It’s not a particularly well-kept secret: as part of their review of the Gambling Act, the UK government will consider the implementation of compulsory deposit and loss limits as part of their revamp of the industry.
And Flutter, home to some of the most prominent brands in the UK sector, have perhaps jumped the gun somewhat by introducing their own new rules aimed specifically at younger players.
If you are under the age of 25 and use any of Flutter’s brands (think Paddy Power, Betfair, Sky Casino, PokerStars Casino etc), you will now be subject to a monthly deposit limit of a maximum of £500.
Flutter have described their new policy as a ‘triple step’ approach to improving affordability measures, although as ever opponents will argue whether an operator should have the power to place curbs on their customers’ freedom of choice.
All under 25s will be subject to the policy across the UK and Ireland, although there are ways that those who can prove they earn enough money per month to sustain a higher level of spending can have the restrictions lifted. However, Flutter state that there is a ‘detailed process’ in place before an alternative limit can be imposed.
The firm has invested heavily in its Affordability Triple Step framework, which analyses player data in real-time to determine when activity might be described as problematic – either in the amount of money being wagered or the amount of time spent playing a casino game session.
They have decided to focus on the younger end of their customer base, for now, due to the vulnerabilities that are inherent in the lifestyles of those aged 18-24. Whether it’s financial independence or moving away from home for work or a university place, younger people are said to have a ‘higher risk profile’ according to Flutter’s research based on their income levels or amounts of free time.
They have also committed to continuing with a range of similar tools, including AdTech – designed to ensure that under-25s are not targeted by paid for content on social media channels and video sharing networks like YouTube, and that gambling ads appearing in search engines are clearly marked as such.
Conor Grant, the CEO of Flutter, described their deposit limit approach as ‘ground-breaking’ for the industry.
“We are continuously looking at ways we can enhance protections for our customers, particularly those who are young or may be vulnerable,” he said.
“People under the age of 25 are likely to be experiencing a number of significant life changes, and we want anyone who decides to gamble when they come of age to get in the habit of setting sensible spending limits.
“We will be sharing our thinking and data with the Government and hope this new measure helps in terms of providing further ideas, evidence and potential solutions as it continues its review of the gambling legislation.
“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.”
Whether more firms will decide to take voluntary action on deposit and loss limits – or whether they will be forced to as part of the Gambling Act reform – remains to be seen.