Govt seeks to curb online slot addiction

Stake limits for online slot machine games are to be pegged-back by the Government in an attempt to combat the dangers of gambling.

From September, under-25s will be limited to £2 per spin when using online slots, and over-25s to a maximum stake of £5.

According to the National Gambling Helpline, the percentage of UK gamblers concerned about the use of online slots almost doubled between 2018 and 2023.

‘Missed opportunity’

Following a Government consultation on the maximum stake limit for online slots, the majority of respondents backed the introduction of statutory limits.

Announcing the decision, the Department for Culture, Media and Sport acknowledged that online slots “are one of the most addictive forms of gambling, and can be associated with large losses, long sessions, and binge play”.

But Charles Ritchie, whose son Jack ended his life following an online gambling addiction, said: “The £2 limit for under-25s is a step in the right direction, but £5 for over-25s is another missed opportunity to stop the harm to millions and the devastation caused by gambling suicides.”

And Carolyn Harris MP, Chairwoman of the All Party Parliamentary Group for Gambling Related Harm, said there is “clear evidence that a £2 limit should be in place for everyone to prevent harm”, accused the government of siding with the industry, and urged it to rethink.


Recovering problem gambler Dale told The Times that his addiction made him want to kill himself: “My stuff was packed and I had my note written out.”

He admitted to stealing from his partner and losing £6,500 in 36 hours online, saying: “Everything was right in front of me, all I had to do was click a few buttons.”

Figures from the Gambling Commission last year revealed that there are eight times as many problem gamblers in Great Britain than previously estimated.

FOBTs v Online slots

In 2019, the Government cut the maximum stake on fixed-odds betting terminals (FOBTs) from £100 to £2 a spin.

Prior to the clampdown, it was reported that many of William Hill’s 2,282 shops were reliant on FOBTs for more than 50 per cent of their revenue.

Across all betting shops the machines generated around £1.5 billion, around 10 per cent of the industry’s entire £14.5 billion takings.

According to the Gambling Commission, online casino games dominate the sector, generating £4bn in profit for the year to March 2023, of which £3.2bn came from slots.

Also see:

Gambling apps

Numbers seeking help for gambling problems surge to record level

‘I went to jail for stealing £1.3m to gamble away’

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Problem gambling eight times worse than previously estimated

Health watchdog: ‘GPs should screen patients for gambling problems’

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