Sunday 5 September 2021

Capping Losses

Courtesy of @PremiumCharged, my attention was brought to the announcement in the Sunday Times that PaddyPowerBetfair plan to introduce a £500 monthly cap on losses for younger customers between the ages of 18 and 25.

While details remain unclear, there are a few issues with this approach. 

First of all, the age and amounts are both completely arbitrary. Someone's age is irrelevant and coming up with a one amount fits all approach is ridiculous.

Many young people have larger disposable incomes than older people, and £500 to one person may be a lot of money, while to others, regardless of their age, it means very little. 

The approach appears to make no differentiation between types of bettor either. There's a world of difference between someone who has slowly and steadily built a bank up from a small initial deposit to five or six figures over a few years on sports betting and is paying the Premium Charge (yes, it can be done) and someone depositing £500 each month on pay day and losing the lot over the weekend after playing the Betfair Casino. 

Apparently this £500 limit applies to all under-25s and for traders, would necessarily mean their exposure would be limited to £500. Once you are down by that amount, your trading stops for the month, even if your balance is several times that amount. If you're 24 with a bank of £50,000, that seems rather silly and not close to addressing the real issue they are trying to solve, which is problem gambling, defined as...
an urge to gamble continuously despite negative consequences or a desire to stop. Problem gambling is often defined by whether harm is experienced by the gambler or others, rather than by the gambler's behaviour.
I never knew this was only an issue for under 25s, or that the harm can be determined as being at the £500 a month level.

Nut and sledgehammer anyone? 

Never mind that it's not the business of the sportsbook to tell someone how much they can spend, and in what period. A Big Brother world where my credit card is declined because I've spent more than a certain amount of money on beer or fast-food in a month isn't one I'd imagine many of us would want to live in (although it might be beneficial to my waistline and bank balance).

Fortunately, or unfortunately, depending on how I look at this, my advanced age means that I am not going to be affected, but I imagine more than a few people will find this initiative rather annoying if it is actually implemented as the article says. A more nuanced approach would seem far more sensible.     

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