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UK to Announce $2 Max Stakes on Slots Friday

by California Digital News

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Posted on: February 22, 2024, 02:52h. 

Last updated on: February 22, 2024, 03:07h.

The UK government is expected Friday to set the maximum stake on online slots to £2 per spin for those younger than 25, and £5 per spin for those over 25, The Guardian reports.

Online slots, UK reforms, £2, maximum stakes
Online slots accounted for a third of the revenue generated by the UK’s regulated £11 billion gambling industry last year, excluding the lottery. The new measures, to be announced Friday, are expected to deliver a serious financial hit to the industry. (Image: CCE)

Currently, there is no legal maximum stake for online slots for UK players, although some operators, including Flutter imposed slot limits of £10 from September 2021.

The new rule is among the most drastic of options under government consideration as part of a drive to tighten regulatory controls on the online gambling industry. Anything between £2 and £15 was on the table.

White Paper

A white paper, published in April 2023, which set out proposals for future legislation, estimated that a middle-range maximum stake of £8.50 would result in a £185 million financial hit to the industry.

The white paper, which marked the first proposed regulatory reforms in the sector since 2005, advised that new limits should be on the lower end of the scale, especially for the “vulnerable” 18 to 24-year-old demographic.

Labour MP Carolyn Harris, who chairs the All-Party Committee on Gambling Related Harm, applauded the move but told The Guardian it doesn’t go far enough.

I am pleased that the government has seen sense and opted for a £2 limit for people under 25,” said Harris. “There is, however, clear evidence that a £2 limit should be in place for everyone to prevent harm. The government has sided with the industry and should rethink.”

Online casinos accounted for £4 billion of the UK gambling industry’s £11 billion revenue haul last year. Of that, just over a third, some £3.2 billion, was generated by online slots.

Affordability Checks

The white paper also recommended the introduction of affordability checks through which operators would be required to assess a customer’s “financial vulnerability” by relying on data included in credit reports, court records, such as judgments and bankruptcies, and postcode (ZIP code) statistics.

Loss thresholds are also in the cards, which could be triggered when a player loses £1,000 net within 24 hours or £2,000 within 90 days.

Operators will also have to pay a “statutory levy,” which will go to fund problem gambling programs and research. This is on top of taxes and the voluntary payments they already contribute.

The UK liberalized its gambling industry in 2005, creating an environment in which online gambling operators could thrive and innovate. But there has been a huge backlash over concerns about problem gambling, and lawmakers have long called for tighter controls.

Critics of tighter regulation argue that it drives vulnerable players to the black market, where there are no affordability checks, caps on stakes, or contributions to problem gambling programs.

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