Business tycoons, sports stars and celebrities have helped bump up Bitcoin, and an increasing number of us are not shy to follow suit and stash our cash in the world of the relatively unknown.
Cryptocurrency is widely touted as the latest ‘smart investment,’ but does its volatility pave the way for what could be the most significant global financial lottery we’ve ever seen? More than half (56%) of Brits deem cryptocurrency trading as a form of gambling, according to a new study from Gamban, a software company that blocks access to online gambling sites and apps across all of a person’s devices.
“The aim of this research was to help us understand whether different types of trading are considered gambling,” says Jack Symons, CEO of Gamban. “In a world where the lure of immediate gratification through digital platforms is increasingly tempting, it’s essential that we take appropriate steps to ensure our users are protected from any activities that closely resemble gambling.
“Understanding whether the content we block should expand beyond the traditional forms of gambling will allow us to protect our users better. As well as this, we can then begin to provide recommendations on reducing gambling harm.”
In the last few years – especially during the coronavirus pandemic – online trading, including cryptocurrency trading, has grown significantly (Nefedova et al., 2020). The increase in online trading activity has resulted in new online trading platforms, larger budgets dedicated to advertising on various social media channels and increased overall awareness of online trading. Additionally, cryptocurrency trading has seen a significant rise over the last year.
“The results of our research, paired with the currently available literature, indicate that trading and gambling share similar characteristics and that some forms of trading may be closely linked with gambling harm,” says Jack.
“Problem gamblers may be at risk when exposed to different forms of online trading. More volatile forms of trading, like cryptocurrency and stock trading, are more akin to betting than investing. So as of next month, we intend to restrict access to platforms that offer these more volatile forms of trading to benefit the recovery journey of Gamban users.”
Previous research has identified that excessive trading can be linked to a gambling disorder. Grall-Bronnec et al (2017) found that addictive-like trading behavior can be a subset of gambling disorders. Similarly, a study by Mills et al (2019) revealed more than 50% of regular gamblers had traded cryptocurrencies in the previous year and that this was associated with an increased risk for problem gambling, depression, and anxiety.
About Gamban Gamban is designed to be the first step towards recovery from addiction, blocking thousands of gambling websites and apps globally. It is designed to be as challenging to remove as possible but promotes a layered approach to assist with gambling cessation.
In the UK, Gamban has partnered with GAMSTOP – the national self-exclusion register – and GamCare, the leading treatment provider, forming the TalkBanStop pilot. This has made Gamban available at no cost to anyone from the UK.
* Grall-Bronnec, M., Sauvaget, A., Boutin, C., Bulteau, S., Jiménez-Murcia, S., Fernández-Aranda, F., Challet-Bouju, G. and Caillon, J., 2017.
Excessive trading, a gambling disorder in its own right? A case study on a French disordered gamblers cohort. Addictive Behaviors, 64, pp.340-348.
* Mills, D. and Nower, L., 2019. Preliminary findings on cryptocurrency trading among regular gamblers: A new risk for problem gambling?. Addictive Behaviors, 92, pp.136-140.
* Nefedova, K. and Maslakova, D., 2020. Evaluating the popularity of online trading platforms in the consumer market. Economic Analysis: Theory and Practice, 19(7), pp.1265-1280.
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