The live streaming platform Twitch has taken steps to prohibit advertising for gambling products on its site. The company, which is owned by Amazon, has decided to update its content creator profiles, in a bid to prevent adverts for gambling products.
These measures seek to crack down on the sharing of links and referral codes for gambling websites. The rise in such streams—known as “gamba meta”—has caused friction among many of the most popular Twitch streamers.
Some, like Tyler “Trainwrecks” Niknam and Félix “xQc” Lengyel, have embraced the gamba meta phenomenon, while many other high-profile streamers as Pokimane and Asmongold, have expressed concerns over the promotion of gambling on a platform whose audience is largely under-age.
Nevertheless, Twitch obviously felt that action needed to be taken swiftly. Its Creator Updates stated that, “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.”
Further Action Called For
The sanctions have been broadly welcomed, although campaigning groups such as The National Council on Problem Gambling (NCPG) say that restrictions need to be far tougher.
In a press release Keith Whyte, Executive Director of the NCPG, said, “Twitch has taken a good first step to help protect young and vulnerable users by preventing the sharing of links to gambling websites. However, much more must be done.”
He continued, “It is incumbent on Twitch to focus on the health of their users, especially young people who are susceptible to developing a gambling addiction thanks to what they are exposed to in the streaming platform.”
But his statement did not stop there. Whyte went on to detail exactly what measures the NCPG want to see Twitch taking: “NCPG calls on Twitch to restrict gambling content to adult viewers and to establish stringent mechanisms to verify their age. Twitch should also ensure that streamers who broadcast gambling content are of legal age to gamble in their jurisdiction and the gambling they display is legal and regulated in their jurisdiction.
Whyte also requested full disclosure of any sponsorship deals, for instance: “if the site or sponsor is providing them free play, if the streamer receives any fee or reward for referring users to the gambling site, and a responsible gambling message.”
Streamers at Loggerheads
The streamer Asmongold, who has 2.3 million followers on Twitch, is even more vehement, tweeting in June: “Twitch needs to ban gambling streams full stop.”
In response to the recent creator updates, Asmongold tweeted, “Twitch’s new rules for gambling don’t do anything other than pay lip service to concern while still profiting.”
Gambling stream advocates such as Trainwrecks, continue to defend their content —pointing out that Twitch had allowed broadcasts with the gamba meta tag, and that it was aimed at adult viewers.
However, the controversies over gambling on Twitch are unlikely to end there. Earlier in the year, the platform was banned in Slovakia after streams of online poker games were broadcast. Other countries with strict internet gambling regulations could take similar action in the future.