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Place your investments or place your bets? Relationship between gambling addiction and trading

Ainhoa Coloma-Carmona and José Luis Carballo, Center for Applied Psychology, Miguel Hernández University of Elche; Fernando Miró-Llinares and Jesús C. Aguerri, RÍMINA, Miguel Hernández University of Elche
Project selected in the Call to support research projects on technology and society (FS21-1B)

The incorporation of mechanisms imported from gambling into the sector of video games and investing may contribute to the development of addictive behaviours. Betting on video games and short-term investments in financial assets, or trading, seem to have a high addictive potential. The results of the study on which this article is based reveal that 13% of the Spanish population have traded in financial assets over the last year, and 2.8% have bet on video games or streaming platforms. The most common profile of the trader is a 39-year-old male non-professional investor with higher education. In turn, those who bet on video games or streaming platforms are mostly students aged under 25. There is a strong association between pathological gambling, betting on video games and trading. Almost 85% of respondents who matched the criteria for pathological gambling had done trading in the past year, and 12.7% of these stated that they continued to do so, despite undergoing negative consequences for their well-being. Furthermore, these traders with risk behaviours also showed a high propensity to bet, both in traditional formats and in video games. However, the perception of the risk involved in these behaviours is particularly low among traders who also bet.
Key points
  • 1
       Five out of every 100 young people under 26 have engaged in gambling in video games or streaming platforms.
  • 2
       Thirteen percent of the Spanish population have traded in the past year, mostly in cryptocurrency or the stock market.
  • 3
       The profile of the trader is that of a 39-year-old male with university studies and a monthly income exceeding 2,000 euros. Most of these traders are amateur.
  • 4
       In contrast, users of new betting formats are mostly students who bet weekly on gaming competitions and loot boxes.
  • 5
       Only half of the people who trade and bet on video games consider trading and betting on a weekly basis to be risk behaviours.
  • 6
       There is a strong association between problem gambling and betting on video games and pathological trading.
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