Why is casino streaming a thing? Where is casino streaming going? How do you even stream? Don’t worry, Bigwinboard’s got you covered!
Casino streamers started to appear on Twitch as early as 2015, but it didn’t really turn into the big industry it is today until around 2019. Historically, Poker has always been the game attracting the crowds, but slots are now on the rise.
It’s hard to say who was the first slot streamer and many claim to have hatched the idea first, but CasinoTwitcher is the a name that often comes up when during these discussions. Having been one of the first to popularize casino streaming, CasinoTwitcher has become somewhat of a legend within the casino streaming community. Disillusioned by the commercialisation of casino streaming, he has since stopped streaming with no plans of a comeback. Other early streamers include Bigwinboard partner Blackcatseven, as well as Rex Borgersen, Miikapekka, and Shirox.
Casino streaming today
Much has changed since the emergence of casino streaming, and CasinoTwitcher does have a point regarding the commercialisation of the casino section. As an ever-growing number of casinos and providers are becoming aware of the impact of streaming, and the impact it has in terms of brand awareness, the amount of casinos represented on the streaming platforms is constantly on the rise. And so are the streamers, making it an extremely competitive platform. Not all casinos wish to be represented, however, and we’ll explain why later on.
The most significant “intrusion” (as some purists regard it), was the recent acquisition of a streaming network, now owned in majority by LeoVegas. While most don’t seem too bothered with the politics of casino streaming, others feel that the corporate involvement harms the credibility of casino streamers and that it has become an advertising platform on which regulations and responsible gambling policies don’t seem to apply.
One should keep in mind, however, that the competition in the casino industry is ferocious, and if new markets are identified, everyone is going to go for it. Today, there are new streamers appearing at an ever faster pace. A limited few are undoubtedly doing it for fun, but the majority appear to be business orientated affiliates. A handful of streamers have now established themselves at the top of the hierarchy, dominating much of the section and leaving the rest of the lot fighting for the leftovers.
What many of the top ranking streamers have in common is generally a higher than average bet size, though some do try to keep it at somewhat reasonable levels. While a big bankroll and big bets certainly seem to increase the appeal for many viewers, it will not get you all the way if you wish to make it big as a streamer. It’s hard to say in detail what makes a great streamer, but to claim that it’s easy to ‘make it’ is far from true. Obviously, it doesn’t necessarily take a great entertainer to become popular, as we are seeing quite a few, let’s say ‘less eccentric’, personalities attract a decent amount of viewers. The only way to know is to try yourself and see if you have what it takes to make it.
Casino streaming criticism
Casino streamers are definitely not sheltered from criticism and are often at the center of controversy. The main concerns voiced by critics often involve issues regarding responsible gambling, they way streamers present themselves, and their gambling habits. Ever increasing bets, alcohol, false representation of gambling, and reckless betting are some of the issues brought up by critics. Some argue that the casino streaming community has matured and that more stringent regulatory changes has had an overall positive effect.
Many also claim that casino streaming is helping them control their own gambling urges. They often lay forward the argument that watching streamers play their favorite slots is enough to keep them satisfied. For them, it’s a way to get their fix without actually playing themselves.
Critics, however, argue that casino streamers present an unrealistic image of gambling as they are backed by deals and have access to seemingly endless deposit bonuses that regular players don’t. An increasing number of casinos do not wish to be represented on the streaming platforms due to the fear of being hit with fines or have their licenses retracted by the gambling authorities. Ultimately, it is the casino that is responsible for how their affiliates promote their brands, and if the affiliates do not comply with current laws and regulations, the casino is the one that will have to take the hit.
Competitions, giveaways & charity
Raffles and giveaways have always been a big part of the streaming culture, not just in the casino section. On the surface, it may seem like a way for streamers to show appreciation to their followers, but in reality it’s used as an incentive to make people subscribe to the channel or, more importantly, sign up to a casino using the streamer’s affiliate link. Giveaways are so ingrained in the streaming culture that viewers have come to expect them.
Every streamer has his or her way of organizing raffles, but the requirements are usually kept simple to allow as many as possible to sign up to the casino that is being promoted. Many times, the giveaways will require you to do nothing more than to opt-in, with a chance of winning a significant amount of money.
In addition to the competitions, some casino streamers (usually the bigger ones) will organize charity streams from time to time where part of the winnings and the money donated to the channel is forwarded to a charity of choice.
How to stream slots
To set up your own channel and start streaming is not very hard, but to become a successful streamer is quite a challenge. People that stumble into the casino streaming section are most likely to pick the streamers listed at the top because it’s convenient. But don’t let this bring you down or deter you from trying yourself. Most successful streamers have had at least a year of hard struggle before getting noticed, but if you have what it takes, if you are a true gambler at heart, anything can happen. Established streamers are never safe, and we have seen some of them drop significantly in viewer count for various reasons.
In any case, it will take hard work, persistence, and dedication to get anywhere, and there will never be any guarantee of success. Most importantly, you must genuinely enjoy streaming. Otherwise, you won’t last in the long run. Before you get anywhere at all, you will have to suffer through many streams with few or no viewers, a silent chat, and streaks of bad luck on top of it all.
