The Rise and Fall of Gambling in Twitch Streaming

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The Rise of Gambling in Twitch Streaming

Twitch is a live streaming platform that has seen great success in recent years. The site averages over 30 million daily active visitors with over 2.5 million people watching live streams at any given time. 

The mass appeal comes from the fact that it is free to watch, and streams can be viewed on a wide range of mobile, computer and gaming devices. Viewers can search categories or games that they are interested in and interact in real time with the streamer that they are watching. Streaming content started out predominantly in the online gaming realm but has since evolved to showcase unique and creative skills such as painting, model building, and embroidery. Many tune in to enjoy the community spirit that the streamer creates. 

Twitch as a platform grew rapidly when the lockdowns were imposed, and online gambling streams seemed to be one the favourites within that expansion. Just recently, the Slots category was ranked in the top ten most watched live streams. This content sees the broadcaster live streaming their bets on their favourite casino games.

Streaming Online Casino Games on Twitch

There are a collective 1.1 million users that follow the Slots category alone, with most viewers watching on weekdays to see if their favourite content creator will hit a jackpot. The attraction is about experiencing the excitement of gambling, with an entertainer who is narrating and responding to the experience in a distinctive and usually over-the-top way. Many of the streamers integrate comments from their viewers into their decisions about how much to place on bets and which games to play. Slots seems to be more readily watched that any other gambling medium, as it does not require prior knowledge of the game in order to join in on the fun! 

Not only do viewers seem to become excited about the big wins that many streamers receive; they also seem to be enthralled by big losses. There is encouragement for streamers to continue to bet big regardless of the potential failures. It seems that big stakes, high emotions, and even bigger reactions are what keeps viewers interested. 

The audience are drawn in with high stakes bets that start from $1,000, and slowly increase their bets throughout the stream. The increase in win to loss ratio supports the growing length of streaming time in a single sitting. One content creator notably took a huge Live Blackjack loss of over $1,000,000, and another had a giant jackpot win of a staggering $4,718,280! 

The Fall of Gambling in Twitch Streaming 

There has been a growing concern that people are gambling large quantities and going beyond their means in pursuit of clicks. In July 2021, Twitch had also shown concern that the streams were reaching the wrong demographics and were not being broadcasted in a responsible way. 

After Twitch’s initial deep dive into the growing population of gambling streamers, they concluded that as of August 2021, streamers could no longer advertise their gamble referral codes or links to online sites, as it encourages unhealthy habits. Additionally, due to the underage viewership that can be found on the platform, many took the step to label their streams as 18+. Twitch assured that they aware of the issue and were taking precautions to continually ensure that no danger is occurring within or encouraged by their streams. 

After largescale pushback from some of the top creators, Twitch made the decision to ban many facets of online gambling on their platform altogether. After a statement was released on their social media, new parameters were set in place. This ensured that efforts to reduce unhealthy behaviours were being heard. Their new policy will be put into place on October 18th 2022, which prohibits streaming of online slot, roulette or dice games that are not licensed in the U.S or other jurisdictions that provide adequate customer protection. 

The new update is still being questioned, as some streamers are calling for gambling to be banned completely on the site. Others, however, are continuing to put stringent labels on their channel to maintain their streams as they are. Twitch has stated that it will still allow streaming content that focuses on sports betting, fantasy sports, as well as poker. It has still left some questions as to what is and is not allowed on the site, but Twitch has named particular unlicensed sites that are harmful.

Earning Money from Online Gambling Streaming

The viewership has been continuing to grow regardless of the constant updates, with some streamers being live for up to five hours a day. The more streaming content that is produced (both in length of stream, and number of streams made) can generate an accumulation of extremely high overall views. One French-Canadian broadcaster has amassed a total of 1.2 billion total views on their channel. 

Watching Twitch streams are free, however there are other ways in which streamers make money from the platform. If you like a content creator, you can subscribe to their channel or send a donation throughout the durations of their stream. The biggest earner, however, seems to come from sponsorships and affiliations. Many companies choose to partner with streamers who will integrate their games or features, as an alternative way of promotion.  Twitch’s newest revision has placed restrictions on this stream of revenue, particularly with respect to unlicensed third-party websites. The everchanging updates create uncertainty for those who generate income this way, but Twitch’s decision to prioritise harm prevention for its viewership, seems to be the best choice for the future of the platform.

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