Why is casino streaming a thing? Where is casino streaming going? How do you even stream slots? Don't worry, Bigwinboard's got you covered!
Casino streamers started to appear on Twitch back in late 2015, but it didn't really turn into the big industry it is today until around 2019. Initially, it was Poker that was the main attraction on the platform. If you take a look at the numbers today, however, the slot section is far bigger.
It's hard to say who was the first Twitch casino streamer, but CasinoTwitcher is a name that often comes up when discussing the topic. Having been one of the first to popularise casino streaming, CasinoTwitcher has become somewhat of a legend within the casino streaming community. However, disillusioned by the commercialisation of casino streaming, he has since stopped streaming slots, with no plans of a comeback. Other first-generation streamers include names like Blackcatseven, Rex Borgersen, Rocknrolla, Letsgiveitaspin, Nickslots, Slotspinner, Miikapekka, and Shirox. Today the scene is booming with literally hundreds of streamers sharing their gambling sessions in real time with audiences around the world. Not all streamers are legit, though, and there are some things you should be aware of. We'll come to that part later in this article.
Casino streaming today
Much has changed since the emergence of casino streaming, and CasinoTwitcher does have a point regarding the commercialisation of the Twitch slots section. In the early days, game providers were not really involved much at all - it was all about casino affiliation. So while casinos picked up on the new trend quite early, game providers didn't really start to compete on Twitch until around 2019. At the same time, it has also become an extremely competitive platform for streamers. Again, from between 2016-18 you had the same group of 4-5 streamers dominating the slots section while the rest were pretty much made up of people trying to finance their gambling addictions and picking up the leftovers. Today, the Twitch casino section looks vastly different, now overflowing with fortune seekers trying to make a quick buck.
The most significant "intrusion" (as some purists regard it), was the acquisition of a streaming community known as Casinogrounds. Purchased by online casino giants LeoVegas, some felt that it represented the end of independent streaming. It turned out, however, that not too many were all that bothered with the politics of casino streaming and the scene continued to grow steadily. There are people, however, who still feel that the corporate involvement harms the credibility of casino streamers and that it has more or less become an advertising platform on which 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 doing it for fun, but the majority are undoubtedly business-orientated affiliates, even employing people to stream for them.
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.
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, the 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 have 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 which 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. With crypto casinos on the rise, though, rules and regulations seem to matter even less than ever.
Fake money streaming
Whilst you can still find true low-stake enthusiasts streaming slots on Twitch, casino streaming is undoubtedly big business nowadays. In fact, crypto casinos such as Stake, Gamdom, and Roobet entered the scene with such lucrative sponsorship deals that it has literally transformed Twitch into one big gambling platform. Even giant Twitch personalities such as xQc, TrainwrecksTV as well as other highly popular video gamers have jump on the gambling bandwagon which, in turn, has pushed the fake money streamers to up the stakes, becoming all the more ridiculous in their attempts to outdo each other. It got so absurd that it forced Twitch to impose a new set of rules in order to limit the spread.
Whilst it's nearly impossible to actually prove who is fake or real (though anyone streaming on crypto casinos such as Stake.com, Gamdom, Roobet, and Rollbit is a suspect), we do feel confident enough to say we have a good idea. Having been part of the casino streaming scene ourselves from the very beginning, we know many of the big streamers personally. More importantly, we also know the industry people involved. It's true that even the legit streamers do not necessarily purely play with their own money as they get sponsored by game providers (many providers actively avoid participating in such marketing schemes) and also receive unlimited deposit bonuses, but at least they are being upfront about it.
Unfortunately, some game providers have been known to sponsor shady streamers, legitimising them in the process and ruining the experience for both the viewers and the legit streamers - not to mention the damage it is doing to the industry as a whole. At one point we even blacklisted one game provider due to their direct ties to highly controversial streamer Roshtein, resulting in the provider being dropped by several big aggregators and losing out on several lucrative deals.
Whilst the casinos are a lost cause, we always try to encourage game providers to support the legit streamers. On several occasions, we've been consulted by game providers to give our opinion on the matter - simply because many of them do not wish to associate their brand with irresponsible and low-quality affiliate streamers. As a result, several game providers have cut off their ties with certain streamers. Ignoring the warning signs could undoubtedly cause long term damage to the brand, as we have seen in the case of GameArt.
Fundamentally, casino streaming is a form of marketing that revolves around getting as many to signup to their partner casinos as possible. Most play by the rules and do it in a respectful manner (some people will never like streamers, no matter what), but a few bad apples will cheat and take any shortcut possible for their own gain. There are several reasons why we might take a stand against certain streamers, and not solely due to suspected fake money streaming alone. For example, they may promote rogue casinos, which in itself is a strong indicator that the affiliate streamer has no regard for the well being of their viewers. Moreover, bad streamers may resort to view botting, buying fake follower accounts on Youtube (very common) or there may be a lack of transparency regarding casino/provider sponsorship deals. Systematically enticing viewers to take big financial risks is also highly problematic. As a general rule of thumb, streamers playing on crypto casinos such as Stake, Gamdom and Roobet are highly questionable as these casinos are known to sponsor streamers with non-withdrawable funds.
Approved Casino Streamers
We strongly advise against supporting or legitimising fake/irresponsible streamers. In the long run, casinos and game developers who choose to associate themselves with these people run the risk of bringing harm to their brand. There are many legit and highly entertaining casino streamers out there that deserve the recognition much better such as Chipmonkz, Craig Slots, Hideous Slots, Nickslots, Letsgiveitaspin, Slotspinner, Rocknrolla, Spintwix, David Labowsky, Jimbo's Slots, The Bandit, Huneasd, Low Stake Slots, badazzbear1, and Secular Slots. Of course, Bigwinboard TV is also present on Twitch, although currently inactive.
As a general rule of thumb, avoid streamers who play at crypto casinos such as Stake, Roobet, and Gamdom.
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 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 which was enforced by the UK Gambling Commission. Following this, UK-based streamers are no longer allowed to stream on the Twitch platform.
In August 2021, Twitch implemented a new set of rules, prohibiting streamers from displaying casino links or promo codes to casinos.
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