The British UKGC sends out notifications to content suppliers this month, prompting the removal of bonus buy features in their slots. This means that Microgaming (Quickfire), as well as SG Digital will be forced to block popular titles like 300 Shield Extreme, Extra Chilli, Return of Kong, Temple Tumble, White Rabbit and Book of Gods until they have made the necessary adaptations to these games to be in compliance with UK gambling regulations.
Big Time Gaming, who popularized the bonus buy feature, have already stopped implementing the feature in new games , but there are many who still regularly use it. Blueprint Gaming, for example, is probably the most prominent developer when it comes to implementing bonus buy feature. Relax Gaming, Kalamba Gaming, Barcrest, NextGen Gaming, and Yggdrasil Gaming are also known to use the feature in some of their games.
Remove the bonus buy feature or risk fines?
For some of these providers the problem is probably easy to solve by simply deactivating the feature. Or they may have two versions of the same game, so no big issues there. Other providers, who may have hardcoded the feature into their slots, will be forced to retract the games, make the proper adjustments and then have the games audited again. Obviously this will take more time and cost money. If the rumors are true, Big Time Gaming may be one of those providers that will have to do it the hard way, although we don’t know for sure. It is also not clear wether providers will be fined if they don’t take action or if the UKGC will take this one step further.
Whether this is the right or wrong way to go in terms of responsible gambling has been heavily debated across many casino communities following the news report. No specific time frame for the removal of the bonus buy feature has been given by the UKGC, but game aggregators have been notified and are expected to take action within reasonable time.
Bonus Buy Feature a good or a bad thing?
In our opinion it is a good thing that authorities like the UKGC keep a close eye on developments in the gambling industry and take action where they see fit. It is also their responsibility to protect players against unfair and shady practices. The question is wether Bonus Buys cause an extra risk for slot players. We think they do, but banning the Bonus Buy is a bridge too far. We would rather see manual flushing made madatory for all online casinos and a ban on the Max Bet button that is still featured in many online slots. We still feel other measures should be taken to protect online gamblers, such as making manual flushing mandatory and ban the Max Bet button in games. An extra warning on Bonus Buys could be a good thing so players are reminded of the extra risk involved, though. This should especially be the case with Bonus Buys that you can gamle after buying them.
We are curious to hear what you think about this measure being taken against bonus buys. Is it a good thing because Bonus Buys are a way to trick players to take higher risk in playing the online slots? Or do you feel these kind of measures are a step to far and is the UKGC killing the fun in playing online slots?