Decoding Twitch’s ban on gambling: Insights for streamers

By William Davis

|

Sep 21, 2023

Reading time: 5 min

On September 20th, the rumors swirling about a potential Twitch gambling ban were confirmed by Twitch itself—a cheap joke, given the circumstances. Although most users of the popular video streaming platform favored by gamers won’t feel the impact of this ban, some will be affected, especially those who earn money by sharing their gambling experiences.

What has Twitch banned?

The announcement of Twitch’s gambling ban sparked global headlines, many slightly misleading due to sensational journalism tendencies. On September 20th, various interpretations of the ban’s coverage circulated online. Gambling news sources misunderstood Twitter’s crackdown on unlicensed content, confusing the details.

It’s important to clarify that this isn’t an all-encompassing gambling ban imposed by Twitch, despite what some have wrongly claimed. The company targets content featuring illegal games like slots, dice, or roulette without U.S. or other consumer protection. In simpler terms, it’s not a complete prohibition of all gambling-related content across the site. In essence, streamers using the best gambling sites held in high regard by both the community and Twitch were left alone and allowed to be used as streaming content.

Twitch changed its policy terms on October 18th. This adjustment aims to target users promoting unlicensed gambling sites. It’s a measure intended to safeguard the streamers on the platform. This new policy update won’t impact websites that revolve around sports betting, fantasy sites, and poker. However, this could change in the future.

It’s crucial to note that Twitch maintains the right to remove any channel at its discretion. It could take strict action against specific sites, especially those offering referral codes and links to casinos promoting slot machines and casino games.

Why did Twitch disallow unauthorized gambling content?

The relationship between online gambling and Twitch hasn’t always been smooth sailing. Over the years, disagreements and conflicts have been sparked by specific “influencers” on the platform. However, the recent gambling ban on Twitch seems to have roots in one particular major controversy that caused a significant uproar among users.

The catalyst for this ban can likely be linked to a particular incident involving a streamer named ItsSliker, who was previously associated with Team Liquid. ItsSliker had been soliciting donations from his friends and followers, claiming that his bank account had been frozen. However, it later came to light that his story could have been more truthful.

It's Sliker

Reddit’s Livestream Fail subreddit revealed compelling evidence of his actions, suggesting that he had received donations and loans totaling between $200,000 and $300,000. Another Twitch streamer, Trainwrecks, reportedly lent ItsSliker $100,000.

Unsurprisingly, this revelation led to a substantial backlash, with users demanding explanations. Although Twitch had previously taken action against gambling content, this specific incident seemed to be a tipping point, resulting in the ban as we know it today.

Who is affected by the ban on gambling on Twitch?

Earlier, I mentioned the extent to which the Twitch gambling ban would have an impact. Twitch’s statement on Twitter implies that anyone involved in any form of betting should pay attention. However, the main focus of the Twitch online gambling ban is to target and eliminate connections with sites that lack licensing in the United States or other reputable jurisdictions.

Many of these unlicensed gambling sites have partnerships with influential streamers, especially those with a significant following. As a result, influencers who disregard these rules will face the termination of their accounts. The policy outlines clearly what behaviors to avoid, which should guide streamers on the platform. Additionally, Twitch has stated that they will provide “specifics” and the “full policy language” to ensure everyone is on the same page.

In an ideal scenario, that would be how things work out. However, certain accounts might get closed down for reasons that might not seem to violate policy requirements directly.

Other websites that have adopted an anti-gambling position

In May 2018, YouTube surprised many by banning several prominent accounts that featured content related to gambling. This move sent shockwaves through the industry, leaving some YouTubers puzzled due to the company’s lack of a clear explanation. Many received a generic message that lacked specific details or context.

While the Twitch gambling ban has been more straightforward, YouTube’s approach to closing some creators’ accounts involved unusual messages. A respected influencer’s Brian Christopher Slots channel was deleted due to YouTube’s ban on content promoting violent or dangerous acts, such as bomb-making, underage drinking, drug abuse, or smoking. However, this raises eyebrows and concerns about the platform’s safety measures.

Twitch

Christopher Mims’ channel was reinstated after being closed due to aggressive algorithms and employees. The situation was resolved when Mims informed his followers. Apart from YouTube, this is the only major platform that has taken similar actions. However, this makes the Twitch ban on unlicensed gambling content something worth keeping an eye on.

Platforms like Twitter, Facebook, and Reddit tend to have lenient attitudes towards gambling advertisements and practices, including newer forms like crypto gambling sites and games. TikTok stands out as a significant player in the social media industry, enforcing strict rules against promoting gambling content in the United States. In 2021, the platform deleted 11 million accounts, many focused on betting-related content.

Implications for future online gambling

The Twitch gambling ban might set a precedent for other platforms, although not many sites have a streaming function like Twitch. Thanks to these developments, it kickstarted the new platform Kick, which allows gambling. This saw the transfer of many well-known streamers (like xQc joining Kick for $100 million) to the new platform. However, this did not end gambling potential streaming on Twitch. With an average of 140 million monthly active users in 2022, the only platforms that rival Twitch’s streaming capabilities are YouTube, Facebook, and TikTok, while Kick lacks behind all.

Considering the growing significance of online gambling, the loss of gambling-related content on Twitch might not be a significant setback. TikTok’s strict stance on gambling in the U.S. is widely known. YouTube and Facebook used to be more dominant than they were, which makes it unlikely that they would actively discourage creators from using their platforms. Kick is still in its infancy and yet to be developed as a major player.

Furthermore, this Twitch ban specifically targets unlicensed sites with questionable reputations. So watch out if you gamble.

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