Hamster Race Betting Is Now a Thing
In sports betting, there’s a market for almost any sport. But when you add cryptocurrency betting and streaming platforms into the mix, the outcome was always going to be something like hamster racing (AI- generated photo pictured).
Betting on the cute little rodents in seemingly safe looking and unprompted races has emerged as the latest interesting betting innovation on live streaming platform Twitch.
The blockchain-based platform Hamsters.gg has gathered thousands of stream viewers a day since launching two weeks ago. The concept is simple – real-time hamster races with real bets handled by its own proprietary crypto, HAMS, or through established coins like Tether and ethereum.
Each hamster is placed at one end of a tube, with a finish line at the other. That’s it. There’s no carrot or stick, so sometimes races end in no winner. Despite that, it has proved popular, with thousands tuning in to watch each race every couple of hours.
Proprietary Crypto Token
The platform has its own token, HAMS, which has skyrocketed to over $6 million in capitalization nearly overnight. The platform takes a 5% cut of all bets, with 4% distributed to HAMS token holders. The ethereum-based HAMS exchanged hands for 60 cents at the time of writing, a nearly 1,000% increase compared to the previous day.
The platform’s star hamsters, such as “Rocky” and “Buster,” have already drawn bets of up to $500 per race. One Twitter user pointed out a hamster, CK, with an 8 to 326 losing record.
Some viewers even attempt to apply mathematical strategies to their betting, asking for stats and weight classes of the hamsters.
Each bet and race are linked to a blockchain contract, so the results are so-called “provably fair.”
However, this new trend is not without controversy.
The rise of such betting platforms and memecoins has raised concerns among some observers, given the volatile nature of these ventures. Many of these platforms and tokens do not last beyond a few weeks, and their value can fall off suddenly and often without warning.
Risky Meme Venture, or Sustainable Hamster Ecosystem?
The crypto community’s latest weird and wonderful venture is indicative of the sector’s penchant for novelty and risk. Crypto traders are known for jumping on unique gambling platforms and memecoins, especially when traditional markets like bitcoin remain flat.
The rise of tokens such as Dogecoin and shiba inu, which jumped to tens of billions in market capitalization in the previous bull market, has further fueled this trend.
One Twitter user, @RealJonahBlake, went into a detailed investigation of the Hamsters.gg operation with a seven-minute video breakdown of what he found.
He confirmed, to the best of his knowledge, that the hamsters were being treated well, with no animal cruelty involved.
“These hamsters are well taken care of,” Blake said. “I have no idea, I have no proof of this. But if I thought they were actually in danger, I wouldn’t even consider making this video.”
Twitch, however, has yet to comment on the issue. The streaming platform, which currently hosts Hamster.gg races, has enacted a heavy handed crackdown on gambling streams over the past year.
It is interesting that Hamsters.gg chose to use them over the more libertarian-minded Kick, a streaming platform owned by gambling operator Stake.com.
It remains to be seen what the true legality of hamster racing is, where the operation is based, and what Twitch officially thinks of it.
Despite these concerns, the popularity of hamster race betting could easily grow in the short term.
The crypto community has an appetite for novelty and high-risk, high-reward opportunities, and when combined with the cuteness of the hamsters and the added gambling incentive – it’s not hard to see why the operation has attracted interest.
Meanwhile, the developers of Hamsters.gg have expressed their commitment to the long-term development and scalability of the platform. They say they have been working on the project for over three months, with the aim of building a sustainable operation.