GM Hikaru responds to chess community backlash over his Kick gambling streams

Michael Gwilliam
hikaru playing gambling games on stream

Professional chess player and Kick streamer GM Hikaru Nakamura is brushing off criticism after accusations of promoting gambling to young viewers.

GM Hikaru is one of the top chess players in the world, having placed third at the 2024 Candidates Tournament in April despite focusing heavily on his streaming content.

Following the tournament, Hikaru had his first-ever gaming stream on Kick, despite signing with the Stake-owned platform back in 2023 and leaving Twitch.

The gambling stream was instantly met with backlash, with members of the chess community accusing Hikaru of using his status in the chess world to promote gambling to children.

“They use crypto for gambling because it’s unregulated, making it much easier to exploit an underage audience,” one user blasted in a post on X. “This is gross and it is aimed at kids.”

“This is absolutely disgraceful. Screw Hikaru for promoting gambling,” slammed another. “I feel for the viewers who will end up getting sucked in to betting and end up essentially being the ones who pay for his sponsorship. It needs to go.”

Despite the backlash, Hikaru isn’t backing down, and claims that his gambling broadcasts are intended for adults.

After revealing his week’s stream schedule, the GM explained that he would be kicking off the week on April 29 with an “18+ ONLY casino stream.”

“If you don’t enjoy it, skip it, and I’ll see you back in the chess world. If you are an adult and enjoy some gamba, come visit!” he exclaimed.

Gambling has been a controversial topic in the streaming world after Twitch outright banned gambling sites, such as Stake, back in 2022. This resulted in the birth of Kick as a direct rival to Amazon’s streaming platform.

Hikaru’s decision to partake in sponsored gambling streams comes just weeks after he claimed that becoming world chess champion would be a minor achievement compared to what he’s accomplished through content creation.

He further noted that being a content creator makes him enjoy chess even more, joking that he’s “playing with house money” when he competes at tournaments because of how lucrative his streams have become.

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About The Author

Michael Gwilliam is a senior writer at Dexerto based in Ontario, Canada. He specializes in Overwatch, Smash, influencers, and Twitch culture. Gwilliam has written for sites across Canada including the Toronto Sun. You can contact him at or on Twitter @TheGwilliam