Longitudinal perspective on cryptocurrency trading and increased gambling problems : a 3 wave national survey study
Oksanen, A.; Hagfors, H.; Vuorinen, I.; Savolainen, I. (2022-12)
12 / 2022
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Objectives: Cryptocurrency trading has gained popularity over the last few years. Trading is facilitated by online platforms that enable 24/7 trading. Cryptocurrency trading is potentially attractive to gamblers, and it may increase their gambling problems. Furthermore, cryptocurrency trading might be a particularly harmful activity for those gambling offshore. We investigated whether cryptocurrency trading predicts excessive gambling over time. We also analyzed how cryptocurrency trading combined with offshore gambling is associated with excessive gambling. Study design: This was a population-based longitudinal survey study. Methods: We surveyed a sample of Finnish people aged 18–75 years (N = 1022, 51.27% male) at three time points in 6-month intervals: April 2021 (T1), October to November 2021 (T2), and April to May 2022 (T3). Of the original T1 respondents, 66.80% took part in T2 and T3. Outcome measure was excessive gambling using the Problem Gambling Severity Index, and the predictor was cryptocurrency trading. We adjusted models for onshore and offshore gambling online, excessive gaming (Internet Gaming Disorder Test), excessive internet use (Compulsive Internet Use Scale), excessive alcohol use (Alcohol Use Disorders Identification Test), and sociodemographic background factors. We used multilevel regression models to investigate within-person and between-person effects. Results: Cryptocurrency trading has increased in popularity over time. Within-person changes in cryptocurrency trading predicted increased excessive gambling. Excessive gambling was also generally more common among cryptocurrency traders. The full model that was adjusted for the number of confounding factors showed that cryptocurrency trading had a within-person effect on excessive gambling. Of the confounding factors, offshore online gambling, excessive gaming, and excessive internet use had within-person effects on excessive gambling. Offshore and onshore online gamblers and excessive gamers showed more excessive gambling than others. Those participants who were both cryptocurrency traders and offshore gamblers showed significantly higher rate of excessive gambling than others. Conclusions: Cryptocurrency trading is a risky activity and associated with a higher rate of excessive gambling over time. Such activity is especially risky among offshore online gamblers, who could view cryptocurrency trading as another form of gambling or as a way to make money for gambling. Policymakers and counselors should be aware of the risks of cryptocurrency trading.
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