For many months, the Twitch community has been calling for change regarding the growth of gambling streams and the harm they could cause.
As prominent streamers and users have worried about the impact of gambling streams on younger viewers and those at risk, new information has caused Twitch to act.
New Rules By Twitch
In a sudden announcement via their Twitter account on the 19th of September, Twitch dropped the ban hammer on gambling streams and laid down new rules for users.
An update on gambling on Twitch. pic.twitter.com/lckNTY9Edo
— Twitch (@Twitch) September 20, 2022
The streaming platform acknowledged that gambling content has been up for discussion over recent months and that they now have plans in the pipeline. The platform will be prohibiting the following starting from the 18th of October 2022.
- Sharing links or referral codes will no longer be allowed.
- Sites that offer slots, roulette, or dice games will be prohibited.
- Sites that aren’t licensed in the US (or other regions that provide “sufficient consumer protection”) cannot be streamed on the platform.
- Specific sites banned from Twitch include Stake.com, Rollbit.com, Duelbits.com, and Roobet.com. All of these sites are licensed in Curacao.
Twitch has stated that sites which focus on sports betting, fantasy sports, and poker will still be welcome on the platform. The streaming site also plans to release more specific updates on its new gambling policy soon.
As Twitch targets games of chance and gives skill-based games a thumbs up, there is much to be said about the fact that all forms of gambling could be addictive. This is why many well-known streamers actively inform viewers not to gamble and that losing money is a real risk.
Sudden Change or Forced by the Community?
To some, this policy change by Twitch may seem to be a sudden decision that doesn’t make much sense – especially as there are streamers who attract hundreds of thousands of viewers with gambling content.
However, the real deciding factor on the policy change appears to have been spurred by the shocking news that dropped only the day before the big announcement. Nick Sliker, a prominent Twitch streamer, appears to have scammed viewers and fellow streamers out of approximately $300,000 to support his sports betting gambling habit.
Sliker appealed to Twitch users and friends by stating that his bank account had been blocked and that a loan needed to be covered. He received cash donations and loans to cover his “financial situation,” but it appears it was all a ruse. Even big names in the industry, such as Trainwreckstv, gave $45,000 to Sliker to help him in his time of need.
Now screenshots, videos, and DMs have revealed that Sliker was using the funds he received to gamble on sports and purchase loot boxes on video games. After the scam was blown open on social media, Sliker admitted to the accusations via a stream on his Twitch channel and promised that he would “try to enter rehab.”
It’s on the back of this bombshell that Twitch finally decided to change its stance on gambling.
It’s no secret that streamers such as Pokimane, Mizkif, and Devin Nash have long stood against gambling being streamed via the platform. In fact, they are the forerunners of the #TwitchStopGambling hashtag.
But there are also those who stream casino games on their platform daily who are in support of the changes Twitch is implementing.
Trainwreckstv responded to the update and Sliker drama stating that games such as slots, blackjack, and roulette should not be held accountable – but rather the individual at fault. He also stated that the problem, in this case, lies with sports betting, yet this is being normalised by Twitch. While he doesn’t support this aspect of the changes, he did share his feelings on who should be banned when breaking the rules.
WITH THAT SAID, the STREAMERS & VIEWERS who sell a false reality should be banned, people who gate keep giveaways through codes that require you to gamble should be banned, people who hide all losses and only show wins should be banned, things like this are predatory
— Trainwreck (@Trainwreckstv) September 18, 2022
This is a particularly interesting time for Trainwreck as he worked closely with Stake.com and received a lot of money from the online casino for his streams. However, Trainwreck is very wealthy and probably won’t be too worried about needing to put his slot streaming days behind him.
Before the policy update was posted, another streamer called on Twitch to make the necessary changes required. LudwigAhgren stated that he will be working with fellow Twitch gamer xQc, to help pay back everyone who was scammed by Sliker.
I’m working with @xQc to pay everyone back who got scammed by sliker
It’s time @Twitch does something about gambling streams
— ludwig (@LudwigAhgren) September 18, 2022
Where to from here?
Many are starting to wonder what this news will lead to from here on out. Will streamers start to migrate to YouTube to continue gambling live? While YouTube has randomly banned users from live streaming games of chance, it’s still one of the most popular platforms for those who enjoy watching online slots being played.
Earlier in 2022, users started to have their YouTube accounts banned for featuring gambling content without any prior notice. When questioning the bans, they were told that “YouTube doesn’t allow content that encourages or promotes violent or dangerous acts that have an inherent risk of serious physical harm or death. For example, it’s not okay to post videos showing drug abuse, underage drinking, and smoking, or bomb making.” However, gambling content doesn’t fall into any of these categories, and YouTube’s code of conduct does not prohibit real money gambling content.
It remains to be seen if YouTube will use this move by Twitch to update their own policies or welcome streamers who are jumping ship.
While the official policy update has not yet been released, there is also the question of which casinos will be allowed on Twitch. Will users be banned for simply browsing an online casino while live streaming? Can casinos that are licensed in the US or other supported regions sponsor players?
Not much more is known just yet but what’s clear is that streamers will have to tread carefully going forward or risk losing it all.
Or perhaps LudwigAhgren’s tweet says it best:
this week on twitch pic.twitter.com/lMZ94CnvHh
— ludwig (@LudwigAhgren) September 20, 2022