Video game streaming on platforms like Twitch has seen a sharp increase in recent years, and over the past eighteen months in particular there have been a steady rise in new content creators and new viewers too. The latest category to see a big step up in attention on the platform however has come from online casinos and slots, as well as a growing disagreement around how the platform should handle the content on the site. Twitch has a bit of a spotty history with making the correct decision in situations similar with sports betting being a focus a few years ago particularly with esports titles at the time, and as calls continue to grow to see a potential ban to the ability to play these games, how is the relationship straining between the two?
Much of the disagreement comes as there are concerns toward how this may impact the young audience in particular, these casino and slot streams often pull in tens of thousands of viewers and will retain that number throughout an entire stream period which could be upwards of eight to ten hours, and whilst all of these streams are required to be marked as 18+ there is no verification process to ensure that this is the case, and as some of the services that are being streamed are unlicensed, many don’t offer verification options either which means they are high risk for the younger audience. There’s also the matter of ads or sponsored services too, a few years ago it was made a requirement that all content creators state their sponsored position, but leaks had shown that this wasn’t the case for all streamers who were promoting some casino and slot services, and as they had been gambling tens or hundreds of thousands of dollars in a short period of time, it certainly presses the issue with it being a problem for the viewers if undisclosed.
Uncharacteristically, Twitch have remained relatively mum on the subject despite many big content creators on the platform speaking out against the practice, and as a company that have previously acted extremely quickly in other regards to deliver changes as had been seen with the “hot tub meta” fiasco a little before casinos and slots started to emerge, it’s strange to many that there has been such a long delay. The hopes remain that there will be an outright ban on the practice to not only protect viewers but also to protect the streamers who have declared they had developed an addiction in a short period of time, but as there have been no rumblings of any change at all, it continues to leave many worried that these changes may take much longer to come around and much longer to be put in place in a meaningful way.