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Commission slot reforms resulted in “reduced play intensity”

| By Zak Thomas-Akoo
An assessment of the GB Gambling Commission's 2021 reforms to slot products has found that the protections have resulted in “reduced play intensity” as well as no harmful unintended consequences.
Affordability Checks tightrope

In October 2021, the Gambling Commission introduced a package of slot reforms. This was done in order to “strengthen” the protections and controls for those who gamble on the vertical.

These included a limit on the number of spins and a ban on features that speed up play or give the player the illusion of control as well as a ban on autoplay. The rules also prohibited sounds or imagery which give the impression of winning when the return is below the stake.

Gambling Commission slots
the commission focused on slots due to its view on the vertical’s risks

Additionally, it required operators to clearly display a user’s total losses and time played during any session.

The Commission said that it focused on online slots because of features which “increased the intensity of play and the corresponding risks to players”.

Gambling Commission reforms rules on slots

After studying the effects of the new regulations, the Commission said that it came to a number of conclusions. The regulator said that there was “some evidence” of reduced play intensity in online slot products.

The GC said that there had been “no evidence” that the reforms affected the enjoyment of gamblers. The regulator added that it saw no increase in staking activity in response to the limit on spin speeds.

“The report shows that despite a cap on the maximum spin speed, the proportion of stakes at the highest values decreased in the months following the changes and the proportion of sessions lasting in excess of an hour also decreased,” said the regulator.

“As a whole, general engagement with slots increased over the same time period.”

The Commission also reported that survey results indicated that gambling on multiple games or tabs at the same time decreased.

The GC based the assessment on a number of sources. These included its Online Tracker survey and the organisation’s quarterly gambling prevalence telephone survey.

Director for policy and research Tim Miller said: “Our assessment of the changes to online slots games has shown indications of reduced play intensity with no significant negative impacts on play or behaviours.

“That’s positive, but we aren’t complacent and will continue to monitor this specific part of the sector for both any unintended circumstances, or non-compliance.”

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