A court in Berlin has issued German YouTuber Ron Bielecki with a penalty order that includes a fine of €480,000 for illegal gambling and advertising.
The Berlin public prosecutor’s office has come to the conclusion that a YouTuber “from October 2021 to May 2022 took part in illegal games of chance at online casinos 51 times” and “at least 37 times he also advertised them on the channels he operated”.
While the court did not mention his name, German newspaper WirtschaftsWoche identified the content creator as Ron Bielecki.
The penalty order is not final, and according to the newspaper, Bielecki has appealed the decision.
Since Germany began to investigate influencer marketing, the industry has wondered whether Bielecki’s case could set a significant precedent.
Not licensed in Germany
Bielecki published several videos on how he gambled away thousands of euros while playing at online casinos, including crypto casino Stake.com.
Several of these clips are labelled as “advertising” or “promotion”.
However, Stake is licensed in Curaçao and has no authorisation to offer gambling in Germany. It is therefore is not permitted to advertise its services to German consumers.
The court stated that despite being alerted by the state administration office of Saxony-Anhalt that his actions constituted criminal offences, Bielecki persisted.
The state administration office was in charge of overseeing the sector before Germany’s new gambling regulator, the GGL, started its operations in July 2022.
Bragging about his income
The court set a daily fine of €4,000 for 120 days, which is based on the accused’s assets and income as estimated by the authorities.
The court cited the accused’s own declarations on social media about his income, including his role as a brand ambassador for an erotic fair in 2022, as the basis for the decision.
Bielecki had repeatedly stated publicly how rich he was and claimed to earn €300,000 per year.
He rose to prominence on social media with a ritual he calls “igniting the tornado”, whereby he turns a bottle in circles several times and then drinks the contents in one gulp.
He has 129,000 followers on Twitch, where he continues to post slot streams.
His latest video featuring a Curaçao-based operator was posted just three days ago.