Was banning bonus buys the right decision?

toms596

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I've been playing on crypto casinos for the past week doing a few buys and it has got me thinking

Obviously some of the ridiculous buys like the 2000x no limit ones are obscene and likely to cause huge problems

I have had a few 600x, 800x, 1450x, 1800x wins over the last few days on €20 buys and have actually been enjoying playing oddly they have all been pragmatic slots

I find in the UK now I can do over 200x in spins and not land a single bonus easily ripping a decent sized deposit

Where I can guarantee 2 bonus rounds by buying them

Was banning bonus buys a bad decision by the UKGC?
 

kennygamerboy

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I've been playing on crypto casinos for the past week doing a few buys and it has got me thinking

Obviously some of the ridiculous buys like the 2000x no limit ones are obscene and likely to cause huge problems

I have had a few 600x, 800x, 1450x, 1800x wins over the last few days on €20 buys and have actually been enjoying playing oddly they have all been pragmatic slots

I find in the UK now I can do over 200x in spins and not land a single bonus easily ripping a decent sized deposit

Where I can guarantee 2 bonus rounds by buying them

Was banning bonus buys a bad decision by the UKGC?
100%. i think bonus buys although they are instant gratification i used to tend to leave after a good one where as before i quit pragmatic was impossible to land naturally so would do my brains in re-depositing trying to land a bonus
 

Jono777

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Depends...

If you're in control of your gambling / play / spending and the realistic ones (100x bet to buy or thereabouts) then no

However, if you're a part or full addict and with the crazy 1Kx+ buys then my answer would be different

As there are a lot more of the latter about, then overall - Yes!
 

KasinoKing

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Yes.
Although I did enjoy using them a bit when allowed, they very quickly lead to chasing losses, losing your entire balance in just a few plays, and I can see how they could very quickly become addictive to those with slightly weaker self-control than myself.

KK
 

Najasaki

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Yes.
Although I did enjoy using them a bit when allowed, they very quickly lead to chasing losses, losing your entire balance in just a few plays, and I can see how they could very quickly become addictive to those with slightly weaker self-control than myself.

KK

I pissed away 3K winnings from a $100 deposit on buying NLC super bonuses in one day once.

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Reelsoffun

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100% No, banning the bonus buys was not the right decision.

Banning them, because they could lead to some players losing control was a stupid idea, if players couldn’t control themselves with the bonus buys then they shouldn’t have been gambling at all.

Like all prohibition it rarely works and people either get round it or adapt to new ways, in this case non uk players either go to dodgy crypto casinos or just play longer chasing down a bonus the hard way often having to play far longer or with far more than they intended too, so well done UKGC another mis thought out rule to “protect” the player.

For the players that were in control of their spending and using them fine, they have been penalised by not being able to make a deposit try a few bonus buys and try to get lucky without having to spend hours hitting a bonus that may never actually come, all the while potentially spending just as much or even more than buying it.

However having said that, at first I did think the excessive ones should be banned eg 500x or more etc should be banned but then after some thought I don’t agree they should be either.

The reasoning behind my decision on that is clear, if people can afford to buy them ( and there will always be people that can ) then why shouldn’t they be able to, it’s no different to why I don’t drive around in a top of the range 100k car, but just because I can’t afford such a luxury car does that mean we should ban others from buying one too?

I know it’s not quite the same but you get my drift, like auto spins it was a bad decision that will have had no positive impact overall and negatively effected a large amount of responsible gamblers.

As for people chasing losses, those sort of people are just as likely to do that with feature buys allowed or not.

And yes I’m still pissed that my extra chilli buys were taken away 🤬☹️
 
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perunamies

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Don't really know. I'm 50/50 on this issue. On one hand it's one of the most useless features in gaming and only complete retards use it. On the other hand let adults piss away all their money if they want. It's a free world.
 

