Stake Limits Introduced For Online Slots

Published On 23rd February 2024

The UK Gambling Commission (UKGC) have announced that a new maximum stake limit for under 25 year olds will be introduced from September 2024. The limit will see a maximum £2 stake for 18 to 24-year-olds for online slot games whilst there will be a £5 limit for adults aged 25 and over. These move bring stakes in-line with casinos. The decisions to introduce these measures are, according to The UKGC and Government, to protect people from gambling harms.

Stake Limits

The limits will come into force in September 2024 following secondary legislation. There will be a six week transition period for operators to become compliant with the general £5 stake limit rules, followed by a further six weeks for the development of any necessary technical solutions to ensure operators are fully compliant with the lower stake limit of £2 for young adults aged 18-24. These restrictions are just some of the proposals set out in the Governmentís white paper to modernise the gambling sector and make it fit for the digital age. Other proposals include the introduction of a statutory levy for research, prevention and treatment, as well as financial risk checks designed to prevent catastrophic, life-changing losses.

Young Adults Can Be More Vulnerable

Gambling Minister Stuart Andrew explain the proposals "Although millions of people gamble safely every single day, the evidence shows that there is a significantly higher problem gambling rate for online slot games. We also know that young adults can be more vulnerable when it comes to gambling related harms, which is why we committed to addressing both of these issues in our white paper". He continued "The growing popularity of online gambling is clear to see, so this announcement will level the playing field with the land-based sector and is the next step in a host of measures being introduced this year that will protect people from gambling harms". The CEO of GambleAware, ZoŽ Osmond, also welcomed the proposals explaining that for U25s there's an "increase in harm arising from gambling and online slots are very high-risk products".

Getting The Balance Right

Whilst measures to protect people from gambling harms are good, will imposing stake limits make that much difference to players? For example sites like Tombola already have a £2 stake limit whilst many operators already have set limits on their games. It'll be interesting to know whether all this move does is encourage longer play (50 spins at £2 as opposed to 20 x £5 for example) or push players into Black Market sites where there wagering limits aren't restricted. Furthermore it does seem very odd that gamblers can only play £2 or £5 on a slot, but pay £10 for an entry into a pay to enter prize draw on unregulated sites. That Prize Guy for example allows players to purchase up to 200 tickets and yet UKGC don't seem to be too bothered by this? Whilst these measures may have some effect for slots and casinos in terms of costs and play, we do wonder whether it'll just move gamblers into unregulated areas thereby causing more issues down the line.

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