Irish sportsbook operator Paddy Power has become the first UK-based betting firm to introduce a mandatory loss cap for its gamblers under the age of 25. [Image: Shutterstock.com]
Paddy Power takes a leap
UK-based sportsbook operator Paddy Power has implemented a £500 ($629.29) limit on the amount its young gamblers can lose per month. The Flutter Entertainment-owned firm is now the first betting company to introduce such a measure in the UK market.
applies to any Paddy Power customers under the age of 25
Introduced on Sunday, the £500 ($629.29) loss limit cap applies to any Paddy Power customers under the age of 25. Young gamblers in Ireland, where the betting company’s headquarters are located, will adhere to a loss limit of €500 ($593.45).
Flutter Entertainment explained the move in a media statement over the weekend. According to The Sunday Times, the company said that around 5% of its 750,000 young users in the UK and Ireland sometimes lose more than £500 ($629.29) in a month – an amount which could surpass the spending means of most under 25s.
Enforcing sensible spending
Conor Grant, head of the UK and Ireland for Flutter, has affirmed that the new loss limit will help the sportsbook’s young users learn to set “sensible spending limits.” He said that this is a vital lesson during such an important point in their lives. “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,” he explained to The Daily Mail.
Notably, although the £500 ($629.29) cap will apply to most Paddy Power customers, the operator has confirmed that it will make exceptions for those who can prove they have a bit more cash to spare. The company reportedly told the Mail that the “small number” of users who can afford to lose more money will go through an affordability process. Based on evidence, the operator will then decide whether to increase their loss limit.
While he believes the limit will help Paddy Power’s vulnerable customers, Flutter exec Grant also conceded that the measure may prove a contentious issue with some users. Speaking with The Sunday Times, he said: “There’s a very fine balance for us providing the safety net and dictating what customers can and can’t do with their money.”
Paddy Power has affirmed that the £500 ($629.29) limit will keep young users safe, but others have claimed that the cap is still too high for most under the age of 25. NHS gambling addiction expert Henrietta Bowden-Jones told the Mail that the cap “should not be applauded.” She argued that “even £100-a-month losses would be disastrous” for some gamblers.
An important time for the industry
Paddy Power’s decision to implement a loss limit comes at a crucial moment for the UK gambling industry. The government began a review of UK gambling law, the Gambling Act 2005, in December last year. MPs will consider a number of subjects during the process, including the introduction of stake limits for online gambling and possible curtails of gambling advertising in sports.
participants gave feedback on a £100 ($130) per month affordability threshold
Media sources have also suggested MPs will consider a blanket loss limit for customers of online gambling sites. The UK Gambling Commission (UKGC) launched a 10-week consultation in November last year looking for feedback on a loss limit measure. As part of that study, participants gave their opinion on a £100 ($138.34) per month affordability threshold for all online gamblers.
In response to the UKGC’s research into the issue, industry body the Betting and Gaming Council completed a study of its own in March this year. It found that 51% of participants opposed loss limits set by politicians, compared to just 27% who supported them. The YouGov poll involved 1,683 British adults.