A probe conducted by Sky News has revealed that gamblers in the UK can pay a mere £8 to purchase verified accounts for illegal crypto casinos. Although gambling websites that support crypto deposits have taken the international iGaming market by storm, there are, at present, no such casinos that can operate within the UK legally, as none have been granted licences by the UK Gambling Commission (UKGC).
In spite of this, it seems that there is a demand for crypto casinos in the UK, and British gamblers willing to gain access to such casinos through unlawful means are given numerous opportunities to do so through social media. According to Sky News’ findings, fully verified accounts for crypto casinos are advertised to UK users on various social media platforms, including Facebook, Discord, Telegram, Reddit, and X (formerly known as Twitter).
Some of the crypto accounts discovered during the probe were available for free due to using fake addresses, and members of Sky News’ Data and Forensics team were able to bypass jurisdiction blocks and get one such account for the gambling website Stake.com. Despite the account having the address for one of Japan’s Statue of Liberty replicas, Stake.com did not close the account within the week Sky News kept it open.
Accounts tied to Stake.com are most in demand, Sky News investigators found, seeing as on Facebook alone, over 200 accounts were advertised since October. An additional 100+ Stake.com accounts could be purchased once discovered through Discord adverts. When asked to comment on the matter, a Stake spokesperson said that the company knows of individuals who seek to bypass the Stake.com website’s “industry-leading controls” and that Stake’s methods of addressing such behaviour are “constantly evolving.” They also put an emphasis on Stake’s commitment to gambling harm prevention and detection.
Crypto Casinos Are Considered Unsafe
The UKGC’s apprehension when it comes to crypto technology lies in its potential to be utilised anonymously and how this can pose a danger to vulnerable individuals. This sentiment is also shared by Matt Zarb Cousin, co-founder of the self-exclusion software Gamban, who told Sky News that children and those struggling with gambling addiction are the groups with the highest chances of partaking in gambling via illegal crypto casino accounts.
Mr Cousin also stated that the addictive factor associated with games of chance is strongly exacerbated when an individual is able to wager with volatile currencies. Some of the very sellers of crypto casino accounts can serve as an example of this. Sky News investigators were able to speak to an individual who was selling their crypto casino account because they had incurred $225,000 (roughly £177,790) in losses from gambling and were struggling to make ends meet.
MP Carolyn Harris of the Gambling Related Harm All Party Parliamentary Group praised Sky News’ probe and commented that she had foreseen the present situation. According to Ms Harris, it had only been “a matter of time” for problems, such as the ones revealed by Sky News, to arise.
Daniel Williams has started his writing career as a freelance author at a local paper media. After working there for a couple of years and writing on various topics, he found his interest for the gambling industry.