Submission Type

Presentation

Submission Title

Crypto-currency Trading Among Regular Gamblers: A New Risk for Problem Gambling?

Session Title

Session 2-3-A: Problem Gambling and Emerging Technology

Location

Caesars Palace, Las Vegas, Nevada

Start Date

29-5-2019 1:45 PM

End Date

29-5-2019 3:10 PM

Disciplines

Psychology | Social Work

Abstract

Abstract

Crypto-currency or “crypto” is digital money that can be used to fund risk-taking activities anonymously via the Internet (e.g., drugs, gambling). There is growing concern in the field of gambling studies that trading cryptos will appeal to high-risk gamblers. The present study assessed the prevalence of crypto trading among regular gamblers and its relationship to problem gambling severity. Adults (18+) who gambled at least monthly in the past year were recruited through Amazon’s Mechanical Turk (N = 876; 58.33% male) and completed the Problem Gambling Severity Index, Patient Health Questionnaire, and Generalized Anxiety Disorder scale via an online survey. More than half of the sample indicated they had traded cryptos in the past year. Crypto trading was strongly associated with higher levels of high-risk stock trading (r = .67), greater problem gambling severity (r = .53), and modestly associated with both anxiety (r = .20) and depressive symptoms (r = .20). Results from a linear regression revealed that sports betting, daily fantasy sports, high-risk stock trading, and problem gambling severity were positive predictors of crypto trading frequency, whereas gambling in land-based casinos was a negative predictor. Implications for problem gambling education, screening, and treatment will be discussed.

Implications Statement

The present findings represent an initial assessment of the prevalence of cryptocurrency trading among regular gamblers, and its relation to problem gambling. Future research should begin to include cryptocurrency trading in screening, assessment, and treatment protocols, particularly with regular gamblers.

Keywords

Gambling; Cryptocurrency; Addiction; Mental Health; Stock Market

Author Bio

Dr. Devin Mills is Postdoctoral Research Associate in the Center for Gambling Studies at Rutgers University. He completed his PhD in Educational Psychology at McGill University having applied Self-Determination Theory (SDT) to the growing area of Internet Gaming Disorder (IGD). His research interests surround further applications of SDT to behavioral addictions. Dr. Mills is expanding his work on IGD to gambling disorder.

Dr. Lia Nower is a Professor and Director of the Center for Gambling Studies at Rutgers University. Her research focuses on the etiology and treatment of problem and pathological gambling and co-morbid addictive disorders, gambling-related policy issues, psychometric measurement, and elements of recovery. Current research includes developing a sub-group specific screening instrument for problem gamblers, exploring risk and resiliency factors among youth gamblers, and developing diversion programs for individuals charged with gambling-related crimes.

Funding Sources

None

Competing Interests

None

Comments

None

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May 29th, 1:45 PM May 29th, 3:10 PM

Crypto-currency Trading Among Regular Gamblers: A New Risk for Problem Gambling?

Caesars Palace, Las Vegas, Nevada

Abstract

Crypto-currency or “crypto” is digital money that can be used to fund risk-taking activities anonymously via the Internet (e.g., drugs, gambling). There is growing concern in the field of gambling studies that trading cryptos will appeal to high-risk gamblers. The present study assessed the prevalence of crypto trading among regular gamblers and its relationship to problem gambling severity. Adults (18+) who gambled at least monthly in the past year were recruited through Amazon’s Mechanical Turk (N = 876; 58.33% male) and completed the Problem Gambling Severity Index, Patient Health Questionnaire, and Generalized Anxiety Disorder scale via an online survey. More than half of the sample indicated they had traded cryptos in the past year. Crypto trading was strongly associated with higher levels of high-risk stock trading (r = .67), greater problem gambling severity (r = .53), and modestly associated with both anxiety (r = .20) and depressive symptoms (r = .20). Results from a linear regression revealed that sports betting, daily fantasy sports, high-risk stock trading, and problem gambling severity were positive predictors of crypto trading frequency, whereas gambling in land-based casinos was a negative predictor. Implications for problem gambling education, screening, and treatment will be discussed.

Implications Statement

The present findings represent an initial assessment of the prevalence of cryptocurrency trading among regular gamblers, and its relation to problem gambling. Future research should begin to include cryptocurrency trading in screening, assessment, and treatment protocols, particularly with regular gamblers.