Gambling charity GamCare has concluded that stock and cryptocurrency trading can lead to ‘growing risks’ for consumers after reviewing its own National Gambling Helpline.
The helpline has registered callers who share similar experiences of falling into financial despair and deteriorating mental health due to high-risk trading and investing, often comparing it to gambling addiction.
One caller cited by GamCare stated: “I was looking at the trading apps nearly 16 hours a day. I kept putting my money in and chasing losses, whilst lying to my family about how I was getting on.
“On a Friday night, I would dread the weekend because I couldn’t do any trading. That’s when I realised, I was no longer trading, I had a gambling problem.”
To better understand the issue and solutions, GamCare sought advice from various sectors from banks to gambling support services to participate in workshops.
The outcome of these sessions revealed that regulatory bodies and services, such as Financial Conduct Authority and the government, could consider a sector-wide self-exclusion scheme for all trading platforms that offer high-risk investments and day trading.
This, GamCare believes, can be widened out to collaboration with other regulators, such as the Gambling Commission, to implement such schemes.
“Over the last three years, we have seen how effective tools like Gamstop can be for those struggling with online, regulated gambling,” CEO of Gamstop Fiona Palmer said.
“The area of cryptocurrency trading especially has experienced rapid growth and, with that, potential harm. We would be happy to discuss the area of self-exclusion with the FCA and other organisations working in this sector.”
Self-exclusion aside, GamCare’s workshop participants also mentioned that tools and strategies should be in place on trading and investment platforms, including cryptocurrency exchanges, to protect customers vulnerable to trading harm.
“Through the insights from our workshop and experience of those with lived experience of trading harms, we believe that all relevant sectors – banks, financial services providers and debt advice organisations – could take an active role in supporting those affected by trading harms,” explained Raminta Diliso, GamCare’s Gambling Related Financial Harm programme Lead.
“To tackle trading harms, and ideally prevent harm before it happens, tools such as a self-exclusion scheme could offer some protection to consumers and our service users.”
Jack Symons, CEO of Gamban, also commented on the growing risks of crypto and high-risk investing: “Many of these products (CFDs, binary options, crypto, etc) share a lot in common with gambling platforms; there’s no barrier to entry, they encourage over-trading and possess game-like characteristics.
“Regular consultations with advisors on the National Gambling Helpline, in addition to research undertaken by Gamban, identified the need to add these products to the Gamban block list.”
Symons concluded: “Helpline Advisors explained how helpful it would be to have something they could offer to callers desperately trying to avoid these quasi-gambling products, which made us realise adding these platforms would be beneficial both to the product and the collaborative strength of the TalkBanStop campaign.”