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Twitch made a controversial move last month when it no longer allowed the streaming of certain forms of gambling. Some streamers were pressuring the site to take action, resulting in the partial ban.
A month later, data showed a significant drop in gambling reach. Meanwhile, YouTube appears to be picking up much of that lost viewership.
Twitch announced in September they were no longer allowing streaming of certain gambling sites and certain games that are not licensed in the United States. Among the games included in this ban are online pokies, roulette, and dice games. The ban officially began on October 18th. However, many stopped streaming after the announcement.
When the announcement was made, many thought that the policy change would impact the platform’s overall streaming numbers. Casinolytics is a company that tracks the iGaming industry and has put together streaming numbers since the announcement.
According to its findings, Casinolytics found that Twitch now controls 74% of the total viewership of online streaming gambling content. Before the policy change, Twitch held a 96% market share. That’s a drop of 22% in about a month.
Per the policy, streamers cannot produce content involving websites that do not hold a license in the United States. Only a handful of US states offer regulated online gambling. Twitch streamers unable to switch to a regulated website were forced to stop streaming on the platform and move to another. The platform that has benefited most from this change is YouTube.
Before the policy change, YouTube held just a 4% share of the total market for online gambling streaming. Since the transition, YouTube has enjoyed a drastic uptick in viewership. According to Casinolytics, YouTube has enjoyed a 40% increase in its total reach since the policy change at Twitch.
YouTube is famous mainly for video playback and is the king of online streaming platforms in terms of playback numbers. However, many people also use YouTube for live streaming, mainly when they cannot do so on other platforms.
Presently, YouTube has less stringent regulations regarding online gambling streams. Their policies are targeting the types of ads featuring on its platform.
Also, the alternative platform Dlive has seen a significant jump in viewership. Many of the websites the policy change is blocking are now prominently featuring on Dlive. Dlive is less popular among liberal viewers as the platform seems to embrace radical viewpoints, particularly those of extremist groups.
While some people have applauded Twitch’s efforts to curb gambling streams of unlicensed or unregulated websites, some feel that these efforts fall short. For years, several prominent streamers have called for a complete ban of online gambling on Twitch and other streaming platforms.
Some feel that Twitch is feeding some problem gamblers’ addiction or helping to groom others to become problem gamblers. Granted, players cannot participate in the streams and can only live vicariously through the streamers playing the games.
Twitch has remained committed to evaluating gambling trends and whether they should expand their gambling ban. Whether this leads to a complete ban on gambling is unknown. We think it is unlikely. We expect Twitch to enact geolocation for certain streams to ensure they are only broadcast in legal areas. This way, they don’t have to worry about streamers or viewers finding a way to circumvent policy.