Paf: A proactive approach to protecting young adults

We spoke with Paf Deputy CEO & Chief Responsibility Officer Daniela Johansson on the operator's latest customer segment loss limit caps and the importance of creating financially safe gaming environments for under 25’s.

Daniela Johansson paf

You moved your loss limit cap for 20-24-year-olds from €10,000 ($10,793) to €8,000 ($8,635) in early May. What encouraged that decision? 

Our decision to lower the loss limit for 20-24-year-olds reflects our ongoing commitment to responsible gaming and acknowledges the specific vulnerabilities of our younger players. Research indicates that young people are at a higher risk of developing gambling problems. By reducing the loss limit, we aim to place all players under 25 in the 'green segment,' as detailed in our annual report.  

It's important to recognise that while the new €8,000 limit marks a significant step towards more responsible gaming, it may still represent a substantial amount for many young individuals. Therefore, this measure is part of a broader array of initiatives we undertake to promote responsible gaming, including monitoring player behavior, providing self-help tools and facilitating access to support services. 

When you first introduced annual loss limits for players in 2018, it was a blanket cap of €30,000. Now it is €17,500 with lower caps for under-25's. Why reduce the overall cap? 

The decision to reduce the annual loss limit from €30,000 to €17,500, with even lower caps for those under 25, was driven by a clear realisation: Very few individuals can afford to lose €30,000 in a year without significant implications. Our aim in lowering these limits is to prevent the personal tragedies that can result from problem gambling and substantial financial losses.   

Paf's published customer segments, 2017 - 2022

In 2018 you introduced the cap hoping for wider transparency in the industry. What changes have you seen if any and what are your thoughts on that? 

When we introduced the cap in 2018, we also began publishing our customer segments and have continued to do so annually in our reports. We had hoped that more operators would follow our lead to enhance transparency across the industry, but to be honest, the response has been underwhelming and we have not seen others follow suit. Personally, I believe there is still a lot of work to be done to improve the reputation of the gambling industry and adopting transparency is a crucial starting point. 

When deciding on the age brackets and loss limits for each, what research or analysis was conducted in order to select those decisions? Or was it a more emotionally driven/ public-interest decision? 

In determining the appropriate age brackets and associated loss limits, we conducted an analysis based on existing research and regulatory guidelines. This review highlighted that individuals under 25 years old are frequently identified in research as a particularly vulnerable group, which is why we defined this as a distinct age bracket. For the 18–19-year-old bracket, our decision was also influenced by a sense of public responsibility. We felt it was essential to adopt a proactive approach in protecting younger adults who are new to financial independence. 

I believe there is still a lot of work to be done to improve the reputation of the gambling industry and adopting transparency is a crucial starting point

What is the average loss for gamblers under 25 and has this changed in recent years? Could you give any examples? 

Recent changes to loss limits for players under 25 have generally resulted in decreased average losses, aligning with our expectations. 

Do you think setting lower loss limits for under-25's and especially under-20's could discourage them from playing? 

From our observations, setting lower loss limits for players under 25 and particularly those under 20 has not led to a decrease in the number of young players starting to play with us. However, these limits do naturally result in some of them spending less money than they might have previously. One goal of these limits is raising awareness about gambling behaviours and encouraging periods of reflection. While it's true that not all players who reach these limits will stop gambling altogether — some may choose to play elsewhere — it is our hope that these measures help foster responsible gambling habits among younger adults. 

The decision to reduce the annual loss limit from €30,000 to €17,500... was driven by a clear realisation: Very few individuals can afford to lose €30,000 in a year without significant implications

While all people are susceptible to gambling harms, are there any harms that are unique or more prevalent among young people?  

That's a good question. Research indicates that there are some risk factors that are more prevalent among young people. For instance, risk-taking behaviors are more common and their decision-making processes are not yet fully matured. Additionally, financial vulnerabilities are particularly acute for this group. Many young adults lack stable financial resources, meaning that the financial losses from gambling can lead to severe consequences, such as debt accumulation and financial dependency. 

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