Twitch Bans Several Gambling Streams; Twitch Poker Lives

When Twitch decided to outlaw numerous gambling-related activities last week, poker streamers and fans were worried about how it would affect Twitch Poker and the online poker industry in general. It seems that, at least for now, poker players can exhale a sigh of relief.

Twitch Bans Several Gambling Streams; Twitch Poker Lives image

If you have been following Twitch over the past few weeks, you are probably aware of the intense pressure put on the streaming platform by streamers to outlaw gambling games.

It was thought that some streamers, in particular, were sending out a very dangerous message by risking a lot of money on games like slots that the average user could not reasonably mirror as they became wealthy with massive viewership and sponsorships from gambling sites.

Twitcher Gambling Ban takes effect on October 18th

This prompted Twitch to declare that, starting on October 18, casino-style gaming would be prohibited on the platform, including "slots, roulette, or dice games". The policy change, which goes into effect Oct. 18 and applies to sites "that aren't licensed either in the U.S. or other jurisdictions that provide sufficient consumer protection".

Instead of the idea that gambling is harmful to promote on the platform, the restriction is more focused on the fact that these gambling games are illegal in the US.

There are hundreds of gambling streams on Twitch that draw tens of thousands of viewers at any given moment. The incident caused some of the platform's largest broadcasters to demand a ban on these streams, and also left many poker streamers unsure about their futures. Leading streamers urged Twitch to outlaw gambling websites, claiming that the network has been promoting these sites to children and encouraging gambling addiction.

Twitch Poker goes on

The prohibition did not apply to fantasy sports, poker, or sports betting. All three are seen by its proponents as skill-based activities with a gambling component, which Twitch plainly acknowledges (Twitch invested a lot of time and money introducing poker to the site). They are all in some capacity licensed throughout the United States. However, it does indicate that poker streamers with endorsement agreements from poker rooms that also feature casinos will need to exercise much greater caution going forward.

For many poker players, the campaign to outlaw gambling-related content on Twitch touched close to home. Since Scott Ball established Twitch Poker, a plethora of poker streamers have made their names known in the industry and partnered with companies like GGPoker and PokerStars on the website.

With 306,000 followers, the most well-known Twitch poker streamer, Lex Veldhuis, agreed that the platform should outlaw gambling streams, but noted that "important to distinguish poker being a game of skill.". GGPoker streamer Kevin Martin also chimed in, saying that poker is "a mind sport and is very different than casino games"

"Gambling content on Twitch has been a big topic of discussion in the community, and something we've been actively reviewing since our last policy update in this area," Twitch said. "While we prohibit sharing links or referral codes to all sites that include slots, roulette, or dice games, we've seen some people circumvent those rules and expose our community to potential harm."