Hikaru Nakamura fans angry over Kick streams, here’s why

hikaru nakamura playing chess

Chess grandmaster and streamer Hikaru Nakamura is under fire after promoting a gambling site, dredging up discussion about the nature of streaming on Kick.

A post in r/Chess regarding Hikaru Nakamura promoting a gambling site on social media, and even streaming himself gambling on Kick, has blown up. This has sparked a conversation about whether Nakamura is being greedy or if he’s really in need of the money. Redditors have also mentioned that they feel like Hikaru doesn’t care about his audience and that streaming gambling is a way to cash in on them.

On the other hand, other Redditors are raising the fact that streaming predominantly caters to younger audiences. They say showing this kind of content to them might push them towards gambling addiction, despite warnings.

Anti-gambling sentiment arrives in chess streaming after Hikaru Nakamura sponsorship

There has been a concerted pushback against gambling sponsorships in chess, similar to those seen in sports.

Many say they are tired of seeing chess players try to incorporate gambling or dubious sponsorships into chess. This has specifically led to criticism of top-rated chess player Magnus Carlsen and Nakamura. Nakamura’s not new to this form of gaming, however. He tried his hand at competitive poker in 2012 and streams poker on occasion.

Another prominent chess player, Levy “GothamChess” Rozman, has also gotten flak for being sponsored by a cryptocurrency company. He has since decided not to renew the sponsorship due to the backlash he received.

Hikaru Nakamura’s posts and streams are directly attached to Stake, a crypto gambling website that has close ownership ties with streaming platform Kick. Kick has been temporarily banned in some countries based on this. Streamers have also stated that partnerships with Kick contractually require gambling. This has been a significant point of contention regarding Kick and its place in the social media landscape.

Do gambling sites sponsor any other chess players?

Gambling sites sponsor chess players and competitors across a variety of competitions.

Magnus Carlsen is sponsored by a prominent sports betting and casino gambling similar to the website Hikaru Nakamura is promoting. These sponsorships aren’t uncommon globally in the sports world and in the United States, gambling entities have planted flags into almost every major sports team. According to health institutions like the American Psychological Association, gambling can be addictive, which has led to pushback against the creeping normalization of betting in sports. This generally hasn’t worked due to the nature of the sponsorship contracts and the significant amounts of money involved.

Chess’ growing popularity and distinct demographic from traditional sports makes it fertile ground for these partnerships.

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Written by Cedric Pabriga

Cedric Pabriga is a freelance writer who mostly covers fighting games, RPGs, and gaming industry news. If he's not working online, he's either playing games with his friends or listening to music. Sometimes both. His work has been seen at IGN, Dot Esports, and You can follow him on all socials, including Twitter / X, at @IchikaRika.

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