While streamers threaten a boycott, Twitch takes action on some gambling content

Zoom in / Gambling-focused streams like this one will see more restrictions from Twitch in the coming weeks.

Amazon Twitch-owned streaming platform announced late Tuesday that in the coming weeks it will start cracking down on streams promoting certain types of gambling sites. The move comes after a number of prominent streamers publicly mulled a “Twitch blackout” to protest what they see as Twitch’s implicit promotion of malicious and addictive gaming behavior. Gambling concern among some streamers became relevant again this week thanks in part to Sliker, a rather prominent streamer who admitted in a stream last weekend of a serious gambling addiction on the outcome of. CS: GO matches. Regular readers will recognize the kind of gambling that Valve and other streamers have struggled with for years.
Sliker says he solicited at least $ 200,000 in donations from other streamers and viewers with false pretensions, using the money to fund his gambling habit rather than to help with an alleged temporary cash flow problem. “I don’t know what to say to the people I borrowed from,” Sliker said in his stream of confessions. “This is the epitome of gambling. I mean don’t touch it.”

Following that controversy, leading streamers Imane “Pokimane” Anys, Matthew “Mizkif” Rinaudo, and Devin Nash began discussing what they saw as Twitch’s gambling problem as part of a long joint stream.

Nash has been an outspoken critic of Twitch’s lack of action regarding gambling on the e recently discussed how he left Twitch months ago on the matter. “Gambling is bad for young Twitch users, bad for legitimate advertisers, and reduces the quality of the entire site,” he wrote. “Legitimate advertisers don’t want their ads running alongside online casino ads. They don’t want to support gambling advertising to children. This decision is costing Twitch cultural fairness and real revenue.”

In Sunday’s joint stream, Nash read a comment from a viewer suggesting that a number of streamers with a large viewer base should team up to threaten “a week-long strike at Christmas” unless Twitch makes a “concession on. gamble”. Rinaudo immediately replied that he “would do it in a minute”, leading Nash to add that he thought it “would work quite well”.

“If there are streamers who aren’t willing to do it [strike]then they’re not willing to put their money where their mouth is, “added Anys.” If you really think gambling is that bad, you should be willing to take a week off. ”

An ongoing issue

Fast forward to Tuesday, when Twitch responded with a tweeted “gambling update on TwitchUnder the new rules taking effect October 18, Twitch said it will ban all streaming of “gambling sites that include slots, roulette, or dice games” unless authorized “in the United States. or in other jurisdictions that provide sufficient consumer protection. ”

“We all did it,” Anys tweeted after Twitch’s announcement on Tuesday. “Public pressure, tweets, awareness, everything counts.”

If you really think gambling is that bad, you should be willing to take a week off.

Imane ‘Pokimane’ Anys

Although Twitch promised more details on the policy in the coming weeks, it made it clear that “websites focusing on sports betting, fantasy sports, and poker” would not be included in its gambling restrictions. This is an exception that seems to upset prominent gambling-based streamers like Tyler “Trainwrecks” Niknam, one of the most popular personalities on the platform.

“To be clear, people who look for slots as a scapegoat, [blackjack] & roulette and don’t blame the individual, they are the real problem, “Niknam tweeted on Sunday. “Also, Sliker was a sports betting junkie, the only kind of game that is normalized …”

Many gambling-focused streamers hide or minimize their streaming gaming losses or urge their viewers to take advantage of gambling sites’ promotional offers (something that is already partially limited by Twitch). But Niknam seems to take the trouble to highlight how these games are designed to give the house an edge and drain players’ money. “THIS IS NOT THE REALITY OF THE GAME, YOU WILL LOSE”, Niknam he wrote in a recent tweet with a clip of a $ 2.25 million roulette win alongside Drake. “Gambling is losing, not playing” she writes in his Instagram biography.

But Niknam is also facing some controversy for allegedly sending Twitch employees tens of thousands of dollars in cryptocurrency during a stream of freebies, a move that some see as a reward for protecting his position on the platform. In response to a request for comment from Ars, Twitch noted that the employees involved in that giveaway “are no longer Twitch employees and haven’t been for a long time.”

Niknam did not respond to a request for comment from Ars Technica, but in a recent stream he said he “did it live in front of 60,000 people. If there was a conspiracy, there would be hidden DMs of me … it was a joke. fun .”

Whatever final rules Twitch decides regarding gambling on the platform, it seems unlikely that this problem will go away anytime soon. Gambling streamers seem like too big of a part of Twitch for the company to ban them entirely. On the other hand, the platform now appears to be taking serious reputational damage among some viewers and streamers due to its gambling links. As sports broadcasters have recently discovered, it can be difficult to walk a tightrope.

(Ashley Belanger contributed to this report)

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