Setting limits for gambling

by Dan Iliovici, Vicepresident, ROMBET

In addition to the mechanism of self-exclusion of players, a responsible game-type tool analyzed in one of the previous articles, another method of self-control made available to players by gambling operators is the so-called “Game limits”.

This type of self-control can be achieved by setting monetary limits or time limits. Each of these two boundaries can be preset by the players themselves, at the beginning of the game session, a session that can be a daily, weekly or monthly.
Basically, before starting a new game session (period), the player has the option to determine for himself what maximum amount he wants to play, respectively the amount he can afford to lose, following that the device or platform he plays warns. when it reaches this limit. However, it is up to the player to decide whether or not to comply with this warning, in accordance with the commitment he has made.

Similarly, if a player considers that he spends too much time playing the game, or simply wants to control the time allocated to each activity, without having to periodically check the clock, he can self-impose a time limit on an interval chosen by him. (daily, weekly, monthly), and the game system issues a warning to reach this limit, or even a certain time before reaching that limit, for the player to prepare for the end of the game.

Of course, these methods of self-control must be implemented in the gaming platform (in the case of online games), or in traditional gambling software, and, just as importantly, must be known to players in order to be accessed, if I feel the need to establish such limitations. The simple technical implementation does not help anyone, if it is not brought to the players’ knowledge, presented in a clear, simple way – even attractive, and reminded to the players at the beginning of each game session.

According to an article*1 published in 2017, analyzing several studies dedicated to the effectiveness of different programs / projects of responsible gaming and prevention of the negative effects of gambling, the authors emphasize that, in the case of setting money and / or time limits, the effectiveness of these tools is correlated with the type of gambling accessed by players.“Setting voluntary limits has significantly affected monetary spending for casino and lottery players. Setting the voluntary monetary limit has been more effective than time limits in reducing (excessive) gambling behavior.”

Also, for players who practice online betting on sporting events, the cited studies indicate a better self-control of the bets, without this category of players resorting to methods of monetary or time self-limitation.

Studies suggest that players’ self-imposed limits are more often violated by players with gambling problems than those at risk, which is in a way expected. At the same time, an interesting result of the studies shows that players who spend less time playing, even if they respect this limitation tend to bet larger amounts during the game. One explanation for this type of behavior could be the fact that they feel pressured near the end of the game period (even self-imposed), and act under the rule of a so-called “urgency” to do something.

An important observation that emerges from the cited article is the lack of sufficient data to draw relevant conclusions, the authors emphasizing the need for more studies in this regard. We have emphasized this in almost every article dedicated to responsible gaming, a topic that we will discuss in the next issue of the magazine.

I am waiting, as always, for the suggestions and comments of the readers on the Facebook page of the ROMBET association.

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1. Robert Ladouceur, Paige Shaffer, Alex Blaszczynski & Howard J. Shaffer (2017) Responsible gambling: a synthesis of the empirical evidence, Addiction Research & Theory, 25:3, 225-235, DOI: 10.1080/16066359.2016.1245294