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New Online Stake Limits to be Introduced in September

Major changes are on the way to the UK gambling industry later this year. This will include a maximum stake limit of either £2 or £5 (depending on the player’s age) for online slot games.


Last year finally saw the Conservative Government publish its White Paper on gambling reform. It had been delayed on many occasions due to the seemingly endless problems seen in Downing Street.


When winning the last General Election in 1999, the Tories promised to update UK gambling laws. This was necessary due to the fact that the last legislation in 2005 took place before the arrival of online gambling.


One of the main proposals of the White Paper was to place limits on the amounts that can be gambled on one spin of an online slot. After consultation, the Department of Culture, Media & Sport (DCMS) announced on March 1 that ahead of the next General Election there would be significant changes introduced in September 2024.


From then, the maximum stake on online slot games for those aged between 18 and 25 will be just £2. Those aged over 25 will have a new £5 stake limit imposed on them.


There are already serious concerns about how these new regulations will affect annual gross gambling yield of gambling companies. The estimate predicts a fall of £166.2 million in the annual figure.


The new maximum stake limits for online players will bring the games in line with those seen at bricks-and-mortar casinos. Allowed stake limits are considerably higher online and the fear is that players can lose large amounts very quickly.


During the ten-week consultation period that took place, those participating were in agreement with what was in the White Paper. The consultation received a total of 98 responses. Those taking part included those who work in the gambling industry as well as academics and treatment providers.


The DCMS estimate that the new stake limits will produce a 5.2 per cent reduction in the gross gambling yield of online slot games.


There will also be other costs imposed on gambling operators. This will include the implementation costs that will be incurred when changes are made to the slot games. A final stage impact assessment is due to be published later in 2024.



Will the new stake limit help reduce gambling harm? The DCM can’t give an accurate estimation but say that evidence gathered indicates the changes will ““limit the potential for harmful losses” for those players who regularly gamble large amounts.


One of the questions asked during the consultation was if those aged 18-24 needed additional protection.  30 per cent of respondents went for a £2 stake limit to be introduced. Another option was for the maximum stake limit to be £4 but only three per cent favoured that.


29 per cent went for there to be the same stake limit for those aged 18-24 as for older players but with stricter operator vigilance. There were even some replies that called for younger players to be banned from playing online slot games.


The DCMS said that 60 per cent of respondents were in favour of a stake limit of £2 or less for young players. 34 per cent wanted the £2 stake limit to be imposed on players of all ages.


Commenting on the decision, the DCMS said that their belief is that the results of the consultation indicated that “increased protections” are necessary.


They added that young adults “have the highest average problem gambling score of any age group.” With them having a lower disposable income amount, this can cause more problems if incurring losses. They are also inexperienced at “managing money” so they could soon run into financial problems.


The Government has already stated that those at risk of developing gambling problems need help. However, they do not want to unduly restrict other players who do not have any problems with their gambling.

The introduction of a £5 online slot stake limit for older players also fits in with their policies. They do not want to place too many restrictions as this could lead to gamblers heading to the illegal black market. That would be a dangerous move as there is a significantly less amount of customer protection with such gambling sites, said British Gambler spokesperson, website about online gambling in the UK.


The DCMS say that around 20 per cent of older gamblers place stakes of over £5 on one spin of the reels. However, overall only 0.6 per cent of all online spins are of amounts over £5.


When the new rules come into place, there will be a six-week transition period put in place. This will allow online gambling sites to be compliant with the new restrictions.


More legislation is likely in the future. They will be put into place after further consultation. This is likely to include stricter affordability checks on those gambling online.