Loss Limit Explained

Zoe Walker - EditorZoe Walker - 05 May 2020 in Features
Loss Limit Explained

No one likes losing money but that comes part and parcel with gambling. Even when betting with the odds very much in your favour, you can still lose. Of course, when playing casino games that give at least a slight edge to the house, the probability that you’ll lose money only increases

Losing a little can often turn into losing a lot. As we get deeper into the hole, the urge to regain our losses can overtake any other rational thought. We start to take on riskier plays with larger upside potential but much less chance of coming home.

A quick punt can quickly turn into a mammoth session when you start chasing losses. However, you can avoid this compulsion to gamble by using what’s known as a loss limit.

A loss limit can be either be a mental thing that gamblers keep track of themselves or a feature of an online casino. Essentially, it’s a threshold, set by the player, to say when it’s time to walk away.

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Mental Loss Limits

Most people use a mental loss limit whether they consciously acknowledge it as such or not. If you go to a casino or bookmakers with $100 and tell yourself that you won’t withdraw more whether you win or lose, you’re limiting your losses to that $100.

There’s nothing physically stopping you from going to the cashier and buying a load more chips on your card or popping to an ATM. However, you’re not keen on losing more than $100 so you tell yourself you won’t gamble more than that.

The same thing is possible at an online casino. You might only deposit a small amount and tell yourself that you won’t deposit again that day. For those unlikely to be swept up in compulsion, such a strategy can indeed stop a brutal run of bad luck becoming an epic losing session.

Of course, there is a problem with mental loss limits – compulsive players don’t stick to them! To be fair, even non-compulsive players might struggle to stick to their mental loss limit given the right circumstances. What if you took your $100 to the blackjack table and lost 20 hands in a row for $5 within the first 10 minutes? What if you absentmindedly forget about your mental loss limit after your third beer? In both examples, even a player who probably doesn’t fall into the category of problem gambler can end up gambling on impulse and losing more than they wanted to.

Physical Loss Limit

As part of their commitment to responsible gambling, online casino operators will frequently feature a physical loss limit on their services. If the player loses a specific amount set by themselves, the casino will restrict them from playing any further.

Loss limits on casino games usually take one of two forms. The first, known as a “reality check” isn’t really a physical limitation. It’s more of a check on players to encourage them to stop and think if they should continue playing.

When players load up a game at a modern, responsible casino, they will often be greeted with a popup with the “reality check” options. Among them will be an option to have a “reality check” window appear after losing a certain amount. If the player set the check to $50, for example, they would receive a popup reminding them after they lost $50.

The idea is to breakup a gambler’s flow and give them chance to stop and think about whether they should continue. They can, of course, set the reality check loss limit to whatever amount they like after receiving the popup and continue to bet.

The second type of loss limit is much more enforced. Rather than consider losses on a single game, it will cover activity across the player’s entire account. Those players that are concerned they might have a gambling problem can turn the feature on and set daily, weekly, or monthly loss limits. The account will not allow the player to make any further bets for a day, week, or month following the triggering of the limit.

Loss Limits in Action

One casino that shows great commitment to responsible gaming is PlayAmo. Not only does the platform have “reality checks” for individual session, which feature a loss limit, a wager limit, and a time limit, it also boasts a host of other “Personal Limits”.

Players can set a deposit limit, wager limit, and session limit, as well as a loss limit. It’s worth noting that most loss limits do not consider winnings as part of losses. If you had a loss limit of $50, took a few spins and hit a $100 prize, losing $50 from the winnings would not trigger an interruption. Loss limits commonly only deem losses relative to the starting sum.

Players can set their loss limits for a single day, a week, or a month. Once they reach the limit in gambling losses, they will have to wait the equivalent length of time before they can play again.

PlayAmo also features even stronger player protections. Members of the site can set a cooling-off limit of a week, a month, or six months. During this time, all games will be off limits and the casino won’t email any promotional material. However, withdrawals will remain available.

Even more extreme is the self-exclusion feature. Players can select to immediately render their account inaccessible for a period of six months to a year.

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Should I Use a Loss Limit?

As you’ve seen, there are several degrees of loss limits. From time to time, it’d probably be good for every gambler to use at least one of them – even just a mental stop loss. However, the real question is whether you should consider using a stricter stop loss mechanism to control your own spending.

To answer that, consider the following questions:

Do You Go on Tilt?

“On tilt” is a general term in gambling that refers to a player deviating negatively from their standard play. One of the biggest causes of tilt is heavy losses.

Being on tilt makes people prone to playing erratically and making poor decisions. That might be upping their stakes when they’re losing, betting on more desperate outcomes, or continuing to gamble much longer than they wanted to. All of these usually result in much heavier losses.

Do You Chase Losses?

If you often find yourself playing long into the night because you can’t bear to leave a session on a loss, you might well benefit from a physical stop loss.

Do You Think You Might Have a Gambling Problem?

If you’re worried that you might have a gambling problem, a stop loss or one of the more extreme self-exclusion methods PlayAmo and many other casinos offer would be a good way to keep you away from the games. You should also consider getting professional help from one of the many problem gambling counselling services available.

Issues with Stop Losses

Although physical stop losses are obviously going to be much more effective than a mental one, they’re not without their own shortcomings. The chief of these is that there is almost no limit to the number of different casinos a player can sign up to. A $100 daily stop loss at Casino A isn’t going to stop you from signing up and losing $1,000 at Casino B.

Similarly, stop losses require the player themselves to activate them. It would be foolish to think that everyone that could benefit from such a feature actively uses it. Using a stop loss first relies on the player admitting to themselves that they can’t control their compulsions and many people fail to realise they suffer from compulsive urges at all.

That said, stop losses are a great addition to casino platforms. Ultimately, anything that gives the player more control and can be used to better protect them from jeopardising their own financial position is a boon for the industry. While they’re not perfect and do little to stop those most at risk of harm from the more damaging effects gambling can have, they can be used by the recreational player to stop a good time from ever turning bad.

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