Stake Limits To Move Players Online?

Stake Limits To Move Players Online? ( Click to Enlarge )

In a surprise U-turn, the UK Culture Secretary Jeremy Wright has decided to bring forward the introduction of laws concerning fixed odds betting terminals (FOBTs). From April 2019, the maximum stake that will be allowed to be placed on a betting terminal in a brick-and-mortar shop will be reduced from £100 to £2 – in a move intended to cut the speed at which gambling debts can spiral out of control.

Shift Online?

With that arrangement now pretty much settled, new concerns are on the horizon, such as those raised by the charity Gambling with Lives. They have stated that the ban on FOBTs is unlikely to have a significant impact on problem gambling.

They argue that online casinos and gaming sites often have limited – or even no – restrictions on betting stakes. For example, in online slot games, huge amounts can be wagered per line. Similarly, in card games such as baccarat and blackjack, single bets can quickly climb into the thousands.

Better Visibility And Self Exclusion

It’s not all bad news, however. Online gaming sites are required to collect customer data and monitor their behaviour for signs of problem gambling. If destructive behaviour patterns are detected, then they are compelled to intervene.

There are also a number of means through which addicts can restrict their use of online platforms. One example of this is the ability on many sites to limit the maximum deposit during a set time. i.e. £100 every seven days – with a cooling off period to change it.

Many also offer the ability for addicts to blacklist themselves and block their access to gaming sites. This is called “self-exclusion” and applies to both online and offline gambling operators. The typical length of time for such an exclusion is between six months and five years, according to the UK organisation GamCare. Of course, though, this relies on some level of co-operation from the gambler – and the admittance that they have a problem.

Online self-exclusion is operated by the sites themselves or overseen by – which prohibits someone from gambling on a range of participating outlets, rather than just one. But whether this self-regulating policy is useful, and whether users of FOBTs will move online, is yet to be seen.