Governments and regulators in several jurisdictions are on a mission to make gambling “safe”, however that is defined, and to protect people from problem gambling. As part of that mission there is a clear trend emerging to achieve the result by capping the amount that consumers can stake and/or lose on gambling services.
This trend has implications for many components of the gambling value chain besides the operators themselves: suppliers who might work on a revenue share, affiliates, the tax authorities and any entities funded from the proceeds of gambling.
Finland is one jurisdiction where there is some evidence of the consequences of such measures. The Finnish operator Paf has taken the step of publishing the customer loss data to be more open about how a small number of customers can influence an operator’s results. Paf has also introduced a “loss limit” in 2018, setting a maximum annual limit on what a single customer can lose.
Paf’s CEO Christer Fahlstedt explained, “The figures show that the ‘loss limit’ and our tougher measures in gambling responsibility mean that we have lost over €4 million in revenue annually from our big players. It is a lot of money. But it is unsustainable money that we no longer receive and which the whole gaming industry should say no to”.
“We can guarantee that Paf won’t have any ‘high roller’ revenue by 2020 – since the ‘loss limit’ will be fully implemented then. I can also promise that we will continue to report with complete transparency on the revenues from our various customer groups”.
The Finnish state monopoly Veikkaus has also adopted restrictions on its customers’ activity. In 2018 it introduced gaming limits for its digital gaming services.
The restrictions consist of both limits on money transfers and, for high frequency and draw games, limits on losses. The measures cost Veikkaus EUR 21 million in lost revenue in 2018.
Veikkaus stated: “The first analyses have shown that the players have managed to use the gaming limits to control their gaming to take the direction they wish, and this has also lessened problematic gaming. According to estimates, the compulsory gaming limits decreased the growth of the gross gaming revenue in the digital channel by ca. EUR 21 million in 2018.”
The operator found that the compulsory money transfer limit is more effective than the compulsory loss limit because players encounter the transfer limit more often.
More than half of the players have set both a monthly transfer limit and the loss limit at a hundred euros or less. Veikkaus’ surveys have found that players are more agreeable to a model where they can set the limits themselves rather than a model where an authority or operator sets blanket limits for all customers.
The various measures have cost both companies several million Euros but could be an early recognition as to where regulation is heading.