As we know there was controversy when the UKGC limited spins on Fixed-Odds Betting Terminals (FOBTs) to £2 from a previous high of £100. Yet in the online slots arena this paled into insignificance when Big Time Gaming brought out the White Rabbit and Extra Chilli slot, a version of Bonanza Megaways. This introduced Feature Purchase as a means for the player to purchase the free games instantly – at a high cost!
£2000 stakes possible
In the case of both those games, the cost was 100x and 50x stake respectively. It’s worth pointing out you could reduce this cost as you played by means of random gold tokens overlaying the reels on some spins, eventually triggering the feature anyway when the buy cost reached zero. If you changed stake, naturally this cost reset to 100x bet or whichever level it was set to. Given that you can play those slots at a maximum stake per spin of £20, this resulted in the chance to spend £1000 – £2000 on a single game!
Buying the bonus – and losing it!
Extra Chilli was more controversial by far as the mechanic of the White Rabbit bonus usually meant you’d get an average of over 97% back long term with it being very rare to get less than 30x bet for spending 100x bet. Extra Chilli however had a free spins gamble where after paying 50x bet to buy the trigger, you could gamble your 8 spins for 12 or nothing, then to 16 or nothing on a segmented gamble wheel. Players were often buying the feature and then gambling and losing 9 or 10 times consecutively in order to get the amount of spins they considered were essential to have a productive free spins round.
Today the UKGC has requested online casinos pull these two BTG slots as well as their other feature buy game Book of Gods. If you access them even in free-play demo, you’ll see the feature buy buttons greyed out although it’s quite simple for BTG to remove the buys and restore the games afterwards, as many developers like WMS did with the autoplay when it didn’t meet UKGC requirements.
The highest cost of all
It’s not only BTG that had bonus buy buttons. If you see the image above, the Kalamba Games slot Machina has the possibility to buy the feature for an incredible 337x bet if you observe the left-hand buy option and consider the fact the game is set to a 1.20 stake! Kalamba are under the Scientific Gaming banner as are BTG so this will inevitably be pulled too.
It’s hardly surprising the UKGC have taken this stance and I predicted it as soon as these slots appeared; stakes of £100 in bookie shops can hardly be removed in isolation when £2k bets are possible for those same customers online.
Call me old fashioned, but I prefer to trigger the feature unexpectedly during a normal spin anyway so will not miss this facility in the least and nobody can argue against leaning towards responsible gambling.