Stake.com is licensed in the UK, but it is not without controversy. Its license in the UK only applies to playing for traditional currencies, not for cryptocurrency gambling. The English Sunday newspaper The Observer investigated the online casino and found that gambling with crypto via a VPN was possible in seconds on Stake.com.
The Observer, a British Sunday newspaper that is part of the Guardian Media Group, has investigated VPN gambling on Stake.com. This investigation revealed that Stake.com is taking advantage of weak controls meant to prevent UK players from gambling with crypto. Sister newspaper The Guardian reported this earlier this month.
At the start of the investigation, The Observer Stake asked whether UK players could bypass country restrictions to play with cryptocurrency via VPN. Stake.com then indicated that it had implemented strict controls to prevent this. However, after various tests, it turned out that these controls can hardly be taken seriously, says the newspaper.
Bundle with Strepsils and VPN enough for age verification Stake.com
Through a VPN, they could access crypto gambling on Stake.com in seconds from a location in the United Kingdom.
In the age verification, the reporters sent a picture of a package of neck candy, where players usually upload a passport, ID or driver’s license. The picture of the strepsils package was accepted as ID and the investigators were allowed to play.
Journalists could then easily buy crypto through Stake.com with their VPN and then use it to play at the online casino. They lost some of that money on well-known slots like Sugar Rush and Starlight Princess. After this, it was also possible to transfer the remaining money to an online bank account.
Eventually, Stake.com blocked the account, but only after 48 hours of being able to play. The online casino provided the following response to The Observer following the investigation:
“As with all companies in the industry, Stake.com is experiencing unauthorized users attempting to bypass geo-blocking through VPNs. Stake is aware of an account that was recently opened after using a VPN from the UK and submitting a fake address and other false user information, all in violation of the company’s terms of service. This account was detected by Stake’s internal compliance processes and closed. Stake.com uses anti-money laundering measures on its website. Fiat for cryptocurrency exchange services are provided by third-party providers (not Stake. com), which also have their own compliance processes and requirements.”
Comment on Stake.com
Outrage in Britain
Stake.com has a white-label agreement with TGP Europe, a company based in the Isle of Man. This company is licensed by the UK Gambling Commission, which allows Stake.com to offer its services to players in the United Kingdom through the white label. However, this only applies to gambling with fiat currency (regular money) and not with cryptocurrency.
Such white-label deals should not be possible, according to Matt Zarb-Cousin of the Clean Up Gambling campaign:
“White labels allow companies like Stake to avoid the due diligence of a licensing process, allowing them to advertise and access the UK market. All gambling companies should apply for a full license if they want to operate legally here. Gambling Commission and DCMS [Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport] should not support the white-label system, which gives privileges to those unwilling to go through the licensing process.”
Matt Zarb Cousin, Clean Up Gambling
The UK regulator also provided a response to The Guardian:
“If there is evidence that a gambling company that is not licensed by us is knowingly engaging UK consumers to gamble, we would like that evidence to be provided to us so that we can consider appropriate action.”
UK Gambling Commission
The agreement also allows Stake.com to sponsor football clubs such as Everton. In June, the English football club closed a record deal with the online casino. Not all fans were happy about it. A petition was launched against the sponsorship deal with Stake.com.
No license in the Netherlands
Stake.com, one of the largest online casinos in the world, but is not licensed in the Netherlands. It is a so-called cryptocasino where you can pay with eight different cryptocurrencies. It is not allowed to pay on online gambling sites with bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies in the Netherlands. Stake will therefore not be licensed in the Netherlands in the future unless it seeks a similar solution as it did in the UK.
Stakes have already been banned by French regulator ANJ. The online casino is also blacklisted in Belgium. When a Stake domain is blacklisted in a country, the site often makes its offerings available through new domains. Not only is Stake.com blacklisted in Belgium, but so are Stake.Games, StakeTR.com, StrakeTR2.com and StakeTR3.com.
Previously, it was in the news that rapper Drake played roulette for large sums on Stake.com. The casino also sponsors many Twitch streamers who sometimes get millions a year.