Safer gambling campaigner urges regulators to address crypto

Safer gambling campaigner Matt Zarb-Cousin has called for greater awareness of the risks faced by ordinal consumers when investing in crypto.

The fallout from the TerraUSD crash has led to vast crypto losses over the last few weeks, with both sophisticated and novice investors losing substantial sums.

Founder of online gambling blocker Gamban, Zarb-Cousin told London’s Evening Standard: “I think the Financial Conduct Authority does need to get to grips with what counts as investing and what counts as speculating and I think it’s incumbent on regulators to provide adequate information to consumers.”

The campaigner is a vociferous lobbyist for greater protections for gamblers and has been actively feeding into the UK’s ongoing review of the Gambling Act, which is expected to publish a whitepaper imminently.

He has also recently raised concerns over the proliferation of NFTs in football. “Premier League clubs and footballers have rightly come under scrutiny for flogging glorified jpegs and fan tokens to supporters – the FA should stay well away from sports-washing such volatile investments”, he told the Telegraph earlier his month.

Gambling helpline GamCare is reported to have seen a significant increase in calls from people who have self-excluded from gambling websites but have started to make risky cryptocurrency investments instead.

The charity has reported callers describing massive losses on investments and seeking help for overwhelming feelings of guilt and worry.

The crossover appeal of gambling and crypto has always implied a need for some level of consumer protection, which is why reputable crypto gambling sites are regulated in jurisdictions that enable it.

However, regulators elsewhere seem sheepish about taking decisive action to protect consumers. This week US Securities and Exchange Commission commissioner Hester Pierce admitted her own organisation had “dropped the regulatory ball” on crypto regulation.

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Updated: 05/27/2022 — 11:00