Home > Legal & compliance > Data error leads to two-week online slots consultation delay

Data error leads to two-week online slots consultation delay

| By Zak Thomas-Akoo
A data error in the UK government’s consultation document has led to it pushing back the online slots stake limits consultation deadline by two weeks.
online slots

The online slots delay marks a step backward for the government in the consultation process.

The number of measures from the gambling white paper that have been put out to consultation have been criticised, with some doubting the work will be completed before the next general election.

The government said it mistakenly put down the UK’s problem gambling rate for 16- to 24-year-olds at 1.5%, according to Public Health England figures. This – as the government clarified – is wrong, with 1.5% being the rate for only men in that age group.

The correct percentage of problem gambling in this age group is 0.8%. Meanwhile, Health Survey England 2018 puts the total at 1.0%, the highest rate for any age group.

Due to the mistake, the government decided to push back the deadline for the consultation by two weeks, to 4 October.

Government’s approach to online slot regulation

The consultation is based on a measure in the gambling white paper to limit the amount staked by a customer to between £2 and £15 per spin. This would be to “structurally limit the risks of harmful play”.

The white paper argued that online slots represented an especially high-risk product, associated with large losses, long sessions and binge play.

This comes following today’s news released by gambling harms charity GamCare. The organisation said that 60% of individuals who contacted its National Gambling Helpline in 2022-23 cited online slots as the main activity causing concern, almost double the 34% who reported as such in the 2018-19 period.

In June, the Gambling Commission released an assessment of its 2021 reforms to slot products. It argued this demonstrated a “reduced play intensity” as well as no harmful unintended consequences since the new rules went into force.

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