ChopleyIOM

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The reasoning behind my decision on that is clear, if people can afford to buy them ( and there will always be people that can ) then why shouldn’t they be able to, it’s no different to why I don’t drive around in a top of the range 100k car, but just because I can’t afford such a luxury car does that mean we should ban others from buying one too?

I know it’s not quite the same but you get my drift, like auto spins it was a bad decision that will have had no positive impact overall and negatively effected a large amount of responsible gamblers.

That's possibly the worst analogy I've ever seen. 'Not quite the same' you say.... It's on a different planet!
 

goatwack

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There are people that can't afford £1 scratchcards, yet still prioritize them over other things. So 'affordability' is relative.

One would imagine then, that a governing body took an 'overview' of these and either capped their usage per user, or gave casinos the autonomy to implement them on a per-player basis. God knows they've set vague guidelines on just about everything else for casinos to dance around, so why not this.

Yet of course not - far easier to just ban them outright and ostracize a subset of gamblers that did enjoy BBs and were in control of their application, because then you can call that 'player protection' and bask in your steadfast dedication to tackling problem gambling.

Again, as with everything, the initial idea of Bonus Buys was fine - yet before long, became subverted by designers' greed and ever-ludicrous outlays. Because why not? Designers are going to push boundaries if unchecked, but just like with everything else, flipping lootboxes, gas companies, retailers that hike prices up because they can, the same was always going to apply with Bonus Buys.

Why 'regulate' them when banning them is just easier?

I don't accept that reeling off a succession of £10 BBs - all perfectly within my allocated budget for that session, as opposed to grinding menial 3p wins on White Rabbit for three hours with a slew of shite Bonus teases- makes my playstyle 'problematic' or worthy of prohibition. I'd even argue that it reduced my overall gambling time and focus, not to mention eagerness and anxiety of where the next possible win might come from (i.e hours of frustrating spinning, busting, then re-depositing to achieve a sense of 'recompense' for that shite Stuka-bomber session of bewildering nothingness).

At least with Bonus Buys I get to the brass tacks on my terms, within say a £50 budget, play the only part of the slot that's actually worthwhile, while enjoying the spectacle of the best the game has to offer.

There is nothing wrong with BBs, there never was anything wrong with BBs, yet short of regulating them, they've warped into an unsavoury and cynical cash-grab, with many games designed around this blueprint. All pretty sad, and as ever, could have been handled much better.

But why do that? :laugh:
 

ChopleyIOM

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This is the rub of it for me, the casino industry couldn't bring itself to keep things sensible with feature buys, they had to go nuts on the concept and turn it into what is essentially a high stakes, high pressure, highly volatile, high risk environment that positively invites players to constantly up their stakes through tiers of feature buys to even have a chance of hitting the good stuff.

If feature buys had remained in the 'White Rabbit Zone' the UKGC would have probably left them alone, but they had to keep dialling it up, and up, and up, ultimately taking us into what is some of the most predatory game design I have ever seen, I'm talking there of course about NLC and some of the disgusting shit they've been implementing on their slots in terms of feature buys, nonsensical multiples of stakes, hugely volatile, and capable of playing out in under a minute in some cases.

They're essentially just charging hundreds (or thousands!) of times stake for a lottery ticket that plays out in no time at all, and the player is simply invited to keep on buying them as many times as they can (or can't....) afford. (Unlike the actual lottery of course, where you buy your ticket and wait for the draw.)

(NLC also do this really shit thing where even the top-tier feature buy has a gamble contained within itself, on X-Ways Hoarder for example, even buying the 777x stake top feature buy just gets you a 'ticket' to get the chance to land the raid scatters at the top of each of the reels, which then unlocks the 'top bonus round' where the max pay is attainable, quite a few of their games pull crap like this.)

As goatwack notes above, why try and regulate what is essentially a vicious attack dog when you can simply remove the beast from your property entirely?

I didn't mind a few feature buys on White Rabbit myself, but I'm prepared to accept that feature buys had to go in the bin if it meant keeping the likes of NLC in check, with what is nothing more than addict-baiting.

