GambleAware Study Recommends More Flexibility for Deposit Limits

A study commissioned by GambleAware and published Wednesday states that predefined deposit limit options could “anchor” players into depositing higher amounts.

Lower Predefined Limits to Reduce Risky Gambling

Allowing gamblers to set their own deposit limits, instead of choosing from a predefined list, would reduce problem-gambling behaviors, according to a study by social purpose organization Behavioural Insights Team (BIT) published Wednesday.

Commissioned by GambleAware in 2017 and supported by the UK Gambling Commission, the study was conducted with casino operator bet635 to explore whether behavioral tweaks could reduce risky gambling habits.

Deposit limits tools allow for safer wagering, as they allow players to cap the amount of money deposited on gaming platforms. However, gaming apps and websites usually display a menu of predefined amounts, with the highest limit, of up to £100,000 (about $136,000), typically at the top of the list.

BIT tested three deposit variations with 1,731 bet365 customers: 604 players were shown the operator’s standard deposit limits page, with options ranging from £5 to £100,000, and a “not limit option”; 571 were shown pre-defined deposit limits options with lower values, at a maximum of £250, with a “no limit” option as well; while 556 customers were shown a free text box for them to set any limit.

With both variations, deposit limits dropped by nearly half, compared to the usual predefined options. They decreased by 46% with the free text box option, and by 45% with the predefined list with smaller values, compared to a control group.

LCCP-Required Free Text Box Option?

BIT shared its recommendations and encourages all gambling operators to start using a free text box option for deposit limits and to “should conduct more tests on how best to increase the uptake of deposit limit tools – particularly around reducing friction, and onboarding new customers – and share their insights”. It also asked for this option to be required by the Gambling Commission’s Licence Conditions and Codes of Practice.

“Deposit limit tools should not present any anchors. Customers should be presented with a free text box with no visible or suggested minimum/maximum monetary amounts on display,” the organization said.

“More research funding should be – as a priority – directed towards causal evaluations (involving both new, and existing customers) that will yield insights that can be scaled across the industry,” it added.

In 2019, an average of 9% of players who have gamble over the previous 30 days indicated to have used a “financial limit”, according to the Gambling Commission. During BIT’s trial, less than 5% of respondents used deposit limits, although more than 70% of gamblers find deposit limit tools useful, BIT said.

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