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Can Slots And Casino Games Be ‘Hot’ or ‘Cold’?

hot and cold words spelt with scrabble letters crossing each otherIf you have ever visited an online casino, you may have witnessed one or two of them labelling certain games as being ‘hot’ or ‘cold’ at the current time you’re there. Theoretically, those games change, as different ones achieve a higher status and outdo others. But how can a game that provides random outcome on every spin ever really be considered hot or cold? Can a fixed odds game ever be considered in this way?

Despite the fact that it seems nigh on impossible for that to be the case, some online casino sites have maintained that there are certain slots in their lobbies that are hot and others that aren’t quite as high. Yet it has been determined that these casinos are simply exploiting player superstitions, getting them to play certain games because they are supposedly hot and could potentially provide more wins than games that aren’t. Is it right that the casinos do this, though? After all, a random spin outcome every time cannot possibly fall in line with a game being hot or indeed cold.

How exactly can a casino game be hot or cold?

The Truth of the Matter Is…They Cannot

playing online casino gamesAs it states above, a casino game with fixed odds and random outcomes cannot be considered either hot or cold. Yet this hasn’t stopped some brands from highlighting particular titles as being such. Popular online casino brand PlayOJO is one such casino that followed this path. And it was due to this casino, as well as some others, that a crackdown on gamblers being exploited over their superstitions was suggested. The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) launched an investigation into PlayOJO’s decision to label certain casino games as hot or cold.

A complaint had been lodged in September of 2021, which the ASA is likely to uphold, against the PlayOJO site. The site advertised a feature at that time, offering its registered gamblers the chance to “see the games on winning streaks”, which it highlighted as being a unique experience. This gave players the ability to switch between the Hot and Cold options to reveal the games that it deemed to be the most and least profitable to play each hour. PlayOJO stated that the hot and cold games section was also updated every five minutes.

It was also noted that PlayOJO had suggested customers could continue playing the hot games to see if they continued paying out or try to adjust the luck of the games that were deemed cold. Even a television advertisement was released surrounding this feature, utilising a tarot card reader who gave customers advice whilst secretly using the PlayOJO mobile app to give her the insight into the games.

That feature was labelled both “misleading” and “irresponsible” in a draft version of the final decision, which was yet to be made on the matter by the ASA. Yet a ruling was made at the beginning of May, which will affect whether or not firms can exploit a “gambler’s fallacy” – the false idea that previous outcomes on a slot or other casino game will affect what happens in the next round. It has been a common belief of many people that a roulette ball is more likely to land on a specific number because it has not landed there for some time. Yet that is simply not the case.

Also included in the draft ruling by the ASA was a warning that PlayOJO did incorporate elements that suggested its players could exert a certain level of control over a casino game outcome in its marketing.

Companies Coming Under Fire for Advertising Practices

playojo screenshotThis issue isn’t the first one that the ASA has tackled in relation to the gambling industry. Previously, bookmakers that had fixed odds betting terminals (FOBTs) integrated into their land-based stores were chastised by the regulatory body for advertising the hot and cold numbers associated with those terminals, despite there not actually being any that could be deemed as such. Of course, those FOBTs have been the centre of controversy in general for many years, labelled as the crack cocaine of gambling due to their previously huge maximum stake limits of £100. In 2018, it was decided to reduce this maximum stake on the machines to £2. This came about due to increased concern raised over their association with gambling addiction.

Despite this, the ruling that the ASA has made against PlayOJO marks the first time that the organisation has specifically targeted the hot and cold feature. And this could lead to further implications for the gambling industry in the UK as a whole.

In response to the investigation, PlayOJO originally did state that it had not been asked to remove the page on its casino website featuring the hot and cold games. And it had not taken the decision to do so on its own merit, either. That being said, the company stated that it is in the process of “tweaking” some of its marketing paths, so the pages had been temporarily removed to address certain concerns over them. It was also quick to highlight that the ASA had not yet taken the decision to uphold the complaint against the company and its potential breach of the advertising standards code.

But in the end, SkillonNet (PlayOJO’s owner and operator) was sanctioned by the ASA for its use of what it called misleading text in its advertisements. In a statement, the regulatory body said that the ads from PlayOJO were “misleading and implying that the Hot or Cold feature could predict or influence future success; and could irresponsibly lead to financial, social or emotional harm”.

