Leading streaming platform Twitch has recently intensified its measures against gambling livestreams, reflecting the rising concerns over exploitative practices in the online gambling sector.
New Policy, New Boundaries
In a proactive move to curb gambling-related content, Twitch has broadened its ban on livestreams of gambling. The Amazon-owned company has now prohibited streams of online casinos Blaze and Gamdom, supplementing its previously imposed ban on four other sites. This decision took place following the implementation of its novel gambling policy last October.
The need for a more stringent policy emerged from a controversy that erupted on the platform last year. A streamer, embroiled in accusations of defrauding users and fellow content creators to satiate a gambling addiction, sparked a fierce debate and provoked protests against Twitch’s lax policies regarding gambling streams.
As a result, the company took decisive action. Twitch stated that it would restrict websites featuring slots, roulettes, or dice games that lacked proper licensing in the U.S. or in other regions providing ample consumer protection. The newly banned sites, Blaze and Gamdom, although unavailable in the U.S., can still be accessed via virtual private networks, thus necessitating their inclusion in the ban.
Addressing Evolving Trends
Twitch reaffirmed its commitment to community safety, stating, “Our goal now, as it was last fall, is to protect our community, address predatory behavior, and make Twitch safer.” This statement was posted on X, previously known as Twitter.
After the enforcement of the new policy, Twitch reported a significant drop, approximately 75%, in gambling viewership. However, the company also observed emerging trends necessitating policy updates to better safeguard its users.
To further tackle fraudulent activities and other issues associated with dubious gambling sites, Twitch has also banned sharing links or referral codes to sites featuring slots, roulette, or dice games. However, the company still allows websites concentrating on sports betting, fantasy sports, and poker.
Implications for the iGaming Industry
This development paints a significant picture for the future of the iGaming industry:
- Regulatory Measures: As seen with Twitch, digital platforms may implement more stringent policies on online gambling, in line with a strong trend in 2023 across the iGaming industry towards responsible gaming.
- User Protection: The need for platforms to protect users from fraudulent practices or addictive behaviors could lead to increased user safety measures within the industry.
- Content Differentiation: Twitch’s differentiation between casino games and sports betting or poker indicates the industry may need to consider content strategies that align with platforms’ policies.