UKGC Bans “Feature Buy” Option From Online Slots

  • Online casino operators were directed to remove the "feature buy" option from their slots titles
  • Some major UK-facing casino sites never added these games with these features in the first place
  • The UKGC believes these bonus buys can quickly lead to players spiraling out of control
  • Slot developers that hard-coded this feature into games will have a costly process to remove it
Finger on keyboard with word 'BANNED'.
The UKGC is no longer allowing online slots that have an option for players to buy bonus features. [Image: Shutterstock]

Ban now in place

The United Kingdom Gambling Commission (UKGC) is no longer allowing online casinos to offer a “feature buy” option for online slots.

The commission has been sending messages to online casino operators, requesting for these features, or the games themselves, to be removed.

The feature buy option explained

The feature buy option has been available with many online slots titles for some time, with some notable ones including Book of Gods, Extra Chilli, and White Rabbit.

major UK gambling operators, such as Ladbrokes and Sky Gaming, never made the feature buy option available

It allows the player to purchase one of the game’s bonus features instead of having to play the game itself to trigger the bonus. Essentially, it is a shortcut to access the bonus rounds of a given game.

Some of the major UK gambling operators, such as Ladbrokes and Sky Gaming, never made the feature buy option available to their players when it first became popular. These operators had forecasted the UKGC curtailing these types of features in the future.

Ability to bet big

Often, the price to purchase access to an online slot’s bonus game may be as much as 100 times higher than the stake for playing the base game. Therefore, this large bet size can lead to people spending a lot more than they were planning to when playing online slots, which causes obvious problems.

Some players exclusively want to play bonus games, so this “feature buy” becomes a massive focus for them.

Taking the White Rabbit slot as an example, the feature buy allows players to place a bet worth 50 or 100 times the base game stake. With the base game stake being £20 ($24.65), players could spend and potentially lose £1,000 ($1,231) to £2,000 ($2,462) in a given round.

For some slots developers, the feature can be easily deactivated. However, some of the developers have these types of features hard-coded into a game, which means that it will be costlier and more time-consuming to remove these types of features from their games.

Wide-ranging strategy

The UKGC has been curtailing gambling games that can incur massive losses in a short space of time.

In 2018, the UKGC dropped the maximum allowable stake per round on a fixed-odds betting terminal from £100 ($123) to £2 ($2.46). This move has been a success to date, with the money spent on these terminals dropping drastically since.

Another feature the commission is looking at potentially banning is the single reel respin, which lets a player spin a single reel, as opposed to all five reels, at a time. The use of this feature leads to players placing bets for a substantial amount, similar to what is seen with the feature buy option.