‘Generation Gamble’ | A Dive Into Gen Z Money

Written by: Webster Lupton, Casino, Gambling, and Sports Journalist
6 minute read
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Technology has vastly changed the world of gambling, and the “20 somethings” most adept at taking advantage of hi-tech are the subject of a revealing documentary aired last month on CNBC TV. The financial network released “Generation Gamble,” a 43-minute expose hosted by Melissa Lee, a reporter and anchor.

She opens the show with the summary question, “is business simply giving us what we want or turning us into a generation of gamblers?”

The documentary addresses the high-tech atmosphere that accommodates fast and easy online transactions which cross the line between stock trading and gambling. It also profiles young people whose over-the-top exploits in stocks and wagers have made them millions or brought them to the brink of bankruptcy.

The Rise of Modern Gambling Technology

Much of the documentary centers on mobile apps that allow people to transact big money anywhere, any time. This high-end technology helps drive the age 18-35 crowd into big-money plays in investing and gambling.

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Stock Trading Platforms

The piece explores the arena of investment apps and how social media has driven them. With their free trading platforms, RobinHood, and their rival Webull, are the driving forces in a recent stock trading surge.

The perfect example presented is how a Reddit community recently took the finance world by storm. Users turned to accessible retail trading apps to drive the video game retailer GameStop to stock-market heights most experts thought impossible.

Lee notes that these apps make it so easy for people to spend money on Wall Street plays that they have turned many people into big-bucks day traders. That leads the segment to draw the parallel between stock trading and online gambling.

The host profiles some of the younger set who use stock trading apps daily, resulting in big business for developers. But it is interesting to note that none of the officials from these companies were willing to be interviewed.

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Sports Betting & DraftKings

The online gambling arena did have officials willing to talk. DraftKings president Matt Kalish was part of the documentary’s segment on internet sports betting, which has grown by leaps and bounds in recent years.

He is part of a group that founded a company created as a real-money fantasy league service and turned into a full-fledged enterprise.

The segment references the 2018 Supreme Court ruling that opened the door to online wagering and the expansion of sports betting into 26 states in the US, 16 that allow online betting. 

Lee even cites the need for responsible gaming. She profiles one online sports gambler who turned from a recreational bettor at the age of 16 into a problem gambler in his 20s.

A professor who studies problem gambling noted that wagering with the speed and ease of apps causes people to be less cautious with on-screen money than with cash.

Crypto Millionaires Are Swarming Social Media

Lee profiles young millionaire, Matt Lorion, an influencer who made his money from an initial $10,000 play on Dogecoin in the volatile cryptocurrency market. He and others –most in their 20s– have built on their profits by becoming social media “influencers,” people who offer online wealth-gaining tips for fees.

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The segment concludes that the influencer phenomenon demonstrates social media’s ability to span investment advice beyond the realm of traditional experts. As it depicts, anyone can become a money-making guru.

The documentary also brings out the pitfalls in the world of digital currency investing advice. Lorion admitted he was scammed himself by another crypto company, and regretted advising his viewers to invest in the currency.

It just goes to show that any online trading and betting has risks. If you want to get into crypto safely, invest in well-known coins using trusted platforms. If you’re going to gamble, then only play at legit casinos.

The Next Generation of Gamble Technology is Upon Us

Near the end of the piece, you’ll cross into prospects for the future of digital trading, which lies in the “metaverse,” where people buy and trade virtual items for real money. The documentary briefly discusses non-fungal tokens (NFTs), digital ownership certificates of virtual products, which have become investments, too. 

It also notes that people buy virtual real estate in online worlds such as Decentraland and Earth 2. Lee talks with Fred Chesnais, who helped expand Atari’s classic games company into a diverse game-related company that includes a gambling platform with its own token.

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Where Will it All Lead?

From its depiction of a magical world in which virtual items trade for big money to the searing reality of scams and addictions of fast-paced online stock trading and gaming, “Generation Gamble” is a striking expose that is well worth watching. 

Though the documentary barely touches on internet casino gambling, Lee and executive producer Wally Griffith should get commended for covering a topic with such broad-ranging aspects.

The whole documentary delivers a message that reprises the age-old question: “Where do we go from here?”

Is Accessible Gambling Driving Addiction?

The area of these fast-money transactions leads Lee to take up behavioral comparisons between apps-driven stock traders and gamblers.

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The documentary profiles a young man who describes himself as a “functional” gambling addict. He claims he maintained good grades and other activities in school while regularly wagering on the side.

His story turned from fun to serious business. As he got older, the stakes got more extensive. He eventually found himself in a debt he estimates to be around $50,000.

Gambling Rehabs Are Seeing an Influx

CNBC notes that the profiled addict is one of an estimated four million Americans with compulsive gambling disorder. Many of them turn to addiction rehab centers which have seen a surge in recent years. The director of a center interviewed in the segment says the center has seen more and more people aged 18-35 visit the facility in the past few years.

Note to Readers: Are you at risk of being a problem gambler? It should be fun and only use funds you’ve budgeted for entertainment. If you or a loved one have a problem, reach out to a hotline or assistance center for help. Please gamble responsibly.

Webster Lupton

Webster Lupton Casino, Gambling, and Sports Journalist

Webster Lupton is a journalist and expert sports and casino writer with over 30 years of experience. Webster is a seasoned researcher and a published author. He also enjoys the outdoors and birdwatching.

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