Twitch poorly combats illegal gambling | New restrictions

Senior Reporter

The ongoing issue of illegal gambling streams on Twitch has seen little to no attention from the site creators until earlier this August. But despite the alarming need for strict measures, a slight regulation has been introduced in order to prevent streamers from engaging in unlawful betting activities. Being that Twitch makes benefits from channels like Trainwreck and xQc, it’s possible that this band-aid solution was proposed in order to silence the complaining public, and allow streamers to carry on with shady, money-making activities.

Twitch poorly combats illegal gambling | New restrictions
Image: pixabay.com

Twitch faces unending criticism

As online gambling grew in popularity during the pandemic, Twitch channels took the opportunity to make a buck streaming crypto gambling. Critics who noticed the shady side of the activities and brought up a few serious concerns. Firstly, massive channels like Xqc and Trainwrecks were gambling on sites like Stake.com, which are restricted to U.S. players. Secondly, most of the viewers happened to be minors, who were not only exposed to prohibited operators, but also underage gambling. Despite the raised alarms, most Twitch streamers carried on with their business. Site owners did not seem phased but released a public statement in early July to settle the online Mayhem.

“We strictly prohibit illegal content and activity on the service and take action in all verified incidents of illegal gambling that are reported to us. Our Community Guidelines make clear that ‘[Streamers] must respect all applicable local, national, and international laws while using our services.” Twitch representatives commented on the matter.

Despite the solid statement, it was evident that no action was taken against the streamers who proceeded to gamble on restricted casino sites. Understandably so, as the said channels are a valuable asset to Twitch, bringing in millions of viewers and attractive fund opportunities to the website. However, the offended public was displeased at the lack of efforts, and continued pressing for tighter restrictions for gambling streams. At that point, even streamers called for additional action,

“Twitch needs to ban gambling streams full stop. The amount of pitfalls this is going to create in the next 6 months will [censored] the website in so many ways we don't even realize yet. Just looking at EU gambling laws, anyone could see this will not end well,” popular World of Warcraft streamer Asmongold tweeted this June.

Since the issue seemed to be somewhat untamable, critics and opposers shifted focus from attacking streamers, to directly demanding immediate changes on behalf of Twitch representatives. Most viewers undermined the aftermath of illegal gambling, and those who weren’t familiar with gambling laws and regulations were at a high risk for addiction, potential fines, and even scams.

Bandaid on a bullet hole

Twitch came through with a solution, which was nothing short of duct tape on a sinking ship. Instead of banning gambling streams altogether, representatives released an announcement stating that they are now going to enforce new rules for all channels who wish to continue streaming casino betting. August 17, Twitch released a wishy-washy announcement on their official site in hopes to satisfy the angered crowds.

“To prevent harm and scams created by questionable gambling services that sponsor content on Twitch, we will prohibit sharing links and/or referral codes to sites that offer slots, roulette, or dice games...We will continue to monitor gambling-related content and update our approach as needed,” new rules read.

Simply prohibiting link sharing is a weak strategy, considering that Twitch representatives have not disclosed exactly what the “needed approach” entails. Considering that there are still dozens of recurring streams participating in illegal gambling, the measures are likely as weak as they’ve ever been.

What’s more, is that the Twitch announcement was posted August 11, but to soften the not-so-shocking addition to site regulations, users were given until the 17th to remove any gambling links and referral codes. In other words, a gentle warning before a soft slap on the wrist.

While Twitch is turning a blind eye to the issue, others are taking serious measures to protect minors, as well as problem gamblers viewing said content. Slovakia banned Twitch entirely this June after one of its citizens was caught streaming an illegal online poker round.

Illegal online gambling problem in U.S.

While players are not prosecuted for gambling on restricted offshore sites, doing so publicly can result in heavy penalties and even jail time. While some gamblers see this as an opportunity to sneak around safely, minors, as well as adults, fall victim to addictions, debt, and other gambling-related problems.

Many offshore operators carry questionable licenses and do not follow any regulations to prevent gamblers from overspending, registering under VPN, or even signing up and withdrawing funds under false pretenses. Scams are no rarity among such operators either. The issue with this is that said online casinos are not liable for causing any damages to U.S. players, as it’s unlikely that the government will step in to protect gamblers who willingly registered on a restricted site.

While it is impossible to wipe out offshore illegal operators, sites like Twitch hold power to eliminate the risks by simply cutting off the source and banning gambling streams altogether. As of this time, Twitch representatives haven’t shared any future strategies for combating the issue.

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