UKGC Closes Online Slot Design Consultation

The UK Gambling Commission (UKGC) will close its public consultation today (3 September) on on online slot design and in-game functionality, ending its set of opinions and observations on how to safeguard slot production and make games safer for the general public.

Marked as a key research initiative, at the beginning of July, the UKGC launched its slot design consultation to obtain broader feedback on safeguards relevant to the ‘most intensive product range’ of the industry.

The Commission reported that it will analyse game features related to the ‘pace of play and amount of betting opportunities,’ along with other factors that may affect or increase the risk to gambling harms for players.

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.

The Commission, in overseeing the regulatory growth of UK gaming, highlighted the need to ‘keep pace’ with developments in game design as the industry adopts a new systematic system of reforms to make online gaming safer.

Last April, Commission CEO Neil McArthur released the ‘2020/2021 Business Plan’ for UK gambling announcing that the industry will introduce a new code for game design incorporating compulsory safety features for all approved incumbents to follow.

The code, to be released this September, will ensure that UK licenced operators are required to operate a slots inventory to ensure:

  • 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.