What Robinhood could learn from gaming companies about gambling addiction – CNBC

What Robinhood could learn from gaming companies about gambling addiction – CNBC

Cam Adair was so deep into his video gaming addiction, he says it almost killed him.

“I was young. I probably played like 16 hours a day, all day, every day. I dropped out of high school twice, I pretended to have jobs and deceived my family. I got to a point where I wrote a suicide note. And it was kind of that night when I realized I needed to make a change.”

Today, after years of counseling, Adair is alive and well and the founder of Game Quitters.

Alex Kearns, a 20-year-old customer of the trading app Robinhood wasn’t so lucky. He took his life last summer after believing he had racked up a loss of $730,000 on Robinhood.

His parents lay the blame squarely on the investing company, pointing out Kearns tried multiple times to get help on a customer service line, to no avail. Kearns’ family has since filed a wrongful death lawsuit against Robinhood.

At a House Financial Services Committee hearing Thursday, Robinhood’s CEO, Vlad Tenev, said, “The passing of Mr. Kearns was deeply troubling to me and to the entire company, and we have vowed to take a series of steps, very aggressive steps to make our options product safer for our customers.”

Lawmakers are asking tough questions about the fairness of the platforms and the allure of the apps

“Is retail individual retail participation in the marketplace gambling?” asked U.S. Rep. Bill Huizenga, R-Mich., at the hearing Thursday.

The resounding answer from
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