When will the UK online slots limit come into force?

When will the UK online slots limit come into force?
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The UK government has confirmed limits per spin for online slots.

UK.- The UK government has confirmed the spin limits for online slots that had been widely expected. The limit will be set at £2 per spin for those aged 18 to 24 and £5 per spin for customers over this age. The lower limit is the same as that introduced for land-based betting machines in 2019.

It’s the first time there has been a limit placed on online slot spins in the UK. The measure will be implemented through secondary legislation, allowing a fairly rapid introduction. It will come into force in September, and there will two transition periods to give operators time to update their systems.

There will be an initial six-week transition period by the end of which operators must comply with the £5 limit. A second six-week period will provide additional time if needed to adapt systems to comply with the lower limit for under 24s.

The government ran a 10-week consultation on the proposals for spin limits of between £2 and £15 after they were outlined in the Gambling White Paper last April. It said that most responses to the consultation were in favour.

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.”

GambleAware CEO Zoë Osmond welcomed the announcement. She said: “We welcome the government’s announcement to introduce lower online stake limits for under 25s as an important mechanism to protect young people,” Osmond said. “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 Betting and Gaming Council (BGC) was also largely supportive of the move, although it highlighted the cost that it will have for online casino operators.

He said: “We welcome the government’s decision on new stake limits for online slots games. They provide enhanced protections for young people. It is important to recognise that measures like this come with a cost to our members and impact their customers. Nothing in the white paper should be viewed in isolation, but instead seen as a total package.

“I would urge ministers and the regulator to remain mindful of the overall impact all these changes make for BGC members. We must avoid customers drifting to the unsafe, unregulated black market online if we don’t tread carefully and get the balance of regulation right.”

Meanwhile, the Gambling Commission has announced that it will launch a pilot for proposed enhanced financial risk checks for online gambling to test data-sharing practices with credit reference agencies and gambling operators. The pilot will involve select operators and will last four to six months.