UK Introduces Age-Based Online Casino Stake Limits

Online Casinos Law & Politics
Rob Simmons

Updated by

Rob Simmons

Last Updated on 14th March 2024, 07:22 AM

UK Introduces Age-Based Online Casino Stake Limits

UK Gambling Minister Stuart Andrew is overseeing the introduction of new rules for online casino gambling, which most recently included stake limits for slots determined by age. (Image: Dean Williams / Alamy)

Online slots players in the UK will find themselves unable to stake more than £5 per spin, according to new rules introduced by the UK Government. And if you’re under 25, your max bet will be even smaller.

The Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) announced on Friday changes that, starting in September, will set a limit of £2 per spin for players aged between 18 and 24, and £5 for players aged 25 and over.

“We have committed to introducing a maximum stake limit for online slots games to minimise the risk of runaway or rapid losses which can contribute significantly to gambling-related harm,” the DCMS announcement explained.

These are the first in a series of expected changes that are supposed to make gambling in the UK safer for participants.

DCMS contends that adults under 25 are at a higher risk of gambling harm due to their younger age, lower disposable income and other factors affecting young adults. 

But two gaming attorneys who spoke with say the impact of these new age-based restrictions will be hard to measure, and could do more harm than good. 

Problem Gambling, Black Market Concerns

Keystone Law partner Richard Williams contends that limits wouldn’t protect problem gamblers, but instead would drive them toward the black market.

“That’s if those customers haven’t already found alternatives to UK-licensed operators, as a result of tightened social responsibility measures over the last few years,” Williams said to

He suggested problem gamblers will continue to be attracted by better offers, better RTP (return-to-player) and less regulation by signing up with operators who are not licensed in the UK. 

Northridge Law partner Melanie Ellis shares that concern. 

“Customers aged 18-24 are very likely to be technically savvy enough to find unlicensed providers if they wish to place stakes larger than £2,” Ellis told

Bad Science?

Ellis said she doesn’t believe the introduction of stake limits for online slots was based on compelling evidence that they would protect customers. 

But she does believer the impact of these stake limits will be hard to assess, as stake limits are just one measure among many that the government is introducing that could affect gamblers. 

It remains to be seen how customers will adjust their gambling behaviour in response to the new limits. 

“Will they play for the same length of time but lose less money,” Ellis asked, “or will they be more likely to lose the same amount of money but over a longer play session or more frequent play sessions?”

Richard Williams and Melanie Ellis

Gaming attorneys Richard Williams and Melanie Ellis fear the UK’s new gambling rules could make matters worse. (Images: courtesy of Keystone Law, Northridge Law)

Further complicating matters, she said, the UKGC’s new Gambling Survey for Great Britain will soon replace data from the NHS Health Survey as official statistics.

“Given the large discrepancy in findings between the two survey methods in the Commission’s experimental stage,” Ellis said, “it will be challenging to determine whether the stake limits result in any reduction in problem gambling rates for online slots or customers aged 18-24.”

Changes also aim to consider structural differences between land-based slots and online play, with the £5 limit aligned with current land-based slots restrictions.

“The growing popularity of online gambling is clear to see,” UK Gambling Minister Stuart Andrew said, “so this announcement will level the playing field with the land-based sector and is the next step in a host of measures being introduced this year that will protect people from gambling harms.”

Andrew noted there was a “significantly higher” problem gambling rate for online slots games. 

“We also know that young adults can be more vulnerable when it comes to gambling related harms, which is why we committed to addressing both of these issues in our white paper,” Andrew said.

Backed by Research

Betting cap limits based on age are just the first in a series of expected changes from the UK Government as part of their White Paper review of the gambling industry. Announced in April 2023, these changes have been out for public consultation for the last 10 weeks.

There White Paper surveyed 98 respondents to the call for commentary, including 46 individual respondents and 52 from organisations.

Of the 98 responses, 24 were from gambling industry representatives, nearly all of whom argued for a higher £10 limit as a way of striking “a balance between protection and freedom” for players. Lifting the lid on consultation responses, DCMS confirmed that 30% of consultation respondents were in favour of the £2 limit, with just 3% supporting a £4 limit. 

Twenty-nine percent of respondents indicated their support for a blanket £5 limit for all adults, suggesting that extra operator vigilance would be essential.

Additional coming changes include so-called “unintrusive” checks on gamblers who lose more than £125 in 24 hours or £500 within a year, with this level of loss triggering an examination of bankruptcy and CCJ records, for example. For those losing £1,000 in 24 hours or £2,000 over 3 months – with lower triggers for those aged 18–24 – they can expect “frictionless” affordability checks, with mandatory data sharing by operators for high-risk online customers.

According to DCMS statistics, 20% of all UK slots players choose to stake £5 a spin at least once a year and would be impacted by these changes. Only 0.6% of all spins made by UK players are for more than £5.

Yet these new online slot stake limits, DCMS estimates, will cost the industry a whopping £166.2m in gross gambling revenue (GGR) per year. 

Still the Betting and Gaming Council, which represents over 97% of the UK’s licensed operators, welcomed the new limits.

“It is important to recognise that measures like this come with a cost to our members and impact their customers,” BGC CEO Michael Dugher said. “We must avoid customers drifting to the unsafe, unregulated black market online if we don’t tread carefully and get the balance of regulation right.” 



Meet The Author

Rob Simmons
Rob Simmons

Rob started out in journalism as a staff writer for Gambling Insider, before moving to EGR in 2018 where he wrote about diverse subjects including regulation, sports betting, igaming and the legislative expansion of sports betting across the US market. A keen blogger and freelance writer, Rob also studies Krav Maga and enjoys cinema, science-fiction conventions and supporting Tottenham Hotspur.

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