Sports, Tourism and Heritage, commended the UKGC’s new set of rules, which, he says, will “help curb the intensity of online gambling, introducing greater protections that will reduce the risk of gambling related harm“. The government will continue reviewing the current gambling laws “to make sure they’re fit for the digital age”, he added.

Nigel Huddleston, the Minister for Sports, Tourism and Heritage, commended the UKGC’s new set of rules, which, he says, will “help curb the intensity of online gambling, introducing greater protections that will reduce the risk of gambling related harm“. The government will continue reviewing the current gambling laws “to make sure they’re fit for the digital age”, he added.

“This is another important step in making gambling safer and where the evidence shows that there are other opportunities to do that we are determined to take them.”

Neil McArthur, UKGC Chief Executive

The UK has been working towards changing the rules around gambling activities in order to offer a safer and fairer playing environment to gamblers. Player protections measures have been significantly improved, with mandatory identity and age checks and a ban on gambling on credit cards.

Measures on VIP Accounts

In November, the UKGC launched a consultation on operator/customer interaction, to be further developed this year. The Commission unveiled a series of new measures to fight wrongful VIP practices last September, fully enforced on October 31, 2020.

In order to become a VIP player on any iGaming platform, a customer will have to be approved by the operator according to the Commission’s set of rules. This includes:

  • Evaluating whether the player can afford and sustain their gambling habits via their leisure budget.
  • Is there evidence of problem-gambling behaviors, or increased risk related to vulnerability?
  • Ensuring the most up to date player data regarding identification, current situation and source of funds.
  • Making sure that the operator has the most recent information regarding the player, and that it conducts ongoing checks to prevent and spot harmful gambling practices.