Twitch sends shockwaves in streaming community with gambling ban and pay cuts for creators


Photo credit: Christopher Schmider

By Gabriel Sanchez-Rivera

The largest streaming platform recently announced a ban on its gambling category, sending shockwaves across the streaming community.

Twitch had previously been a huge supporter of the gambling category. A cut in pay was also announced for creators shortly after Twitch’s announcement, which caused further backlash.

Twitch will continue to allow some forms of gambling, such as poker and sports betting, but slots and other luck-based gambling have been banned completely from the site.

Twitch named some gambling websites which have now been blacklisted from Twitch such as Stake, Rollbit, Duelbits and Roobet. Stake has been a notable sponsor of many streamers such as xQc, Adin Ross, Trainwreckstv and of Twitch itself.

Twitch’s announcement about the gambling ban came after many creators pressured the platform to ban the category.

“We’ll be making a policy update on October 18th to prohibit the 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,” Twitch stated on Twitter.

At the heels of their announcement, Twitch banned Sliker, a streamer whose real name is Abraham Mohammed. Mohammed was exposed for stealing upwards of $200,000 from chat members and family members to fuel his gambling addiction which he streamed on Twitch.

Twitch’s ban on gambling has yielded positive reactions. Many huge names on the platform such as Pokimane, Ranboo, CaptainSparklez and Ludwig expressed their support for the ban.

However, many other streamers were furious with the ban and the actions taken against Sliker, the most notable voice of opposition being streamer Trainwreckstv.

Trainwreckstv, whose real name is Tyler Faraz Niknam, said he is well aware of all the issues that gambling creates, but does not support the ban of the category. Niknam believes that it is the gambler’s responsibility to be in control of his or her gambling. Niknam maintains that Sliker would have stolen the money regardless of whether he streamed the gambling.

“To be clear, the people scapegoating slots, bj & roulette and not blaming the individual, are the real problem,” Niknam said in a tweet. “On top of that, Sliker was a sports betting addict, the one type of gambling that is normalized.”

Nonetheless, the decision made by Twitch was final and put into action on Oct 18.

While many streamers celebrated the decision following the initial announcement, the commemoration did not last long.

A subsequent announcement made by Twitch just a few hours later explained that the subscription revenue shares between streamers and the platform would be lowered for the streamers. Starting June 1 of next year, the current 70/30 split (with 70% of the subscription revenue going to the creator and 30% to the platform) will change to a 50/50 split.

While the 70/30 split will remain for every dollar the streamer makes up to $100,000, every cent after will align with the expected 50/50 split.

Youtuber Niall Comas, better known by his channel name Pyrocynical, has amassed over 4.74 million subscribers on YouTube. Comas gave his thoughts on Twitch’s decision to lower the revenue shares.

“You’re essentially being punished for making more money for the company,” Comas remarked.

“[Twitch’s recent decision] has brought out this horde of millionaires that are just so angry that they can’t make more money, Comas added. “Even the wholesome Minecraft community are like sniding Twitch right now. I mean, I’m trying to act better than all these people, [but] I’d be doing the exact same thing, I would literally be in their Twitter replies crying as well.”

Steamer Jerma985, whose off-screen name is Jeremy Harrington, makes almost all of his content on Twitch and has cultivated over 1.1 million Twitch followers. Harrington expressed that he would leave the platform if it came down to running ads to compensate for the revenue loss that would result from Twitch’s controversial decision.

“If I have to run ads on this platform, I will leave this platform, 100%,” Harrington said.

Youtube, Twitch’s biggest opponent, implements the 70/30 revenue split that Twitch streamers are expecting to lose. Some streamers are looking to shift to YouTube, where they have an audience as well, to avoid impending revenue loss.

It is clear that Twitch’s controversy has created uncertainty for viewers and streamers. Many condemn the platform’s actions and as some look towards abandoning the platform in its entirety, Twitch may have to rethink its decisions moving forward.

To view Twitch’s full statement on the pay rate change, click here. To read Twitch’s full statement on the gambling ban, click here.