Twitch is the most-recent technology company to grapple with the realities of online gambling, but it deviated from other platform providers by making swift changes.
Beginning Oct. 18, Twitch will prohibit the streaming of gambling sites that aren’t licensed in the U.S. or other jurisdictions that provide sufficient consumer protection, according to a site policy update.
The action taken by Twitch is contrasted by other digital platform providers who either do not recognize illicit gambling is happening or do not know how to curb the practice. As previously reported on PlayCA, Google, Apple and Facebook-owner Meta are engaged in a lawsuit brought by social casino users over content responsibility.
Identifying issues with gambling streams
Twitch’s policy update is in direct response to a public relations disaster for the Amazon-owned platform. A well-known streamer admitted to using their status on Twitch to further a gambling addiction.
Gambling streams of poker, slot pulls and sports betting are prevalent on Twitch. In fact, “slots” was one of the top 10 most-watched categories on the platform in mid-September.
The Amazon-owned streaming platform is popular with video gamers, many of whom are not old enough to gamble legally. The use of offshore gambling sites, some of which use unregulated cryptocurrency, also appears on Twitch streams.
Twitch switch raises online gambling Qs
But, Twitch is not banning gambling streams outright. Instead, streaming will only be permitted on legal gaming sites.
Other platform providers may be forced to make similar changes because of gambling’s influence. Separately, the policy changes by Twitch and the Tech Giant’s legal troubles seem to have no connection.
But, taken together, they raise several questions about technology’s role in gambling’s digital expansion.
Who is responsible for safeguarding customers? How will it be done without limiting legal economic opportunities for both operators and users? What happens when rules and regulations are not adhered to?
As evident in states and locations where online gambling is legally permitted, regulations can address some of these issues. Whether or not digital platforms can self-govern or be forced to conform remains to be seen.