UK Government Plans £2 Slot Spin Limit for Under 25s

The UK government is close to introducing new rules for online slot machines, aiming to limit bets to £2 ($2.5) for younger gamblers. This change, expected to be announced today, could mean big financial losses for casinos, possibly running into the hundreds of millions, as reported by The Guardian.

Under these new guidelines, gamblers under 25 years old will face a £2 cap on their slot machine bets, aligning with the 2019 measures applied to fixed-odds betting terminals (FOBTs). Those 25 and older might see a slightly higher cap of £5 ($6.3) per spin. Currently, players can bet unlimited amounts on online slots, which pull in over £3 billion ($3.8 billion) a year and are seen as highly addictive.

Details on when these rules will start and how they will be implemented are expected from the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) today, Friday February 23. The gambling industry is bracing for a big hit as a result, with forecasts suggesting losses in the hundreds of millions.

During initial discussions about betting limits, suggestions ranged from £2 to £15. An April 2023 white paper showed that a middle-ground limit of £8.50 could cost the industry around £185 million. However, the decision to set caps at £5, or even £2 for younger players, is likely to push these costs even higher.

An industry source noted that having two different stake limits could complicate operations for gambling companies.

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Campaigners have given mixed reactions. While some applaud the decision, they argue it doesn’t go far enough. Labour MP Carolyn Harris expressed satisfaction over the lower limit for under-25s but criticized the government for not applying a universal £2 cap. Liz Ritchie, from the charity Gambling With Lives, highlighted the devastating impact of gambling addiction and criticized the government for missing an opportunity to reduce harm further.

Online casinos, which saw revenues of £4 billion out of the gambling sector’s £11 billion last year, are the industry’s largest and fastest-growing segment. Slot machines alone accounted for £3.2 billion, according to the Gambling Commission’s latest figures up to March 2023.

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