Streaming services like Twitch and YouTube Live are now a big part of popular entertainment. These sites host millions of “live streamers” and tens of millions of viewers every day.
Streamers broadcast their lives and activities, often digital games, to an audience with whom they interact and chat in real time. Twitch, the dominant streaming platform, also currently hosts around 150 channels offering live broadcasts of real money slots, the most popular of which regularly gets over 100,000 views. Bonus138
Slot streaming channels have been making headlines lately. Famous streamers collected views, bets and won a lot of money. There was criticism from other streamers like Imane “Pokimane” Anys, who called the hosted slots site “patchy” and “ethically ambiguous”. And Felix “xQc” Lengyel eventually stopped streaming his slots as he worried he was addicted to gambling and apologized for exposing his audience – including underage teenagers – to gambling.
Age gating and gambling
Research on Twitch is increasing, especially when it comes to game streams. One of the first studies in this area found that around 4% of UK adults watch a gambling stream like the Twitch slots channel, compared to around 14% who actually play such slot games online. The study also found a correlation between watching online gambling and self-reported gambling problems, but cause and effect remain unclear.
Streaming the game directly inspires some important ethical and regulatory discussions. Media outrage over this stream often points to a risk for young people to gamble. Age determination or age verification on Twitch or elsewhere is minimal. The streamer may indicate that the stream is intended for an adult audience, but this does not limit the audience by clicking “Start Watching”.
The 10 -year rule for violating the age limit in digital gaming shows how easy it is to overcome these barriers. This highlights new legal issues for live streaming platforms that allow gambling broadcasts.
transparency and legal issues
There are some issues with transparency. Streamers can perform malicious scams or even scams if they fail to open an affiliate with the gaming site they play on.
For example, some sponsorship agreements may allow streamers to add balance on a regular basis. These are gambling sites that offer free (or free in casino terms) a balance boost. This practice raises questions about advertising standards, as well as the safety and mental health of the streamers themselves, such as: B. xQc concerns about possible gambling addiction.
In addition, the underlying gambling activity itself may be illegal depending on the licensing status of the gambling site and the geolocation of the streamer. However, it is not always easy to determine what is allowed.
If gambling websites are hosted in one place, streamers in another, and a worldwide audience, what local, national and international laws apply? Combine this with a variety of currencies – such as fiat, exchangeable cryptocurrencies, non -exchangeable cryptocurrencies, virtual currencies with no cash value – not all of them are legal for gambling in all jurisdictions and the complexity of the situation becomes apparent.
The Twitch Community Guidelines clarify that streamers must comply with applicable laws, illegal content is prohibited, and the platform will act with a suspension or ban following an illegal gambling investigation.
In mid-August, Twitch announced a creators update that would ban sharing of links and link codes for slots, roulette, or craps. The goal is “to prevent harm and fraud caused by dubious gambling services sponsoring content on Twitch.” As a general prohibition, it does not differentiate between licensed and unlicensed gambling sites and does not include poker, another widely streamed game.
Are people watching live match streams?
Why are people watching live match streams with some of these issues? People who have gambling problems can turn to the casino stream to fulfill their desires. In a new episode of the All Bets Are Off podcast, a gambling addiction recovery podcast, the two discuss using live gaming as part of their recovery.
Alternatively, interest in this genre may be unrelated to the desire to play games and focus on entertainment, excitement, or other gaming motivations such as financial interest.
The latest research, which continues to explore viewing motives, uses data from live speech on Twitch, as well as analysis of the main video stream characteristics of Twitch slots.
Technological innovation is developing faster and faster than the government rules that govern every space. As a result, businesses like streaming slots are falling into a realm of uncertainty. In the end, it seems that addressing consumer protection in this area is not just a government-regulated endeavor.
Due to the complexity of jurisdictional rules and the potential harm that can result from gambling, all stakeholders – streamers, platforms, game developers, consumers themselves, parents and others – have a role to play in ensuring that gaming and their gaming diversity is protected and passed on. as, as Twitch formulated its goals, “a welcoming and positive experience for our global community”.