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Breaking News: New £2 maximum stake for under 25s playing online slots in the UK

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Breaking News: New £2 maximum stake for under 25s playing online slots in the UK
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  • Stake limits for online slot games introduced for the first time in September in landmark moment for regulation of online gambling
  • Maximum £2 stake for 18 to 24-year-olds for online slot games to be introduced
  • £5 limit for adults aged 25 and over brings stakes in-line with casinos

Easily accessible online slot games are one of the most addictive forms of gambling, and can be associated with large losses, long sessions, and binge play. Unlike land-based gaming machines, such as in casinos, they have no statutory stake limits.

To counter the increased risk of significant harm and life-changing losses from online slot games, the Government will introduce a £5 stake limit for adults aged 25 and over.

Responding to evidence, a lower level stake limit for young adults aged 18-24 years old will be set at £2 per spin. This age group has the highest average problem gambling score of any group, as well as lower disposable income, ongoing neurological development impacting risk perception and common life stage factors like managing money for the first time. The evidence also points to a stronger link between gambling related harm and suicide among young adults.

The decision follows a 10-week consultation period in which the majority of respondents agreed with the gambling white paper proposal to introduce statutory limits for online slot games to help reduce the risk of gambling harm. Consultation responses included views from industry, academics, treatment providers and individuals.

Gambling Minister Stuart Andrew said: “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.”

Evidence from the Office for Health Improvement and Disparities shows that young adults can be particularly vulnerable to gambling related harm, with under 25s having the highest average problem gambling score of any age group.

NHS survey figures also show that there is a problem gambling rate of 8.7 per cent for online gambling on slots, casino or bingo games, one of the highest rates across gambling activities.

CEO of GambleAware Zoë Osmond said: “We welcome the Government’s announcement to introduce lower online stake limits for under 25s as an important mechanism to protect young people. Our research shows a concerning trend with this age group experiencing an increase in harm arising from gambling and online slots are very high-risk products.

As we continue our work to tackle this growing public health issue, we will collaborate with the Government and others across the gambling harms sector to ensure there are no missed opportunities when it comes to the introduction of robust preventative measures, including new regulations such as these.”

The limits will come into force in September this year, 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.

Although most people gamble without issue, the restrictions introduced today are just some of the proposals set out in the Government’s white paper to modernise the gambling sector and make it fit for the digital age.

This includes the introduction of a statutory levy for research, prevention and treatment, as well as financial risk checks designed to prevent catastrophic, life-changing losses. The Gambling Commission and the Government continue to listen to concerns from campaigners, the wider public, and both the gambling and horse racing industries as part of the consultation process on these checks. The Gambling Commission continues to refine its approach on the design to achieve the right balance between protections and freedoms.

As well as introducing measures to protect people from gambling related harm, the white paper package contains proposals that will support the land-based gambling industry to thrive. The industry supports thousands of jobs across the country and the Government has been clear it does not want to harm its success.

Responses to the wider white paper measures will be published soon.

Compliance Updates

IOC and UEFA host joint betting integrity workshop

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© IOC/Greg Martin
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Sports betting entities and international federations joined UEFA and the International Olympic Committee (IOC) on 11 April for a full-day workshop focused on how sport and the sports betting industry can work together to fight match-fixing. Co-organised by the IOC and UEFA, and held at Olympic House in Lausanne, the workshop explored opportunities for cross-sector collaboration with a focus on integrity exchange in support of the upcoming Olympic Games Paris 2024 and the UEFA Euro 2024.

The workshop kicked off with presentations by the Olympic Movement Unit on the Prevention of the Manipulation of Competitions (OM Unit PMC) and UEFA’s Anti-Match-Fixing Unit, exploring each team’s strategy for combatting match-fixing, engaging with the sports betting industry, and detecting and investigating potentially fraudulent betting activity.

UEFA promotes integrity through dedicated education, prevention, and awareness raising programmes and by detecting, investigating, and sanctioning match-fixing. Collaboration with stakeholders within football, particularly the network of integrity officers who work for UEFA’s 55 member associations, as well as the wider sports community is vital to this work.

UEFA upholds the integrity of all UEFA competitions via tailored, competition-specific integrity measures. Building on the integrity success of previous UEFA competitions, UEFA’s approach for EURO 2024 will feature close collaboration with host and participating nation stakeholders, public authorities, and sports betting entities as well as real-time betting market monitoring. Our secure UEFA integrity website will allow players, referees, officials, and members of the public to report suspected cases of match-fixing confidentially and anonymously. During the workshop, UEFA shared its competition risk assessment and mitigation strategy and explained the escalation, triage, and assessment approach for any potential integrity concerns.

