Live-streaming giant Twitch has said it will take additional steps to crack down on unlicensed crypto gambling content on its platform, after it faced serious backlash from some of its top creators. Starting October 18, Twitch has decided to prohibit live-streaming gambling sites like Stake.com, Rollbit, and Duelbits.com. As per the Amazon-owned company, these sites “aren’t licensed either in the US or other jurisdictions that provide sufficient consumer protection.” Twitch said it had “seen some people…expose our community to potential harm.”
The company also added that it already has a policy to prohibit sharing of links or referrals that feature slots, roulette or dice games but these rules were being circumvented.
“We will continue to allow websites that focus on sports betting, fantasy sports, and poker,” Twitch clarified.
The concern over gambling among some of Twitch’s popular streamers has become newly relevant this week, thanks in part to Sliker, a prominent streamer who admitted on a stream last weekend to a severe addiction to gambling on the outcome of CS:GO matches. The streamer confessed to scamming friends and fans out of over $200,000 (roughly Rs. 1.60 lakh) to pay off his gambling debts.
Many popular streamers responded to the scandal by threatening to leave Twitch if the platform didn’t ban or regulate gambling.
As reported by Bloomberg, Twitch’s recent rise in gambling live streams has led to addiction for some and alarming debt for others. Gambling outfits like Curacao-based Stake.com sponsor popular streamers — and celebrities, like rapper Drake — several millions of dollars a month to crypto gamble in front of fans on Twitch.
Stake’s intense marketing strategy seems to have paid off. Viewers were getting hooked, deciding to get into the action themselves. But unlike the streamers they were watching, their losses weren’t being absorbed by ludicrous sponsorship deals.
“Once the initial excitement of seeing someone play with such huge sums wore off, it was mostly off-putting and made me sick watching it,” one gambler told Bloomberg. “It also gave viewers a false sense of winning and losing.”