Following recent guidelines from the UK Gambling Commission which aim to help reduce problem gambling by banning online and offline gambling companies from accepting credit card payments, the regulator has also issued a reminder to online gambling operators to check that their games meet the necessary safety and transparency standards.
According to the UKGC’s remote gambling and software technical standards, gambling products (such as games) must not encourage players to carry on gambling after they’ve indicated that they wish to stop, increase their stake or chase their losses.
They also state that the rules must be readily available to gamblers before they begin to play, and that the content must be understandable.
However, the Commission has discovered that six online gambling operators have been breaching these standards by offering their customers games which contain a “feature buy in” element.
Feature buy ins allow players to directly access certain bonus features of slots without having to wait for them to be triggered (e.g. via scatter symbols). Doing so requires an additional wager which the UK Gambling Commission has, in one instance, found to be costing punters as much as £3,000.
All six operators which the UKGC has contacted have since removed all feature buy in elements from the products offered on their websites.
One such game that has recently been released is a NetEnt slot called Serengeti Kings. It’s the first NetEnt slot to contain a feature buy in option.
The feature allows players to pay to play the Free Spins Bonus at a cost of over 58 times their total stake for 3 scatter symbols and up to 358 times their total stake for 5 scatter symbols.
However, due to the UK gambling regulations mentioned above, the buy in option is not included in the UK version of Serengeti Kings.