Study: Possible Link Between Trading Crypto and Problem Gamblers
A new study from the researchers with the Center for Gambling Studies at Rutgers University-New Brunswick’s School of Social Work shows a connection between problem gambling and frequently trading cryptocurrency. This is groundbreaking work due to how both the gambling and crypto industries are trying to expand in the United States.
What is Cryptocurrency?
Cryptocurrency is a digital currency that uses cryptography to both secure and verify all transactions. It’s built on blockchain technology, which is a public ledger allowing anyone to confirm details on the blockchain. Crypto is often called digital tokens or digital assets based on what their functions are. Currently, there are a few thousand different crypto coins on the market today. Bitcoin is probably the most well-known cryptocurrency, having gone mainstream in 2017. Later on that year, Bitcoin was trading as high as $20,000 per coin.
Details About the Study
The study results were first published in the May 2019 issue Addictive Behaviors journal (pages 136-140). Titled “Preliminary findings on cryptocurrency trading among regular gamblers: A new risk for problem gambling?” lays out the facts about trading cryptocurrencies and connections to problem gambling behaviors.
The goal was to see how often gamblers use cryptocurrency as payment, and if cryptocurrencies are associated with gambling problems.
The study surveyed 876 adults who report that they gamble at least once a month. At least half of those gamblers reported that they had traded cryptocurrency in the last year. Further, more than 75 percent of high-risk stock traders also trade in cryptocurrency; people trading both high-risk stocks and cryptos self-reported more problem gambling as well as greater anxiety and depression symptoms than those who trade in only cryptocurrency or high-risk stocks.
Close to 50 percent of those surveyed who self-reported as “regular gamblers” said they’ve traded in cryptocurrencies in the last year, and
Results suggest that people with problem gambling who trade cryptocurrency do so to try to manage their gambling participation.
The Problem with Cryptocurrency?
Cryptocurrency trading is a lot like gambling, but it’s available 24 hours a day, seven days a week, is anonymous, and is unregulated. This can lead to potential issues for people with gambling problems.
Devin Mills, the lead author of the study, commented on trading crypto:
“For some people, trading cryptocurrency is seen as an investment opportunity. But there is an alarming proportion of people who are ‘gambling’ on these cryptocurrency markets as they would gamble on horses or sports or slots. And it has the potential to get them into significant trouble.”
The online nature of cryptocurrency seems to be a big part of the problem: the online nature of the activity seems to make it more appealing and easier to participate in according to the study. Gamblers who prefer on-land casinos tend to participate less in crypto trading.
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