In a bid to crack down on gambling related harm, Flutter, the owner of Paddy Power Bingo, has announced there will be a new limit on losses for gamblers under 25. More than 750,000 customers will be affected by the new safer gambling tool, which will come into force today for both UK and Irish customers. The new monthly loss amount will be set to £500 or €500 respectively for those aged between 18 and 25, and as soon as that limit is reached, no further deposits will be permitted.
Flutter is the world’s largest online gambling operator and 5% of its customers are in the 18 to 25 brackets. The new rules have been created to satisfy the gambling regulators requirement to protect vulnerable customers and reduce the risk of gambling addition and gambling related harm. Conor Grant, head of the UK and Ireland for Flutter, said the new rules were not a target but a backstop. “There’s a very fine balance for us in providing the safety net and dictating what customers can and can’t do with their money,” he said.
Pressure to Crack Down is Growing:
Why the sudden change? Tombola, Britain’s biggest bingo site imposed a similar tool a few months ago when they brought back the £500 weekly deposit limit and introduced a new £250 weekly net deposit limit to protect customers. The new loss limit will be rolled out across all Flutter owned brands, including Paddy Power Bingo, in a bid to tackle problem gambling ahead of the British government’s review of the (dated) Gambling Act.
Flutter reported sales of £3.1 billion (€3.6 billion) in the six months to the end of June, a figure up 28% on the previous year, and during the pandemic, its online customer base rose by 59%! In August, Chief executive Peter Jackson said the company would “continue to improve our safer gambling framework, developing initiatives that are tailored to market-specific requirements.”
To prove the operator is doing all it can to reduce gambling addiction and gambling related harm, Flutter have already imposed a ban on the use of credit cards in gambling, as have all British gambling operators, plus they have begun using specialised technology to avoid targeting under 25’s with adverts on social media.
According to the Gambling Commission, more than 300,000 Britons are described as having a gambling problem with a further 1,000,000 considered to be at risk or future addiction. And it’s not just ordinary folk, but celebrities too with former footballer-turned TV pundit Paul Merson revealing he had an issue with gambling in the past. Plus, Scarlett Moffatt, the star of ‘I’m a Celebrity Get Me Out of Here,’ had to get help for her mother after she took tens of thousands of pounds off her to gamble.
Source: “Flutter Imposes €500 Cap on Monthly Losses for Gamblers Under 25”. The Times. September 5, 2021.