UKGC: Slot Stakes for UK Punters’ – Latest Update

UKGC: Slot Stakes for UK Punters’ – Latest Update

The UK Gambling Commission (UKGC) has concluded its consultations on online slot stakes and established its final upper limits for online slot stake spins. Read on to discover the specifics, including the implications for players and the wider UK gambling industry.

New Slot Stake Limits

The slot stake consultation, which forms part of the UKGC Gambling Act Review’s final stages, has closed, and the recommendations for regulations have been announced. Slot spins will be capped at £5, or £2 for younger customers (under 25s). Until now, UK online slot spins have not been capped and range from £0.10 to £500 a round.

The UKGC and UK government have arrived mainly at this new rule based on data showing that online slots are the most high-risk gambling product, with the highest losses per player, and that those 18-25 are the most vulnerable age group.

The new upper slot stakes recommended by the UKGC are expected to cut almost £170m of the industry’s annual £10.9bn revenues. However, this, alongside the looming threat of driving players offshore, is a price worth paying to protect vulnerable players, according to the regulator’s actions.

In support of the new cap, Gambling Minister Stuart Andrew said in a   from the Department of Culture, Sport and Media on the matter that,

“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.

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.”

Row Over Affordability Continues

News of the new upper slot stakes comes simultaneously with the announcement of a pilot period, which will test the government’s new affordability checks using a selection of varying-sized operators.

The UKGC has decided to run the four- to six-month test to prove the checks can be frictionless for players and to see how the data sharing would work practically.

The current recommendations for light-check affordability checks kick in at net losses of £125 within 30 days or £500 within 365 days – these checks use publicly held information to assess the account. Meanwhile, the enhanced checks happen at net losses of over £1,000 within 24 hours or £2,000 in 90 days – these are more like credit checks.

Tightening and Unattractive Regulatory Environment

UK operators are all for fair play and responsible gambling. Still, many are concerned that the UK government is creating an increasingly unattractive market for operators and consumers who may simply move to offshore gaming to evade restrictions.

There is so much concern regarding the drastic effects such affordability checks will have on certain industry sectors, like horse racing, it the debate was recently brought back to Parliament via a petition that gained over 100,000 signatories.

The petition asserted;

“The proposed checks could see bettors having to prove they can afford their hobby if they sustain losses as low as £1.37 per day. We accept the need to help those with problem gambling, but more intrusive checks triggered at a higher threshold risks bettors moving to the black market where there are no consumer protections or safer gambling tools.”

While the parliamentary debate didn’t yield positive results in favour of the petition, the UKGC is now proceeding with a pilot period, testing the new regulation before implementing it and staying flexible in their approach.

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