Flutter Entertainment, the parent company of betting companies such as Paddy Power, Sky Betting & Gaming and Betfair, are introducing a policy that will stop customers under the age of 25 from losing more than £500 in a month. The aim is to strengthen the protection provided to younger punters, recognising that many younger people undergo big changes at this formative part of their lives.
The deposit limit will theoretically stop any bettor under the age of 25 from losing more than £500 during the same month. Flutter’s own research suggests that 78% of gamblers aged 18 to 24 back the move. If a customer is able to demonstrate that they have an income that can absorb larger losses then they will be able to remove the deposit limit from their account and set an alternative limit instead.
Looking After Players Under 25s
The United Kingdom Gambling Commission has long had it in its remit to look after the more vulnerable members of society, of which young people are a member. The move from Flutter Entertainment, which is a voluntary one, looks to continue the efforts of sections of the gambling industry to look after younger people. It can be put in the same bracket as a voluntary ban on adverts during football matches before the watershed, for example.
The hope is that younger players will be more protected and that sensible spending by them will be encouraged as a result of the move. Early adulthood is, according to Flutter, a time when a ‘range of major life changes’ are taking place. The gambling company is moving to bring itself in line with the likes of car insurance and finance companies, both of which accept that younger people have a ‘higher risk profile’ than more mature customers.
Conor Grant, the Chief Executive of Flutter UK & Ireland, said about the matter, “People under the age of 25 are likely to be experiencing a number of significant life changes, such as gaining independence for the first time and learning how to manage their finances. We want anyone who decides to gamble when they come of age to get in the habit of setting sensible spending limits and this measure is the latest we are introducing to help make this happen.”
The Move is Broadly Supported
As part of the decision-making process ahead of adding the deposit limits, Flutter Entertainment did their own research to see how people felt about the move. For those aged between 18 and 24, the decision seemed to be well supported and around 78% of them backed the restrictions. That was only slightly higher than the customer base in general, with 77% of regular gamblers feeling that the additional measures were a good thing.
According to Statista, the largest number of problem gamblers actually come in the 35 to 44-year-old bracket, with 1.1% of all people with a gambling issue being that age. The next highest percentage of problem gamblers is 0.4%, which is true for the 55 to 64-year-old, 45 to 54-year-old and, crucially, 16 to 24-year-old age brackets. The hope is, according to Grant, that this move will help people gamble more responsibly for longer.
It’s Part Of A Risk-Based Framework
Whilst the introduction of a deposit limit for people under the age of 25 is a sensible move in the fight against problem gambling, it isn’t the only one being made by Flutter Entertainment. Instead, the company is looking to introduce a risk-based framework that it is labelling as its ‘Affordability Triple Step’. It will use real-time data in order to monitor the activity of customers so as to ensure their gambling remains ‘safe and enjoyable’.
Though it will be the default move of Flutter for all account holders under the age of 25 on its Paddy Power, Betfair and Sky Betting & Gaming platforms, as well as other UK-facing brands that it is responsible for, it will be possible for customers to set a limit other than £500; as longs they can afford to. In order to change the amount that they can deposit, customers will need to be able to demonstrate that their income can sustain a higher level of spending.
Limit Comes Ahead Of The Government’s Gambling Review
The British government is currently in the process of gathering evidence and data before looking to issue a review of the 2005 Gambling Act. There are obviously some members of the gambling industry that are concerned with what decisions the government might make, including the possibility of adding the same £2 maximum stake limit to online slots that was introduced to Fixed Odds Betting Terminals in 2019.
It seems as though this is something of a pre-emptive strike by Flutter Entertainment, who have said that they will share the details of the scheme with the government moving forward. They hope to provide any further idea, potential solutions and evidence that they find in order to ensure that the review ends up being the strongest and most useful version of itself possible.
Speaking on the matter, Grant said, “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.”
Implementation in the Coming Months
The policy will become a real one for Flutter Entertainment either by the end of 2021 or within the first few months of 2022. Alongside the decision to limit the amount that customers can deposit within the period of month, the organisation is also working with AdTech to stop the targeting of customers under the age of 25 with ‘paid for’ marketing on social media. This is alongside the move to provide clarity on gambling adverts targeting those under 18 on search engines.
All told, Flutter Entertainment is making moves to protect younger people and it will be interesting to see if other gambling companies follow suit. What we don’t know at this stage is whether the £500 deposit limit will be across the company’s network, or if it will be a maximum of £500 with each of the companies that come under its umbrella. It is likely to be the latter, given the complexity of organising the former.