On the surface, it may seem as if casino streaming is thriving. In reality, it’s under serious threat from regulatory authorities across Europe who are becoming less tolerant towards aggressive marketing strategies. In the UK, as well as the recently regulated Swedish market, gambling commercials on TV and on social media are currently under heavy scrutiny, deemed far too intrusive and harmful in the eye of the public.
In Sweden, Ardalan Shekarabi, Minister for Consumer Affairs, called for the Swedish Gambling Authority to look into the matter, while at the same time giving operators a chance to self regulate its marketing campaigns. If not accomplished by the end of March, the industry could be facing a total ban on advertising according to statements made by Mr Shekarabi.
In the UK, more direct actions have been sanctioned in order to create a safer gambling environment and to protect children and young adults from gambling-related harm. Stringent laws are set to come into effect this summer, requiring UK operators to implement a ban on gambling advertising during pre-watershed live sports broadcasts. These changes will stop gambling adverts from being run in commercial breaks during live sporting events.
The new law was welcomed by Culture Secretary Jeremy Wright:
“It is vital children and vulnerable people are protected from the threat of gambling-related harm,” he added. “Companies must be socially responsible.”
What precisely this means for casino streamers is yet to be established, but one thing is clear, the UKGC already has its eyes on the casino streaming community. In December last year, the UK Gambling Commission was reportedly in talks with streaming platform Twitch over live streams and promotion of unlicensed casinos.
Furthermore, as a direct result of the upcoming new UK laws, which are expected to further tighten the noose around the necks of those who promote gambling on social media, Ivy has demanded for streamers to remove all mentions of its brands on Twitch. Videoslots too has reacted to the upcoming changes, sending out guidelines to all of its affiliates, making sure they comply if promoting the brand on Twitch. Streamers who wish to push Videoslots on the gaming platform will from now on be required to share stats, proving that no more than 20% of viewers are underaged.
Gambling adverts on TV, Radio and social media have a reach that is simply far too broad and the endless stream of repetitive casino commercials that run between nearly every tv-show is making the industry look bad. As the leading platform for video game streaming, promoting gambling on Twitch could be considered even more harmful since it attracts predominantly young adults.
Although 21 is the average age of the Twitch viewer, millions of kids and teens gather on the platform every day to watch their favorite streamers broadcast live gameplay of popular video games such as Fortnite, Overwatch and Apex Legends. Unfortunately, with no safety nets in place whatsoever, the same youngsters are no more than one click away from being introduced to the world of online casino through a promotional scheme that is far more sophisticated than what they will ever be exposed to elsewhere.
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