Can Games Ever Be ‘Hot’ or ‘Cold’?

hot temperature and cold temperature on a thermometerWhile for the most part, casino games that have random number generators (RNGs) integrated into their makeup, cannot be considered hot or cold, there is a slight exception to the rule. Games that come with progressive jackpot amounts to win may sometimes theoretically be labelled as hot or cold, simply based upon when that jackpot was last paid out to a player, as well as how big that jackpot is.

Various online sites track progressive jackpot slots in real-time. You don’t have to look very hard to find these. The trackers provide you with information such as when the jackpot last hit, the current value that the jackpot stands at, the average size of that progressive, the average payout time, how many times it has paid out, the biggest and smallest jackpot wins from it, and so on. By using one of those sites, it can be determined somewhat more when a jackpot is more likely to fall. Therefore, the game can be considered hot when it is getting closer to that point.

Of course, some games’ jackpots won’t have paid out in many years, while others could have fallen multiple times within the past couple of months. This is why it is ideal to look at how often a jackpot in a game pays out, which will give you an estimation as to when the slot is likely to become hot and when it is more likely to linger around the cold area. Of course, as always, these pieces of information should simply be markers, rather than sole reasons to start betting on progressive jackpot games.

As it happens, it is theoretically possible for the RTP rate of a progressive jackpot to go above and beyond the 100% mark once a certain threshold is hit. If you want to look out for games that actually could be considered hot or cold, then progressive jackpots are the way to go. Daily jackpots can also be considered hot and cold at certain points as well, although not everyone is in the casino gaming world to access games that include such jackpot amounts.

Table Games That Are Hot and Cold

hand placing chips on a roulette tableIt may be strange to hear it, but sometimes, it can be considered that table games can be hot or cold on occasion. This is why some gamblers like to navigate around the casino floor before finding a specific table to sit at. They’re trying to judge where a table will be hot or cold before placing their bets. Yet this isn’t actually an outcome that can be predicted or premeditated.

In fact, a table game can only be considered hot or cold in retrospect. And by that time, it can prove to be fairly pointless anyway because the moment has passed. As with slot games, table games are completely random, both online and offline. Even in games like blackjack, where the probabilities alter every time a card is drawn from the deck, the house edge remains in place and doesn’t really change all that much.

Of course, if you want to spend your time looking for hot tables and only placing wagers at them, then there is nothing to stop you from doing that. Different people believe they have different insights into the status of casino games. Just don’t go into an establishment believing that you will definitively win at a table just because you have determined it to be a hot game.

And should you be present in a land-based casino and receive some “advice” from other players and even dealers about which tables are hot and which are cold, then you can safely ignore such information. Always remember that the past results of a game have absolutely no bearing on the future results of it. And this is true in just about all cases, save for the progressive jackpots mentioned earlier.

There will always be a house edge in play, and this is how the casino makes money. Regardless of which, the house always wins in the end. But games are completely random with their outcomes. It’s just that the payouts on each spin or round differ enough from the probability of winning that the benefactor in the long run is the casino itself.

Other ASA Gambling Issues of Late

While it’s true that PlayOJO made quite the mistake in advertising games as being hot or cold and promoting the aforementioned feature of its website as being some sort of fortune predictor, this is not the only problem that the ASA has had to tackle in terms of the gambling industry.

The 888 brand recently managed to narrowly escape a sanction by the ASA regarding an advertisement on the YouTube channel known as Calfreezy. Ads for the 888 Poker app were included at the beginning of two videos back in August of 2021. Those videos were entitled “I was YouTubers [sic] Taxi driver for 24 hours” and “$10,000 YouTuber poker challenge”. Two complaints had been raised over the possibility that the gambling ads were directed at those under 18 years of age and if they had a particular appeal to children. Neither of those complaints was upheld by the ASA, though.

The same could not be said for an advertisement from Paddy Power, though. Towards the beginning of March, it was determined that the Flutter Entertainment brand was to have a radio ad sanctioned, which was broadcast in December of 2021. According to the ASA investigation, the radio ad had both unclear and unintelligible voiceover announcements in relation to terms and conditions. Therefore, the ad from Paddy Power (alongside another from the MoneySuperMarket price comparisons company) was deemed as misleading. According to the report from the ASA, a faster speed and a low volume was used for the voiceover and considering that Paddy Power’s ad surrounded free bet offers relating to the Bet Builder product, this was determined to be unacceptable.

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