How casinos abused Twitch to build a billion-dollar business

Kenneth Williams • November 18, 2022 11:31 pm

On September 21, 2022, Twitch announced it was banning “gambling sites that include slots, roulette, or dice games” in a policy that became effective on October 18.

Before this change, Twitch streamers affiliated with the casino industry sometimes received sponsorship money to gamble like regular players, who receive a very different welcome bonus for signing up with a casino. These gambling influencers have the job of entertaining and promoting online gambling to their audience.

Informed fans now know that Twitch streamers were not gambling with their own funds, but were using no deposit bonuses which allow them to play forever with no risk. Here’s what sparked the relationships between the two groups and why it made such a massive impact.

Why did Twitch ban gambling sponsorships?

The announcement released by Twitch in September revealed that it was not banning all gambling, nor all forms of streaming related to gambling. It would still facilitate sports betting, fantasy sports, and poker streamers while disallowing slots, roulette, and dice if the websites streamed weren’t licensed in the United States.

The interactive livestreaming service also pointed out four specific sites for the ban. Stake.com, Rollbit.com, Duelbits.com, and Roobet.com were explicitly banned for not providing sufficient consumer protection. Stake.com is one of the most popular slot gambling sites and has been a frequent feature of popular streamers. Felix”xQc”  Lengyel and Tyler “Trainwreckstv” Niknam frequently promoted and featured Stake on their streams.

xQc Adept

Gambling on Twitch has been at the center of much-talked-about controversy as rich streamers took sponsorships to promote their services, most notably to minors. Some of these streamers have been accused of swindling hundreds of thousands of dollars from fellow streamers and even fostering gambling addictions.

Streamers admit to gambling sponsorship

The no deposit bonuses these streamers were using were none other than gambling sponsorships in disguise. Streamer xQc admitted on stream to generating a total of $119 million for Stake.com, his gambling sponsor. xQc also confessed to being a gambling addict and stated that he saw this as a way of earning money to fuel his addiction.

Another big Twitch streamer, Trainwreck, also stated that he was an addict and had struck partnerships with gambling platforms. Mizkif, a third streamer, claimed that gambling companies were even willing to fork out up to $10 million per partnership. 

xQc was previously an Overwatch player and active variety streamer, but he temporarily devoted his entire stream schedule to gambling. The move was heavily criticized by fans who accused him of “selling out”. He retorted by saying that he wanted to continue doing what he loved, gambling, and that being held to such unrealistic standards was unfair. Anyone with a passion for gambling would do the same given the chance.

The gambling community reacts to Twitch’s rule changes

Livespins CEO Chris Scicluna and Square in the Air account manager Aidan Cliff were asked to weigh in on Twitch’s latest announcement. 

Scicluna and Cliff both agreed that this was a move in the right direction and will give more credibility to an industry that hasn’t enjoyed much of it in recent years. In addition, it will act as a guarantee for further protection for punters. 

“Our streamers are recruited by us, vetted, and trained for months on content and responsible gambling. We ensure moderators 24/7 making sure we are building a healthy community,” said Scicluna.

“I hope the streaming community as a whole agrees with me here. In general, this is a very good thing and will ensure they have a stable career for them in the long term. It will be a shock for many, but for those streamers that are successful, they will soon realize that it’s their content that made them successful and can be made available in environments that also protect the players and create a more sustainable experience,” he added.

When asked about Twitch’s new gambling rules, Cliff was also optimistic about the change.

“These new rules are going to allow streamers who play by the rules, set out by jurisdictions and governing bodies, to enjoy a rise in viewers and allow us to promote our client’s games responsibly while streamers maintain the duty of care expected of their viewership,” he said.

Restricting the promotion of unlicensed gambling operations can only help to build credibility amongst audiences and the streaming community.  It would also make the process of promoting the services easier, as the current system would be streamlined to a new standard.

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