Gambling Addiction Experts See Familiar Aspects in Robinhood App

Some fintech apps try to rein in addictive components to investing, but face their own problems

The Robinhood vestment app is see on a smartphone in this photo illustration on June 24, 2020 in Washington,DC. -
Jim Watson/Getty Images

While the broader public may have gotten its first glimpse this week of the troubling and addictive nature of trading apps like Robinhood, gambling experts, finance watchers and even rival trading apps have long been thinking about how to address these problems, NBC News reports.

“The online day trader with problems is indistinguishable from the online gambling addict,” said Keith Whyte, the executive director of the National Council on Problem Gambling, pointing to graphics like the iconic green confetti that displays on a user’s phone when a Robinhood trade executes. “A lot of this is directly taken from the user experience of casinos: It encourages immediacy and frequent engagement.”

Robinhood declined to comment directly on the app’s design elements that critics have said incorporate gambling-like features.

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