The thought of crypto and blockchain in the gambling industry has been entertained for a very long time following the digital currency and online gaming boom of recent years. A number of gaming operators have been exploring ways of taking advantage of the potential of cryptocurrencies and blockchain while the crypto community hopes that the gambling industry will provide a platform of sorts that will help to drive it to mainstream adoption. However, this is not the only the two are related?
According to Researchers at the Center for Gambling Studies at Rutgers University-New Brunswick’s School of Social Work, there is now a link between frequent crypto trading and problem gambling. Following a study that explored virtually currency trading among regular gamblers, the researchers found that the activity mostly appealed to people who were either problem gamblers or were susceptible to gambling addiction.
At its core, cryptocurrencies are designed to work as a medium of exchange that uses advanced cryptography to secure and verify transactions. The most popular digital currency on the planet at the moment is bitcoin, but there are thousands more that have been introduced over the past decade.
A New Risk-Taking Activity
In 2017, bitcoin’s mainstream status was elevated after its value skyrocketed to $20,000 which is the highest it had ever been. For most gamblers, crypto trading, therefore, is just another new risk-taking activity that offers just about the same rush as any form of gambling activity or even high-risk stock trading. Addictive Behaviors, the journal that carries the results of the study reveals that over half of regular gamblers have traded in crypto in the past year.
The main goal of the study was to investigate the number of people who had switched to using cryptocurrencies as a payment method and whether it was contributing to high levels of gambling. Well, not only was its use across gambling platform increasing but gamblers had even gone as far as trading on these digital currencies but instead of seeing the activity as an investment opportunity, they viewed as a form of gambling.
Crypto trading is very similar to gambling albeit with the added advantage of anonymity. Added to the fact that it also happens to be unregulated and goes on 24/7, the activity has the potential to wreak a lot of havoc. Gamblers who participated both in virtual currency trading as well as high-risk stock trading were found to be more likely to be problem gamblers and were already going through depression and varying degrees on anxiety.
While it has been speculated before, it is now clear that both gambling and crypto trading share very similar demographics as well as risk-taking preferences. This calls for more attention among behavioral researchers, gambling researchers and mental health professionals.