Gamblers in the UK are paying as little as $10 (£8) for ready-made accounts to blocked crypto casino Stake.com through advertisements on social media, an investigation by Sky News has revealed.
Crypto casinos like Stake are banned in the UK. Photo identification requirements, which help Stake verify if a user is in a country it’s allowed to operate in, were found to be “easily” bypassed through the sale of accounts set up by players in other jurisdictions.
Advertisements for these accounts are prominent across Facebook and Discord, but were also found by investigators on TikTok, Telegram, Reddit, and X (formerly Twitter).
The probe revealed that many of these accounts were being sold by addicted gamblers who had gone bust, as a last-ditch attempt to pay their bills.
“I lost $225,000 [gambling] this month,” one seller told Sky News. “I don’t have any money anymore. I’m poor now. I need money for food in the next week.”
UK-based buyers of these Stake accounts are most likely gambling addicts and children, former addict Matt Zarb Cousin told the outlet. Stake’s use of cryptocurrency has added an extra layer of danger and addiction for its users.
“The idea of owning a very, very volatile currency you can wager on casino games, which are extremely addictive, would have been a very, very harmful experience for me,” Cousin said. “The addictiveness of that is almost turbocharged.”
Social media platforms are responsible for blocking harmful and illegal ads such as these from their websites. A Meta spokesperson said it had removed the Stake account adverts that had been “brought to our attention,” with TikTok, Reddit, and Discord issuing similar responses. Telegram and X didn’t respond.
Stake is seemingly aware of the issue, but told Sky News it “has the strongest controls in the industry.” The crypto casino was banned on Twitch in 2022, after a gambling streamer confessed to scamming fans out of more than $200,000.