The UK Gambling Commission introduced new restrictions and changes in online casino games that aim to make iGaming safer by design. Apart from addressing certain sound effects and animations, these changes include technical updates such as new limits on spin speed. The Commission also announced that they would ban features that speed up play alongside reverse withdrawals. These rules follow the previous changes introduced to improve safety related to age and ID verification. Over the past years, the UKGC has presented numerous regulations to make the UK iGaming market safer for British consumers.
The decision to make these changes came after consultation with respondents of different sectors, such as the public, gambling operators, gambling industry trade bodies, etc. The recent measures primarily target the online slot games and focus on player safety and feeling in control.
Statistically, these games have the highest average losses per player among all online gambling products. The UK Gambling Commission found the reason for this in the various features that these games have and that increase the game’s intensity. Such mechanics make the gameplay exciting and inviting for players. The upcoming changes prohibit four main slots features:
Apart from these, other changes require implementation too. Online casino operators will have to clearly show the player's overall amount of cash won and lost as well as how long they have played.
Another change introduced in the additional customer interaction guidance issued in May 2020 is the ban on reverse withdrawals. The Commission has had a strict stance on withdrawals and pending times. This is just another step in the same direction that should enable consumers to cash out faster.
All the changes in the Remote Gambling and Software Technical Standards (RTS) were announced on 2 February 2020 and should take full effect by 31 October 2021. The UK Gambling Commission believes that this gives the operators enough time to implement the changes. The Authority claims to have taken into consideration the size and capability of the operators and the level of difficulty of the necessary changes. Any operator found that has failed to make their games within the standards will face regulatory action.
Nigel Huddleston MP, Minister for Sport, Tourism, and Heritage, greeted these changes. He is quoted saying that the steps would help curb the intensity of online gambling. He also stated that the new regulations would introduce greater protections that would reduce the risk of gambling-related harm.
He fully supports the effort that the UK Gambling Commission puts into making online gambling safe for players. He added that he welcomed the strict measures that the Gambling Commission introduced. Also, he announced that they would keep working together on implementing new ones to make sure that the gambling regulations are safe and match the digital era.
Neil McArthur, Gambling Commission chief executive, added that whenever it made sense to make iGaming safe, they would step up and do it.