A public consultation process has been launched to look at how to conduct financial risk checks for problem gambling and at what level stake limits should be set for people playing online slot games.
The move is the next step of the Government’s gambling white paper to update gambling rules for the smartphone era and protect those at risk of gambling harm including young adults.
The gambling industry, clinicians, academics, those with firsthand experience of harm, and the general public are invited to share their views.
Online slot games are deemed a higher-risk gambling product, associated with large losses, long sessions and binge play.
According to NHS England surveys, 8.5% of online slots, casino and bingo players report experiencing problem gambling, which is nearly 20 times higher than the adult population average. But unlike gaming machines in pubs, arcades and bookmakers, online slot games have no stake limits, which can make it too easy to incur potentially life-changing losses in minutes.
The Government is consulting on a maximum stake of between £2 and £15 per spin.
Public Health England research has also shown younger adults can be particularly vulnerable to gambling harms, due to a combination of common factors such as ongoing cognitive development and managing money for the first time.
The Government is also consulting on options to introduce greater protections when playing slots for 18 to 24-year-olds, such as lower stake limits of £2, £4, or requirements on operators to consider age as a risk factor for gambling-related harm.