Poker is safe

A month after it was announced, the ban on unregulated gambling streams on Twitch has gone into effect. The leading streaming platform has said it will be gentle in its enforcement at the outset, giving streamers a chance to get used to the policy.

“….we know this may be an adjustment for some, and will be levering warnings in addition to suspensions in applicable cases in order to be fairer to streamers who may not have understood the change yet,” Twitch said on Tuesday.

A Twitch spokesperson told Business Insider that unlike some of its competitors, its punishments are not automated. Each situation is handled manually on a case-by-case basis. As one might expect, punishments start light and can get harsh. A first offense – in this case, streaming banned gambling content – will result in a warning and probably having the offending content taken down. Further policy violations will result in temporary suspensions for up to a month, while at the far end of the offense scale, streamers can be banned permanently.

“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,” Twitch explained. “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.”

Those steps, as we wrote about in September, were to ban unregulated online casinos from streams. Specifically, this means “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.”

Not included, and therefore safe from the ban, are poker, fantasy sports, and sports betting.

Crypto casinos are the primary targets

Four specific sites were named as part of the ban: Stake, Rollbit, Duelbits, and Roobet. These have become very popular among popular high stakes gambling streamers, in part (or mostly) because they are crypto-based gambling sites, which makes it easier for people from jurisdictions like most of the United States to gamble on them.

Gambling streams have charged up Twitch’s charts in the past year or so and thus have drawn more attention and criticism. Many top streamers have come out against gambling streams, excoriating them for making gambling – and high stakes gambling, especially – look fun and appealing to vulnerable viewers like minors. Some of the most popular gambling streamers win and lose tens of thousands, hundreds of thousands, and even millions of dollars in a single session, usually playing slots.

Just this week, only a couple days before the ban took effect, rapper Drake hosted over 20,000 viewers on one of his gambling streams on the crypto site Stake, something he has done several times. He is not happy about the gambling ban – as if he doesn’t have enough notoriety and income – but he’ll get punished just like anyone else if he violates the policy.

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