Streamers pivot to platform popular with far-right extremists following Twitch gambling ban

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Slots streamers are searching for an alternative platform after Amazon-owned Twitch tightened its rules on gambling content, but the big question is: which site will fill the vacuum?

On 18 October, Twitch’s new guidelines came into effect, which prohibit the streaming of non-US licensed gambling websites, as well as gambling sites that don’t offer specific consumer protection measures.

The ban currently affects Stake.com, Rollbit.com, Duelbits.com and Roobet.com, many of which are licensed by the Caribbean island of Curacao. It was implemented in the wake of a recent scandal that saw British streamer ItsSliker admit to scamming other hosts out of thousands of dollars to fuel what he described as a gambling addiction.

Gambling content had long been big business for Twitch.

During the past year, the slots streaming category “became one of Twitch’s top 10 most watched categories per month,” explained Happyhour.io CEO and co-founder Robin Eirik Reed in a recent iGaming NEXT podcast, where he discussed Twitch’s ‘unsafe’ gambling ban with host and iGaming NEXT MD Pierre Lindh.

While slots streaming on Twitch has been dealt a blow, it has not disappeared: “Streamers have quickly acted and now reverted to websites licensed by the Malta Gaming Authority,” Reed said.

The Twitch ban has left a void for viewers seeking high stakes gambling with the potential for big wins — and big losses.

One platform in particular appears determined to fill that void: Streaming service DLive was quick to release a statement welcoming all slots streamers, regardless of their preferred operators and consumer protection protocols.

DLive is a US-based live streaming serviced that started in 2017 and was subsequently purchased by BitTorrent in 2019.

DLive has often ventured close to controversy, with critics suggesting it provides a platform for conspiracy theorists, neo-Nazis and other extremist groups, particularly on the far-right.

In August 2020, for example, eight of DLive’s top 10 earners were either far-right extremists or conspiracy theorists, while several of the platform’s leading personalities livestreamed their involvement in last year’s attack on the US Capitol building.

While DLive might have been able to attract some business overnight – including content creator and Stake streamer Classybeef – both Reed and Lindh believe that bigger changes will soon be afoot for casino streams.

“The big question is what will happen next, and whether the large, regulated companies can benefit from the ban,” said Reed. “It will be interesting to see whether the big streamers will now start streaming for them,” he added.

Moreover, Reed said, there are rumours that some influential streamers might join forces to launch their own platform.

Meanwhile, iGaming operators are looking to bring leading streaming into their own organisations.

Happyhour.io CEO Robin Reed: “The big question is what will happen next, and whether the large, regulated companies can benefit from the ban. It will be interesting to see whether the big streamers will now start streaming for them.”

“There is a massive appetite for this product,” Reed said, adding that bringing streamers in-house might actually turn out to be the next big trend in the industry.

“One of the reasons why I feel this product needs to be controlled by the gaming industry is that the gambling industry knows best how to deal with issues such as underage gambling and all of the problems of social harm that come with it,” Reed said.

“We have an internal control system, KYC checks, responsible gambling and fraud teams who are protecting the players, so by hosting the streams ourselves, we can also control that part of the experience,” he added.

Lastly, Reed does not believe that Twitch will eventually adopt an outright gambling ban.

As long as a platform manages to ensure that responsible gambling policies are in place, he doesn’t see any reason why streamed casino content would no longer be permitted in a user-generated community.

“We are also watching movies where people go into a casino. I think it just needs to be governed well,” he concluded.

About the author

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Sonja Lindenberg

Sonja Lindenberg is an experienced editor and journalist, with a strong focus on business, finance, trade and investment. She holds a degree in business journalism and throughout the past two decades has covered companies and industries in various markets and for different media, including newspapers, news agencies, inflight magazines, country reports and trade publications. Sonja joined iGaming NEXT in June 2022.

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