If you’ve been following the debate, you’ll know we’ve been reporting on behaviour over at streaming service Twitch that is lighting up for all the wrong reasons – if not, you can catch up here, here, and here. It’s not only Bigwinboard and our readers who have a growing concern. Some of the major Twitch streamers aren’t exactly impressed with what some of their fellow streamers are up to either. Gambling is no longer confined to the dedicated casino streams. Many of the popular gamers have switched to extreme high-roller mode, throwing around massive sums of money from potentially dubious sources, presenting an image of online gambling that is at odds with reality.
In a fairly recent turn of events, the phenomenon of streamed gambling has gained some serious traction at popular streaming site Twitch. The platform permits legal gambling, where viewers can find specific categories for subjects like poker or slots. This is starting to worry some big-name streamers. Specifically, the allegedly dodgy goings-on and the potential negative influence it is making on young, often underage, viewers.
World of Warcraft and D&D guru Asmongold was blunt, saying;
-“Twitch needs to ban gambling streams full stop.”
He took to Twitter, letting his opinion be heard loud and clear;
-“The amount of bullshit and pitfalls this is going to create in the next 6 months will fuck the website in so many ways we don’t even realize yet. Just looking at EU gambling laws, anyone could see this will not end well.”
Others are a bit more nuanced in their views. Ludwig Anders Ahgren, famous for streaming 30 days straight, thinks the problem arises when viewers perceive:
-“the person is gambling their own money, but they’re instead gambling money they were paid for.”
Ahgren appears to believe that since streamers’ careers are so short-lived, they are forced to make money where they can, while they can. He said that:
– “people’s careers on Twitch last literally, like, years, and then it goes away? A few fucking years.”
And some are making some serious dough while they are able to. American streamer Matthew ‘Mizkif’ Rinaudo, predominately a video gamer, claimed a company was prepared to pay him $35,000 per hour to stream while he gambled at their specific site. Adin Ross and a bunch of others were offered $1.6 million a month, which he turned down for an even better deal that threw in expenses and referral code money as well.
It turns out while much of the streamed gambling might be exciting for some to watch, they are in essence just expensive ads. So-called sponsorship is pouring in from gambling companies such as Stake and Gamdom to streamers in the form of money they can go crazy with during their streams and referral codes. Streamers must disclose sponsored ads, but they are less forthcoming over whose money they are gambling with.
The sheer numbers involved has raised the ire of some like Imane ‘Pokimane’ Anys, who questions why cashed-up streamers are betting so much money. She went on to say;
-“Let’s be honest. If you’re getting an offer from a casino sponsorship, you’re already a multi-millionaire… I feel like it would be a good idea for people to sit down at that point and be like, what am I okay with doing? What is ethically or morally maybe just not worth it?”
She called on big money streamers to do more to also highlight the downsides of gambling.
While some, like Tyler ‘Trainwrecks’ Niknam, have acknowledged such downsides telling viewers “No cap, you should not gamble“. Then he also goes on to say “Just watch me gamble” in the next sentence. One of the key issues is who is actually watching. It’s not just the ‘degens’, as Niknam calls them. Charles “Moistcr1tikal” White summed it up when he said;
-“I was watching, and it seems a bit dangerous I think when you see one of your favourite streamers get a huge payday, and you’re like, an impressionable 15, 16 year-old.”