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How online games design has a direct impact on responsible gambling

  • by Stelly in Fun Wow
  • July 2, 2021

Let’s take a closer look at how the most popular online slots can impact responsible gambling among players.


The online casino industry has come a long way since it first broke ground.

Today more regions are opening their virtual doors, changing regulations to include iGaming and games are bigger and better than ever before.

Are better slots a motivator for problem gambling?

With the simpler slots from the past, there were basic mechanics with simple sounds, graphics, and features. Today there are thousands of slots, each with a different theme, bold colours, exciting sounds, and even more thrilling features.

While these improvements lead to better gaming entertainment there is also the question of whether or not it is causing more gambling problems. The primary belief (or rather concern) is that these latest online slots are designed in such a way that it enhances problem gambling.

Potential risk factors

Autoplay Feature

According to gaming authorities, the Autoplay feature links to many players losing track of their play which in turn makes it more difficult to stop playing. Many players also take advantage of this feature to enable them to play other games at the same time.

In various regions, the use of the Autoplay feature is no longer available as regulatory restrictions prohibit it. This is an attempt to decrease the number of problem gamblers within the region.

Bonus Buy Features

A bonus buy feature gives you the option of skipping the base gameplay and heading straight for the main bonus feature. To use this feature, you need to pay an additional stake amount.

The feature is meant to be a shortcut to the fun bonus features but is still meant to be used responsibly. Many players are increasing their spending through the use of the bonus buy feature. And on top of that, the feature is not a guarantee of a win. This feature is already banned in the UK due to responsible gambling regulations.

Branded & Themed Slots

Research shows that the right music and visuals will increase the time spent online. With branded and themed slots featuring popular musicians, artists, actors, or films it encourages prolonged gameplay.

Branded slots tend to feature imagery, sounds and video footage from popular films which ultimately increases the entertainment but leads to players playing for longer.

High Stakes

There are two types of slot players, namely high stakes and low stakes players. There are high stakes players who take the 'all or nothing' approach. These players opt for high stakes games that allow for higher maximum bets.

While the higher stakes slots can award bigger wins, there is also the risk of bigger losses. In itself, high stakes gameplay is also more expensive, and a budget plan is necessary to remain in control.

Playtech is one of the software providers popular for their range of high stakes slots such as Piggies and the Wolf, Ghosts of Christmas, Santa Surprise and Age of Gods: Goddess of Wisdom. With each of these slots, you can bet as much as $1,000 and cash in on big wins of up to 10,000x your stake.

Gamification Features

The days of boring features are long gone with technology allowing providers to enhance the experience with the thrill of mission-based features. The idea with this type of gamification is for you to complete set missions throughout your gameplay in order to unlock certain features.

The gamification features have proven to be a massive success but there is the concern that they increase time spent playing along with the funds spend on single slots.

In-built tournament Features

Online casino tournaments have become increasingly popular in online casinos across the globe. There are various tournaments for online slots players leading to additional rewards. One of the latest features in slots includes built-in tournaments.

With the added excitement there is more reason to continue playing and achieve your objective of hitting big wins. Unfortunately, the in-built tournaments also lead to longer gameplay, more spending, and no guarantee of winning.

Turbo Spin Feature

Another added feature in many slots from leading industry providers is the Turbo Spin or Turbo Boost feature. With this feature, players have the opportunity to play through spins more quickly, meaning more spins in less time.

It's a beneficial feature but it can become a risky addition leading to more spending in less time when not used properly. It's especially risky to use on high stakes games or while placing higher bets.

Many of these features are great attributes meant to enhance the experience. When used excessively or in the wrong way, they can assist in the risk of problem gambling. For this reason, gaming authorities such as the UK Gambling Commission has started refusing to license casinos that have games with features that promote anything but responsible gambling.

To learn more you can check out our infographic for Psychological Factors of Gambling.

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