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Last week, Twitch announced an expansion in its ban on gambling advertising and streams. The site started by adding two additional casinos to its list of banned websites. Next, an update to the website’s Community Guidelines reveals that betting on gaming skins is no longer allowed.
The initial ban began last October and quickly led to a drastic drop in viewership. Now, Twitch is reporting a 75% drop in gambling viewership from last October.
Last Wednesday, Twitch announced an expansion for its ban on gambling content for livestreams. Streams for online casinos Blaze and Gamdon are no longer permitted on the platform. In October 2022, the site announced that streams from websites were not “licensed either in the U.S. or other jurisdictions that provide sufficient consumer protection.”
Neither of the casinos is licensed in the United States, but players can use a VPN to mask their location and play on the website. Online gamblers often use this practice to access geo-restricted websites. However, many websites will ban players they determine are accessing casino games via VPN.
Twitch posted to its account on X, formerly Twitter, stating, “Our goal now, as it was last fall, is to protect our community, address predatory behaviour, and make Twitch safer,” The ban from Twitch primarily focuses on casino games like roulette, dice, and online pokies. Also, streams for social media or free versions of banned casinos are also prohibited. Streamers may still stream from sites focusing on poker, sports betting, and fantasy sports.
Twitch has also updated its Community Guidelines page, revealing that “promotion or sponsorship of skins gambling is prohibited.” Skins gambling refers to gambling of gaming skins or other in-game items for Counter-Strike: Global Offensive (CSGO). Players often trade or gamble for skins, which has become big business for some.
Counter-Strike Youtuber Houngoungagne extensively researched Twitch streams for CSGO and published his findings in a video entitled “The Dark Reality Behind CSGO.” He compiled a list of the top CSGO streamers based on watchtime in 2023 and discovered that 226 of those streamers were sponsored. Some were sponsored by up to five gambling sites.
CSGO has experienced an uptick in concurrent players since March. Valve announced that Counter-Strike 2 will be coming out in the Summer of 2023, causing increased interest from players. With up to 75% of CSGO streamers profiting on gambling sites, this would have continued to be big business.
However, the sponsorship of such streams is now banned under new guidelines. The guidelines don’t speak about the streaming of games but only about sponsorships. However, based on the drop in viewership for gambling streams since the original gambling ban, we can expect a significant decrease in the near future.
When Twitch first implemented its new gambling stream policies, the platform saw an immediate drop in viewership. At the time, viewership was down about 22%. That number has continued to climb to the point where most of its gambling viewers have abandoned the platform.
According to Twitch, gambling viewership is down approximately 75% since the initial ban. This number is unsurprising, as many gambling streamers were sponsored by at least one online gambling company.
However, Twitch did mention that it has “observed some new trends” and is working to update its policies accordingly. That is likely why we saw the recent ban on CSGO gambling sponsorships. While we can understand Twitch’s reasoning behind its policies, it was inevitable that they would see a massive drop in gambling viewership.
In the meantime, we will likely see streamers try and migrate to other gambling-friendly platforms like Kick. Others will likely move away from gambling streams as alternative platforms will probably not prove as profitable.