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Tuesday, January 31, 2023

Twitch’s Gambling Boom Has Many Viewers Losing Thousands To Crypto Casinos

Years after the first Twitch gambling meta of CSGO skins got sidelined after Valve sent cease and desist to multiple gambling sites, a new type of Gambling is taking over the top spot of Twitch once again. 

This time the Gambling Meta has returned with big investments from overseas Crypto Casinos. Many popular streamers have started streaming slots and other crypto gambling games on Twitch with the disguise of it being a genuine game of chance while being advertised by said gambling sites to run ads.

The Gambling Meta is so popular on Twitch right now that the Slots category peaked at 6th position on the Top most viewed games on Twitch overtaking giants like Dota 2, Fortnite, and Apex Legends. 

With many streamers pulling in thousands of viewers daily on their streams without any disclaimer and age restrictions, the streams are providing un-filtered exposure to the gambling world to kids and addicts. 

In a recent report by Bloomberg, they noted that the gambling meta has gotten so out of hand that many of the viewers of famous streamers are betting their life savings as well as taking out loans to gamble and lose.

They shared a story of a viewer named, Chabot who used to regularly watch ex-Overwatch pro and Twitch partner, Felix “xQc” Lengyel. If you don’t remember, Felix started to stream himself gambling on Stake.com later in 2021 and was also called out by many popular streamers like Pokimane during that time. 

During those streams, Felix used to run a promotional code for Stake.com — which bills

itself as a “leading online crypto casino.” On Stake, you generally exchange real-world currency for accepted cryptocurrencies. Later you can use that crypto to wager on various games of chance including slots, blackjack, and roulette. Using Felix’s promotional code Chabot tried out playing slots and started making small bets of 1$ on his games.

Soon this fun activity went downhill and turned into a nightmare as Chabot says he drained his life savings of about $40,000 just to gamble and lose all. Later in an attempt to make back his lost money, Chabot took out two $20,000 bank loans and burned through that money too. Eventually, leading himself to get bankrupt and losing all his money and assets.

While you may argue the problem isn’t with the platform but with viewers gambling on what they can’t digest losing, you should note that the streamers doing slot streams are mostly sponsored and play on special rigged games by site owners to promote a positive winning environment. This positive environment leads the viewers to believe that winning big isn’t that hard and nudges them towards gambling. 

It’s not just the gambling sites that are profiting from the sudden rise in Gambling meta. Streamers that are running promotional codes or doing sponsored streams are taking home more than $1 million every month. In May, Felix said the promotion code of Stake.com he shared on Twitch brought $119 million to Stake.com. While he didn’t disclose his cut, it is expected that he made more than $2.3 million from avg VIP commission alone. 

While online crypto gambling is illegal across the USA, many online crypto gambling sites have registered themselves in safe heaven countries like Curacao in the southern Caribbean Sea and the Dutch Caribbean region. Most streamers that are promoting gambling have moved to Canada which currently has no stringent laws against online crypto gambling. 

Twitch can‘t seem to get a rest from constant controversy regarding platform policies and streams. Before it was Hot-tub and pool streams that were plaguing the platform which is now replaced by Gambling meta.

Twitch is slow to react and generally, only moves after the whole internet start campaigning against the platform. While the company had implemented steps like not allowing referral codes or sharing links for gambling companies, a more strict policy change is currently under work. A Twitch spokesperson said to Bloomberg that the company is “currently in the midst of a deep-dive look into gambling behavior on Twitch.”

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