Tightening Regs: VIXIO’s Joe Ewens

Joe discusses the proposed changes to the UK gambling industry and how they might affect stakeholders and gambling reform campaigners. These changes include affordability checks, stake limits, and a statutory levy, all of which are designed to protect at-risk players. Joe predicts that some operators will face increased costs as they come under greater scrutiny.

Regarding online slot stake limits, Joe believes that the larger operators who already cap stake limits at £10 will not be significantly impacted if the consultation ends up with a higher cap. However, if limits decrease to their lowest levels, players aged 18-25 may be affected. Joe also defuses concerns about VIP programs and bonuses, as the Gambling Commission has already significantly restricted them.

Joe notes that despite the white paper proposing few changes to gambling advertising, pressure from gambling reform campaigners is likely to continue and impact revenues for operators. The government predicts that operators’ revenues might reduce by 3-8%, or up to 14% for online operators. Joe suggests that these numbers may be overstated, especially if the online slot stakes cap is set at £2, which could have a more significant impact.

Overall, Joe believes that the proposed changes outlined in the white paper are not a step change but are instead the latest developments in the ongoing story of tightening regulation in the UK gambling industry. While these changes will add to operators’ compliance burdens, their effectiveness in reducing gambling harms will depend on further research. However, Joe predicts that pressure from gambling reform campaigners will continue to build as enforcement cases highlighting the lack of care for at-risk players continue to be published.