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Addressing Problem Gambling in the Age of Cryptocurrencies

Recently, a shift from traditional forms of betting has been witnessed globally. Gambling enthusiasts and addicts alike are resorting to cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin gambling for a multitude of reasons – the most prominent one being the autonomy and anonymity it provides. However, this transition brings with itself several new dilemmas, including a potential increase in problem gambling. Amid these circumstances, it becomes essential to discuss the strategies needed to address problem gambling in the age of cryptocurrencies.

For the uninitiated, problem gambling is a pattern of gambling behavior that compromises, disrupts or damages personal, family, or recreational pursuits. With cryptocurrencies providing effortless ease and stealth in transactions, the issue might go unnoticed and unaddressed until too severe.

Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies have been touted as the future of transactions. This notion is backed by a report from Deutsche Bank, which states that cryptocurrencies could replace cash by 2030, given the swift time scale of the ongoing evolution in digital payments and banking. [1]

The Rise of Crypto Gambling

Crypto gambling websites have witnessed a steady rise over the past few years. A data analysis by The Online Gambling Quarterly found that Bitcoin was the preferred cryptocurrency used on these platforms, accounting for 90% of all bets. [2]

In addition to anonymity, players appreciate the decentralization provided by the blockchain technology. This separation from government control over transactions brings an added layer of allure to these platforms. Furthermore, cryptocurrencies help skirt laws that restrict traditional forms of online gambling due to the trouble in tracking these transactions.

Crypto Gambling and Problem Gambling

Although cryptocurrencies have made online gambling more accessible and seem less harmful due to its digital nature, problem gambling continues to plague this domain. The British Gambling Commission warns that about 2% of individuals who gamble, including online gamblers, are problem gamblers or are at risk of addiction. Further complications arise as anonymous transactions make it challenging for authorities to intervene, thereby increasing the risk for players.

Addressing the Problem

Addressing problem gambling in the age of cryptocurrencies requires multifaceted measures involving regulators, cryptocurrency platforms, mental health professionals and individual bettors.

Firstly, regulators should aim at developing stringent policies and utilize technology to oversee gambling transactions, identify patterns indicative of gambling addiction, and intervene promptly. Initiatives like GAMSTOP in the UK, which has been effectively regulating online gambling, could be expanded to include cryptocurrency-based gambling platforms.

Cryptocurrency gambling platforms too, play a significant role. They ought to follow a standard of responsible conduct by providing resources about problem gambling, setting gambling limits and making self-suspension options easily available.

For mental health professionals, having an understanding of cryptocurrency gambling and the associated risks can better equip them to help their clients. Additionally, increasing public awareness about problem gambling and its potential triggers in the crypto gambling space can dissuade potential problem gamblers or provide help to those who need it.

Finally, the role of individual accountability can not be ignored. Bettors should educate themselves and communicate with others about responsible gambling, seek help when they notice symptoms of problem gambling, and use self-regulation tools provided by gambling platforms.

While cryptocurrencies might open new windows to the world of online gambling, it is crucial to maintain the line between enthusiasm and addiction. In this drive towards growing digitalization, adopting appropriate strategies and regulations to tackle problem gambling can ensure a safer gambling platform for all.

References:

1. Deutsche Bank. (2019). Imagine 2030. Retrieved from: https://www.dbresearch.com/PROD/RPS_EN-PROD/PROD0000000000503196.pdf
2. Online Gambling Quarterly. (2019). Cryptocurrency Gambling Report. Retrieved from: https://www.onlinegamblingquarterly.com/2019/11/01/cryptocurrency-gambling-report/

Written by
Neha (Nishu) Agrawah
Neha Agrawal is a renowned investigative reporter with a wealth of experience in online gambling, fintech, and crypto. She has garnered a reputation for her adeptness at uncovering fraudulent activities within the Bitcoin gambling sector, leveraging her extensive network of industry insiders to champion transparency in the fintech world. Neha's dedication to exposing malpractice and her keen insights into the intersection of technology and finance make her an invaluable asset to the industry.

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