If You Choose To Gamble Don’t Do It With Your Savings…

The Rise of Gamification

Our generation has seen the rise of a lot of gamification in so many antiquated products and services. The most notable (and polarizing) has been the stock market apps like Robinhood, Gambling apps, and Savings apps like Yotta. In most cases, the gamification of something can be a positive twist if the ethos behind the app remains the same and encourages POSITIVE behavior. I say positive meaning it has a lower risk of causing harm to said user. Unfortunately, I have to share that Yotta isn’t that type of positive app anymore and has changed since I last wrote about it.

What is Gamification?

Firstly, what the hell is gamification? It is…

the process of adding games or gamelike elements to something (such as a task) so as to encourage participation

So reading between the lines here, one might see this as a positive if it’s encourage participation in savings, investing, or building wealth. I would agree with that in most cases and still see a lot of opportunity to gamify certain services to the point of positive encouragement. I believe Yotta started that way. 

Originally they were a prize-linked savings that had a lower standard APY with the chance of winning big! You would deposit your cash like any other bank and earn tickets for a nightly drawing. With those winnings you’d hopefully come out higher than other High-Yield Banks (that wasn’t the case for me). While I never won an amount larger than $90 in a single drawing, I still left a little cash in there to have a chance at the large $1 million dollar prize. Then I got the notification that things were changing in March of 2024 and it forced me to lose all hope in this app – The rise of Yotta Cash.

“Prize-Linked Savings” to Gambling

Yotta still hasn’t called itself a banking product (clear in the disclaimers). They also haven’t called anything gambling, but you don’t really have to be on the app for long to experience that this is app preying on the addictive part of gambling in the first place – the dopamine hit for a win. So here’s how it changed…

1) Nightly DrawingYotta started with nightly drawings that you would have tickets to based on the amount of money you had with them. Now the tickets you get in the nightly drawing you have to PURCHASE with your cash! That’s basically buying a lotto ticket at the gas station except this is being ripped straight out of your savings account. Conveniently located at the bottom of the drawing screen is how much a ticket is worth ($0.05) and the option to get more YottaCash. Remember YottaCash is just Yotta’s version of your money – It’s a 1 to 1 trade.  This was the first alarming thing I noticed in the big YottaCash update – it wasn’t savings anymore it was clearly gambling.

2) Free Bonus & Tokens – Yotta never use to give you free tickets unless you had the mail in entries or referred a friend. Now everyday they’ll give you $0.10 (which is two tickets in the drawing) in YottaCash. This is the only amount I have with them right now and I’ll typically play one of the games to earn some more to put into the drawing. I also noticed tokens showing up in my account. These have no monetary value and allow you to play the games (which we’ll talk about next) for free if you just want to experience them. This is a gateway to using your own money because once you play some for free and win a few your brain thinks “why not win some real money?” and then your emergency fund is gone.

3) The Games – The Rocket Game they have is the most painful one to experience but one of the few that gives you the biggest dopamine hit if you win. You just bet your YottaCash and the Rocket goes up. It will randomly explode at which point you lose your bet. You can “eject” before it explodes with your winnings or ride it to the explosion. Each game has a bet you can place and you’ll win that amount in YottaCash. I mean they have black jack on here… a card game you gamble on. This was the next big red flag for me where I didn’t even want to remind people about Yotta and I told my friends to get out of it. This is no longer savings it is gambling.

Looking Out For The Community

I write on theinvestingcircle.com to share what has and hasn’t worked for me. I created theinvestingcircle.com to create additional revenue for those sharing their ideas. Yotta was a creative app that took advantage of the gamification trend with the right idea – making savings more fun. I had done user-generated content for them and referred some of my friends. They have strayed so far from where they started (I’m not sure why, but I’m sure it has to do about the bottomline) and it has become something that I would never recommend to any of my friends or family trying to save any amount of money. This is a prime example of doing your own research and paying attention to what’s happening with where you have your money! Always consult your advisors or CPAs on what is right for you. I’m pretty positive they’ll never say gambling is it.

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