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