The news that Twitch does not allow the promotion of links for slots, roulettes and dice games won’t be new to many, however, it seems that Team Twitch has clicked on to the fact that people were doing what they could to get around the rules. Twitch clearly want to be seen to take this seriously and in the Autumn announced that it would be banning any streams that linked to websites offering this sort of game if they don’t meet certain thresholds and rules. The rules which came into play on the 18th of October are designed to make things clear for Twitchers in regard to the content that they can share and the services they can promote. The promotion of gambling services on social media has always been a controversial subject because of the number of people under the age 18 of that access social media and therefore could be targeted by these adverts.
What New Rules Have Been Put Into Place?
There has been a number of updates to community guidelines however many feel that they are vague in terms of prohibiting actual gambling website. They do have a new policy though, so those that wish to try and promote gambling sites could see themselves removed from the platform.
“As with all of our policies, your account may receive enforcement if you stream these prohibited sites. That said, 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,” it reads.
Why Has Twitch Done This Now?
It is hard to say exactly why they have done it now, although gambling on social media has always been a spilt topic. Whilst some people don’t see the harm in promoting to all ages because gambling websites can’t be accessed by those underage whereas others see it as damaging to promote such pastimes to those that are under the age of 18.
Recently a well-known Twitch user ItsSliker admitted that when he was part of Team Liquid he scammed a number of viewers and streams out of $200,000; which was purely to fund his gambling addiction. This news is not something that Twitch will want hitting the headlines and as such, it makes sense that they opt to do something to counteract the negativity that this could bring with it.
What Have Twitch Said About the Matter?
Twitch released a statement on the 20th of September when they first released the fact that new rules and guidelines would soon be in place. Shared on Twitter, the statement talked about how gambling content on Twitch is always a big topic of discussion and how they have been reviewing the topic since their last policy update. They talked about how they would prohibit streaming of certain gambling sites but mostly those that include slots, roulette and/or dice games that aren’t licensed in the US and/or other places where sufficient customer protection is offered. It was during this statement they announced that the new policy rules would be in place from the 18th of October.
Twitch’s decision to ban people from streaming themselves playing on the best online casinos was met with some controversy as many feel that the streaming platform should allow people to stream whatever content they want and that it is the user’s choice whether they follow this or not.
Gambling on Social Media
The topic of gambling on social media is a tricky one because there are many ways to purchase items online that some would say is gambling. For example, it is not unusual for retailers on Tik Tok shop to offer mystery boxes. As the name suggests, you purchase a mystery box of goods and you don’t know what is due to arrive until it gets to you. This has generally slipped through the gambling net because people are usually given an idea of the minimum value of items, so it isn’t the type of gambling where you can lose your money.
Both Instagram and Facebook have their own regulations about the advertising of gambling-related content on their platforms. It is also worth noting that the advertising of gambling services does vary depending on where you are in the world and many platforms pay attention to regulations put in place by local authorities. Facebook does allow some gambling content to be promoted but their advertising policy states that you must have written permission from them in advance.
The Future of Gambling Content on Social Media
We know that places such as the Advertising Standards Agency in the UK are strict about advertising gambling services and have a set of rules in place. Currently, some social media slips through the net as people don’t often see this as advertising in the same way as they would a TV or radio advert. That said, things are changing and as influencers start to become more prevalent on social media we’re likely to see a shift in rules. This means that platforms can have their own guidelines but they’ll need to be inside the law set by the country they are based in too. We know that the UK is always reviewing its gambling regulations and policies and admittedly is some time behind on online casino usage and social media. That said, the Government whitepaper which has been in process since 2020 could very well address this, should it ever get released.
We don’t know what the future of gambling content looks like on social media. If photo ID and age verification are bought into platforms such as Twitch and Instagram then maybe there will be a way to only show this content to those verified to be of legal age to gamble and that could change the shape of gambling content online. However, for now, Twitch at least looks like they will be coming down hard on those that want to use the platform to promote gambling services.