July 22, 2024
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Experience the Thrill of Bitcoin Gambling at Top-Ranked Online Casinos

Chabot started watching Felix “xQc,” a professional Overwatch player who competed in various video games through Amazon.com Inc.’s Twitch streaming site with up to 25,000 people just three years ago. Lengyel began playing online blackjack in 2021 while watching one of his streams.
Chabot, a Quebec resident who works in accounting at the hospital, was enthralled. He stated, “I found it quite entertaining.”

Chabot was able to see Lengyel’s promotional code for a website called Stake.com, which claims to be the most popular cryptocurrency casino on the internet. Users can use Stake and similar sites to trade money in exchange for cryptocurrency. They can then wager on games such as roulette, blackjack, and slots. Chabot accepted the invitation and entered the Stake slots world. At first, he enjoyed placing bets regularly for the equivalent of $1. But then, things began to go downhill.

“I was just beginning to lose weight and losing,” Chabot recalled.

Chabot says he spent his life savings of around $40,000. He says he also took two bank loans of $20,000 and burned through the money. Chabot declared bankruptcy at some point.

Although Chabot’s decision to stay betting was his, he says watching the Twitch streamers enjoying gambling on the website “gave me the motivation to be on Stake and feel like I was a part of the action they were taking,” he told Bloomberg in an interview.

The game is one of many that go all-in. These days, “slots” is the seventh most-watched genre of content on Twitch, ahead of the video game Fortnite. Many streamers receive handsome salaries to be a part of this sport. One streamer said they earn “much over” $1 million monthly from his partnership through Stake. He uses the chance to bet on cryptocurrencies in front of live viewers on Twitch.

Lengyel said he could generate $119 million in stake bets as of May 2022. During live streams, Lengyel noted that the $119 million was the sum of all he wagered on the website. Bloomberg was unable to confirm the amount to Stake.

Stake states that it is operating within Curacao under a gaming license. It is among the top companies contributing sponsorship dollars to the Twitch community. The address Stake provides as its registered address in Curacao appears to be an abandoned shack located on Google Earth. According to the company, most of its employees reside in Europe.

According to Frank DiGiacomo (an attorney overseeing the gaming law group at Duane-Morris Law LLP in Philadelphia), gambling with crypto is not legally legal in the US. However, it is legal in many other countries. Canada is a great place to be for crypto players, potentially contributing to why some streamers moved there.

It is still possible to place bets on Stakes from the US using a virtual network, which disguises the user’s location and the cryptocurrency.

Stake spokespersons said it had implemented strict compliance measures to stop users of VPN from depositing funds in locations it does not allow. Stake states that it employs a variety of efforts to halt risky gambling, including providing free software that blocks gambling. “Stake firmly believes in taking its regulatory obligations extremely seriously and complies with all applicable laws.”

Twitch may no longer allow gambling to be featured on the site. A Twitch spokesperson says the company is “currently in the midst of an investigation into the gambling habits on Twitch.” Since Lengyel and other areas included links in the last year, the company has since decided not to allow sharing referral codes or links for gambling businesses. According to the spokesperson, this was implemented “to stop fraud and other issues associated with questionable gaming sites.”

“We take any threat to our community seriously,” the spokesperson says. “While gambling content makes up just a tiny fraction of the content streamed on Twitch. However, we watch it carefully to ensure our approach mitigates potential harm to our worldwide community.” The company says information for those struggling with addiction issues is available in Twitch’s Safety Center.

After a long break, Lengyel, a Canadian among the most popular Twitch stars with over 11 million followers, is now betting on his Twitch streams. About 70,000 people watched him click the digital slot machine button repeatedly throughout July. Part of the fun of watching the stream is that the stakes tend to be absurdly high. Lengyel lost $164,000 in crypto in one stream within just 140 seconds. Lengyel did not reply to Bloomberg’s request for comment.

Gaming isn’t alone in taking part in this game. In May, the Canadian rapper Drake entered into an agreement with Stake to bet live on Twitch under the name StakeDrake. Drake started with $9 million and placed single roulette bets of $300,000 up to $1,000,000 while viewers watched. The terms of Drake’s deal with Stake were kept private. Spokespeople for Drake did not respond to a request to comment.

