Youtube goes on a strike-spree, randomly targeting gambling channels while a selected few appear to remain immune and protected.
As we’ve covered in some of our earlier articles about casino streaming, the phenomenon that once started as a fun and social activity has blown up to become a massive industry. With a lot of money on the line, the community is known to be fiercely competitive and involve dirty tricks such as the use of viewer bots to boost ones position in the lineup, hired professional streamers and even fake money gambling. For those looking for an honest and true representation of gambling, the Twitch and Youtube streaming sections might prove to be a major disappointment – unless you believe it’s perfectly normal to bet €3-€50 per spin day in and day out with unlimited bonuses (more on that in our upcoming articles).
Online casino is an industry that generates $billions in world wide revenue. It’s also an industry that’s been heavily scrutinized by media and that has gone through to substantial regulatory changes in the past couple of years. With both the British Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) and Swedish Gambling Authority (just to name a couple) having made a point by issuing heavy fines towards those operators that have been caught “encouraging repetitive participation in gambling“, it’s surprising to see the casino streaming section still being able to thrive on Twitch and Youtube, both of which are platforms that, not only attracts a significant number of young adults and underage kids, but also has no safeguard in place whatsoever. Children are literally one click away from accessing a Twitch casino stream where professional salesmen (or women) do their utmost to entice you to click on their affiliate links. Of course, not all streamers are equally unscrupulous, but it’s a problem nonetheless.
Lately, more worrying things have started to emerge that involves Youtube. Owned by Google, Youtube is the second largest search engine and the largest video sharing platform in the world. Youtube is a privately owned company and so it makes up its own rules (although it does have to comply with regulations) and can decide which content creators to allow or boot. Youtube has also been subjected to heavy criticism from its users for being unfair, inconsistent in its actions and for its lack of communication. Popular Youtubers have had their channels suddenly removed or demonetized, seemingly as a result of the unpredictable actions of Youtube’s own algorithms or AI.
What’s currently unfolding in the gambling section on Youtube, however, is something that appears to be far more systematic. In what has now grown to become a substantial support thread with over 330 posts and 160 upvotes in Youtube’s help community, a large number of Youtubers active in the online gaming category are complaining about regularly and frequently being targeted by Youtube through strikes, warnings, removal of videos and permanent bans. A handful of channels have been suspended whilst others cannot upload a video without have it deleted by Youtube – this includes well known names in the streaming community such as The Bandit, Craig Slots, Miikapekka, The Hideous Creature and even Bigwinboard’s own Blackcatseven.
The support thread, which was created on December 27, 2019, is yet to be acknowledged by Youtube, and even with the help of a Gold Product Expert (essentially a volunteer helper) with the ability to escalate issues directly to Youtube, the content creators are still left looking for answers. Frustratingly, the guidelines are vague and Youtube’s actions have been both inconsistent and contradictory. In spite of the videos following the same format, some have been cleared whilst others have been permanently removed. No one has even been able to figure out for sure whether gambling content is allowed or not. It appears that it is, however, as videos have indeed been cleared, some channels have been reinstated and gambling content is all over the platform.
But as it turns out, a significantly more alarming pattern has emerged that’s been troubling those involved. Does Youtube favor certain casino channels? If one is to look at the bigger picture, the answer is yes. Whilst gambling channels have been targeted en masse, certain gambling channels appear to be immune to Youtube’s guidelines. And it’s not like these particular channels would fly under the radar – they belong to some of the biggest in the category in terms of hours watched, views and subscribers.
What these channels seem to have in common, is that they all belong to a group of content creators who had their channels suspended by Youtube back in June, 2018 only to have them reinstated later. Seemingly untouchable, these channels now hold a major advantage in a multi million dollar industry and it begs the question; why does Youtube favor certain channels in the gambling section? At this point it has become rather obvious that they do.
Whatever the case, it undermines Youtube’s credibility and leaves an unpleasant impression. The general population puts great trust in Google and relies on it to provide the most relevant, transparent and fair search results. If it comes to light that Google owned Youtube is a company that allows money and beneficiaries of behind-the-scenes deals to dictate the content, then maybe it’s time for our governments to step in. For the better of all people.