Flutter Entertainment Introduces £/€500 Monthly Loss Limit for Under 25s
Flutter Entertainment, the world’s biggest online gambling company, has imposed a £500 (US$692) and €500 (US$593) loss limit for customers under 25 in the UK and Ireland, respectively.
The cap comes as Flutter seeks to pre-empt a UK government review of the country’s Gambling Act. That law is expected to impose tighter restrictions on an industry that’s eager to prove it can responsibly regulate itself.
Similar restrictions could be on the horizon in Ireland, where President Michael D Higgins has recently spoken of the “scourge of sports gambling” and “dangerous gambling advertisements.” The Irish government is in the process of establishing a new gambling regulator.
From Monday, Flutter will automatically block under-25s from losing more than the permitted amount each month on brands like Paddy Power, Betfair, and SkyBet. Its core US-facing brands, FanDuel and FOXBet, are not impacted by the new policy.
This is an evolution of sustainable spending that we’re trying to encourage,” Conor Grant, head of the UK and Ireland for Flutter, told The Times, adding that there was “a very fine balance for us in providing the safety net and dictating what customers can and can’t do with their own money.”
Grant said about 5 per cent of Flutter’s 750,000 customers in the UK and Ireland could be affected by the policy.
UK lawmakers are understood to be considering the introduction of affordability checks, among other measures. This could see bettors with monthly net gambling losses of as little as £100 ($138) asked to provide proof of income to continue to bet.
Critics say this would be overly intrusive and onerous to implement for operators. The British horse racing industry has estimated it could take a hit of at least £60 million ($83 million) a year from lost levy and media rights if government red tape makes it harder to gamble.
Nevertheless, an existing public backlash against the UK’s liberal gambling laws has intensified during the pandemic because of fears that gambling addiction has increased, particularly among young people.
Flutter reported revenues of £3.1 billion ($4.29 billion) in the first six months of 2021, up 28 per cent on the previous year. It has 59 percent more online customers than before the pandemic.
“Wherever we operate, we’re committed to introducing measures which instill the highest standards of customer protections, working with regulators, the wide industry, or even unilaterally as we’ve done recently in Ireland with a self-imposed credit card ban, among other measures,” Flutter CEO Peter Jackson said during a recent earnings call.