Packet of Strepsils instead of ID card? An article by Guardian on Stake.com

MegaPari

I-Gaming Industry Representative
Joined
Sep 30, 2022
Location
Limassol
Hey guys. Today I've found absolutely hilarious article about Stake.com that was tried out by independent investigators in UK.

An investigation by the Observer has found that Stake.com’s "lucrative and fast-growing empire" may be benefiting from lax controls on customers – including under-18s – betting with crypto.

Last month, the Observer asked Stake.com whether UK punters might be using VPNs to bypass country restrictions on crypto gambling. Stake.com said it had implemented “stringent compliance processes” to prevent this. But in tests, these processes were found to be anything but stringent.

Here is my favorite part:
When asked for age verification, reporters uploaded a photograph of a packet of Strepsils throat sweets instead of a legitimate form of ID such as driving licence or passport. This initially proved sufficient.
The reporters were then able to buy crypto via Stake.com, deposit it in a betting account, and proceed to lose the money on Stake.com’s slot machine games, such as Sugar Rush and Starlight Princess. It was also able to move the remaining funds into an online bank account. They could even buy crypto with one bank account and move the funds into another account, with Stake.com effectively operating as a digital currency transfer provider.

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jasonuk

Experienced Member
Joined
May 10, 2014
Location
UK
Loving the key quote - we already knew their KYC/RG policies were among the weakest in the crypto space but that is particularly funny (even if they did spot the piss-taking 48 hours later, too little too late). A few errors or oddities let the article down though:

  • "[xQc] claimed earlier this year to have funnelled $119m in bets to the company" - slightly weird phrasing given it's wagered rather than "funnelled", additionally the last number I can find was $685m in August. That's if you are naive enough to believe it's real money in the first place - which they don't elude to at any point.
  • "Anyone over 13 can watch ... streams on Twitch." - 13+ to register, anyone can watch.
  • "Last month, Twitch decided to ban casino and slots streams from its platform" - this is lazy reporting, the people claiming it was a blanket ban are the monopoly money streamers.
  • "This was in response to threats from prominent streamers, some of whom had watched in horror as gambling streams began to overtake video gaming as the site’s main output." - again similarly lazy reporting, it's a noteworthy minority but it wasn't close to being the "main output" of Twitch.
  • "But there are also questions about whether foreign firms are avoiding a moral obligation to help tackle gambling addiction in the UK." - not sure I'd claim 0.1% voluntary levy is sufficient as a moral obligation, especially as the biggest operators have been calling for a mandatory 1% this year. As the problems get worse, I'm not sure 1% will be sufficient either, but that's a discussion beyond the scope of this article...
  • "But Stake.com is not technically the licensed operator; TGP Europe is." - except it's not, the site is stake.uk.com under TGP Europe Ltd / 38898 (and previously stake.co.uk with AG Communications Limited / 39483), so I'm guessing there's some "Trading As" shenanigans (or 8pt font) to push people to the unlicensed site over the licensed one? Not that it would change much given it's a simple geo-redirect, but curious the UKGC have allowed them to get away with that for this long...
 

MegaPari

I-Gaming Industry Representative
Joined
Sep 30, 2022
Location
Limassol
I'm pretty surprised that Stake.com is Everton's sponsor, taking into account how strictly UK treats the gambling&betting industry 👀
 

satchnz

Experienced Member
Joined
Apr 26, 2021
Location
Essex, UK
Yep I got KYC’d the day I signed up. Got to play one slot until they locked my account to withdrawals only. So I’m not sure they are being that lax (anymore).
 

goatwack

World Champion
CAG
Joined
Aug 29, 2012
Location
Londonia
Cryptos are a pandora's box of problems that governing bodies were nowhere near prepared for, and the kind of thing that sets their Responsible Gambling & money laundering protocols into a tizzy.

Because it essentially represents their worst fears, which is the fast & loose anonymity of financial interactions, casinos' willingness to allow pretty much anyone to sign up, and the added 'joy' of masking one's identity behind a VPN.

So really, the only losers here in the long term are players and the hapless regulators that stand next to no chance of ever getting a handle on this, as casinos defect to crypto, and their CEOs bask in opulence. Feels like a parallel to streamers' ascent to prominence whilst subverting the industry, and so I expect for every crypto casino that gets 'caught out', another three will pop up in its stead.

You'd think then that the likes of the UKGC would concede, and encourage and oversee more domestic crypto ventures going forward, as opposed to watching UK players circumvent rules via VPN and so forth, but I shan't be holding my breath on that one 🤔
 

pinnit2014

Ueber Meister
PABnoaccred
mm1
Joined
Dec 13, 2014
Location
Glasgow and Home - N Ireland
Having been playing Crypto's for the last few months and being moderately objective.....they represent a breath of fresh air. Yes, you must pick and chose the one you run with, but once you do...yeah, they're pretty much the dogs bollocks

I was worried when i won 2.3k dollars.....paid in 10 minutes - yes, watch out for KYC for some

The idea UK players wont go here is absurd - some will stick to the likes of VS offering substandard products, L and L SOW'ing you after 2k etc but more fool them - Viva la Islands!
 

slot_zombie

Meister Member
Joined
Jul 25, 2014
Location
UK
Yeah, unlike some Crypto, they will KYC (newbies?) quite quickly so anyone thinking of playing here from the UK, probably best you find somewhere else
I have a theory that if you're at a decent VIP level and been playing there a long time, you might be ok. Probably helps if you have your browser time set to the same timezone as the country you're pretending to play from, too. I am so far unscathed, touch wood. Whereas stories abound of fresh faced young British hopefuls being cut down in their prime before their first 100 autospins have even played out.

I have back-up Casinos lined up in case Stake ever decide that my business is too "hot" for them to handle. As long as there is money to be made, there will always be plenty of offshore opportunities. Viva Curacao indeed!
 

jasonuk

Experienced Member
Joined
May 10, 2014
Location
UK
Having been playing Crypto's for the last few months and being moderately objective.....they represent a breath of fresh air. Yes, you must pick and chose the one you run with, but once you do...yeah, they're pretty much the dogs bollocks

I was worried when i won 2.3k dollars.....paid in 10 minutes - yes, watch out for KYC for some

The idea UK players wont go here is absurd - some will stick to the likes of VS offering substandard products, L and L SOW'ing you after 2k etc but more fool them - Viva la Islands!
While they're never going to win on regulatory framework / safety net, with regulated operators dropping again to 90-92% there's a clear opportunity to differentiate themselves on the rest of the package - better RTPs, autoplay, bonus buys (for better or worse), promotions and fast withdrawals.

I do think the UKGC is asleep at the wheel when lots of people are talking about playing at unregulated crypto sites instead of regulated ones (certainly not helped by EPL sponsorships and the like!) - and while personally I'd avoid the monopoly money casinos (whether regulated or not) out of principle, if the UK market gets any sillier it would be a choice of crypto or nothing.
 

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