Twitch, the popular streaming platform where every day millions of people spend hours watching live streams from their favorite gamers or even solving math problems in real-time, has recently seen the rise of crypto gambling.
Tracing Origins to Counter-Strike
Commenting in a podcast for Bloomberg Crypto, Bloomberg video game reporter D’Anstasio shared her view that crypto gambling did not originate from crypto but is rather a heritage from Counter Strike Skins, the extremely popular first-person shooter game in which people love to “dress up their guns with what are called ‘skins’ and the lucrative marketplace for people where they can sell and buy these skins.
She continued by pointing to websites she came across several years ago where people were offered a chance to “earn” such skins by playing roulette and these were lucrative too, run by large companies, but the most important aspect of it was that people under 18 also participated and it is allegedly “a problem by legal standards” that resulted in many lawsuits.
On the question of when exactly Twitch crypto gambling became popular, D’Anstasio said that some of the skin gambling sites transitioned to crypto gambling websites “so definitely know their audience.”
“Crypto gambling is a pretty interesting phenomenon,” she continued, outlining that it is not legal anywhere in the US, as it was left to a state-by-state approach to regulation and “no state has deemed it legal yet.”
She then switched her focus to offshore companies singling out Stake.com which is incorporated in Curaçao offering roulette, slots, and blackjack but players gamble with crypto instead of real money and it seems like a continuation of the Counter Strike Skin gambling because of the idea that it is not real money. She also implied that as crypto gambling is a grey area, it also allows people under 18 to gamble.
She did not miss the opportunity to dig at Drake and his partnership with Stake.com, highlighting his starting gambling balance several months ago was $9 million, while his roulette wagers were ranging between $300,000 and $1 million.
Flying under the Regulatory Radar
The host then wanted to know the mechanics that allow crypto gambling companies to determine whether a player gambles from a legal state or not and D’Anstasio outlined that crypto gambling is neither on Congress’ radar nor on the American Gaming Association (AGA)’s one as both are looking to crack a bigger nut in illegal sports betting.
When asked about the legal aspect of crypto gambling internationally, she underlined that all players who stream gambling content on Twitch and are on Stake.com sponsorships have physically moved from the US to Canada.
On the question of the economic side of Stake.com sponsorships, D’Anstasio said that she knows a streamer that has been offered $90 million to stream crypto gambling content and even that is not the highest offer, referring to others who are making several million dollars a month.