Where there’s smoke, there’s fire, so they say, and if that’s the case, then the bonfire of unsavoury activity continues to smoulder over at live streaming platform Twitch. This time the controversy is swirling around popular gamer TrainwrecksTV, friends of mega streamer xQc, who is no stranger to scrutiny himself. With over 1.3 million subscribers, TrainwrecksTV’s reach is substantial, and his influence has not gone unnoticed by the likes of Stake casino, which appears to have literally staked the Twitch star to shill their brand of entertainment.
Quite how TrainwrecksTV is remunerated isn’t totally clear, but whether it’s getting a portion of the withdrawal or only needing to front a small deposit to benefit from an outrageous bonus, someone’s getting paid. And after watching two slots running simultaneously, one at $100 bets, the other at $500 a pop, the payday is significant – or so they would have you believe at least.
Having ended the gambling session with a $10k giveaway, TrainwrecksTV then went on to host fellow streamer pokelawls who in turn was streaming the video game The Binding of Isaac: Repentance. Sure, business is business, and adults have the right to gamble their money (where legal, of course), but one of the issues is whether TrainwrecksTV’s sponsors are going after the grown-up dollar, or whether all that matters is gathering Benjamins regardless of where they come from – an adult’s bankroll, or daddy’s credit card.
Question marks arise since TrainwrecksTV is a well-known gamer, having built up an impressive number of followers (many young) who subscribed to watch him dust opponents playing World of Warcraft, Call of Duty, or Halo. Now he’s shifted to online gambling with no age gating or even a +18 signifier in the title. Mix in the fact Stake casino is known to fund streamers with fake balances. Stake casino is far from alone in doing so, joined by other questionable outfits like Roobet and Gamdom, who appear less than discerning about who their patrons are or where their funds come from.
If you’re new to the debate, you might be wondering where Twitch comes into the picture. Twitch has been the fourth largest source of internet traffic in the United States since 2014, surpassed by only Netflix, Google, and Apple. It was originally set up to live stream video games and quickly blew up in popularity. What we are finding now is an increasing number of Twitch Gamers making the switch to online gambling, potentially pulling in masses of underage viewers in the process.
On one hand, a lot of these streams are so obviously dodgy you can’t believe a moment of it – and plenty of viewers are clued up. During a sizeable win count on Trainwreckstv’s stream, there were plenty of comments in the chatbox along the lines of ‘Fake’, ‘WTF’, and some going as far as to claim the whole thing ‘Fake Balls’. The problem is many viewers aren’t as discerning, including plenty who are underage, impressionable, and maybe buying into the notion that making money is as easy as firing off a few $500 bets – it’s what their heroes appear to be doing after all.
When even guys like TrainwrecksTV are telling people about the ‘terrible reality of gambling that they don’t see on stream‘, and how he would ‘love a system on twitch similar to watch parties but for age restriction‘, the time feels ripe for the platform to step up and act.