The Gambling Commission has warned its licensees not to offer gambling products to British customers online that include ‘feature buy-ins’.

The reminder follows in the wake of the Commission discovering that six operators were offering casino games that included such functionality. ‘Feature buy-ins’, typically provided as part of slots games, allow players to pay to access certain bonus features in games immediately, which they would have otherwise had to play through to obtain. In the Commission’s investigation it discovered that in some cases players were having to pay as much as £3,000 for these shortcuts.

The Commission claims that such functionality does not comply with its ‘Remote Gambling and Software Technical Standards’, citing requirements 3A and 14A in its warning to licensees. The former requirement provides that an explanation of the applicable rules for each game must be made easily available to the customer before they commit to gamble, and the latter that gambling products must not “actively encourage” customers to chase their losses, increase their stake, increase the amount they have decided to gamble, or continue to gamble after they have indicated that they wish to stop.

The Commission called on all licensees to check that their games meet these standards and to take immediate steps to cease providing the offending functionality (whether by removing the whole game or merely the relevant feature), whilst confirming that the six operators in question had already done so.