The paid streams and celeb endorsements are effective, bringing Twitch viewers to the crypto casinos. Vaibhav Kumar, 25 years old and a native of India, began crypto gambling in 2020 after seeing his girlfriend, a favorite League of Legends streamer making bets on Twitch. He logs on to Stake every four to five times weekly, betting between $20 and $200.

Kumar watched for a while streamers sponsored by Stake. After that, he said it struck him that lucrative promotional deals compensated for the loss of Stake. In contrast, his losses were offset by nothing.

He stated, “once the initial excitement of watching someone play with such large sums ended, it was largely unsettling. It made me sick watching it.” It also made viewers feel a false sense that they were either winning or losing.

“Sites use celebrities as well as platforms targeted towards younger audiences.”

For young players, the route to cryptocurrency casinos is traceable back a few years to another form of gambling that became popular in the video game community on Twitch and other sites. That is, betting with virtual currency from the popular shooter game Counter-Strike: Global Offensive. In the context of this lucrative billion-dollar industry, famous gamers launched websites where users could play roulette by betting on digital weapons from the video game. Some of these were worth hundreds or even thousands of dollars. Children under 18 were not restricted from playing the game.

Jakub, who has asked not to share his last name for fear of career repercussions, says that at 13, he went on one of these sites and was awarded a $200 knife. He was too young to cash out the money and promptly gambled the money away.

Ultimately, the website he was on changed into a cryptocurrency casino. When he was 16, Jakub noticed a Twitch streamer promoting Stake and shifted his online gambling habit there. Jakub, a Czech Republic resident, claims that he logs on to Stake frequently and bets on a group of $50 buy-ins. You can purchase computer parts and shoes if winning big. He says he generally loses between $1000 to $1,500 per month.

Although crypto-gambling has been a major topic on Twitch for the past year, it’s now attracting more viewers and controversy than ever before.

Matthew “Mizkif,” another well-known Twitch character, claims that the company offered him $19,000,000 yearly to participate live on Twitch before his large audience. Although Rinaudo has been a gambler on Twitch in the past, he considers it morally questionable to do so. Rinaudo saw a fan of 14 gambles on a site he had promoted last year.

Rinaudo claimed that she stopped because she felt truly terrible.

Lengyel is among the most popular video game streamers. He has said he’s an “addict” and has shifted his gambling habits to nights when he’s not performing before an audience. He admitted losing $1.8 million in the previous month’s gambling in May.

During the live stream, he mentioned that he’d go to the lengths to warn you about it. “I do it because it is affordable, and I like the experience. I also think it’s good content.”

Another popular streamer, Tyler “Trainwrecks” Niknam, said in January he’d lost $12.9 million in gambling, according to Dexerto, a video game news site. Niknam did not respond to our request for comments.

Gambling in offshore jurisdictions has been a problem for US regulators for a long time. The 28 members of Congress issued a strong letter in June to the Department of Justice requesting that it investigate illegal offshore gambling websites operating within the US without authorization. Alex Costello is the vice director of government relations at the American Gaming Association. This trade group represents casinos and states that lawmakers are focused on regulating and closing the largest illegal gambling websites. Crypto gaming doesn’t rank as high on the list. She said that offshore casinos often use sophisticated methods to hide their ownership. This is particularly applicable to the crypto-gaming industry that lawmakers don’t comprehend gamdom.

Costello said it’s alarming that such “sites use stars and platforms specifically targeted towards younger audiences” to attract customers. About 75% of Twitch users are between 16 and 34 years old.

According to the National Center for Responsible Gaming the National Center for Responsible Gaming, between 6% to 9 percent of youth gamblers are struggling with gambling. This is in contrast to 1% in adults. Recently over 2,300 people have signed a Change.org petition asking Twitch advertisers such as Nvidia Corp. and PepsiCo Inc. to reconsider their advertising on the platform due to the popularity of the gambling streams. The companies have not responded to inquiries for comments.

Streamers like Rinaudo believe Twitch should cease providing a platform to promote offshore crypto-gambling sites. Rinaudo believes that streamers will continue to accept huge sums of money through Twitch to promote areas such as Stake as long as they are allowed.

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