UK Online Slot Machine Stakes Set For £2 Limit

May 23, 2022
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Online casinos offering slot machines could have their stakes limited to just £2, according to reports on UK government plans to reform the sector.

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Online casinos offering slot machines could have their stakes limited to just £2, according to reports on UK government plans to reform the sector.

The government is expected to announce a maximum stake of between £2 and £5 for online gamblers using slot machines, with players only allowed to gamble more if they pass "affordability checks" to prove they are not making unsustainable losses, according to reports in The Times newspaper.

Other moves expected when ministers unveil their review of the 2005 Gambling Act next month include Premier League clubs being forced to remove gambling sponsors from the front of football shirts.

The move to cut online slot machine stakes is reportedly to help create "parity" with the £2 limits introduced on fixed-odds betting terminals in 2019, after a long battle by campaigners.

At present, online stakes are not limited, although The Times reported that the government is also considering affordability checks for other forms of online betting if it is shown people are losing significant sums.

The government will finally publish its long-delayed white paper on gambling reform next month after a series of delays, say the reports.

It was reported that ministers hope to reach an agreement with the Premier League in the next fortnight for clubs to voluntarily remove gambling companies from their shirts. Nearly half of the teams in the top league are sponsored by gambling companies.

Liz Ritchie, co-founder of the charity Gambling with Lives, said: "We need an end to all gambling advertising, not a token gesture of removing them from shirts. We need proper affordability checks at a level closer to £100 that will prevent harm and we need a smart statutory levy on the gambling industry to pay for truly independent public health messaging, research and treatment."

If there is not an agreement, the government is expected to introduce a ban on gambling companies being the main shirt sponsor for Premier League clubs. However, teams in the Championship and lower leagues would be exempt.

Meanwhile, there was a warning that the introduction of a flat-rate levy on betting firms to fund problem gambling initiatives — one of the moves that the government is tipped to introduce — would force about a third of Britain’s bricks and mortar casinos into loss and threaten nearly 3,000 jobs.

The Betting and Gaming Council wrote to ministers at the Department for Digital, Culture, Media & Sport outlining its “serious concerns” that the UK’s land-based casino sector would “severely shrink” if a “one size fits all” levy were introduced.

Paul Willcock, chairman of the betting council’s casino group and president of Genting UK, wrote to gambling minister Chris Philp, saying: “Overnight, venues would become loss-making, which would lead to job losses and lost tax revenues.

“We calculate that over a third of the 120 UK casino estate would become loss-making if this approach is pursued by government and up to 2,800 jobs would be at risk.”

He said one issue was the higher fixed costs that physical casinos face compared with online rivals.

The review comes as the sector remains under fire from critics over its handling of problem gambling, its funding of treatment for addiction and the effect of its advertising.

A government spokesman said: “We are undertaking the most comprehensive review of gambling laws in 15 years to make sure they are fit for the digital age."

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