All about Loss Limits

Licensing authorities are stringent when it comes to player safety and go all out to ensure that casinos have measures in place to ensure responsible gaming by players. One of the various features that casinos nowadays incorporate to meet these requirements is the ability for players to set loss limits.

The reason is not hard to fathom: online casino gambling is about having fun like trying free spins slot, but if you are not careful you could succumb to the pressure of chasing the big win and end up with gambling problems. The loss limit feature ensures you stay in the clear and avoid ending up with gambling debt and related problems.

In this article we discuss at length the different aspects of the loss limit: what it is, its role in the gambling laws scheme of things, and more.

Loss Limit Feature Defined

The loss limit feature is an important tool that casinos offer to ensure you stay in control of the money you spend and lose at the casino. It allows you to set a limit on the maximum you can afford to lose – without hurting your financial position – over a given time period of your choosing.

It is one of numerous features, tools, tips and guidelines that casinos nowadays offer through their responsible gaming policy. The loss limit feature is one of the most potent and effective tools, however, because it does exactly what its name says – sets a bottom-line that you cannot cross.

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Why the Loss Limit Feature is Important

At an online casino, it is easy to go on a downward spiral quickly as you try to recover losses incurred and hit rock bottom – that dreaded netherworld of gambling addiction. Gambling addiction is real and serious – serious enough to be included in the American Psychiatric Association’s (APA) Diagnostic and Statistical Manual and classified as an impulse-control disorder.

The loss limit feature is important because it gives you the ability to set limits on how much you can lose over a given time period. It enables the casino to mitigate the possibility of gambling problems and also brings about a sense of responsibility in you as the spender.

The Workings of the Loss Limit Feature

The loss limit feature is not unique to the gambling industry alone; you find it in other areas of business too that involve risk, like in the stock market. The way this feature works is simple: you get to set a limit on the maximum you are willing to lose for a given time period – also chosen by you – once you have signed up with the casino for real money play.

Once you have opened your casino account and are at the Cashier to make your deposit, you will find a field that allows you to set limits on the amount you can lose for a given time period. As you continue playing and approach that preset limit, the casino sends you an alert, which should be ample warning for you to stop playing.

Should you continue playing and hit the limit, the casino acts decisively and prevents you from playing further for the remainder of the time period for which you have set the limit. Once you have crossed the time-period, the loss limit it can be reset, and at some casinos this happens automatically.

At some casinos, unmatched bets may also be taken into account when it comes to reaching a preset loss limit. So if a casino offers a match bonus and you don’t place a wager to use it, it could work against you! You can pre-empt this by informing the casino’s support team in advance that you are not going to place a bet at that given point in time.

Games for Which You Can Set Loss Limits

The casino will determine which games you can set loss limits on. At some casinos you will be able to set a blanket limit on losses for a given period irrespective of the games played. At others, you have the option of being more specific.

Generally, you could get one or more of the following options when it comes to setting a loss limit:

  • Global Loss Limit: This option covers all games that the casino offers.
  • Loss Limit on All Gaming: This option allows you to set loss limits on all casino games, arcade games and bingo.
  • Loss Limit on Live Games: This option lets you set a loss limit on live dealer games.
  • Loss Limit on Virtual Sports: With this option you will be able to set a loss limit on all virtual sports.

Time Period for Which You Can Set Up a Loss Limit

The time period for which you can set up a loss limit depends usually on the casino you are signing up with. There is also an intervention by the licensing jurisdiction, in many cases, e.g. the United Kingdom Gambling Commission (UKGC) has detailed guidelines about the setting of loss limits, but more about that later.

The standard time period for which you can set up a loss limit at an online casino is:

The UKGC’s Stand on Setting a Loss Limit

As we mentioned earlier, a number of licensing authorities lay down the rule firmly when it comes to ensuring the safety of players. They determine what the general responsible gaming policy should be, and they also dictate the nitty-gritties of setting a loss limit. One such licensing authority is the UKGC.

In the section RTS 12 – Financial Limits of its document titled Remote Gambling Software and Technical Standards (June 2017), it clearly states that ‘Customers must be given the option to set financial limits at an account level.’

It further states, ‘Limits could be in the form of:

Deposit limits: Where the amount a customer deposits into their account is limited over a particular duration.

Spend limits: where the amount a customer spends on gambling (or specific gambling products) is restricted for a given period – this type of limit may be appropriate where the customer does not hold a deposit account with the operator.

Loss limits: where the amount lost (ie winnings subtracted from the amount spent) is restricted (for instance when a customer makes a £10 bet and wins £8, the loss is £2).

