Felix “xQc” Lengyel revealed on steam last night that nearly $120m has been gambled using his affiliate codes with his betting partner Stake.com, stating that $119m has gone through his affiliate link with Stake so far. This news comes at a time when the streamer is under fire for returning to gambling streams, having previously sworn off them in what he claimed was a decision driven by his principles.
What is perhaps more concerning is the flippant attitude to the figure. When asked about how much had been gambled using his code, he told his chat the $119m wasn’t "that crazy", before telling them, “Guys that’s wagered…it means putting it in…but it always comes back somehow”.
For those who aren’t familiar, affiliate links are essentially specific URLs that contain the affiliate's ID or username. In affiliate programs, companies use affiliate links to record the traffic that is sent to the advertiser's website via that particular source, meaning Stake are able to see every customer that comes their way via xQc’s stream, and how much is spent by said users.
It’s hard to know exactly who watches xQc, but other sites estimate around 41% of Twitch users are aged between 16 and 24 years old. With xQc being one of the biggest streamers on Twitch his gambling has been highlighted more than the average, and his partners Stake.com are also viewed with suspicion by many in the space.
No meaningful age gate on Twitch
Some fairly ad-hoc Reddit research a few years back suggested one in three xQc viewers is aged between 15 and 17 years of age, and this would be no issue in an ecosystem that had checks and balances to protect minors. However, Twitch currently has no hard age gate on gambling content, allowing anyone to watch without verification, and the sites in question could definitely be doing more to prevent underage users being hooked in.
Stake.com, who xQc is partnered with, have previously faced criticism for not requiring users to be age verified to use all of their services, and their crypto-focused model allows the customer to avoid banking regulations in many cases too. While Twitch do not profit directly from Stake’s work, they allow xQc to run sponsored streams and promote his affiliate deal, as well as benefiting from the extra viewers coming to the site.
Whatever the long term solution to the issue, it’s clear that Stake’s relationship with xQc is very beneficial to the company even if they are giving creators millions to gamble for free a month, with $119m already gambled through his affiliate link alone. As long as that level of success is attainable, and Twitch allows it to continue, there is no motivation for Stake to clean up their act, with xQc seemingly fully committed already.