“Sport alone cannot eradicate match-fixing. We must work together – raising awareness, sharing information, ensuring robust prevention and detection systems are in place – to protect sport and athletes. During the UEFA EURO 2024, our Germany-based staff (supported by the entire Anti-Match-Fixing Unit based in Nyon) will work hand-in-hand with betting integrity entities, betting operators and regulators, public authorities, and the national associations.” Vincent Ven, Head of Anti-Match-Fixing at UEFA

“The main objective is to ensure robust 24/7 monitoring of the competition in compliment to our dedicated prevention and education programme for all participating athletes and officials. UEFA’s multi-stakeholder Anti-Match-Fixing Assessment Group will manage pre and in-competition monitoring, ensuring that UEFA can immediately review and address any potential integrity threats to the tournament.”, Ven added.

“Collaboration is essential. During the upcoming Olympic Games in Paris, we will work together with a series of betting operators, associations and major betting regulatory authorities to exchange relevant information about irregular betting patterns or suspicious betting activities detected that might imply competition manipulation.” Friedrich Martens, Head of the OM Unit PMC

Panel discussions with several sport governing bodies and betting integrity entities provided insight into best practices, trends, and success stories from each sector’s perspective, whilst two betting operators took the floor to share examples of recent fruitful cooperation with UEFA and the IOC on prevention and investigations.

The afternoon featured frank discussion regarding how to enhance cooperation between sport and sports betting entities, recent trends in sports betting and their potential impact on sport integrity, and how to improve information sharing in support of match-fixing detection and investigation.

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VGCCC Introduces New Rules for Wagering Account Statements

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The Victorian Gambling and Casino Control Commission (VGCCC) has introduced new standards for how activity statements should be presented to wagering account holders. The new standards require providers to use plain English and avoid unnecessary vocabulary. The use of colours is limited to black and red to represent losses.

The VGCCC took the measure after finding inconsistencies in the way information was displayed on sample activity statements across different providers. Account holders must be able to see how much of their own money they have lost, with free and bonus bets excluded from the net loss figures. Net wins must be shown with stakes deducted. The gambling harm taglines that appear at the end of wagering ads must be displayed on each statement.

The new standards came into force on April 1. Failure to comply could result in a penalty of 60 penalty units, equivalent to AU$11,538.60 for each non-compliant activity statement issued.

VGCCC CEO Annette Kimmitt AM said: “The days of inconsistent player activity statements are over. Wagering account holders will be better informed about their spending – and therefore better equipped to make informed decisions about their gambling – thanks to the clarity and fairness these changes bring.”

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Compliance Updates

UK Gambling Commission Unveils a New Three-year Corporate Strategy

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The UK Gambling Commission (UKGC) has launched its new Corporate Strategy for 2024 to 2027.

Titled “Gambling Regulation in a Digital Age,” the strategy underlines the Commission’s commitment to deliver on the decisions set out in the Government’s White Paper High Stakes – Gambling reform for the digital age.

In addition to continuing to deliver the core regulatory work, over the next three years, the Commission will make a series of commitments under the following areas of strategic focus:

  • using data and analytics to make gambling regulation more effective
  • enhancing the core operational functions
  • setting clear evidence-based requirements for licensees
  • being proactive and addressing issues at the earliest opportunity
  • regulating a successful National Lottery.

The strategy prioritises key cross-cutting enablers, including a review of the people plan, approach to stakeholder engagement and ensuring the Commission has the right resources to regulate effectively.

Commission Chair Marcus Boyle said: “Our new three-year strategy ‘Gambling regulation in a digital age’ sets out how we will deliver the reforms set out in the Government’s gambling white paper, and successfully regulate the National Lottery under a new licensee.

“We are also setting out an ambitious programme to enhance the effectiveness of our regulation. A new data innovation hub will foster the smarter use of data. We will increase the transparency of our work to raise standards in the gambling industry, and we will be creative in disrupting those who seek to operate illegally.

“I want a fair, safe, and crime-free gambling market where consumers and the interests of the wider public are protected. This strategy will improve gambling regulation and move us closer to that vision.”

Commission CEO Andrew Rhodes said: “I am proud of how far the Commission has come in the last few years. We’ve tackled some of the critical issues facing operators and consumers, but the next cycle will involve delivering on some of the key decisions that we and Government have taken.

“Our objective is to be the authoritative voice on evidence and data, to tackle misinformation, delve into the facts, and help bring about improved outcomes for the public. Our Gambling Survey for Great Britain is one example of how we aim to embrace new data and intelligence.

“It is vital we maintain high standards for gambling consumers, working with industry to resolve issues at the earliest opportunity. We will continue to work across borders to tackle common issues like illegal gambling, and to learn and share regulatory best practice.”

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