A gambling scandal on the live-streaming platform Twitch, and subsequent threats of a boycott from the platform’s most popular streamers, appears to have compelled the Amazon-owned site to ban users from streaming content from unregulated online casinos.
Twitch tweeted on Tuesday that effective October 18, it will ban users from livestreaming content from unregulated online casinos that include slots, roulette or dice games. It mentioned four online casinos that use cryptocurrency — Duelbits, Rollbit, Roobet, and Stake — by name, but added that it “may identify others as we move forward.”
The gaming content platform said the ban excludes websites for fantasy sports, poker, and sports betting. It also excludes regulated US sites, so licensed US online casino apps in six states — Connecticut, Delaware, Michigan, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and West Virginia — are unaffected.
Streamer Scammed Others to Finance Gambling Problem
With its change in policy, Twitch tacitly admitted that it had so far failed to protect its users from fraud.
“While we prohibit sharing links or referral codes to all sites that include slots, roulette, or dice games, we’ve seen some people circumvent those rules and expose our community to potential harm,” the platform said Tuesday. It pledged to release the full text of its revised policy before it takes effect on October 18.
The moves were likely precipitated by an unfolding scandal involving Abraham Mohammed — a British streamer known as “ItsSliker,” or “Sliker” in some quarters. In a post to the platform on September 17, he admitted that he “used to gamble a lot of my money — basically, all my Twitch money.
“I would come across streamers and ask them if I could borrow money,” Sliker said. “I borrowed from so many people. I would never tell them it was for gambling.” It’s estimated that he scammed at least $200,000 from his victims, but one prominent streamer said it was about $300,000.
The confession touched off a firestorm on Twitch, with several top streamers threatening to boycott the platform if it didn’t take action. Imane Anys, aka “pokimane” on Twitch, took to Twitter on September 18 to ask her 4.1 million followers if Twitch “should ban gambling.”
That post, and others, obviously got Twitch’s attention. “Gambling content on Twitch has been a big topic of discussion in the community, and something we’ve been actively reviewing since our last policy update in this area,” the platform said.
After Twitch announced its new policy, pokimane issued a celebratory tweet that credited “public pressure” for the change.
Some Streamers Say Ban is Misguided
Not everyone is happy about the change, however.
Some streamers are sponsored by the online casinos now being targeted. Tyler Faraz Niknam and Felix Lengyel — aka “Trainwreck” and “xQc” on Twitch, respectively — are both sponsored by Stake. Comments on social media suggest that they, and some of their fan base, resent being lumped in with the scandal.
“To be clear, the people scapegoating slots, blackjack, and roulette — and not blaming the individual — are the real problem,” Trainwreck tweeted on September 18.
“With that said, the streamers and viewers who sell a false reality should be banned, people who gate keep giveaways through codes that require you to gamble should be banned, people who hide all losses and only show wins should be banned. Things like this are predatory.”
xQc also weighed in on the controversy in a separate tweet on September 18.