Gambling is a fun pastime for numerous people who simply enjoy recreational gambling on casino games occasionally. However, many players fall into the trap of spending hours of gambling on the same game, eventually developing serious gambling issues. When enjoyed in moderation, casino games can be a great source of entertainment. As online gambling is constantly evolving, even more players have access to a myriad of exciting and innovative casino games.
While gambling is not necessarily a bad thing, many players are easily tempted to spend more time and money with every gaming session they start. As casinos generate their profit thanks to the participation of players, they strive to make games more appealing, inviting players to continue wagering their money.
Arguably, slots are among the games that attract the most attention, with the majority of players enjoying spinning the reels of various slot variations. Whether you play at a physical casino or you have logged into your online casino account, you will most likely have a plethora of colourful, immersive, and exciting slots to choose from.
Game developers are constantly working on improving one’s slot experience, prompting slot fans to spend hours spinning reels. While this brings casinos huge profits, gambling regulators started noticing that slot designs have become somewhat dangerous to players. That led to some jurisdictions such as the UK implementing strict restrictions that would make casino games safer in design. However, the effect of such measures is still vague.
Design Tricks Casinos Use to Attract More Engagement
The success of online casinos largely depends on attracting more players who would spend more time wagering real money on the games offered by said casinos. That is why gambling operators tend to join forces with some of the leading software companies in the iGaming industry. That way, patrons of the casinos can enjoy an abundance of casino games that can be very entertaining but also addicting at the same time.
As slots are the favourite genre of most players, the majority of software developers focus on creating innovative and fun slot variations. To make their slot portfolios preferred by many players, gaming companies tend to implement several features in their games. Even though such techniques may go unnoticed by many players, once you learn about the tricks gaming companies use, you easily spot such features in slots.
If you are an avid casino visitor, you cannot mistake the specific slot sounds initiated from coin drops or reel spins. Of course, with online slots, you will not have the same mechanism included in the games. However, to stay relevant to the land-based experience, online slot developers include specific slot sounds into their games.
In addition to the authentic sounds, slots also incorporate audio effects that could trigger specific feelings in players. Whenever a winning combination is landed, no matter how big or small it is, the sounds that accompany the win will make players feel as if they landed a major payout. As they are bombarded with so many celebratory sounds, players often fall into a “flow state”. With players fully immersing themselves in the games, they are simply chasing wins, without actually registering whether the final outcome is worth the risk.
One of the main issues that arise from the sound features of slots is the faulty sense of winning that some sounds give players. Often the audio effects of a slot will indicate that players have hit a major win when in reality the payout is either equal or even smaller than the player’s original bet. Such sounds may easily push players to spend more time and money on slots, chasing the same excitement of landing a win.
If slot sound effects are not enough to get you fully immersed in the game, then visuals will do. While you can switch off any music background and sound effects, you will still see all of the visual effects implemented in your favourite slots. Just as it is with other design features, visuals strive to shift your focus towards the game and have your full attention for as long as possible.
Game developers are well aware of the science behind using flashy lights and specific colours. Typically, flashing lights are associated with some type of celebration, a major event, or some sort of a positive feeling. Excitement is what often drives people to do spontaneous things, such as spending more money on a slot. Slot developers are fully aware of that, which is why you will often see flashing lights used as visual effects in slots.
Bright colours and action-packed animations are also very common in most new slots developed by iGaming companies. That way, players are easily hooked on playing slots, trying to trigger even more colourful and fun bonus features. As you may know, vibrant colours are often what catches the eye, which is why slot creators strive to make their games as colourful and engaging as possible.
Our brains are wired to always strive to achieve our goals and keep on grinding even when we fail. Unfortunately, this is a human characteristic that some game developers take advantage of. Whenever you see symbols align on adjacent reels with only the last one missing, you might feel the disappointment of failing to land the big win. The near miss that players experience is what often motivates them to continue playing.
Some slots will further implement the uneasy feeling of almost winning by displaying messages like “Almost there”, “One more”, or “So close”. By being teased with such words, players often feel as if they have something to prove and can land a big win if they continue to play. Unfortunately, they simply fall into one of the traps slot developers set for players.
While the near-miss message can manipulate players to spend more time and money on slots, the truth is that the longer you play a game, the higher the casino’s expected return is going to be. Meanwhile, you will be risking more money, ultimately increasing your potential long-term losses.
Autospins and Quickspins
When we are discussing slot design features that can affect players’ gambling behaviour, we should also cover autospins and quickspins. These options essentially allow players to control the speed of reel spins. Even though slots can be very entertaining, often players fall into the pattern of simply spinning the reels over and over, chasing big wins. That is where the autospin and quickspin features come into action.
