Will Blockchain Fight Gambling Addiction Problems?

Gambling addiction is a problem that affects people worldwide. During the last decades, the surge of online casinos has meant more people led to an increase in this difficult situation. However, blockchain engineers aim to reverse this situation. Learn how!

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People love gambling. From the very first dice games in Wild West’s saloons to scintillating VR slots delivered by modern online casinos, games of chance attract us. Some gamblers just like this state of excitement, others enjoy gameplay and communication, and still others are professionals who earn money in casinos. But all of the involved people can become addicted to these activities. And that’s a real danger.

Gambling addiction is becoming a real problem by the day. Gambling disorder is even placed in a group of behavioral addictions now (according to the DSM-5 published by APA in 2013).

But is there a way to fight it or at least prevent its growth? Some believe that the key is in blockchain. Although blockchain is mainly used for financial operations with crypto, there are projects called decentralized casinos, which are gambling platforms based on blockchain and created by the leading BTC casino software developers. Such casinos have many useful features that can help in fighting gambling addiction problems.

Addicted Gamblers and How They Fight the Problem

There’s a popular belief that casinos (both offline and online) get most of their earnings from addicted gamblers. Experts, however, are not unanimous about this idea because many gambling facilities stick to responsible gambling principles of operation. Still, the problem of compulsive gambling exists.

Key Statistical Findings

Roughly estimated, there are only 0.5%-3% of addicted gamblers across different countries. For example, the UKGC reported that 0.7% of adult British citizens or 470,000 people were compulsive gamblers in 2016. In the USA, from 2% to 3% or around 6 million Americans meet the main criteria for this addiction.

According to Our World in Data, the global share of drug addicts is 0.9%, while alcohol addicts account for 1.4%. This means, gambling addiction is as widespread across the world as other key problems. This makes different organizations promote responsible gambling.

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Traditional Ways to Overcome the Addiction

Today, physicians have limited options to treat gambling addiction. The key methods include counseling, self-help, and, rarely, medicine. Here are some of the common approaches:

  • Professional support. The most widespread method involves consulting psychologists and psychiatrists. Friends and relatives can be engaged, too.
  • Self-help and self-exclusion. The desire to fight problems is essential for all addicts. Modern casinos and companies usually support the option of self-exclusion, or voluntary ban from gambling.
  • Step-based programs. Similarly to alcohol addicts, gamblers can undergo treatment in the form of a multi-step course such as the famous 12-step program.
  • Treatment with the help of medicine. Researchers consider dopamine the main addiction driver. Now, they look for effective medicine to treat gamblers on a physical level.

Various companies and charitable organizations try to help both addicts and those who are at risk. Gamblers Anonymous, for example, is a famous international organization, while GamCare, NCPG, and NCRG are powerful national groups.

The main problem with all these methods though is that they aren’t perfectly effective. Addicted players still have enough options to continue gambling even after being (self-)excluded. But now we have one promising option that can change the game.

The Idea of Decentralized Gambling

Blockchain has made it possible to launch next-gen casinos with a significantly higher level of trustworthiness. Blockchain has a few basic features, e.g. perfect transparency that allows all participants to check public data and immutability that makes it impossible to modify information stored within blockchain. It’s also fully independent of existing authorities.

Blockchain casinos don’t rely on a single server or rulers, so they have a few clear advantages over traditional websites:

  • Provably fair. This term means that any player can always check the fairness of the listed games, find out RNG results, and reveal the exact house edge.
  • Zero fraud risk. Blockchain protects the casino system from various manipulations and changes. Often, you even don’t have to register a casino account as it’s easy to play using crypto wallets.
  • Quick and cheap. By accepting cryptocurrency and removing intermediaries, blockchain casinos streamline transactions, reduce processing times and fees.
  • Anonymity. Using blockchain, you don’t have to provide your sensitive data. Hence, even the citizens of banned countries can enjoy gambling.

But how can blockchain actually help casinos fight gambling addictions?

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Self-Exclusion vs Blockchain Identification

Currently, the process of self-exclusion is viable but not so effective. GamStop and BeGambleAware are two well-known systems that allow players to enter their personal data and choose exclusion options (for a single site or for all casinos - for 6 months, 1 year or more). These platforms cooperate with casinos, send them your personal details, and require to block your accounts. The result is obvious.

However, humans are smart creatures. And it’s easy to cheat the scheme. For example, you can enter a new email, street address, and name, or use another credit card for deposits/withdrawals. Just for the record, some countries and casinos try to fight such cheating practices and focus on more critical details such as bank credentials. For instance, Swedish citizens must use their BankID to access any gambling platform. Theoretically, it should be more difficult to change your banking details, so self-exclusion with the linked personal BankID should be more successful.

But blockchain casinos go the extra mile. First of all, they don’t allow modifying any  player information so you can’t continue gambling with the excluded wallet address. Surely, it’s still possible to open a new wallet. That’s why experts offer the following options:

  • Edgeless focuses on banning IP addresses and analyzing gambling patterns to spot problem players, identify them, and exclude regardless of the wallet used.
  • IdentityMind uses blockchain to collect data arrays, analyze them, and create digital IDs. Particularly, they may be used to identify addicts.
  • Different companies also work on digitization of the individual. Virtual immutable personality should help to detect problem gamblers.

At the end of the day, constant development of security and verification solutions based on blockchain should prevent further spread of addiction. Decentralized casinos should ultimately have a digital identity of each user, understand its gambling behavior, and help to maintain self-exclusion strategy if necessary.

Future Is Here

It’s difficult to predict when we will see the world without gambling addicts. Blockchain and blockchain casinos are still in their infancy so they need more time to mature and set new standards. But the existing decentralized gambling projects look promising. Explore them if you want to enjoy a new experience in fairer and safer casinos!

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