Addictions: Trading apps, a new trap for gambling addicts

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Playing with investor apps has never been easier. Addiction counseling centers are sounding the alarm.

Among those addicted to trading apps, women are in the minority.

Photo: Anna Shvets/Pexels

In Switzerland, approximately 250,000 people are considered problem or pathological gamblers. “A growing proportion of them are also or exclusively stock market speculators,” Christian Ingold, lecturer in health promotion and prevention at the Zurich University of Applied Sciences, told the Tages-Anzeiger on Monday. . According to him, these people buy and sell financial products within minutes or hours. It would not be uncommon for them to lose a lot of money in this way, all the more so in a period of falling prices as at present.

According to specialists, trading addiction has become a major problem in the last two years due to the constantly available applications on smartphones. Trade – especially that of highly fluctuating cryptocurrencies – would lead, they say, to an emotional roller coaster.

Warn about the risks

The Radix addiction treatment center in Zurich currently treats around 50 trading addicts, almost exclusively men. The center now requires app operators to specifically report risks as with cigarette packs. The Swiss Financial Market Supervisory Authority should also warn traders whose behavior is suspicious, says the Radix center.

For the time being, political efforts in this direction are still lacking. Efforts that would not be in the interest of brokers, who make more money when customers make frequent and risky transactions, writes the “Tages-Anzeiger”. And unlike casinos, they are not required to identify gambling addicts, block them and give them psychological tests.

“Either you become a millionaire or you lose everything and you are a loser”

Asked by the German-speaking daily, a high school student wishing to remain anonymous shared his experience after betting on bitcoins: “When you win, the numbers on the app look nice and green. It pulls you up,” he says. His goal was to have 100,000 francs in his account when he came of age. But at some point he made a disastrous transaction that he is still ashamed of today: “I only had one thing in mind: either you become a millionaire or you lose everything and you are a loser.”

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