Flutter under-25 loss limits: protective measure or empty gesture?

  • Updated
  • By Max Jenner
Flutter launches £500 loss OB.jpg
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The introduction of £500 deposit limits by gambling operator Flutter is intended to help younger gamblers to ‘get in the habit of setting spending limits’, according to its CEO Conor Grant.

From this week, customers aged under 25 will be limited to spending no more than £500. Anyone wanting to deposit more than this will have to prove, based on records of their spending habits, that they are able to afford it.

According to Grant, bettors aged under 25 are ‘likely to be experiencing a number of significant life changes such as gaining financial independence for the first time and learning how to manage their finances’ and thus in a more vulnerable position with regard to potentially losing money through gambling.

But for all Flutter’s talk of promoting responsible gambling and looking out for the wellbeing of its users, what does the imposition of the new limits actually achieve?

Flutter has certainly appeared keen to be seen as promoting safer gambling controls in recent months. Back in February, the company committed to bans on credit cards and whistle-to-whistle advertising ahead of the recently announced regulations bringing these changes into law in Ireland.

To many, the choice to focus on under-25s will seem entirely arbitrary — even the bracketing off of a whole demographic like this instead of considering the habits of individual gamblers and tailoring restrictions accordingly. They might also ask what other changes might be introduced as a result. Which other demographics could be targeted next? Which other groups could be deemed to be going through 'significant life changes'? Could pregnant women see restrictions imposed on their spending for no apparent reason? A move like this would undoubtedly cause controversy, but the strategy behind it would effectively be no different to the one Flutter has just adopted.

Flutter insists that the rationale behind its move is borne out by the statistics, with 77% of regular gamblers expressing some kind of overall approval of ‘additional measures to protect and support younger people’, with 78% of the 18-24 age group approving of such measures.

It is doubtful whether Flutter’s adoption of a one-size-fits-all approach, though, will do much to protect those younger gamblers most at risk. Overall, it seems more like a shot at good publicity by an online gambling platform rather than a genuine effort to tackle problematic habits.