One final note, feature buys are a bit like loot boxes (which there is also an active thread on CM about at the moment), whereby the developer deliberately creates a problem, and then charges you extra money to buy the solution. In the case of videogames they've taken a load of stuff that USED TO JUST BE PART OF THE GAME, stuck it into a virtual casino and charged fucktons of extra money for it, in the case of online slots we used to have games that managed to be engaging to play, with loads going on, plenty of different features and things to look out for, and no need of a 'pay more money to skip the boring shit' button. (Immortal Romance is one that immediately springs to mind.)

Feature buys are cynical and anti-player, they're a cash grab and an admission of failure by an industry that doesn't know any better, which is why it keeps getting kicked in the face by regulators around the world.
 

goatwack

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This is the rub of it for me, the casino industry couldn't bring itself to keep things sensible with feature buys, they had to go nuts on the concept and turn it into what is essentially a high stakes, high pressure, highly volatile, high risk environment that positively invites players to constantly up their stakes through tiers of feature buys to even have a chance of hitting the good stuff.

If feature buys had remained in the 'White Rabbit Zone' the UKGC would have probably left them alone, but they had to keep dialling it up, and up, and up, ultimately taking us into what is some of the most predatory game design I have ever seen, I'm talking there of course about NLC and some of the disgusting shit they've been implementing on their slots in terms of feature buys, nonsensical multiples of stakes, hugely volatile, and capable of playing out in under a minute in some cases.

They're essentially just charging hundreds (or thousands!) of times stake for a lottery ticket that plays out in no time at all, and the player is simply invited to keep on buying them as many times as they can (or can't....) afford. (Unlike the actual lottery of course, where you buy your ticket and wait for the draw.)

(NLC also do this really shit thing where even the top-tier feature buy has a gamble contained within itself, on X-Ways Hoarder for example, even buying the 777x stake top feature buy just gets you a 'ticket' to get the chance to land the raid scatters at the top of each of the reels, which then unlocks the 'top bonus round' where the max pay is attainable, quite a few of their games pull crap like this.)

As goatwack notes above, why try and regulate what is essentially a vicious attack dog when you can simply remove the beast from your property entirely?

I didn't mind a few feature buys on White Rabbit myself, but I'm prepared to accept that feature buys had to go in the bin if it meant keeping the likes of NLC in check, with what is nothing more than addict-baiting.

One final note, feature buys are a bit like loot boxes (which there is also an active thread on CM about at the moment), whereby the developer deliberately creates a problem, and then charges you extra money to buy the solution. In the case of videogames they've taken a load of stuff that USED TO JUST BE PART OF THE GAME, stuck it into a virtual casino and charged fucktons of extra money for it, in the case of online slots we used to have games that managed to be engaging to play, with loads going on, plenty of different features and things to look out for, and no need of a 'pay more money to skip the boring shit' button. (Immortal Romance is one that immediately springs to mind.)

Feature buys are cynical and anti-player, they're a cash grab and an admission of failure by an industry that doesn't know any better, which is why it keeps getting kicked in the face by regulators around the world.
I agree with your well-raised points, however, I think you misinterpreted what I meant in regards to the regulators, notably the UKGC

- I'm saying 'why would they do that', because of their reluctance to flesh out a compromise for both parties, those that want to keep BBs and those who want them gone, as opposed to simply axing them outright. It's their indifference and laziness I was highlighting, in a rhetorical sort of way :p
 

ChopleyIOM

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I agree with your well-raised points, however, I think you misinterpreted what I meant in regards to the regulators, notably the UKGC

- I'm saying 'why would they do that', because of their reluctance to flesh out a compromise for both parties, those that want to keep BBs and those who want them gone, as opposed to simply axing them outright. It's their indifference and laziness I was highlighting, in a rhetorical sort of way :p

Ahhh right sorry Mr Goaty I slightly misread your inflection there but honestly I think the point still stands, how could the UKGC realistically regulate feature buys when you've got insane shit going on like NLC are doing? Yes they could implement caps on how many times base stake they could cost, or how volatile they're allowed to be, or that there can't be multiple tiers of buys, or that there can't be 'gamble buys' like NLC do with their 'mystery box' buys or the shite like I detailed above on X-Ways Hoarder. (Which is far from unique on their bonus buys.)

