More limits on gambling streams
Twitch’s ban of unregulated gambling streams only took effect about a week ago, but already some streamers believe they have found a loophole in the rules that will allow them to keep broadcasting their online slot play.
Twitch announced the decision to get stricter with gambling streams in September and put the new rules in place effective October 18. In the original announcement on Twitter, Twitch said that it will “prohibit streaming of gambling sites that include slots, roulette, or dice games that aren’t licensed in the U.S. or other jurisdictions that provide sufficient consumer protections.”
It had already banned the sharing of links and referral codes in streams, but said that it has “seen some people circumvent the rules,” hence the tightening of the screws. Twitch specifically banned four online casinos sites: Stake, Rollbit, Duelbits, and Roobet, all of which had become very popular among gambling streamers for their ease of use and acceptance of cryptocurrency, which allows people to skirt banking restrictions.
The official policy on Twitch’s website, while very similar, is a little more vague. It lists the four sites as prohibited, but does not flat-out say that any other unregulated sites are prohibited, only that the company “may identify others as we move forward.”
Streamers believe they have gamed the system
To that end, German gambling streamer Scurrows tweeted that he found a loophole. He said that it is all about the URL of the casino site.
“….when a streamer is playing a casino and the casino’s name is visible in the image, it is not clear which site they are playing on. As long as no URL can be seen, it is not possible to say with certainty whether this streamer is breaking the rules,” he posted.
Here’s what Scurrows is getting at: some of the casino sites have regionalized versions, similar to how PokerStars has a “dot com,” a “dot eu,” a “dot uk,” and so on. The specific sites listed in Twitch’s Community Guidelines are “dot com” versions of the crypto casinos. So Scurrow believes that if he streams on a non-“dot com” version of a site, he is in the clear. And without showing the URL on screen, nobody will know.
Scurrows specifically says that while Stake dot com is prohibited, Stake dot US and Stake dot UK are both allowed (the latter is actually dot uk dot com, but no matter). Unfortunately for Scurrows, he is definitely wrong in at least one regard. In the FAQ section just under the gambling rule, Twitch specifically says that “we do not allow free social versions of the sites listed above.” The dot US version of Stake is a social gambling site and would thus be prohibited.
Of course, might technically be correct about the dot UK version or the like, so it will be up to Twitch to either update list of prohibited sites or further clarify the rules. Though the gambling stream ban has knocked the “slots” category out of Twitch’s top ten, it is still in the top 20, so it’s not like the streams have disappeared. It took threats of a boycott from some of the platform’s most popular streamers to get Twitch to clamp down on gambling streaming, so who knows how vigilant the site will be in policing streams that are supposed to be disallowed.
In the meantime, so gambling streamers have jumped to a site called DLive, which saw the opportunity to welcome them with open arms and offer them a greater revenue cut.