Unregulated gambling is once more becoming an issue on Twitch, with big creators under fire and more commentary channels focusing on the topic. After months of discussion over relatively tame topics like ASMR or hot tub streaming, gambling is an area with the potential to cause massive problems for Twitch, which is yet to take any strong action or even acknowledge the scale of the problem on their platform.
The topic has bubbled around for a few weeks, but the latest blowup came after an H3H3 podcast that featured Hasan Abi, Mizkif, and Adin Ross. The full video is linked below, during which Ross is confronted on a number of topics, including his promotion of gambling sites to his audience, as well as potentially problematic content he has been involved with.
Ross is part of a group that has been gambling on stream with funds provided to them by site owners for promotional purposes. The issues really arise when you consider that many streamers, Ross included, have extremely young fanbases, and Twitch is broadcast across multiple regions, not all of which allow gambling in the first place.
One interesting tidbit from the podcast comes in the first minute, where the H3H3 details issues one of their staff had with gambling on Twitch in the past, to which Ross admits his friend and FaZe Clan owner Ricky “Banks” Bengston was previously an owner of CSGO Wild, a skin gambling site. Ross himself is heavily involved with FaZe, appearing in content and interacting with senior members of the team, who have also come under fire after members were exposed for being involved in a crypto pump and dump scam just a few weeks ago.
Other names involved include Félix "xQc" Lengyel and Tyler "Trainwrecks" Niknam, the latter of which has hit out at accusations of potential illegality or moral ambiguity. Imane "Pokimane" Anys herself called him out for promoting “shady sites” and Trainwrecks recently went on an incredibly rant regarding a Wired article, calling a female reporter a “dumb bitch” while not actually addressing the topic at hand.
Unregulated gambling bigger and bigger issue for Twitch
This isn’t the first time Twitch has had to deal with being a platform for potentially predatory gambling sites, and the lack of real age regulation is a large part of why it has happened again to the purple monster. The previous controversy centered around CSGO skin gambling, and eventually Valve themselves stepped in to try and break up the market around the cosmetic items, much to the dismay of the many CSGO names that had taken money from them in exchange for advertising.
In a statement given to WIRED, Twitch claimed they do prohibit and take action against illegal activities “that are reported to us" — a key distinction that demonstrates Twitch is not proactively monitoring the issue despite the incredible potential damage to both the platform and young users. Just as with the hot tub issue, it seems as though the company is hoping this will resolve itself without their interference, but the enduring nature of the issue suggests otherwise.
Twitch told WIRED, “We strictly prohibit illegal content and activity on the service, and take action in all verified incidents of illegal gambling that are reported to us. Our Community Guidelines make clear that ‘[Streamers] must respect all applicable local, national, and international laws while using our services. Any content or activity featuring, encouraging, offering, or soliciting illegal activity is prohibited.”
WIRED’s article claims that Adin Ross is being paid around $1.5M a month to gamble with house money on some sites, based on a leaked DM from Ross’s stream. With so many of the biggest names on Twitch involved already, and the increasing attention being paid to the topic, it will be interesting to see if the company reacts in the coming days, as the potential harm to their millions of underage users is considerable and will only continue to grow if creators are allowed to continue unchecked.