Before we answer the question, take this quiz: what’s common between the UKGC and Billy Joel? Well, both want you to slow down! The UKGC’s ban on turbo mode (also known as quick spins) in slots is its way of telling players: hey, take it easy!
Slow down, you crazy child
You're so ambitious for a juvenile
Where's the fire, what's the hurry about?
You'd better cool it off before you burn it out
- Turbo mode in online slot games enables high-speed gaming by speeding up spins.
- The UKGC has banned this feature as part of its effort to promote responsible gambling.
- The ban aims to slow down slot spinning so players have more control over spending and can stay away from gaming addiction.
- However, it can be unwelcomed by players who seek quicker gratification, faster gaming sessions, and a more traditional slot gaming experience.
- The ban has an impact on fast paying casino operators, who may see a decline in player interest and revenue due to the absence of turbo mode.
- UK players may find slot gaming without turbo mode less appealing and may seek alternative options at offshore online casinos.
- The ban on turbo mode can demotivate slot developers, as it limits their scope of innovation, potentially impacting their bottom line.
- Balancing responsible gambling measures with an enjoyable slot gaming experience is a challenge for the industry's progress and player protection.
Before we delve any deeper, let’s understand what turbo mode is.
About Turbo Mode in Online Slot Games
Turbo mode is a feature in slot machines which, when activated, fires up the spinning of the reels. This is an opt-in feature, which players can turn on and off at their convenience during gameplay.
It is usually visible on the main game interface and labelled as such. But it can also be available in the menu or sub-menu of the slot game. Whatever be its placement, the turbo mode in slot games is meant for enabling high-speed gaming.
For those who cannot wait for a slot spin to complete on its own and at its normal pace, it is a fantastic option. It’s also ideal for those who cannot afford to spend much time gambling and wish to indulge in it whilst also doing other tasks simultaneously.
Oftentimes, players use the turbo mode in conjunction with the auto spin option to put their slot gaming session on autopilot mode and at an accelerated speed.
This helps them complete multiple spins rapidly without needing to manually click and re-click the spin button or having to wait for the spins to complete their cycle naturally.
However, keep in mind that with the turbo mode activated, the animations and sounds typical of a slot game might be removed to cut the resulting annoyance. Also, this feature does not alter the result of a spin or affect the potential winnings.
Alas, online gamblers in the UK cannot enjoy turbo mode in slots at UK-licensed casinos; there’s a blanket ban on it across all of them.
Why Did the UKGC Ban Turbo Mode in Slots?
The UKGC’s ban on turbo mode in slots has been imposed keeping in mind all the concerns about its potential to aggravate gambling-related harm.
The speed in spins which this feature enables can lead to increased betting frequency and potential loss of control over your spending. This, in turn, can mess up bankroll management for you as well as contribute to addictive behaviour and financial difficulties.
The ban aims to promote responsible gambling and protect you from the risks associated with high-speed gambling. With the turbo mode switched on, you are likely to spend less time deciding whether to hit the next spin or let it be.
In a way, it tempts you to keep spinning the slots. This is a bad decision in slot gaming, especially if you have a limited bankroll. Eventually, you will end up wagering more money than you can afford to lose, which in the eyes of the UKGC could be a suspicious gambling activity.
Furthermore, the turbo mode is also a direct violation of the Gambling Commission’s rule regarding slot spin delay. All UKGC-licensed fast withdrawal casinos are required to impose a 2.5-second delay between two slot spins. Maintaining this interval wouldn’t be possible in turbo mode.
The ban, which was put into effect on 31 October 2021, has been imposed only after thoroughly considering the opinions of several respondents who were consulted regarding prohibitions of slot features designed to speed up spins.
Of them, 62% agreed that a prohibition is necessary. Interestingly, a large chunk of these respondents were casino operators. On the other hand, the proposal got a lukewarm response from casino business stakeholders and mixed reactions from the public.
Questions were raised regarding the logic of doing away with the turbo mode when already the minimum game cycle speed of 2.5 seconds would be in place. Some respondents were of the opinion that if this feature has no effect on the outcome of a spin, it should be removed.
Eventually, the ban was put in place with the UKGC putting the onus on licensees to ensure they offer slot games designed to deliver on the aim. Failure to do so may lead to action being taken against the licensee.
Why Is the Ban Good?
The ban on turbo mode at UKGC-licensed slot sites is good because it allows more scope for the following:
- Self-control on gaming
- Thoughtful spending of bankroll
- Avoidance of gambling addiction
Why Is the Ban Bad?
The ban on turbo mode can be considered bad if you seek the thrill of the following:
- Quicker gratification
- Faster gaming sessions
- Slot gaming as everyone else knows it
What Is the Impact of the Ban?
On Fast Paying Casino Operators
For fast paying casino operators licensed by the UKGC, the ban means they have to present players with slot gaming in a less appealing manner. Without the turbo mode, busy slot players might be disinterested, which could eventually hurt the bottom line of the business.
Additionally, this rule put in place means licensed casino operators have to diligently take up the responsibility to disallow the feature on the slots they offer. They have to be on their toes all the time to ensure the rule isn’t broken so the consequences can be avoided.
On UK Players
As already mentioned, slots without the turbo mode might attract a smaller group of players than they would with it. Slot gaming in the UK might be seen as a boring and tedious gambling activity instead of an enjoyable one. Especially so since several other slot features are banned in the UK as well, such as bonus buys and auto spins.
Taking away control from the players could also result in them voting with their feet and playing at offshore online casinos licensed elsewhere.
On Slot Developers
A ban on features like turbo mode, in many ways, can serve as developer demotivation. The ones who create these games thrive on innovation. They are constantly asking and answering this question: what’s next?
But if their creativity isn’t allowed to reach consumers, it serves them no purpose. Why would they do what they are doing? In other words, it hurts their bottom line, too.
Long Story Short
Prioritising responsible gambling and fostering a safe gaming environment is paramount for the entire online gambling industry. The UKGC's decision to ban the turbo mode feature in online slots aligns with this very objective.
Nevertheless, it is essential to consider the potential risk of increased churn rate as players seek alternative gambling sites to bypass the ban. With the United Kingdom earning significant gambling revenue, this could be bad news.
Balancing responsible gambling measures with an enjoyable slot gaming experience is crucial for the industry's progress and player protection. Striking this balance, especially with all the criticism around and the constant evolution of online casinos in this digital age, is the real challenge.