Putting myself into their shoes, I can kind of understand them just saying, 'Nah, fuck this shit, feature buys are gone'. (But I must state for the record once again that I don't think the UKGC are particularly competent overall, don't know if you saw the video I made for my old channel regarding the autoplayer ban, where I went to some considerable time and trouble to dismantle the utterly flawed logic and reasoning for their decision. However when it comes to banning feature buys, I think they made the right call, albeit possibly by accident :D )
 

Deeplay

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Problem is as we have seen with the UKGC any kind of prohibition usually does not end well. Bonus buys banned / auto play banned / turbo play banned / old form of bonuses all but banned / little or no VIP comps allowed now - the list goes on and it will probably get worse when they limit stakes inline with bookies.

So no I dont think it was a good idea. And it made no difference in the end anyway - as loads of people now using cryptos where they are virtually zero RG tools available and even if you exclude from one crypto - it takes about 2 minutes to an open a new one.

So whilst I personally am not someone who does a lot of them - I do enjoy having the choice. if your a problem gambler it wont make any difference other than you probably loose quicker. Some of the Bonus buys sure are insane such as NLC ... But others such as Ydrisgill or watevs it called have some pretty tame ones at around 80 x bet.

And lets be honest UK casinos are crap now. All my play is offshore - and had some big cashouts the past 2 months - a few of which were from bonus buys and a pretty ridiculous hit on eastcoast / west coast ... all paid within around 1 minute. But thats another issue.

Back OT - bonus buys are here to stay for the foreseeable if you know where to get them - and any one who really wants to find them offshore can work it all out in quite an easy way. So my vote now is no ban should have been in place as its just part of a slippery slope. UKGC should have foccused everything on safe gaming - such gamstop (getting it to work proper;y) RG tools that can be self implimented - instead of destroying what was at one time the envy of the online gaming world with UK facing casinos.
 

shadow123

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Banning BB,s made an awful lot of games unplayable as they were designed to have very boring base game play under the assumption
that the player would just bypass that before their brains turned to mush and Bonus Buy.
A couple games that spring to mind are White rabbit and Book of Gods, both had excellent BB,s reasonably priced.
The original Money Train was pretty good too.
A far better approach would have been to limit the cost of the BB,s but as usual with the UKGC its all or nothing.
 

slot_zombie

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I sometimes thoroughly enjoy spending half an hour buying Pragmatic bonuses on minimum stake, actually find the money lasts longer that way than by grinding at 60-80c. Also buying bonuses on games on which they are virtually unattainable by just spinning. So no, they should not have been banned.

NLC 4 figure x buys can do one though.
 

goatwack

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Couldn't give a fig about some streamer's delusions of grandeur and Hollyoaks-esque acting capabilities as I don't partake in watching these hyped-up PR showmen.

Their ruining the principle of your 'average Joe' buying a humble Bonus Buy further illustrates how a good idea got ruined by greed and outright shilling. So again, these weren't (originally) set out to be flouted by shills, and yet it became all about them. Still not sure why their antics should reflect in the UKGC banning BBs from me, as an example.

No different to a whole class having to do an hour's detention because one pupil gave the teacher backchat
 

ChopleyIOM

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Couldn't give a fig about some streamer's delusions of grandeur and Hollyoaks-esque acting capabilities as I don't partake in watching these hyped-up PR showmen.

Their ruining the principle of your 'average Joe' buying a humble Bonus Buy further illustrates how a good idea got ruined by greed and outright shilling. So again, these weren't (originally) set out to be flouted by shills, and yet it became all about them. Still not sure why their antics should reflect in the UKGC banning BBs from me, as an example.

