Twitch says it’s (finally) taking a “deep-dive look” into gambling streams.
Betting live on stream has become a major thing in the past year or so, to the point where its pervasiveness has a name: the “gamba meta.”
Streamers like xQc—who rose to fame as a pro Overwatch player and began gambling on stream in 2021—have secured deals with betting sites and online sportsbooks like Stake where they’re sponsored to bet while broadcasting.
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And lots of people are watching these broadcasts. At press time, the catch-all gambling category “Slots” is the 15th most-viewed across all of Twitch, with more than 35,000 concurrent viewers. It’s right on the heels of gaming staples like Fall Guys (38,000 viewers), World of Warcraft (40,000), and Dead by Daylight (42,000).
Twitch has, in the past, acknowledged that letting creators promote gambling might not be such a great idea. In August 2021 it introduced a new rule it said were intended to “prevent harm and scams created by questionable gambling services that sponsor content on Twitch.”
The rule didn’t stop streamers from partnering with these “questionable” services, or from talking them up to audiences. It just prevented streamers from “sharing links and/or referral codes to sites that offer slots, roulette, or dice games.”
At the time, Twitch said it planned to “continue to monitor gambling-related content and update our approach as needed.”
It seems, now, like an update may be coming–or at least being considered.
A Twitch spokesperson told Bloomberg that the platform is “in the midst of a deep-dive look into gambling behavior on Twitch.”
“We take any potential harm to our community extremely seriously,” the spokesperson added. “While gambling content represents a very small fraction of the content streamed on Twitch, we monitor it closely to ensure our approach mitigates potential harm to our global community.”
It’s difficult to see how a category that’s the 15th most-watched is “a very small fraction,” but, well. That’s the official statement.
Bloomberg’s story, which was about a man who lost $80,000 on Stake after he discovered it through an xQc stream, prompted a response from xQc over the weekend. Per Dexerto, he accused Bloomberg of spreading misinformation, and pulled up his Stake stats on stream, showing that to date, he’s apparently wagered $685,075,984 on the site.
That figure comprises 656,376 total bets. 583,405 of them were losses, and 63,057 were wins.