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Crackdown looms as gamblers hooked on Bitcoin

·1-min read
Earlier in May, crypto token Luna collapsed, causing investors to lose a combined $40 billion, while the price of bitcoin has fallen 40% since its peak in November. (Dominic Lipinski/PA) (PA Archive)
Earlier in May, crypto token Luna collapsed, causing investors to lose a combined $40 billion, while the price of bitcoin has fallen 40% since its peak in November. (Dominic Lipinski/PA) (PA Archive)

Crypto platforms are set to face a regulatory crackdown amid growing calls for tougher rules on digital currency trading.

Matt Zarb-Cousin, founder of gambling site blocking service Gamban said: “I think the Financial Conduct Authority does need to get to grips with what counts as investing and what counts as speculating and I think it’s incumbent on regulators to provide adequate information to consumers.”

It follows reports advisors at gambling helpline GamCare saw a noticeable increase in calls from people who have stopped gambling and are registered on self-exclusion sites, but are now investing in cryptocurrency instead.

Callers reported making huge losses on investments and wanted to speak to an advisor about the guilt they were feeling from losing money.

Earlier in May, crypto token Luna collapsed, causing investors to lose a combined $40 billion, while the price of Bitcoin has fallen 40% since its peak in November.

One caller who spoke to the charity said: “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 it was no longer trading - I had a gambling problem.”

Over 50% of regular gamblers have traded cryptocurrencies, according to a survey by Gamban.

Zarb-Cousin said: “These platforms are geared towards overtrading: getting people to constantly change position, put more money in and chase losses -- all of the characteristics associated with gambling harm.”

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