The Emergence of Crypto Gambling Sites and Unethical Practices Exposed
The rise of cryptocurrencies as a medium of exchange has led to the emergence of several crypto gambling sites in an industry that has already experienced significant growth over the last few decades. While it is great to see cryptocurrencies being used in this industry, the unethical actions of some crypto-gambling sites have raised concerns about their legitimacy.
Digital investigations journalist Sanya Burgess recently unveiled the unethical practices of several online crypto casinos in an investigative piece published by Sky News. The piece provides deep insights into the controversial and possibly immoral actions of these casinos, which seem to exploit the naivety and addiction of compulsive gamblers as part of their business model.
Burgess was initially sparked by a video of music artist Drake promoting Stake.com, the foremost online crypto casino platform. Although Drake’s promotion of the platform is legal, it triggered Burgess to delve deeper into the controversial world of crypto casinos. Her investigation uncovered troubling practices within this online community.
It is worth mentioning that crypto casinos are illegal in the United Kingdom, as the Gambling Commission prohibits operators from accepting crypto as a direct method of payment. However, Burgess discovered that some crypto online casinos actively violate British gambling laws to promote their sites and gain a significant share of the British gambling market. The UK boasts the largest crypto gambling market in Europe and the fifth-largest globally.
As part of their marketing efforts, these casinos sponsor influencers to live stream themselves gambling and placing bets with “fake” money, with some influencers failing to disclose this information. Some viewers, unaware that these live streams are actually advertisements or that the winnings may be fake, are enticed to place bets of their own. This business model, based on addiction, is concerning and potentially exploitative.
Burgess highlights the case of an addict who hadn’t gambled in four years but relapsed after watching multiple videos of these live streams. The gambler was unaware that some of the bets made in the videos were placed with fake money. They were convinced to gamble again when they witnessed a streamer making $5 million in a single bet.
The illegal aspect comes into play when these crypto casinos pay British streamers to use software that bypasses geo-blockers for accessing these illegal sites. Burgess discovered that some streamers even advertise these casinos on their social channels, providing step-by-step instructions on how to use the software.
Interestingly, many of these crypto gambling sites don’t adhere to regulations that prohibit them from operating in the UK or serving UK users. Burgess herself was able to open working accounts on four sites, with three not requiring an address or accepting the UK address she provided.
Richard Williams, a leading gambling lawyer, warns that the operators of these crypto casino sites could face criminal sanctions, including senior executives of these companies. British streamers who accept deals from these crypto casinos to promote their sites may also be guilty of advertising unlawful gambling, which is an offense.
The UK’s gambling regulator, the Gambling Commission, has taken note of Burgess’s findings and has launched investigations into some of her discoveries. The government has also praised Burgess’s investigation, with Health Secretary Steve Barclay stating that his colleagues would look into its findings. It remains to be seen how these investigations will play out and what actions will be taken.
In conclusion, the rise of crypto gambling sites has brought attention to both the potential benefits and ethical concerns associated with their operation. It is crucial for regulators to address these issues and ensure the protection of consumers in an industry that has the potential for exploitation.
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