At Gamcare, we are seeing the growing risks to consumers from high-risk trading and investing, including cryptocurrencies. We suggest a self-exclusion scheme for stock and cryptocurrency traders could help people experiencing harms relating to high-risk trading.
Although many people invest without experiencing harms, there is an increasing concern for people experiencing issues related to high-risk investing and day trading. On our National Gambling Helpline, we are hearing from callers who feel that financial difficulties and impact on mental health related to trading can be synonymous with gambling problems. One person stated that: “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 I was no longer trading, I had a gambling problem.”
Recently, to better understand the issue and solutions, we brought together banks, investment platforms, the debt advice sector, gambling businesses, and gambling support services. Workshop participants thought that regulatory bodies and services, such as the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) and the Government, could consider a sector-wide self-exclusion scheme for all trading platforms that offer high-risk investments and day trading. This can be widened out to collaboration with other regulators, such as the Gambling Commission, to implement such self-exclusion scheme.
Alongside a self-exclusion scheme, workshop participants also suggested that trading and investment platforms, as well as cryptocurrency exchanges, should have tools and strategies in place to identify and protect customers vulnerable to trading harms. In addition, gambling support services, banks, and financial education organisations could raise awareness about high-risk and harmful trading too.
Raminta Diliso leads our Gambling Related Financial Harm (GRFH) programme, a cross-sector initiative to share knowledge, develop resources, and enable organisations to help customers affected by financial harms. She says: “Through the insights from our workshop and experience of those with lived experience of trading harms, we believe that all relevant sectors – banks, financial services providers and debt advice organisations – could take an active role in supporting those affected by trading harms. To tackle trading harms, and ideally prevent harm before it happens, tools such as a self-exclusion scheme could offer some protection to consumers and our service users.”
The full list of recommendations arising from the recent workshop can be downloaded via this link.
We have seen how blocking software and self-exclusion schemes can protect people experiencing gambling harms. For example, Gamban and GAMSTOP offer blocking software and self-exclusion tools as part of the TalkBanStop campaign. To further protect their users, Gamban recently added trading platforms that offer high-risk trading products such as CFDs, cryptocurrencies, binary options and Forex trading to their gambling blocking software.
Commenting on the recommendation about a self-exclusion scheme for trading platforms, Fiona Palmer, CEO of GAMSTOP said:
“Over the last three years, we have seen how effective tools like GAMSTOP can be for those struggling with online, regulated gambling. The area of cryptocurrency trading especially has experienced rapid growth and, with that, potential harm. We would be happy to discuss the area of self-exclusion with the FCA and other organisations working in this sector.”
Also commenting on the growing risks of cryptocurrency and high-risk investing, Jack Symons, CEO of Gamban said:
“Many of these products (CFDs, binary options, crypto, etc) share a lot in common with gambling platforms; there’s no barrier to entry, they encourage over-trading and possess game-like characteristics. Regular consultations with advisors on the National Gambling Helpline, in addition to research undertaken by Gamban, identified the need to add these products to the Gamban block list.
Helpline Advisors explained how helpful it would be to have something they could offer to callers desperately trying to avoid these quasi-gambling products, which made us realise adding these platforms would be beneficial both to the product and the collaborative strength of the TalkBanStop campaign.”