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White Paper released detailing impact of stake limits on online slots

23rd October 2020 10:39 am GMT
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Online casino operators and games studios operating in the UK could face revenue declines of between 5 and 20 per cent if new stake limits are introduced, according to new research by game data science experts Future Anthem.

If an online casino stake limit of £2 is introduced in the UK - as it was for Fixed Odds Betting Terminals in retail betting shops in 2018 - then operators could be hit by a 10-20 per cent loss of revenue, according to Future Anthem, which conducted behavioural analysis across billions of spins.

If a stake limit of £5 were to be introduced, then the revenue impact is likely to be in the range of 5-10 per cent. While the number of players impacted would be lower, the White Paper expects the player experience to be adversely affected too.

Future Anthem chief executive officer Leigh Nissim commented: “There are regulatory headwinds in the UK and across Europe that will impact everyone, including players.  It’s important to listen to the signals and prepare for change.  Those that assess the impact on players and games, plan and adjust accordingly are those that are likely to navigate effectively. Future Anthem uses Game Data Science to help operators and studios optimise their games – data is key to understanding the impact of any possible regulations and helping our customers prepare appropriately.”

The introduction of stake limits is sure to be fiercely fought. In every other sphere of life people are free to spend their money how they like. Financial services will conduct an assessment to see whether you can afford to repay a large loan like a mortgage but an arbitrary limit is unique to the gambling sector.

“All the time in parliament you hear that ‘we have an analogue act for a digital age’. Our argument with arbitrary limits is that they are an analogue solution for a digital problem,” commented Betting and Gaming Council executive director of corporate affairs Gary Follis. “There are far more sophisticated methods. We already use limits and blocks for that red play cohort.”

“We are looking for people to get away from the idea that arbitrary limits are the answer because they are clearly not,” continued Follis. “The lowering of the stake for FOBTs has not stopped problem gambling.”

However, certain UK parliamentarians are beating the drums for stake limits to be introduced. The Gambling Commission has also been keen to highlight the findings of its Experts by Experience Group, which is made up of problem gamblers and their families and has recommended the introduction of limits on stakes and prizes.

Greece recently issued legislation limiting stakes for online slots to €2 per spin. Similarly, Germany has notified the EU of legislation that sets a €1 maximum on virtual slots.

The Future Anthem White Paper goes on to outline the effect that a stake limit could have on games studios, with a significantly different impact across different games. Stake levels and coin sizes are a fundamental part of game design and player engagement, so understanding the effects on gameplay is a vital consideration for games that cater for the UK market.

“Studios will need to have the technology to deploy and publish games in territories with

differing stake limits. And, crucially, they should be strategically investing to develop games that will perform best in a range of future regulatory environments at varying stakes,” concludes the White Paper.

To download the full White Paper click here.

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