Expert Social Casino Writer
One would-be criminal mastermind thought he’d discovered a new way to profit from restrictive gambling laws in some states. He set up his own business playing slot machine games at land-based casinos on their behalf - using social media platforms to enable him to act as a human ‘Spin’ button.
The laws regarding online casino games are a real mixed bag across the various states, but there are plenty of retail opportunities in Minnesota. Not everyone can afford the airfare though, which is where Blake Carl Fitzgerald comes into the story. This 40-year old North Star State resident set up a TikTok account in which his subscribers could pay to watch him play the slot machines.
According to Bring Me The News, an online media resource for the state of Minnesota, Fitzgerald is now facing up to three years in jail in addition to fines amounting to thousands of dollars. And yet it must have all seemed so easy when he first came up with the plan, which aimed to tap into the players’ love of slots.
Together with an unnamed accomplice, Fitzgerald visited the slot machines at Treasure Island Resort & Casino and Mystic Lake Casino Hotel. He is alleged to have had over 100 ‘subscribers’, each of them paying $5.99 for the chance to view the live streams. Participants would join him on a private Discord channel to take part in actual slots gaming, selecting their preferred games which Fitzgerald would play on their behalf.
Throughout October - December 2022, Fitzgerald is reported to have received CashApp and Venmo payments totalling $65,103.50. He referred to them as ‘donations’, retaining half of any winnings he claimed on behalf of his ‘subscribers’. Even during his trial Fitzgerald was keen to stress that he repaid any funds he didn’t have time to wager - it’s not known whether the judge will take that into consideration when sentencing him for three gross demeanor counts of running illegal gambling operations,
The fact that Fitzgerald was able to collect such large sums of money from complete strangers on TikTok shows what a huge appetite there is for playing slot machine games. Players willingly made payments to someone they’d met online for the chance to spin up slot reels, even knowing that they might never get to see any of their winnings.
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The lack of knowledge of sweepstake casino gameplay proved to be to Fitzgerald’s advantage - at least for a few months. But unless you happen to be a resident of Washington, where particularly strict sweepstake rules apply, free slots gameplay is widely available just about everywhere across the US.
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Players must be 21 years of age or older or reach the minimum age for gambling in their respective state and located in jurisdictions where online gambling is legal. Please play responsibly. Bet with your head, not over it. If you or someone you know has a gambling problem, and wants help, call or visit: (a) the Council on Compulsive Gambling of New Jersey at 1-800-Gambler or www.800gambler.org; or (b) Gamblers Anonymous at 855-2-CALL-GA or www.gamblersanonymous.org.
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