Study finds that setting deposit limits mean gamblers lose less

  • Updated
  • By Hannah Timoney
Deposit Limit Report
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Deposit limits are something that all the best online casino sites offer to their players, but which many players choose to ignore, believing themselves to be in full control of their spending. However, a new study that took place in Australia shows how deposit limits can actually be useful for all players, both in controlling spending but also in reducing a players net losses. 

What the study found

Robert M. Heirene & Sally M. Gainsbury of the Brain & Mind Centre, School of Psychology, Science Faculty, University of Sydney, Australia this year published a study entitled 'A randomised control trial to evaluate messages that promote limit setting and the impact of limits on online gambling behaviour (pre-print),' which evaluated the effects and benefits of setting deposit limits while gambling online. You can read the full study here.

The study, which watched the behaviours of regular gamblers over a period of six months, set out to find which method of promotion is best when it comes to deposit limits, email or in-account notifications. It also aimed to conclude which type of information was most likely to appeal to players, and encourage them to make use of this type of consumer protection tool.

During the study, participants received promotional messaging about deposit limits. There were three types of message content as part of the study:

  1. Informative messages, which described the availability and purpose of deposit limits,

  2. Social messages, thos which highlighted the social benefits other people receive from deposit limits

  3. Personal messages, which promoted the benefits individuals could receive from using deposit limits

Findings showed that the content of the message on limits had little effect on customer uptake. Instead, it was the way in which information was converted to players that had an affect.

Players were more found to be more likely to set up deposit limits when receiving the information through their in-account notification systems. This is probably because there are fewer steps between receiving the promotional content and setting up a deposit limit, that is to say, reduced friction to accessing the tool.

Friction plays a large part in a players gambling habits, with lower friction levels encouraging players to set up deposit limits. We have also seen higher friction levels when removing bank gambling controls encouraging players to reconsider their gambling, and make them less likely to remove these responsible gambling controls. 

The UK Government’s Behavioural Insights Team supports this finding when, in 2018, they concluded that the only factor associated with significant increases in consumer protection tools (CPT) use was reduced friction (i.e., fewer number of clicks/steps required to access the tools from the message) and the UK Gambling Commission found that only 9% of 6,425 gamblers reported using deposit limits, and an even more paltry 3% used timeout services at casino level.

Players enjoyed lower net losses

At a player level, consumer protection tools, such as deposit limits, have always experienced a positive perception. However many gamblers choose not to use them, believing them to be useful only to those with problematic gambling habits. This is not the case, though.

While currently the main users of deposit limits are those seeking responsible gambling tools due to potentially problematic gamblic behaviours, deposit limits can be useful for every gambler, from the special occassion gambler to someone who is familiar with spinning the reels. 

The study found that players who newly set deposit limits showed significantly greater decreases in average daily wagering, a decrease in their betting intensity, and also showed a greater decrease in net losses. They also tended to bet similar values at each bet, rather than having a wide range of bet values with large impulse bets. So, deposit limits are something that gamblers of all levels should consider in order to help reduce their losses while gambling, and encourage responsible gambling practices. 

The study has shown that setting deposit limits is useful for players at online casinos at every level, with players using the tool experiencing a lower bet expenditure and lower net losses, so if you find yourself losing more than you'd like when gambling online, or losing more often than you are winning, it could be a good idea to set a deposit limit next time you play to help reduce your net losses.

Moving forward with deposit limits

For online casinos, there are very minimal costs involved in sending out information regarding deposit limits available, and for players, they provide well needed protection and support, in line with responsible gambling measures. But they go beyond protection from problematic gambling habits. For players the most attractive thing about setting up deposit limits may just be how they can lead to smaller net losses, so they are something that all players should consider the next time they log on to spin the reels or try their hand at an online casino game.

Deposit limits mean safer and smarter betting, leading to reduced net losses and happier players. They can be set up to limit the amount of money you can deposit on a daily, weekly, or monthly basis. Regulations on deposit limits can vary from casino to casino, so it is a good idea to read up the options available at an online casino before signing up. For more information, read our guide on the differences between deposit limits and self-exclusion schemes, and find out which option is right for you.