Online video game streaming has become extremely popular over the past decade, particularly amongst a younger audience, as they tune in to watch their favourite professional players compete and play in online games across a huge number of categories. The latest sees a growing amount of popularity being in those playing at an online casino, specifically with crypto slots. Many of these big streamers are pulling in tens of thousands of viewers per stream, and often streaming for over eight hours per day with gambling content being at the centre of what they’re playing. There has been a lot of backlash towards the streaming platform of Twitch, and their current indecision to act, could online streaming see a ban on gambling?
The current big argument is within the fact there’s no way to ensure your audience are suitable for watching the content. Whilst the streams can be and often are marked as 18+, there’s no verification which means a younger teen audience are being exposed to online gambling in a way deemed as fun – after all their favourite online influencers are playing them. But it has also exposed a big problem with this approach too, these players are gambling away tens or even hundreds of thousands of dollars in a single session, with one of the most notable players being Felix “xQc” Lengyel who recently had shown a screenshot that he had wagered over thirty million dollars in just a few weeks of playing, announcing that he would also be stepping away from gambling streams and sponsorships as he believe he was developing an addiction.
Many big names on the platform have since spoken out about the gambling issue, often voicing their support for a ban on the practice, but the decision ultimately resides with Twitch who have been heavily criticised in the past for inaction and typically not approaching change in the right way. Owned by Amazon, the streaming service does have to consider the potential future impact this may have on advertisers looking to enter the space which make up a huge part of the business model, and heavy gambling advertised to children will certainly lead to many pulling out of possible future deals if the current trend continues.
It is double edged, however, there are those who have built a reputation for playing responsibly over years of streaming on the platform, and there’s also often a grey area that some streamers will be likely to find to skirt the rules. This is something that had happened previously back in 2014, 2015, and 2016, with cosmetic item gambling in the big esports title of Counter-Strike: Global Offensive, so it’s by no means new water that Twitch are treading. An answer will need to be given sooner than later, but for now these gambling streams are enormous, and combining one of the most popular forms of gaming with one of the most popular forms of content sharing, there was always bound to be a negative overlap along the way.
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