Something for everyone

If you’re a middle-aged person like me, you might not watch Twitch streamers. I actually do sometimes, as I am still into video games and every so often, I like to gawk at some of the best players. So, at least as far as video gaming goes, I understand the appeal.

What I do not get at all, however, is the appeal of gambling streaming. I’m not talking about poker, as while I’m not into it, I can see why someone would want to watch a strategic competition. I’m talking about sitting there watching someone spin online slots. I just don’t get it. But hey, to each their own, right? The problem with gambling streaming channels, though, is that anyone and everyone has access to them and popular streamers can be quite influential.

Viewer lost $60k gambling after watching streamer

Such is apparently the case with one viewer of the popular channel Trainwreckstv, on which Tyler “Trainwreck” Niknam streams himself playing high stakes casino games. In one video I pulled up from a few days ago, he has over $2.2 million in credits on an internet slots game, betting $1,000 a pull.

In another stream this past weekend, that same viewer participated in the chat of Imane “Pokimane” Anys, who streams video games and general talk. She was talking about her concerns about gambling streams, when the viewer named “trade_walker” wrote, “I’ve honestly lost 60k+ because sadly I followed Trainwrecks down the rabbit hole and I’m still going.”

Pokimane saw the message (popular streamers often don’t see most posts, as they scroll by quickly) and stopped to try to ask trade_walker for more information. Concerned, she said, “Do you plan on stopping? You’re $60,000 down! It could only go further. You do realize that, right? I’m so curious. Please tell us more. Why are you still going if you’re so far down already?”

Anys continued the discussion, warning her viewers about the dangers of gambling and encouraging trade_walker to seek help for their problem. The viewer did admit that they believe they have an addiction.

Trainwreck does advise people not to gamble

In his defense, while I would not encourage people to watch gambling streams (again, I consider poker a bit different, though it is still gambling) Trainwreck does have responsible gambling information on the “About” section of his Twitch page, along with the GambleAware logo.

In March, Niknam hit what is considered the biggest non-jackpot win in online slots history, winning $22.5 million in a single spin. When tweeting about it, he wrote, “…don’t gamble, if I wasn’t being paid millions as a large creator I’d be bankrupt by now, gambling is entertainment and entertainment only, don’t get greedy or you will pay the price.”

If you’re thinking to yourself, “What? He’s being paid millions?” Well, it’s true.

In a Twitch hack from last fall, streamers’ income was leaked. Counting only the money paid to the streamer by Twitch (viewer donations and sponsorships are not included), Trainwreck and Pokimane were the 38th and 39th-highest paid streamers, respectively. From August 2019 to October 2021, Twitch paid Niknam $1.573 million and Anys $1.528 million.

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