Back in April 2018 Big Time Gaming released a slot game called Extra Chilli, the sequel to the much loved Bonanza and the first game in which you could not only buy the bonus round (which started with White Rabbit a few months previously) but gamble it (repeatedly) in the hope of getting a better bonus round. Later games with the gamble the bonus round feature refined it so that so that players could make smaller and less risky gambles to increment the free spins one at a time, but in Extra Chilli you had an instant chance of losing the lot, rendering the game super high octane even at minimum stake.
Our verdict was: “Buying the bonus round in Extra Chilli will cost you 50x stake and if you gamble and lose, you can return to the base game with no free spins at all which is pretty brutal…… Play Extra Chilli long enough and you may manage to collect enough BTG coins to buy the bonus round at a knockdown price or even free – if you haven’t lost your shirt, your shoes and the horse you rode in on by then. Handle with extreme care!”
Even if you’ve never been inclined to play Extra Chilli yourself, you’re bound to have seen this very popular game in a prominent position amongst featured games or player favourites at many a bingo and slot site – until the end of last week when it abruptly disappeared (along with White Rabbit and some other games).
It turns out that Extra Chilli has been removed from UK bingo sites and slot sites at the request of the UK Gambling Commission who wrote to a number of games providers last week – and it’s not the only game, and Big Time Gaming is not the only games provider, to be affected. EVERY slot that includes a buy the bonus round mechanic is in trouble (i.e. most Megaways slots)! The Gambling Commission evidently take the (not unreasonable view) that being able to skip to the bonus round for a large multiple of stake encourages problem gambling behaviour.
Other slots which have disappeared include The Great Albini (distributed by Microgaming) and Machina, and we expect all slots with a “buy the bonus round” feature to be gone in the near future including titles such as 300 Shields Extreme. Many of the Megaways games by Blueprint have also been affected but because Blueprint (perhaps with foresight) built the Buy Pass as an optional feature that operators could choose whether to have or not, all that has happened is that the operators running versions with Buy Pass swapped to the versions without, with minimal disruption.
At this stage, it’s “buy the bonus round” rather than “gamble the bonus round” which is problematic, so BTG have not had to remove the Who Wants To Be A Millionaire slot (a game whose entire point is gambling the bonus round). But who knows what might be outlawed next?
- Gamble facility for the bonus round (including that found on slots such as TED)?
- Large spin values (to fall in line with the £2 maximum stake on FOBTs)?
- Respin features where the player can pay to spin one or more reels again to improve their result? (Break Da Bank Again Respin and all Slingo games)
As for the games which have been removed, BTG at least have said (albeit on a player forum rather than in an official press release) that they hope to bring the games back in the future, without the buy the bonus feature. The ability to collect coins towards the feature may remain (as it is not really any different to the bonus collection mechanic in the Yggdrasil Vikings series and scores of other games), but it is unclear where this would leave players who had already collected a substantial number of coins towards the feature before the games were removed.
What do you think? Did you try any of the buy the bonus round features while they were still live? Will you miss Extra Chilli and would you like to see it brought back, or was it genuinely too hot to handle?
UPDATE 17/10/19 – White Rabbit is BACK at Jumpman sites, minus the bonus buy button. You can still collect coins towards bonus round purchase. Will we see a sanitised version of Extra Chilli back online in the near future, we wonder?
UPDATE 28/11/19 – as we thought, Extra Chilli is also back without the bonus buy button (the BTG coin collection feature remains). It can be found at Nektan slot sites.