Consumer Protection and Responsible Gambling Practices in Crypto Casinos
Background: Crypto gambling is an intersection where challenges posed by online gambling and cryptocurrencies meet. The higher risks associated with online gambling, combined with the lack of regulation and anonymity of cryptocurrency, create an environment potentially conducive to harm. The current study aims to understand the impact of crypto gambling on how operators minimise risks to their customers by analysing the responsible gambling (RG) and consumer protection (CP) practises of the most popular crypto gambling websites.
Methods: Forty of the most visited crypto gambling websites were selected. Data regarding RG and CP practices were collated on a range of variables including account registration process, dedicated RG page, promotional material on RG page, availability of RG tools, accessibility of gambling history, information on RG practices in operator communications, RG oriented customer services, licensing of crypto gambling operators, know your customer practices, and generation of random outcomes.
Results: Preliminary analyses indicate that RG practices have high variability across sites. Some sites allowed minors to register, have no RG page, had bonus offers on RG pages, had no deposit or loss limit setting options, and when contacted for gambling support, sent bonus offers and free chips. Furthermore, most sites had no evidence of licensing, and most were not ‘provably fair’. (Full statistical analysis will be provided upon completion of data extraction – due for completion after 6th February abstract deadline).
Conclusions: Crypto casinos are currently severely under-regulated, with very few sites providing adequate responsible gambling support and information, and offering little consumer protection. Crypto casinos represent a potentially harmful gambling mechanism; stricter regulation and licensing conditions are needed to increase levels of gambler protection.