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UPDATED ON: by James Worden

New Regulations for Gambling companiesGambling firms will have to contend with new rules if the new orders are anything to go by. These new orders introduce a bunch of tough new procedures that are aimed at protecting gamers from addictive online slot machines that can cause huge losses to thousands of pounds in just a couple of minutes.

The new rules dictate that operators must slow down these games to a maximum speed of up to 2.5 seconds per spin. Also, they must stop the use of tactics such as lights and sounds which make a loss feel like a win, said the Gambling Commission.

This latest crackdown announcement is seen as a means to streamline this ever-growing industry, amid growing concern over the serious financial harms that are caused by online gambling, and particularly during the Covid-19 pandemic.

Under these planned new rules, companies will be required to remove “auto-play” options. The rules will also affect the so-called reverse withdrawals that will additionally get banned.

The feature is notorious for wooing gamblers to more betting. This is because it allows them to change their mind about withdrawing their winnings, and instead encourages them to wager it again.

Operators are also required to clearly display to the gamer their total wins and/or losses, plus the time played throughout any online slots’ session.

However, these new safety measures will only come into effect starting 31st, October.

Slot games are a big investment to gambling companies, and they generate more than £2.2bn for these establishments, taking up the lion’s share of the industry’s online revenue.

On the other hand, slot games by far have the highest average losses per player in any online gambling product. Additionally, research carried out suggests that these types of games are the most addictive.

In 2019, stakes on fixed-odds betting stations in bookies were lowered from £50 to £2 per spin. However, games that permit rapid play besides hefty losses are still there available on online casinos, which exposes gambling addicts to 24 hours a day betting via smartphones.

Chief executive of the Gambling Commission, Neil McArthur said: "To make online games safer we are introducing a ban on features that speed up play or give the illusion of control over the outcome.

"We are also introducing a ban on autoplay, losses disguised as wins, and slot spin speeds faster than 2.5 seconds. The evidence shows that these features increase the risk of harm to customers.

"This is another important step in making gambling safer and, where the evidence shows that there are other opportunities to do that, we are determined to take them."

Sports Minister Nigel Huddleston was quoted saying: "Today's steps will help curb the intensity of online gambling, introducing greater protections that will reduce the risk of gambling-related harm.

"I welcome the Gambling Commission's tough measures as we continue our comprehensive review of gambling laws to make sure they're fit for the digital age."

On its part, the Commission said that it is much focused on online slots given their features which are known to increase the play intensity, which also comes with a corresponding risk to gamers.