Twitch CEO Speaks on Gambling Streams Ban
Live streaming giant Twitch has had a complicated relationship with gambling in the past. Popular streamers have made millions for the platform and themselves by broadcasting their sessions on cryptocurrency casinos like Roobet or Stake.com.
However, in recent months, the platform has tightened up on unregulated gambling sites. In October 2022, it fully banned creators from streaming visits to Stake.com and other gambling operators it considers unregulated.
Twitch CEO Dan Clancy explained some of the reasons behind that stance this week in a new interview with virtual reality chat live streamer Filian.
He said that he would be open to seeing more gambling return to the platform, but only in a fully regulated manner.
“In general, there is no problem with streaming gambling. But we do have a problem if you’re streaming unregulated gambling,” Clancy said.
Regulated or Not
Many of the sites now banned from Twitch are regulated. Just clearly not by the kind of regulator Twitch considers good enough.
Many international gambling sites are licensed by gaming authorities in Curacao or Malta. If you ask these regulators, they do just as good a job as those in legal US states or the UK’s Gambling Commission. Of course, Twitch and others might say otherwise.
Regardless of that situation, many of the online casinos banned on Twitch boast tens of millions of loyal customers. Some can also boast high-profile brand deals all over the world. Stake.com, for example, sponsors English Premier League soccer team Everton.
These operators also regularly paid out millions in monthly contracts to streamers, and therefore Twitch, by sponsoring some of the biggest names on the platform.
“The amount of money that was flowing, where our creators were building these communities and connections that they formed on Twitch to drive people to these sites, it was a significant amount of money to a small number of creators,” said Clancy. “And we decided we didn’t think that was good for the community, so we banned unregulated ones.”
One of the things Twitch will now be looking out for is gambling streamers using Virtual Private Networks. Some international gambling sites ignore or even actively promote customers using VPNs to access their casinos from otherwise restricted countries.
If Twitch sees a gambling streamer doing so, a ban could be forthcoming.
Twitch is notorious in the streaming community for its often opaque and swift ban procedures. Popular gaming streamer Dr. Disrespect (4 million followers) received a total ban from the platform in 2020. No-one, according to him — not even the streamer himself — was told the reason behind it.
Since banning much of the gambling on its site, Twitch has lost a reasonable chunk of overall viewership. By some estimates, it fell by around 20% in just a couple of weeks after the ban.
This wasn’t helped by several of the biggest casino streamers jumping to a new competitor, Kick.
Tyler ‘Trainwreck’ Niknam (2.1 million followers) and Adin Ross (7.2 million) moved exclusively to Kick shortly after Twitch’s gambling ban. As well as offering looser restrictions on content, Kick promises streamers a 95% share of their stream’s revenue. That’s compared to 50% at Twitch.
Kick’s exact ownership is unclear. But internet detectives on forum site Reddit have uncovered evidence it may be connected to Stake.com.
When Filian asked Clancy if he would ever reverse Twitch’s ban on unregulated gambling streams, he didn’t rule it out completely.
“If these sites are willing to adhere to the regulations of most major countries in terms of what they need to do as a gambling site, then of course,” he said.
What exactly a term such as “most major countries” entails remains unclear. Given Twitch’s history, it’s unlikely we’ll see further clarification anytime soon.