Trainwreck is mad

In wake of Twitch’s recent ban of streams featuring unregulated online casinos, Tyler “Trainwreck” Niknam, one of the most popular streamers on the platform, moving to a new site, Kick. Angry about the ban when sports betting, daily fantasy sports, and poker streams are still allowed, as well as supposedly upset about the percentage of streamer revenue Twitch takes, Trainwreck said that Twitch has “lost its grasp on reality” and is “going in the wrong direction.”

When the gambling ban went into effect in October, Twitch explained, “Last year, in order to address scams and other harms stemming from questionable gambling sites, we prohibited sharing links or referral codes to sites that include slots, roulette, or dice games. After monitoring the update’s impact for the last year—as well as hearing directly from you — it became clear that some people were circumventing those rules, and that further steps were necessary.”

The unregulated online casinos that Twitch is targeting focuses on cryptocurrency casinos and the company specifically named Stake, Rollbit, Duelbits, and Roobet as four sites that are not permitted on its platform. Those four, and Stake in particular, became quite popular as their use of crypto made it easy for people to gamble on them from any jurisdiction with strict regulations.

The “slots” category had made it into the top ten on Twitch, as streamers like Trainwreck regularly gambled tens of thousands, hundreds of thousands, and even millions of dollars in a session, all while thousands of viewers look on. Twitch had taken more and more heat both from the outside from streamer for allowing these channels, as they are accessible to young and potentially vulnerable people, who could be tempted to get in over their heads because of how fun and profitable the streamers make high stakes gambling look.

To Trainwreck’s credit, he does let his viewers know that they should not gamble, but he also makes millions because he has those viewers. Before Twitch’s unregulated gambling ban, he admitted that he made $360 million in 16 months promoting gambling. Not from winning, just for promoting gambling on his streams.

Not just some startup?

One of the most interesting parts of Trainwrecks’ flight to the upstart Kick is it appears that the site is part-owned by Stake, which could very well explain why Trainwreck is heading there and touting its generous revenue split with streamers.

YouTuber “Coffeezilla,” who calls himself an “internet detective,” posted Wednesday on Twitter that there is a subreddit called “KickStreaming” started by someone perhaps-not-so-coincidentally named “CalebStake.” Additionally, Stake co-founder Ed Craven has posted Kick-related giveaways and other positive things about the new streaming site.

The most obvious piece of evidence, though, is a job post for a “Senior Game Artist” on LinkedIn by tech company Easygo, which reads, in part, “Kick is a new venture created by the founders of Easygo and with new studios in Australia in Europe.”

While certainly not confirmed, it seems like Kick could be a streaming site whose purpose is to promote Stake’s online gambling products. Given that, it makes sense that Kick offers such a huge revenue cut to its streamers (95%, according to Trainwreck), as it could easily run at a loss as long as it brings traffic to Stake.

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