Big news is coming out of the U.K. today as regulators are forcing online casino to overhaul their slot machines. Gambling companies will also be forced to remove features that do not show how much people are spending on slot machines.
With the changes coming to the U.K., the online gambling industry could be losing £2.2 billion in revenue from the changes, according to the Gambling Commission in the U.K.
The sports minister, Nigel Huddleston, said, “Today’s steps will help curb the intensity of online gambling, introducing greater protections that will reduce the risk of gambling-related harm.” Huddleston also explained that he wants to make sure the gambling laws seem fit as it moves into the digital age.
The U.K. changes could be the first of many online casinos and gaming operators to change how users can gamble in the future.
Changes to U.K. Online Gaming
The biggest changes made will be that slots will have at least a 2.5-second gap between spins, and operators will have to remove auto-play options, which sets the slot machine to spin on its own. Regulators state this has allowed people to lose a lot more money.
There will also be no more reverse withdrawals. The reverse withdrawals are when players collect their winnings before logging off and putting the money back into the game, which has led to correlations with gambling addiction. Online slot machines also have to play jingles when you lose money to make you think you are doing better than normal. This will be removed from online casinos.
Operators will be forced to display how much time they have spent during a session and remove any features that make the player feel like they are in control of a random event. The teardown of the online slots will take place by October 31.
The change in online slots regulations is going the have a huge impact on the online gaming industry. Right now, the changes are going on in the U.K., but it could begin to expand elsewhere, including the U.S.
Online Gaming Impact
Online slots have seen a lot of growth in the U.K., with more money being put into slots than other casino products and sports betting, according to Gaming Commission data.
Online gaming has grown from £2.36 to £3.18 billion from March 2016 to March 2020, with 70% of the slots’ revenue. The online slots industry is huge, but it is also begging to bring higher gambling addiction rates in the U.K.
In the U.K., less than 4% of sports bettors are considered addicts, and roughly 5.7% of casino gamers are addicts, according to a study done in 2018. However, online slot players have the highest addiction rate of 8.5% and could continue to rise if regulators do not step in.
The U.K. online gaming industry could change in the next few years with the changes. People could begin to shift from slots to other gaming products, or the industry could state relatively the same with the regulations now put in place.
In the short-term, slot gaming will most likely take a hit, but the long-term view is still hard to predict. Gambling stocks saw little change, which could be a positive sign for the industry.