TikTok logo on a smartphone

Well, it was certainly creative

A man who ran a TikTok gambling “service” in Minnesota has been arrested seven months after authorities uncovered his scheme. 40-year-old Blake Fitzgerald has been charged with three counts of running an illegal gambling operation.

It is really a wonder why he wasn’t caught earlier and, frankly, why it took so long to charge him with anything, as there is no way what he was doing was kosher.

The Minnesota Alcohol and Gambling Enforcement Division (AGED) began investigating Fitzgerald and his brother in January for what was admittedly a unique scheme. Fitzgerald allegedly charged his TikTok viewers an initial $5.99 subscription fee to his bookie service (to clarify: a subscription was voluntary). Subscribers could then send Fitzgerald money via electronic payment apps so that he could gamble for them.

He would then gamble at Mystic Lake Casino in Prior Lake and Treasure Island Resort & Casino outside of Red Wing, livestreaming himself on TikTok the entire time….using his subscribers’ money. The Star Tribune, which originally reported the story in January, did not know if his subscribers actually received their winnings, if there were any, though one would hope that Fitzgerald wasn’t just taking people’s money and gambling with it for entirely his own benefit.

I say “entirely” because this scheme was clearly for Fitzgerald’s benefit. Not only did it get him TikTok viewers, but he kept $25 out of every $100 a subscriber “deposited” with him. Not 25% of winnings or profits, 25% of the money they sent, right off the top.

Casinos eventually figured it out

Once the casinos caught on to what Fitzgerald was doing, they kicked him out. On January 12, he said in a TikTok video that he had been banned from Treasure Island and was already barred from Mystic Lake.

Representatives from both casinos said in January that live streaming in their facilities was ok, but gambling for others was not. Shakopee Mdewakanton Sioux Community Gaming Enterprise, operator of Mystic Lake, added that live streaming is restricted to “the guest and their own party.”

Fitzgerald did talk to the Star Tribune when his scheme was uncovered (by the authorities, that is, considering it was a public stream), saying that he only gambled with his own money. He claimed that any money given to him by viewers was just a donation, an appreciation for the entertainment. Those who watched the streams knew what he was really doing, though, especially considering he would ask specific viewers what gambling machines they wanted him to play for them.

One Comment

  1. Marie says:

    They are doing the same thing on Clapper. Tim Clermont who goes by HypnoAndOtter in the last 6 months received 1.5 million via cash app and Venmo for illegal gambling on slot machines at Win Star Casino.

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