If you simply want to go through several spins without pressing the spin button over and over again, you can set up a specific number of autospins. The bez size that you choose before the function is triggered will apply to every autospin. However, the game will be played significantly faster as every spin will be initiated following the result of the previous one.
Even if you do not make use of the autospin feature, some slots will also allow you to speed up the game by making spins faster. Quickspin is often an option you can turn on, allowing you to see the result of every reel spin almost instantly. That is often preferred by players who are playing every round only to land a big win.
However, the faster the game is played, the more spins some players tend to initiate. That would ultimately increase the spins per hour ratio, causing the casino to enjoy more wins in the long run. Meanwhile, more spins could mean players going through their bankrolls faster.
Measures Taken to Make Slots Safer in Design
With the global gambling scene developing immensely, gambling harm among vulnerable individuals also increases. That is why gambling regulators across different jurisdictions are taking measures to ensure safer gambling and help prevent gambling-related issues. One such authority is the UK Gambling Commission (UKGC), regulating the gambling sector in the country.
As several studies have proven the correlation between certain slot design features and potential problem gambling behaviour, the UKGC decided to introduce several measures to make the design of slots safer. While the regulatory body implemented a series of restrictions on the features included in slots, most of them are related to the speed of spins. Additionally, options that would imply a false sense of winning were also banned by the UKGC.
Following a consultation with the public, important stakeholders and companies in the gambling sector, in February 2021, the UKGC introduced a package of changes in the design of slots offered by casinos licensed to operate in the UK.
- Games cannot include features speeding up spins or giving a false feeling of control over the results
- Slot spins cannot last less than 2.5 seconds
- No autoplay feature on slots
- No sound or visual effects should be displayed when the return is less or equal to the player’s stake
In addition to imposing a ban on the aforementioned features, the new set of rules also included a few other changes that casino operators must comply with. As of 31 October 2021, operators are required to display the time players spend wagering during online slot sessions. The total of losses and wins must also be clearly visible to players. Additionally, the regulator banned the reversal of withdrawal requests, which were previously allowed, enabling players to re-gamble the money they have initially intended to withdraw.
The package of changes was introduced to ensure better consumer protection, making casino games safer. As discussed earlier, some features of slots can be very misleading, tempting players to play longer and spend more than they have originally anticipated wagering. The series of new rules would also force game developers to pay more attention to the design of their slots, making them suitable for the UK gambling market.
Do Restrictions on Slot Design Make Casino Games Safer
While the set of new rules for the design of casino games was published in February of 2021, operators had until 31 October of that year to implement the required changes in their casino operations. During the first months following the new model of slot gambling, the gambling industry suffered no significant changes in its income. Meanwhile, the slowing down of spins has definitely reduced the duration of online slot sessions.
Even though the new regulations were introduced to ensure better protection for vulnerable players, the new online slot experience has angered many players. As the autoplay feature is no longer available to British players, many have started to look for alternative options that will allow them to play multiple rounds without pressing the spin button over and over again. Auto clickers have become extremely popular, allowing players to bypass some of the latest slot restrictions imposed by the UKGC.
Even though some players do not appreciate the strict changes in slots’ design, others find the new set of regulations suitable. There will be no more features giving players a false impression of a win when they have been paid an amount even to or lower than their original stake. Playing without such misleading features avoids getting tricked into spending more time and money playing slots. What is more, displaying the time you spend playing online slots allows you to be aware of the duration of your slot sessions instead of losing track of time while spinning the reels of slots.
It can be concluded that while there are players who do not appreciate having to play online slots in a slower manner, others feel safer when they play slots online. Alongside the restrictions imposed on the design of online slots, the UKGC has also introduced new guidelines for operators to follow to ensure better consumer protection. The regulator is determined to continue working on making gambling in the UK safer. That also indicates that there are no signs of lifting the ban on some slot features as they have proven to reduce the duration of online slot sessions in the last few months.
With casinos striving to increase their profit, operators and game developers tend to use different tricks to make players spend more time placing bets on casino games. Players are often lured into investing more money and time in slots as they get fully immersed in the experience and lose track of time.
Immersive sounds and visual effects can easily give players a high that can make them spend more money, chasing wins while the casino’s potential profit increases. With options like autospin and quickspin, bored players can further increase the number of slot spins they can initiate in an hour. More spins equal more potential losses for players but a significantly higher profit for the casino.
As certain features incorporated in the design of slots have proven to be dangerous, prompting players to engage in harmful gambling, some jurisdictions have taken measures to ban several slot functions. As of 2021, slots at licensed UK online casinos cannot feature settings that would speed up the play or will mislead players about the outcome of spins. While some casino fans have shown disapproval of the UKGC’s new set of rules, others appreciate the additional steps taken to make gambling in the UK safer.