It goes on to list out the period for which limits can be set – 24 hours, 7 days and 1 month.

In October 2019, the UKGC launched an initiative titled Industry Challenges to find ways and means to make gambling safer for consumers, especially for those who are vulnerable. In a recent update to this initiative, the UKGC said it is actually developing a full-fledged plan to implement measures to ensure safer gambling.

Proposals to be implemented included:

The introduction of mandatory loss limits.

A minimum spin speed of 2.5 seconds per slot.

Removal of features that reduced spin time, like:

  • Turbo mode
  • Quick spin
  • Slam stop

It also advocated informing players about game-specific details, including wins and losses, time played and more, all of which is likely to be implemented by September 30, 2020.

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How to Set Up a Loss Limit?

Setting up a loss limit for your casino account is easy. Just follow the steps listed below:

You can of course make changes to both simultaneously. All you have to do is re-visit your profile and make the required changes to the time field(s). At some casinos you can make the change instantly, while at others you are allowed to make those changes after a predetermined time period, usually 7 days. The time period it takes for the changes to be effective is usually 24 hours.

Casinos allow you to set loss limits in 2 fundamentally different ways:

At some casinos you are able to set a loss limit based on the amount you bet and subsequently lost. So if you set the limit at $50 and deposited $100, the loss limit alert would sound out the moment you wagered and lost $50 of your deposited amount.

At some casinos you are able to set a loss limit on the net losses you have run up. To do this, the casino will consider 2 critical factors:

Let us understand this through an example.

You sign up with Casino X and set a loss limit, based on net losses, of $100. You deposit $150 and then play to win $250, giving you a total balance of $400 in your account. You can now continue to play and lose till you hit the $100 mark, which was what you set the loss limit to.

What this means is that despite seeming to lose $300 overall, you have actually lost just $50 of your own money, which is the $150 you deposited.

Staying Above the Loss Limit: Some Handy Tips

Here are a few things casinos advise players to do to ensure they stay above the loss limit at any given point in time:

Play for fun: This is the fundamental tenet of online gambling. Never play to make money; play because it is fun and a good way to unwind.

Never try to catch up on losses: This is another basic rule of any form of gambling. You try to cover up a loss and you will likely always end up losing more.

Choose the right bet: This works for all games, especially for games like baccarat. Avoid high risk bets and stay with low-risk ones.

Effective paytable usage: This applies especially for skill-based games and enables you to bet smart.

Manage bankroll properly: Place smaller bets instead of big ones.

Recognize a streak: Recognize the streak you are on – lucky or otherwise – and adjust your betting accordingly.

Loss Limit FAQs

What is the loss limit that some online casinos offer?

The loss limit is a feature that some casinos offer players to help them gamble responsibly. It allows players to set a limit on the maximum they could lose over a period of time. Once you reach the loss limit, the casino stops you from playing any further, for the remainder of the time for which the loss limit is in play.

Why would a casino want to set a loss limit?

Gambling online is meant to be for fun, but there are players who get caught up with the need to win and end up with serious problems like gambling addiction.

Licensing authorities are nowadays making it mandatory for casinos to sensitize players about the need for responsible gaming. Casinos nowadays are required to offer tools, tips and guidelines to players to help them stay in control of their money and time while they are at an online casino. The ability to set a loss limit is one of the tools that many casinos nowadays offer their players.

What are the different tools that are available to players to ensure they gamble responsibly?

There are a number of tools available at online casinos for players to remain in control of their wagering and online casino play. Some of the most important ones are:

  • Loss limit: This tool allows players to set limits on the maximum losses they can incur over a fixed period.
  • Deposit limit: Casinos nowadays offer players the opportunity to set limits on the amount they deposit into their account.
  • Wagering limit: A number of casinos allow players to set limits on the maximum they can wager over a given time period.
  • Cooling-off period: Players can nowadays set a cooling off period, usually a day, a week, 2 weeks or a month – some casinos may offer a 3-month period as well – during which they can stay away from playing at the casino.
  • Self-exclusion: Quite a few casinos offer players the opportunity to exclude themselves from playing for a given time period, usually over 3 months and extending to even a whole year.

What is the loss limit based on?

Online casinos may allow you to base your loss limit on one of the following:

  • Total wagers made and losses incurred
  • Net losses

What is the maximum loss limit that I can set at an online casino?

The maximum loss limit depends on the casino you are playing at. Also remember, setting the loss limit itself is not enough; you will need to set the time period for which it will remain active too.