Twitch Plans to Crack Down on Gambling Livestreams amid Backlash
The backlash against gambling livestreams on Twitch has led the company to take action. Initially, the conversation started as a matter of personal drama between streamers. Twitch has now promised to remove gambling domains from its platform. However, some of the streamers are worried that this move will damage their livelihood.
Amazon-owned live-streaming site Twitch is considering cracking down on gambling livestreams amid a backlash from users. The website attracts 31 million daily visitors and is led by Jeff Bezos, the owner of the Washington Post. The company has long turned a blind eye to gambling livestreams, but the backlash has caused some to question its morality. Almost 75 percent of Twitch’s users are between 16-34 years old, and it’s estimated that 6 to 9 percent of young people struggle with gambling, compared to one percent of adults.
Many streamers have expressed their discomfort with gambling’s prominent place on Twitch and argue that viewers will see their broadcasts as a way into real-money gambling. Additionally, many viewers are familiar with the gambling-like mechanics of video games.
Backlash against gambling livestreams
A recent report by Bloomberg cites Twitch viewers losing tens of thousands of dollars playing gambling games on its site. Despite this, the streaming site has resisted cracking down on gambling livestreams. In an interview with Bloomberg, Twitch execs said they are taking a “deep look” at the problem.
While the new policy update sounds like a ban, there are many reasons why the ban could be difficult to enforce. The first reason is the normalization of gambling in the US, where gambling-like mechanics are prevalent in popular video games. Furthermore, Twitch’s parent company, Amazon, has made inroads into the gambling industry by partnering with sports betting site DraftKings.
Changes in licensing
The recent backlash against Twitch’s livestreams of online gambling has caused the site to take more aggressive measures against the activity. While the company promised to ban gambling domains, the problem isn’t going away, and it is planning to further crack down on the practice. As a result, gambling livestreams will no longer be allowed on the platform.
The backlash against gambling livestreams is largely related to a recent scandal involving one of the site’s top streamers. ItsSliker was accused of misleading Twitch figures into loaning him large sums of money. In the wake of the scandal, he reportedly locked up his bank account.
Impact on streamers’ livelihoods
The crackdown on gambling livestreams has already had a negative impact on Twitch streamers, who rely on advertising and skin giveaways to attract an audience. Twitch’s community guidelines don’t explicitly mention illegal gambling, but they do require users to disclose paid endorsements and advertising.
Many high-profile Twitch stars have called for bans on gambling livestreams, saying they encourage gambling addiction and attract young viewers. Two such streamers, Matthew Rinaudo and Pokimane Anys, combined for a combined following of over 11.3 million fans, have threatened to boycott Twitch unless the company rethinks its policies.