UK Government to Announce a £2 Maximum Stake on Slot Machines for Under 25s

  • The UK government will make the slot machine announcement on Friday
  • There will be a £5 ($6.35) slot spin limit for those over the age of 25
  • The moves comes after the government published its gambling white paper in April
Slot machine
The UK government will introduce a £2 ($2.54) limit on slot machines for those under 25 on Friday. [Image:]

New gambling limits

The UK government will introduce a £2 ($2.54) spin limit on slot machines for people under 25 years old.

Expected to be announced on Friday, the move follows after the UK government published its long-awaited gambling white paper last April.

An exclusive report from The Guardian states there will be a £5 ($6.35) limit for anyone above that age. The Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) is expected to reveal additional details on Friday.

the limit will see the UK gambling industry lose hundreds of millions in revenue

Presently, there is no limit on how much players can stake on these games, which bring in around £3bn ($3.81bn) a year. While it is not yet known when the restrictions will come into force, the limit will see the UK gambling industry lose hundreds of millions in revenue.

While many campaigners are happy with the government’s move for those under 25, they also think it needs to go further.

Labour MP Carolyn Harris, who chairs MPs examining gambling-related harm, said: “There is, however, clear evidence that a £2 limit should be in place for everyone to prevent harm. The government has sided with the industry and should rethink.”

Lost revenue

During the initial consultation, the government suggested a limit between £2 and £15 ($19) on slot machines. In April, the white paper estimated this figure would be around £8.50 ($10.79) per spin, costing the gambling industry as much as £185m ($234m) in revenue.

However, with the limit now expected to be £2 for those under 25 and £5 for those older than that, it’s projected to cost the industry far more.

Liz Ritchie, co-founder of the charity Gambling With Lives following the death of her son who had a gambling addiction and took his own life, said that the gambling industry is more interested in the revenue they will lose instead of the lives affected by gambling.

the real harm is to the millions trying to cope with addiction”

“…the real harm is to the millions trying to cope with addiction caused by toxic gambling products, and the terrible suffering of families bereaved by gambling suicide,” Ritchie said.

Of the £11bn ($14bn) revenue made from gambling in 2023, online casinos accounted for £4bn ($5.08bn). Of that figure, slot machines made up £3.2bn ($4.06bn).

Record high

In December, online slot machines were behind the rise in gambling revenue in the UK. Revenue for the betting and gaming industry reached £15.01bn ($19bn) in the year ending March 2023.

The rise in revenue follows after COVID-19 hit the gambling industry, forcing the cancellation of many sporting events and the closure of casinos and betting shops. The record came as London’s Mayor was called to ban “harmful gambling advertisements” on the Transport for London (TfL) following a rise in problem gambling in the UK.

During his election campaign in 2021, London Mayor Sadiq Khan promised to instruct the TfL to “bring forward plans to extend the ban to harmful gambling advertisements on the network.” He has yet to do this, supposedly because the government hasn’t defined what constitutes harmful gambling.

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