Flutter Puts £500 Spending Limit On Under 25s

September 7, 2021
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Flutter UK and Ireland is introducing a spending backstop of £500 per month for all customers under the age of 25, but the move has failed to silence criticism from some health specialists pushing for enhanced consumer protections.

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Flutter UK and Ireland is introducing a spending backstop of £500 per month for all customers under the age of 25, but the move has failed to silence criticism from some health specialists pushing for enhanced consumer protections.

The new policy will be automatically implemented for all customers under the age of 25 across Paddy Power, Betfair and Sky Betting & Gaming in the UK and in Ireland.

The new measure is not being applied to the company’s businesses in Australia, the United States or other jurisdictions it operates in.

Matt Zarb-Cousin, the director of Clean Up Gambling, welcomed recognition of the need for limits, but said he believes the threshold should be set at £100 per month, with “proper affordability checks for those who want to bet more”.

The All-Party Parliamentary Group on Gambling Related Harm (APPG) also praised the industry for “accepting the necessity of loss caps”, but demanded the value of such limits be guided by independent, risk-based assessment.

“If you cannot afford it, even £100 a month is a huge sum to lose,” the APPG said.

The prospect of detailed affordability checks for all UK gambling operators has been seriously suggested by the Gambling Commission, but controversy over the plans has seen the topic folded into the ongoing Gambling Act review.

Henrietta Bowden-Jones, director at the National Problem Gambling Clinic, questioned why the idea of capping losses for under 25s at £500 a month should even be applauded at all.

“Self-regulation by industry does not work and this is a clear example,” Bowden-Jones said.

Claire Murdoch, national mental health director at NHS England and a frequent industry critic, agreed that the measure is a “great example of where self-regulation by the gambling industry is farcical”.

Conor Grant, CEO of Flutter UK and Ireland, said the company will be sharing its data and own thoughts on the scheme with the UK government.

Grant hopes the initiative will act as a catalyst for more industry consumer protection changes, including more evidence gathering during the Gambling Act review.

“The review provides a once in a generation opportunity to bring gambling rules into the digital age, and while we believe that the changes it will bring are critical, we won’t wait to implement ground-breaking policies that will make a difference for our customers,” Grant said.

Flutter’s new limit is part of its “Triple Step” approach to affordability, a risk-based framework using real-time data to monitor player activity and behaviours, which takes into account the added disordered gambling risks caused by early adulthood life changes.

Inspiration for the change was a UK Gambling Commission research survey looking into young people's journeys into gambling and how it affects their current behaviours.

The research undertaken found young people to be most at risk of developing disordered gambling after achieving independence from their parents, as they begin to take control of their own finances and freedoms.

Polling of regular gamblers, commissioned by Flutter, revealed widespread support across all age groups for additional measures to protect and support younger people, with 77 percent of regular gamblers approving overall.

Support for additional measures among 18-24 year-olds polled at 78 percent.

For what Flutter said will be a “small number” of customers who can demonstrate their income is able to sustain an increased level of spend, the cap can be increased.

The operator said they will need to go through a detailed process before an alternative limit is set.

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