BGC Reveals New Rules for Online Slot Game Design

  • Game Design Code of Conduct will initially roll out in two phases
  • Phase one implements slower spin speeds and a number of feature bans by September 30
  • Phase two has a January 31, 2021 deadline, mainly concerns enhancing game transparency
  • Other rules related to safer gambling info access and mandatory player interaction are coming
  • The BGC Innovation and Testing Lab will work on other projects for possible future changes
Man playing online slots on a tablet
The UK Betting and Gaming Council has announced a new code of conduct that will see significant changes to online slot game design. [Image:]

New code of conduct

The UK Betting and Gaming Council (BGC) has released a new code of conduct for online slot game design in an attempt to better protect players and help combat problem gambling. 

The BGC announced the news in a tweet on Friday:

Some of the industry association’s new measures in the Game Design Code of Conduct include slowing down the speeds of online slot spins, improving access to safe gambling information, and banning a number of problematic game features.

The basis for this code of conduct comes from the beginning of the BGC’s Safer Gambling Commitments in 2019.

Phases one and two

BGC members will need to have phase one rules in place by September 30. These include introducing a minimum slot game cycle speed of 2.5 seconds and banning turbo play, base game slam stops, and multi-slot play within a single gaming client. These changes are in line with a recent UK Gambling Commission consultation on online slots.

Phase two will be rolled out over the coming months by no later than January 31, 2021. Among the new measures are rules regarding slot wins below the stake size. Additionally, the exact win amount must be displayed for a sufficient period of time so the player can understand the impact of the bet, with a brief sound used to let the player know the result. 

require customers to manually trigger bonus games

For wins that are the same or greater than the stake size, the win amount can be showcased in a different manner, such as with celebratory sound effects. Another new rule will require customers to manually trigger bonus games. A notification will be sent to the player once the bonus game has ended. 

Further measures

BGC members will implement further measures as part of the new code, though the deadline has yet to be determined. These changes will see safer gambling information being more prominently displayed during gameplay. 

There will also be mandatory interaction with players every 60 minutes or at the end of a subsequent game cycle, requiring the customer to acknowledge the message.

determination to address concerns head on”

Speaking about the launch of this new code, BGC chief executive Michael Dugher said: “The new Game Design Code of Conduct is yet another example of our determination to address concerns head on and meet our safer gambling commitments.”

Future areas of focus

The BGC Innovation and Testing Lab will look after a work program for future changes. A number of different projects launch before the end of the year, each independently validated. 

One game-labeling project has already launched. It looks at the feasibility of creating a more consistent approach to displaying slots game information to players. The goal is to help players better understand key terms and to enhance their playing experience. 

Preliminary work has started on a project that will gauge “the prevalence of increased staking in slots sessions and whether this behavior correlates to a risk of harm.”

The BGC is also looking at how auto-play is used and its impact on players. The group wants to see how many people use auto-play and determine what sort of relationship exists between using its use and staking behaviors, as well as to determine if there is any correlation between this feature and players who exhibit markers of harm. 

Finally, there will be a project looking at providing players with quick access to the time they have spent playing and their net spend during a given session. 

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