With the rise of crypto casinos, the Florida Council on Compulsive Gambling (FCCG) would like to highlight how digital betting platforms can prove especially harmful for those struggling with compulsive gambling. Not only can it be easier to place bets, with money that doesn’t “feel real,” crypto casinos are also not regulated in the same ways as other facilities, as we will discuss in this article.
Cryptocurrency, or crypto, is a type of digital currency that uses cryptography to secure transactions and operate independently of central banks or governments. It has gained significant popularity in recent years, with one in five Americans having invested in, traded, or used crypto. This popularity has extended to the world of online gambling, despite how volatile it is and how much risk is associated with purchasing it. In fact, many credit cards do not allow cardholders to purchase crypto using credit, as its unpredictable highs and lows make it an especially risky item to go into debt to purchase.
Crypto casinos are online gambling platforms that accept cryptocurrency as payment in addition to traditional payment methods such as credit cards. Like traditional online casinos, these websites offer a wide range of casino games, including digital versions of slots and roulette. However, that is where many of the similarities between traditional casinos and crypto casinos end.
While online gambling is illegal in Florida most crypto casinos were found to be based outside of the US, making government oversight a challenge. In Florida, crypto-based online sports betting has made it possible for residents to place bets on any sport, including horse racing, basketball and football. Using off-shore sportsbook websites allows Floridians to make their wagers using Bitcoin.
Currently, there are about 70 crypto-friendly casinos operating, with an estimated $2.8 billion in revenue received so far this year. In 2022, the industry pulled in $10 billion, representing a 64% increase from the previous year. Twitch and YouTube influencers are among those promoting these gambling sites and offering instructions on how to use a virtual private network to bypass country restrictions, which also places young adults and minors at especially high risk of seeking out these betting platforms. This could be setting them up for a potentially life-long addiction with gambling.
Crypto casinos can be an especially slippery slope when it comes to developing compulsive gambling behaviors. Unlike traditional casinos, crypto casinos often lack the safeguards in place to prevent gambling addiction, such as self-exclusion policies. This can be especially concerning for young adults and minors who may be influenced by seeing their peers partaking in crypto betting and may not fully understand the potential consequences of their actions.
Fortunately, there are resources available for those searching for recovery from problem gambling, whether it is for yourself or a loved one. Your One Sure Thing, FCCG’s 888-ADMIT-IT Problem Gambling HelpLine is a free, confidential, and multilingual service available 24/7 by phone or text to anyone impacted or concerned about problem gambling, including bets placed in crypto casinos. 888-ADMIT-IT can also help in providing teen-focused workbooks to aid young adults in understanding what problem gambling is, what it can turn into, and how they can overcome it. The list of available resources is endless, and the time to seek help is now.
- “What is cryptocurrency and how does it work?” Kaspersky. https://www.kaspersky.com/resource-center/definitions/what-is-cryptocurrency
- Franck, Thomas. “One in 5 adults has invested in, traded or used cryptocurrency, NBC News poll shows.” NBC News, March 31, 2022. https://www.nbcnews.com/tech/tech-news/one-five-adults-invested-traded-used-cryptocurrency-nbc-news-poll-show-rcna22380
- Collier, Kevin. “Crypto casinos: How bitcoin opened up a new online gambling world.” NBC News, April 14, 2022. https://www.nbcnews.com/tech/crypto/crypto-casinos-bitcoin-opened-new-online-gambling-world-rcna23062