Twitch, a popular poker streaming network, stated on October 18 that it would prohibit gambling broadcasts. Why did this occur, and will the ban have an impact on poker?
Why does Twitch prohibit gambling streams?
Twitch has already examined gambling broadcasts indirectly. In August 2021, the network will prohibit streamers from publishing direct links and referral codes to online casinos, even in recordings of earlier broadcasts.
Despite the lack of connections, broadcasters continued to make millions of dollars through advertising partnerships with casinos and royalties from Twitch itself. AdinRoss was the highest-paid casino streamer as of last autumn, receiving $1,850,000 from the site between August 2019 and October 2021 and receiving $1,600,000 each month from advertisers. The number of subscribers to the Slots hashtag on the platform increased from 800,000 to 1,100,000 over the last year.
Hackers breached Twitch and disclosed the profits of poker broadcasters.
This week, a big controversy broke in the community when it was discovered that ItsSlikeR, a prominent English-language streamer (430,000 followers), had been defrauding his colleagues for a year by borrowing around $300,000 from them and using the funds to place bets on sportsbooks. He informed his victims that his bank account had been suspended and that he was unable to pay for basic expenditures. Without receiving their money back, the streamers who had been cheated decided to publicize the tale.
As a consequence, the leading content creators on Twitch demanded a ban on gambling-related broadcasting and even threatened to go on strike during Catholic Christmas.
Poker players must stand for poker.
The poker community and renowned poker broadcasters are concerned about the issue. Several of them opposed associating poker with other forms of gambling. Poker on Twitch must be acknowledged as a game of skill, argued PokerStars ambassador Lex Veldhus. – My concern is that if Twitch prohibits gambling, no one will investigate, and poker broadcasters will also be removed.”
Kevin Martin, a GGPoker streamer, made a similar point: “We must defend poker and poker streamers because it’s an intellectual sport.” And partypoker salesperson Jamie Staples created a video in which he attempted to explain to the general public how poker differs from slot machines and other casino games.
And for those who may be unfamiliar with gambling and the distinction between poker and other casino games, here is a straightforward explanation: https://t.co/hKPuOFcwjSpic.twitter.com/ZFxBc54l3k
– Jaime Staples (@jaimestaples) September 19, 2022
In poker, we compete against one another, not the machine or the dealer. Very few professionals play the game, although beginners may also enjoy it. They are intrigued by the chance to compete with others, devise their own strategy, and achieve success via their own intelligence. There is no comparison between poker and slot machines, where you play against an algorithm that returns 97-98% at best and has a large variation.
Twitch will prohibit broadcasting gambling from October 18, 2022.
Twitch responded swiftly: on September 20, the site published new content regulations that would take effect on October 18:
On that day, you will no longer be allowed to broadcast a game on gambling sites that are not regulated in the United States or other countries with adequate player protection regulations. Included on the list of games are slots, roulette, and craps.
The prohibition will not have any effect on poker.
Twitch emphasized in its news statement that broadcasting poker, sports betting, and fantasy sports would continue to be permitted. Ironically, the ItsSlikeR streamer who sparked the whole issue won $300,000 from bookies alone and not from casinos.
The poker community and the streamers themselves felt comfort at the news that the poker streaming are secure. In the near future, Twitch’s management pledges to provide further information on the announced ban on gambling.