New legislating is being put in place in order to curb the addictive and dangerous effects of online slot machines. Tougher measures will be placed on operators in order to protect players.
Online slot machines currently generate around £2.2 billion for gambling companies, the largest online revenue stream in the industry. This is down in no small part to tactics and stimuli previously used in order to make them the most addictive online game on these gambling websites.
They have, by far, the highest average losses per player of any online gambling product, with players being able to generate thousands of pounds in losses in a matter of minutes.
The Gambling Commission, galvanised by growing concern over the harm being caused by online gambling during national lockdowns, has said that new measures will be put in place from October 2021.
Under new rules, operators will have to slow down games to a maximum speed of 2.5 seconds per spin, discouraging continuous spins and generation of further losses.
They will also be required to stop using sounds, lights, and other stimuli to make losses feel like wins. Auto-play options will be removed, along with ‘reverse withdrawals’, options to allow players to change their mind about withdrawing winnings and wagering them again instead.
Finally, all online slot machine games will have to clearly display how much time a player has played the game, as well as a clear record of wins and losses.
The nature of online platforms such as gambling websites means that games and ways of interacting with the public are constantly changing and innovating. Protecting the public and keeping up with changing markets poses constant legal challenges in order to keep legislation relevant and effective.