Casino streaming tips and pointers
- It’s a good idea to stream to both Twitch and Youtube to maximize your audience. Youtube is also a great place to upload your big wins with the chance of them becoming viral or getting included in big win compilations. As of May 2018, Youtube has been banning and removing channels streaming live, so beware!
- A streaming schedule is advised, and something most successful streamers make use of. It makes it easier for your viewers knowing exactly when you’re expected to go live. This also gives you an opportunity to accumulate a larger audience from the first minute of streaming instead of having to waste 30 minutes for the first few viewers to arrive.
- There is a snowball effect involved when streaming. The more viewers you have, the more viewers are likely to join along the way which in turn bumps up your position. All the largest streamers spend at least 4 hours per broadcast (up to 8 hours is even better) for best results.
- Negotiate streaming deals with online casinos. Unless you are a millionaire, it is essential. Streaming bonuses help make the sessions last longer, which in turn extends the opportunity to promote yourself and your casino. The more money you generate through affiliation, the more you can re-invest into your stream and bankroll. Moreover, bigger bets can result in an increase in viewer count.
- Avoid the temptation of cheating. Fake money streaming is a significant problem within the casino streaming community. Thankfully, casinos are more aware today, and trusted casinos don’t want to associate themselves with cheating. Streamers who have once been suspected of using fake money and view botting are still to this day shunned by a large portion of streamers and viewers in the community. Examples of casinos that are considered 100% genuine are Casumo, Guts, Rizk and Videoslots.
- Larger casinos have bigger financial muscles and are more likely to offer you good streaming bonuses, yet it may be a good idea to go with a smaller casino that is not overexposed on Twitch and Youtube. Attracting new players to popular casinos is very hard as most players will already have an account. It’s even harder when trying to compete with established streamers that have vacuumed the community of potential customers.
- There is no need to over complicate things. You don’t need fancy setups or green screens. If you watch the most popular streamers, it’s just your average joe having fun spinning slots.
What you need to stream casino
It doesn’t take much more than a decent computer and internet connection to get started streaming, but the more you’re willing to invest into your channel (both time and money) the greater the chance of success, although a positive and social personality will get you further than any technical pimping. Just to give you an idea of what a professional streaming setup may look like we’ve added an example in the picture above.
At first, one monitor will probably be sufficient, but most streamers add a second, and even a third monitor down the road as their streams are becoming more technically advanced. A common way of utilising the monitors is to use one solely for the slots action, and the other one for chat windows, streaming software and notepads.
In the example above, the streamer is making use of a boom arm and shock mount for the microphone, the latter used to prevent vibration from travelling up the mic stand and getting to the diaphragm of the mic. What we don’t see in the picture, however, is a noise protection filter (sometimes referred to as pop killer).
Don’t underestimate good lighting. There’s really no need for a dedicated spotlight, and often the monitors themselves will provide much light, but streaming is a social thing, and the social aspect is likely the single most important factor when streaming. Viewers want to see your facial expressions when you win when you lose when unexpected things happen and when you cringe.
Here is a summary of what you need to get your streaming career going:
- First of all, you need an account on Twitch. It may also be a good idea to create a channel on Youtube Live.
- To be able to stream you need a program called Open Broadcaster Software. If you’re not a technical person, it can be a bit confusing initially. If you need help, reach out to our forum members, and they’ll help you with your questions!
- To be able to stream to both Twitch and Youtube at the same time you need a service called Restream. It is free of charge, and you log in using your Twitch account.
- Streaming requires a reasonably strong computer (CPU) and internet upload speed. You can always lower your video frame settings in OBS Player, but it’s advised to have at least 5 Mbit/s upload if you want to be able to stream in 720p.
- It’s possible to stream without using a camera, and some do it quite successfully. But if you have ambitions to battle in the top league, you will have to show your face. People are social creatures, and a big part of social streaming is the facial expressions and emotional reactions. A simple webcam such as the Logitech C270 will do.
- You can use a headset to stream your voice, but a dedicated USB microphone is a good investment. Blue Yeti is a popular choice.
Casino streaming and the road ahead
For the time being, casino streamers can still do their thing, albeit with a few restrictions (you will still need to comply to all the regulations the same way any casino affiliate website is required to). Moreover, with new rules constantly being implemented and enforced by regulatory authorities, in particular when it comes to how operators market themselves, it’s not unlikely that regulators will eventually clamp down on streamers.
Not only that. As a streamer you’re also in the hands of third party platforms Twitch and Youtube who could potentially shut down your channel at any point, which has also happened to casino streamers in the past.
In September 2020, the UK Betting and Gaming Council (BGC) proposed a new set of rules to be implemented by the UK Gambling Commission. Following this, UK based streamers are no longer allowed to stream on the Twitch platform. Youtube, however, still seem fine, likely due to it’s age gating options. It has been speculated that other regulators will eventually follow suit and that casino streaming as a whole is likely to be prohibited by all regulated casinos to be used as an advertising platform.