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The Future of UK Slots - Everything You Need to Know

The gambling world in the UK has been booming for a good 15 years now. The firing gun on this revolution was fired by the 2005 Gambling Act, which massively liberalised the UK’s aged and restrictive gambling laws.

Oldies like me will remember the gambling world before then as one almost entirely based around drab book-makers shops and fruit machines in pubs.

That act changed everything. But its reign is about to come to an end.

There is big pressure on for changes in the law around gambling. That’s because at the same time as the law was liberalised a parallel revolution was happening in the explosion in internet access, both in speed and accessibility.

Put it all together and you get a situation wherein 2021 gambling businesses are amongst the highest-earning in the UK and certainly the most high profile, linked to almost every top football team and dominating TV advertising.

Change is on the way. But what might it mean for the future of UK slots?

Let’s have a look.

1 – UK slots are already heavily regulated and players are protected

The UK is a regulated gambling environment. That doesn’t mean that it is regulated enough, or too much, or that the regulation is well run or well written. But it does exist, and it is illegal for anyone to offer gambling games to anyone in the UK without a licence from the UK Gambling Commission.

That gives players at least some protections against bad practice. And it has also introduced some further safeguards for UK players.

2 – In the UK you can’t buy a feature any more

One way slots companies up the stakes for players is a quite simple deal – give us a load of money and we’ll give you a bonus feature! Pretty simple right?! In fact, you might actually argue that it is a better deal than gambling to try to win a feature.

Some such features simply reduce the odds against winning a feature and others offer a simple cash-for-feature deal.

However, the UK Gambling Commission doesn’t like this, as this rule explains:

“Gambling products must not actively encourage customers to chase their losses, increase their stake or increase the amount they have decided to gamble or continue to gamble after they have indicated that they wish to stop.”

This rule was invoked in 2020 to get six games taken off the UK facing sites.

Simpler is this: an outright ban on autoplay, “which,” the UK GC says, “can lead to players losing track of their play.”

Autoplay has become more and more sophisticated in recent years, and it’s possible to trigger features to stop in a number of ways linked to losses, wins, or financial milestones. Pretty much every game features autoplay, so this is going to be a big and quite visible change.

3 – In the UK things are going to slow down

The UK Gambling Commission has pre-empted a major review of the Gambling Act by making some rule changes of its own.

The first of these is slowing down slots.

This was announced by the UK GC as follows:

“An outright ban on features that speed up play or give the illusion of control over the outcome and slot spin speeds faster than 2.5 seconds.”

This will probably mean your turbo spin feature will be turned off on most slots in the UK. The other restriction here is less well defined. Features that give the illusion of control over the outcome might cover a number of features, including flashing lights or meters that encourage timed pressing of a spin button. That’s a technical issue and one that slots designers are probably going to have to negotiate with the UK GC as new titles are released.

4 – Telling the truth

The UK GC also outlawed, “sounds or imagery which give the illusion of a win when the return is in fact equal to, or below, a stake.”

Again, this seems quite a specific and technical restriction. It’s not a feature we’ve come across at all in our slots experience but it must presumably exist.

5 – There are more changes to come

Alongside changes to games, casino sites will have to change too, and they must now show the total loss or win during a session and they must show the duration of any slots session.

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Many sites offer these features as an opt-in safe gambling option, but now there will always be a clock on the screen.

These changes are due to come in this autumn. The review into the law will report later in the year, and its results will be implemented in 2022.

There is a lot of speculation about what might change for slots players.

Campaigners for safe gambling would like quite restrictive limits on spending and affordability checks on spending but haven’t made many specific demands about changes to the rules on individual slot features.

A limit on stakes is the most likely change. This could cut gambling figures quite dramatically if that precedent of FOBTs in real-world venues is followed. The stakes on those machines – usually roulette games – were cut from an unlimited amount to just £2.

It is also possible that casino sites and slots designers will make pre-emptive changes. The industry is certainly making noises about this and carrying out some pretty heavy-duty lobbying – including publishing its own research – to argue against rule changes that are too restrictive.

If you enjoy slots you will certainly see some changes later this year, with more to come in 2022. The best advice is to always follow safe gambling advice and to do some research of your own on how to stay safe online.

The gambling industry gets a lot of stick in this regard, but it has produced at least one good piece of advice: When the fun stops, stop, and we advise players to flow this advice and expand its effect by playing only for fun as often as possible.

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Frequently Asked Questions about casinos

No, not in most countries in the EU and UK. But the license the casino uses can have its own restrictions on offering online gambling to certain countries. So, if you experience an IP block when visiting the website, it's probably because you are in a country where the casino can not offer its services.

Every casino you find at follows strict rules regarding customer safety, gambling selection, and, not least, fair terms for its members. Although there might be foreign owners in some online casinos, they have licenses with rules and regulations they need to follow to offer online gaming to UK and EU players.

If you want more control over how much you play for, it might be a good idea to invest in a Paysafecard. This is a prepaid visa card where you choose how much you want to refill. Otherwise, Skrill and Neteller offer fast and secure solutions without being directly linked to your bank account.

In principle, you should never use payment information belonging to another person. This may result in you being banned, or not being able to withdraw any winnings without the owner of either card or other payment methods you use, also verifying their identity.

Casino has to have wagering requirements or other restrictions to be able to offer bonuses to all. If it was possible to get free money without restrictions, even the biggest casinos would disappear quite quickly. Therefore, wagering requirements ensure liquidity at the casinos, giving more players the opportunity to get more money to play with.