No different to a whole class having to do an hour's detention because one pupil gave the teacher backchat

It's not just NLC though goatwack, as I still have access to Unibet.com I can try the feature buys out on all the new slots that are released there (I appreciate UK players can also do this with VPNs and suchlike) - now admittedly NLC are the most egregious example but loads of other providers are now offering 'tiers' of feature buys, with spectacular levels of volatility, literally spending hundreds of times your stake and being 'rewarded' with 15-20x a minute or two later. (Along with extra gambles and crap like that once you've actually bought the feature.)

I totally get that far less sinister implementations of feature buys are available, but you said it yourself, greed and shilling took over, along with the pandering to streamers, and what might have been a decent extra option to players who preferred to spend a modest multiplication of their stake for immediate access to a feature that'd mostly always kick back a decent chunk of their wager, turned into a high-stakes lottery that had 'DANGEROUS TO THOSE WITH ADDICTIVE TENDENCIES' written all over it.

There's certainly a case to be made here that the UKGC took the sledgehammer to crack a nut approach, and TBH that doesn't surprise me given their well-intentioned but often misguided actions over the years, but as I said above, on balance I think they made the right call on this one.

I guess as players we can just find games that interest us to the extent that we don't feel the urge to spend extra money to press the big 'I'M BORED' button :)

(Think about it, why don't 3Dice have feature buys? Why don't 3Dice have slots that can pay 100,000x stake, why don't 3Dice have a button that charges their players 1000x what they'd normally spend on a game round to get access to something that should be available through normal gameplay? It's because they know full well that'd be absolutely toxic to the relatively small (in the grand scheme of things) but loyal playerbase who keep on returning to their games over months and years (myself included!), yes we know we're going to lose over time, but we also know that the casino isn't going to resort to the online equivalent of mugging us down a back alley, and we'll always be hitting regular features and decent wins along the way.)
 

Greigssy

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Bonus buys are they reason slots play so badly now, obviously they are designed(or redesigned) with absolute shite base games and long triggers for bonuses so players are bored and forced to buy.

UK players are at a severe disadvantage as just about every slot release recently has been designed with a bonus buy and the variance that comes with, throw in a max 94% RTP and you might as well just set your money on fire.

Hacksaw all or nothing slots are the worst in my opinion, they must be coining it in, near impossible to win on without buying a bonus and fucking impossible for a UK player plugging away with a 94% RTP.

Just about to give up on slotting altogether, long sessions and the occasional withdrawal seem to be a thing of the past.
Regulation, provider saturation and greed has ripped the arse out of it.
 

toms596

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Hacksaw all or nothing slots are the worst in my opinion, they must be coining it in, near impossible to win on without buying a bonus and fucking impossible for a UK player plugging away with a 94% RTP.

Hand of Anubis was a complete pisstake I did around 5 buys of each bonus type and not one approached anywhere near the cost to buy
 

casguy2016

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i don't miss Feature Buys....i've had balances go down too quickly in the past and have had some instances where I'm getting 5% of the feature buy cost. Feature Buys are high risk gambling and if it comes down to a higher risk I would just bet a higher amount and maybe I get lucky but likely like all higher risk gambling you just lose your balance quicker.
 

snorky510238

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Bonus buys are they reason slots play so badly now, obviously they are designed(or redesigned) with absolute shite base games and long triggers for bonuses so players are bored and forced to buy.

UK players are at a severe disadvantage as just about every slot release recently has been designed with a bonus buy and the variance that comes with, throw in a max 94% RTP and you might as well just set your money on fire.

Hacksaw all or nothing slots are the worst in my opinion, they must be coining it in, near impossible to win on without buying a bonus and fucking impossible for a UK player plugging away with a 94% RTP.

Just about to give up on slotting altogether, long sessions and the occasional withdrawal seem to be a thing of the past.
Regulation, provider saturation and greed has ripped the arse out of it.
Absolutely this. Excellent analysis. :thumbsup:
 

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