Noose tightens around casino streamers as UKGC updates licence conditions and codes of practice
Few European regulators have been as busy as the UKGC when it comes to rolling out new rules, and this time they’re taking aim at UK casino streamers. The new conditions, which are already in effect, state that advertising must be age-gated. With Twitch failing to live up to the requirements, UK streamers and UKGC licensed casinos alike are now forced to abandon the popular streaming platform altogether.
Youtube, meanwhile, has been given the green light since it allows registered users to verify their age. Even so, several UK streamers have seen a big drop in viewer count over the past few days following the changes, some losing as much as half of their viewers.
Considering the impact of the new rules it’s not unlikely that some UK based streamers may eventually feel compelled to leave the country as has been the case with streamers from other jurisdictions. Following the Swedish Gaming Authority’s decision to ban bonuses whilst enforcing a three second spin delay, several Swedish casino streamers made the move to Malta which, with its gambling friendly regulations has become somewhat of a safe haven for streamers.
As we’ve speculated in the past, here and here for example, the crackdown on casino streaming likely won’t come as a surprise to most. Seeing how hard TV and Radio advertising was hit, followed by social media, and then e-mail marketing, it’s an expected step taken by the regulator. Some even go as far as arguing that casino streaming is one of the main reasons as to why the industry has become so heavily regulated. Not only is streaming regarded by many as a comparably aggressive form of marketing that paints a romanticized view of gambling, its accessibility has also come to attract negative attention from the public. Moreover, as streamers fight for dominance on the streaming platforms, ever-increasing stakes and massive deposits has become the norm.
Those UK streamers that Bigwinboard.com has been in contact with all express disappointment and concern. Statistical data pulled from Youtube by several streamers and sent to us shows that less than 0.6% of viewers are age 17 or under, leading them to question the necessity of the rules.
The questions now is, will the UKGC settle with these steps or are more to follow? Will other regulators follow suit? An equally interesting question posed is, how will the industry react? As we’ve seen this year, the off-shore casino market is booming as a direct consequence of the aggressive regulations which even many players feel has ruined the experience for those able to safely enjoy gambling.
Update: October 10, 2020: according to rumor, the UKGC has explicitly told the Betting and Gaming Council (BGC) that all casino streaming needs to cease, age-gating or not. Whether this is true or not remains to be seen.