Internet livestreaming giant Twitch announced Tuesday (September 20) that it will prohibit streams of gambling content originating from sites that are not licensed in the United States or other jurisdictions that provide “sufficient consumer protection.”
The site, which is owned by Amazon, announced it will update its policies beginning October 18 to prohibit streaming of gambling websites that include slots, roulette, or dice games from unlicensed operators, specifically identifying four sites: Stake.com; Rollbit.com; Duelbits.com; and Roobet.com.
Twitch said it may identify other sites as it moves forward.
The announcement specified, however, that Twitch will continue to allow streams from sites that focus on sports betting, fantasy sports and poker regardless of licensing status, and that it will share further specifics, including full updated policy language, before the new rules take effect next month.
“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,” the streaming platform said in a news release.
“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 harm.”
Gambling has become a source of controversy on Twitch in recent days following an admission from a popular streamer that he had solicited contributions and loans under false pretenses from his community of more than 400,000 Twitch followers to fund his gambling.
Following that admission, several other streamers with significant followings called on Twitch to ban gambling from the platform, threatening to boycott it during Christmas week if the site did not take action.
Gambling content is one of the most popular on the Twitch platform, with the “slots” category on Twitch frequently sitting as one of the highest-viewed on the site, ranked along popular games such as Fortnite and World of Warcraft, with the “virtual casino” category not far behind.
With online slots only permitted in six U.S. states representing slightly more than one-tenth of the U.S. population, the move will have a significant chilling effect on the site’s gambling content.
Stake, a cryptocurrency casino and sports wagering platform that operates under a Curaçao license, is perhaps the most popular site for streamers in the slots channel and has spent heavily in marketing both through high-profile influencers online, as well as through more traditional channels, such as a headline shirt sponsorship deal with Premier League club Everton for a reported £10m per season, a similar arrangement with Championship club Watford and a partnership with the Ultimate Fighting Championship.
Stake also boasts rapper Drake as an ambassador for the company and the Canadian star frequently posts screenshots of massive bets on the Stake platform to his social media.
Stake does not permit access from players in the United States, instead directing users to its U.S.-based social casino product, but users may still be able to access the site through a virtual private network or other location-masking methods.