Reel Design - iGaming

Relevant Standard(s): 2.8
Application: iGaming


Do the Registrar’s Standards permit the use of an algorithm based reel spin for online games?


Standard 2.8 contains a number of specific minimum requirements (none of which expressly prohibit the use of an algorithm based reel spin); however, the overall intent of Standard 2.8 is to ensure that game designs and features are clear and do not mislead the player. Therefore, any reel (algorithm or not) needs to satisfy the intent of the standard (i.e. that players not be misled) as well as the minimum requirements (e.g. 2.8.6, that games not contain intentionally programmed subliminal messaging).

If an algorithm based reel spin were to satisfy the requirements, but still cause the player to be misled, then it would violate the Registrar’s Standards. For example, if an algorithm based reel strip were to show some symbols more often to represent higher paying awards during the spin than the actual game odds, players are being misled and the intent of the Standard has not been satisfied.

Relevant Standard Excerpt(s):

2.8 Game designs and features shall be clear and shall not mislead the player.

Requirements – At a minimum:

  1. Where a game simulates a physical device, the theoretical probabilities and visual representation of the game shall correspond to the features and actions of the physical device, unless otherwise disclosed to the player.
  2. Game design shall not give the player the perception that speed of play or skill affects the outcome of the game when it does not.
  3. After the selection of game outcome, the game shall not make a variable secondary decision which affects the result shown to the player. If the outcome is chosen that the game will lose then the game shall not substitute a particular type of loss to show to the player (i.e. near miss).
  4. Where the game requires a pre-determined pattern (for example, hidden prizes on a map), the locations of the winning spots shall not change during play, except as provided for in the rules of play.
  5. Games shall not display amounts or symbols that are unachievable.
  6. Games shall not contain intentionally programmed subliminal messaging.
  7. Where games involve reels:
    1. For single line games, jackpot symbols shall not appear in their entirety more than 12 times on average, adjacent to the pay-line, for every time they appear on the pay-line;
    2. For multi-line games, jackpot symbols shall not appear in their entirety more than 12 times, on average, not on any pay-line, for every time they appear on any pay-line.
  8. Free-to-play games shall not misrepresent or mislead players as to the likelihood of winning or prize distribution of similar games played for money.
  9. The denomination of each credit shall be clearly displayed on game screens.

This interpretation is provided for informational purposes only and does not constitute legal advice. The interpretation relates to a specific set of circumstances and the standards, laws and regulations in force at the time the interpretation was issued; however, it is not an exhaustive or definitive interpretation of the standard(s) referenced herein.

The AGCO has established the Standards Interpretation Protocol, which acts as a single point of contact for inquiries from the gaming industry related to the interpretation of the Standards. For more information, please contact the AGCO’s Customer Service Department at 416 326-8700 (in the GTA) or 1 800 522-2876 (toll free in Ontario).

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