Chess GM Hikaru Nakamura reacts to criticism of Kick gambling streams

Critics accuse Nakamura of potentially exposing young viewers to gambling activities through his streams

Renowned chess player and Kick streamer, GM Hikaru Nakamura, is addressing concerns raised by some members of the chess community regarding his recent gambling streams.

Despite his impressive performance at the 2024 Candidates Tournament, where he secured third place, Nakamura has been under scrutiny for his shift towards streaming content, particularly his foray into gambling streams on Kick, a platform he joined in 2023 after departing from Twitch.

The decision to engage in gambling content drew swift criticism from some corners of the chess community, who accused Nakamura of potentially exposing young viewers to gambling activities.

Critics voiced concerns over the use of cryptocurrency in gambling, citing its unregulated nature as potentially exploitative to underage audiences. A commentator on a social media platform expressed concern, stating that it was worrying to use Nakamura's chess fame to promote gambling to children.

Amid the backlash, Nakamura defended his stance, asserting that his gambling streams are tailored for adult audiences. He clarified his intentions during a recent stream schedule announcement, highlighting an upcoming “18+ ONLY casino stream” scheduled for April 29.

While acknowledging the controversy surrounding gambling in the streaming realm, Nakamura emphasized his commitment to providing diverse content. The decision to engage in sponsored gambling streams follows his previous statements regarding the significance of content creation in his career trajectory.

Nakamura's shift towards streaming and sponsored content comes amidst ongoing debates regarding the regulation of gambling-related content on streaming platforms.

Notably, Twitch implemented a ban on gambling sites in 2022, leading to the emergence of alternatives like Kick.

For Nakamura, the allure of content creation has added a new dimension to his chess career, with the financial success of his streams enhancing his competitive endeavors. He humorously remarked that his streaming success has put him in a position of advantage, likening it to “playing with house money” during chess tournaments.

Last year, GM Hikaru Nakamura addressed similar criticism surrounding the Kick streaming platform amidst controversy over its association with crypto gambling.

Back then Nakamura clarified during a livestream that his own streams on Kick do not involve gambling, dismissing constant criticisms as “annoying.” He emphasized that the negativity towards Kick stems from misunderstandings and pointed out updates by Kick CEO Eddie Craven to mitigate exposure to gambling content.

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Written by Silvia Pavlof

Silvia has explored various forms of writing, ranging from content creation for social media to crafting movie scripts. Drawing on her experience as a journalist specializing in the gambling sector, she is currently investigating the impact of cryptocurrencies and blockchain on traditional gambling and iGaming.

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