Why F1 Can’t KICK Gambling  - Wheel Sports

Why F1 Can’t KICK Gambling 

The following article deals with the difficult subject of Problem gambling if you or a loved one is struggling with problem gambling and want help, never be afraid seek help: NHS.UK, National Problem Gambling Helpline (US), GamCare

While Formula 1 is no stranger to controversial sponsors we rarely see those sponsors, become such an integral part of the team as Stake has become to Sauber. After sponsoring the Hinwil squad in its last year as Alfa Romeo F1, Stake an Australian-Curaçaoan online crypto casino is now taking it to the next level by buying the naming rights to the Sauber team. The lovable, if forgettable, Swiss team will be branded Stake F1 team in the leadup to Audi’s eventual takeover in 2026 in a deal rumored to be worth roughly 90 million dollarsi. Stake is no stranger to controversy, most recently its founders Ed Craven and Bijan Tehrani were forced to defend themselves from a $580 million dollar lawsuit that had been filed against them by former business associate Christopher Freeman. In the complaint, Freedmen alleges that Craven and Tehrani stole his idea for developing an expansive online cryptocurrency-based casino, subsequently launched Stake.com,ii and while Freedman was unable to provide enough evidence to support his claims, it still doesn’t paint Stake in a fantastic light.  


While it isn’t uncommon to see back-marker teams getting in bed with dubious sponsors,iii iv the products they sell aren’t usually addictive. RICH Energy might scam you out of 30 Bucks, FTX will run off with your money, and UralKali will be sanctioned by the European commission, but Stake will mathematically drain your bank account one game at a time. Gambling, like smoking, is highly addictive and has caused immeasurable damage to millions of people around the world. It is because of this that many governments have taken to outright banning gambling advertisement and closing casinos, that’s where Stakes second product enters the picture. KICK is an online streaming service like the Twitch program it takes its source code from. In its 14 months of existence KICK has rapidly grown to become one of the largest streaming platforms in the world. As of June 2023, KICK averages 235,000 livestreams per-dayv. This rapid growth can be attributed to the platform’s generous revenue sharing plan and lucrative deals with popular streamers including chess grandmaster Hikaru Nakamura, Nickmercs, Adin Ross, Amouranth, Ice Poseidon, Trainwreckstv and xQc. The platform uses an industry shattering 19/1 revenue sharing model in favor of creators. In an industry that is so energy and data intensive as streaming this business model isn’t simply not sustainable.  

The only reason KICK exists is to draw viewers to the platform which then endlessly advertises Stake to viewers many of whom are young children. Stake has used KICK to advertise its service in countries that have bans on gambling advertisements. Stakes entry to F1 as Sauber’s title sponsor back in 2023 was met with intense back lash with sports illustrator calling stake “f1’s most controversial title sponsor” and noting that Stake would be barred from displaying their content at popular races like the Dutch, Italian, and British grand prix among others in its place Sauber would put KICK on the side of the car to bypass the ban’s. Now that Stake has bought the naming rights to the team for the next two years, we are looking at the prospect of having a team who can’t even display their own logo at almost half the races on the calendar. This circumstance has once again brought the topic of advertising standards back to the forefront in F1 for years the teams have danced on the edge with morally dubious sponsors such as Mission Winnow, RICH Energy, Uralkali, FTX, and Velo. It is time for the FIA to clamp down on addictive and destructive Sponsors once again like they did with the cigarette advertisements of the early 2000’s. If British American Tobacco can be forced to sell BA racing, then Sauber can be forced to drop Stake. As motorsports fans it’s time we come together to demand that F1 KICK gambling out because the championships reputation Is at Stake. 

The following article deals with the difficult subject of Problem gambling If you or a loved one is struggling with problem gambling and want help never be afraid seek help: NHS.UK, National Problem