Safer Gambling and Consumer Protection Failings Among 40 Frequently Visited Cryptocurrency-Based Online Gambling Operators

Maira Andrade, Steve Sharman, Leon Y. Xiao, Philip W.S. Newall

Research output: Journal Article or Conference Article in JournalJournal articleResearchpeer-review


Objective: Online gambling has increased the accessibility and range of gambling products available to people all over the world. This trend has been particularly noticeable in the United Kingdom. Cryptocurrency-based gambling is a new, largely unregulated, way to gamble online, which uses mostly anonymous blockchain-based technologies, such as Bitcoin. The present research investigated consumer protection features of 40 frequently visited and U.K.-accessible cryptocurrency-based online gambling operators. Method: A content analysis was performed by visiting all 40 cryptocurrency-based online operators and recording their safer gambling and consumer protection practices. Coded features included aspects of the sign-up process, features of any safer gambling pages, customer support practices, and Identity verification. Results: Results revealed significant failings in the account registration process; none of the operators verified the identity of new users, and 35% required only an email or no personal information for sign-up. Overall, 37.5% of operators offered no safer gambling tools and a further 20% offered only one. Additionally, 64.7% of operators continued to email promotional material after being informed of a user’s impaired control when gambling. Less than half of the analyzed operators held a valid license (47.5%), and none of the operators with an available deposit page required identity verification before enabling deposits. Conclusions: These results highlight the potential risks for young and vulnerable individuals, especially when a lack of identity verification is paired with the inherent anonymity of cryptocurrencies. Furthermore, it emphasizes the need for greater policy and research attention toward cryptocurrency-based online gambling.
Original languageEnglish
JournalPsychology of Addictive Behaviors
Publication statusPublished - 10 Nov 2022


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