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The UK government has taken an unprecedented step in online betting by introducing stake limits for online slot games. To be enforced from September, many consider these rules as solidifying the remote gambling regulation—particularly the danger posed by readily available online slot games.

According to the new rules, anyone over 25 will be limited to a £5 stake per spin, bringing stakes in line with online games at casinos. In addition, they have also gone ahead and dropped the stake limit to £2 per spin for those between 18 and 24 since the statistics show that more young adults are being preyed on by gambling.

This speaks evidence on the question of heightened risk for online slot games, which have included poor financial outcomes and long gambling sessions. Unlike their land-based equivalents, electronic gaming machines or slots represent a form of gambling in which there is no statutory limit to the amount wagered.

This 18- to 24-year-old age group is the most likely than any other to have the highest average scores for problem gambling across the board. Factors associated with lower disposable income, ongoing neurological development in respect of risk perception, and the more recent transition to full financial management for themselves further compound their vulnerability to gambling-related harm.

The government does this after a wide consultation for 10 weeks, with contributions by industry representatives, among others, academics, treatment providers, and individuals negatively impacted by gambling-related harm. Almost all the respondents accepted so overwhelmingly that something had to be done concerning the limitation of the stakes in the online slot games, so that the gambler would be cushioned away from suffering harm from gambling.

Stuart Andrew, Minister for Gambling, has stressed the need to tackle the problem gambling rates caused by online slot games, especially by reducing the high rates currently existing. Limits to stakes will also be enforced in this new market to protect users from online and land-based betting, as part of a larger group of measures put into place to maintain the current equilibrium with excess harmful gambling.

Gaming Harm Prevention Society chief executive Zoë Osmond said young adults were vulnerable to the damage caused by gambling, and they welcomed this initiative by the government as part of several steps that needed to be taken to protect that demographic. The governments and gaming-related harm prevention organizations are free to continue their cooperating with one another in order to not only ensure that these regulation moves are working properly but also demonstrate that the aim is true: to reduce damage connected with online gaming.

These new stake limits will be introduced through secondary legislation and accompany a transition period for operators to incorporate them. The white paper will also outline other measures, which include dragging the gambling sector into the modern era, such as a statutory levy for research, prevention, and treatment and financial risk checks to avoid extreme financial losses.

It further encompasses such proposals as may avail a lifeline to the land-based gambling industry, while keeping equilibrium with regard to consumer protections and industrial freedoms. In light of the importance of the sector to the nation’s economy, the administration would seek to put regulations in place that would ensure that responsible gambling is promoted amidst the continued growth of the industry and employment creation.

While the UK government sharpens its approach to regulation, industry stakeholders and those from public health have pledged to remain closely involved in consultations as they aim to advocate fuller measures in tackling gambling-related harm.

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