The UKGC sends out notifications to content suppliers, prompting the removal of bonus buy slots
As explained to us by a casino representative, the Gambling Commission has been sending out notifications to game aggregators requesting the removal of all online slots offering players the option to buy their way directly into the bonus. This feature, which is often referred to as Bonus Buy, Feature Buy or Feature Pass, made its first appearance in Big Time Gaming’s White Rabbit slot in 2017 and has since become extremely popular with players around the world.
In practice, this means that Microgaming (Quickfire), as well as SG Digital, both of which are suppliers of Big Time Gaming slots, will be forced to block popular titles such as Extra Chilli, Book of Gods, and White Rabbit for UK players until they are in compliance with UK regulations. Whilst some of the big UK operators, namely Sky and Ladbrokes, took an active decision early on not to make the feature available for players, most other UKGC operators have continued business as usual.
Big Time Gaming, who popularized the bonus buy feature, have stopped implementing it their new games altogether, but there are many who still regularly make use of it. Blueprint Gaming, for example, is the most prominent developer when it comes to implementing the bonus buy feature. Relax Gaming, Kalamba Gaming, Barcrest, NextGen Gaming, and Yggdrasil Gaming are also known to use it in some of their games.
For some of these providers, we assume, the problem is relatively easily solved by simply deactivating the feature (or they may have two versions of the same game). 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 them audited again, something that takes time and costs 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 at this point in time.
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.