Wednesday 14 October 2020 4:51 pm

Gambling firms unveil new online games rules as reforms loom

British gambling firms today unveiled a new code of conduct for the design of online games as they look to tackle problem gambling in the face of looming industry reforms.

New measures include slowing down spin speeds on slot machines, banning several controversial game features and improving access to safer gambling information.

Read more: 888 shares rocket 25 per cent as gambling firm raises full-year expectations

The Betting and Gaming Council (BGC), which published the code of conduct, said the move was designed to ensure safer gambling principles were incorporated into the design of games before they enter the market.

Under the new framework, game cycle speeds will be set at a minimum of 2.5 seconds.

Games will also be banned from using turbo play, which allows players to speed up games, and multi-slot play, where a player can place multiple stakes on different games at the same time.

The BGC said the measures would be in place at the end of the month.

“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,” said BGC chief executive Michael Dugher.

It comes as the industry braces for an upcoming review of gambling legislation amid concerns about the growing number of problem gamblers in the UK.

The issue has come under even greater scrutiny this year as a result of the coronavirus crisis, with MPs calling for a total ban on gambling advertising and a cut to the maximum stake allowed online.

Read more: Government cracks down on loot boxes in bid to curb child gambling

The looming reforms have led top gambling companies to hire senior political figures to guide them through the review.

Betting giant 888 has appointed former Blair adviser Lord Mendelsohn as its new chairman, while rival Flutter last month tapped former Labour deputy leader and vocal anti-gambling campaigner Tom Watson as an adviser.