Twitch has become more of an important medium for players and online poker operators in recent years. Most sites now feature streamers as part of their ambassador stables. The Twitch action has come a long way since Jason Somerville debuted his Run It Up streaming platform on the site several years ago.
However, streamers faced some concerns in recent days when Twitch began reconsidering the site’s policy on gambling. Twitch is owned by Amazon and is shifting toward gambling only on licensed and regulated sites. That offers some shelter for streaming online poker action via legal sites.
“We’ll be making a policy update on October 18th to prohibit the streaming of gambling sites that include slots, roulette, or dice that aren’t licensed in the US or other jurisdictions that provide sufficient consumer protection,” the site notes.
Twitch concerned with minors, gambling addiction
The issue arose last week as reports began to surface of the policy shift at Twitch. That came after the creator “Sliker” revealed he’d borrowed $200,000 from other streamers and fans. The streamer said he used those funds to fuel his gambling addiction, according to Wired magazine.
“It’s time for the truth,” he said on his stream. “I lied to many people … I borrowed money off people.
He added that he “would come across streamers and ask them if I could borrow money. I wouldn’t give them the reason because it was gambling. I would lie to them.”
The confession led to the site removing his partner status and subscribing to the channel is no longer an option. Twitch quickly responded that it was “actively reviewing” gambling content on the site.
The ability of minors to view gambling material and the use of offshore gaming sites, some allowing play via cryptocurrencies, also became a concern. Seeing some of its streamers confessing to gambling addiction is definitely not good for the site’s public relations.
However, poker and gambling have become a bigger part of the site’s content offerings. Removing all of that would be a major loss of content for Twitch. It now appears the site is going after unlicensed and unregulated offshore sites.
Poker players react
After the Sliker episode, company officials released the statement about the coming policy changes. Longtime streamer and GGPoker ambassador Kevin Martin voiced the concerns of many on Sept. 19. He offered his thoughts on Twitter about the issue.
“You can’t just ban gambling content,” he said. “Restrict minors from it and creators have to be honest about the realities of gambling. But just because this dude has a serious addiction doesn’t mean you can just erase that entire content field.”
The difference between poker and gambling is a long topic as well.
Minors 💯 need to be restricted from gambling content.
Adults need to be given the resources and education but after that it’s up to them to make decisions.
A platform ban is not the answer.
— KMart – 🤠 (@KevinRobMartin) September 19, 2022
PokerStars ambassador and streamer Ben “Spraggy” Spragg noted some concern on his Twitch channel as well. He pointed out how the issue shows streamers that their future in streaming is tied to the site. He is pleased poker streaming remains on Twitch.
“It’s a very contentious issue on the platform at the moment,” he said. “The decision is the decision. I’m glad that poker didn’t get caught up in it. I was never really concerned that poker might get caught up in it. I think there’s always been a really clear distinction on Twitch as a platform between poker and the other sort of games … or streaming on unregulated sites.
“It’s not my platform. I’m not Amazon. I think whatever decision they ever make about anything like that, I’ll just respect it. We’re not owed a position anywhere. We’re not owed anything anywhere. It definitely makes you more aware of potential vulnerability.”
He added: “Ultimately it’s just a privately-owned website.”
Clarifying the Twitch gambling policy
After some concern among poker streamers, it now appears they are in the clear. Twitch singled out the game specifically. Poker remains allowed on the platform.
“We will continue to allow websites that focus on sports betting, fantasy sports, and poker,” the statement noted. “We’ll share specifics on the updates to our gambling policy soon, including the full policy language, to make sure everyone is clear on our new rules before they take effect on October 18th.”
An update on gambling on Twitch. pic.twitter.com/lckNTY9Edo
— Twitch (@Twitch) September 20, 2022
A question comes to mind from the statement. Will Twitch ban offshore, unregulated poker and sports betting sites? With the site looking to bar unregulated and unlicensed gaming sites, this move seems likely.
Twitch also affirmed that links or referral codes for sites with gambling on slots, roulette, and dice games are restricted on the platform.
Martin spoke for many in offering his view of the changes and the current state of Twitch poker: “Crazy times in the streaming world. Looks like poker is safe.”