A Change.org petition was posted on May 20, aimed at pressuring Twitch's streaming platform into banning unregulated gambling companies from advertising on their site. The petition, posted by one Erin Jordan, uses a novel technique to try and achieve its goals, namely putting pressure on Twitch's richest partners to try and get results.
Jordan has listed some of the biggest companies in the world, many of whom are regular advertisers on Twitch, in an attempt to put pressure on the Amazon-owned streaming giant to make changes to its policy. The likes of Pepsi, McDonald's, NVIDIA, Doordash, Mars, and many more are listed at the top of the page, with the following message below:
"Your advertisements on Twitch are being played next to Twitch broadcasters who promote unregulated online casinos that disproportionately damage young viewers and racial minorities."
While it isn’t technically accurate to say that companies advertising on Twitch are unregulated, it is totally fair to point out that they have to meet lower standards of regulation than they would if they were based in the United States. Curaçao in particular has become a popular home for many online gambling companies in part because of the relatively lax regulation in that nation compared to other parts of the world.
The petition goes on to list a number of statistics showing that, in the U.S., minorities and youths are far more susceptible to gambling problems on average. It also criticizes the way Twitch allows streamers like Felix "xQc" Lengyel to begin their broadcast in the Just Chatting section, before moving on to play slots with the viewers they gained elsewhere still in tow.
$119 million wagered by xQc viewers
Of those firms, Stake.com has generated the most noise on Twitch, partnering with some huge streamers in the process. xQc recently revealed his clickthrough alone had generated $119M in wagers for the company, which is based in Curaçao, and a report earlier this year saw Tyler Faraz "Trainwreckstv" Niknam claim he was now being paid more than $1M a month to gamble on Stake.com whilst streaming.
There is little doubt that Twitch could be doing more to protect their young users, and recent advances in moderation seem to be fairly inconsistently applied. The reality is also that the company profits a lot from streamers like xQc, who bring in hundreds of thousands of viewers, and would most likely lose money if they were to sanction, properly regulate or ban gambling streams entirely.
In the meantime, the petition is yet to achieve its 500 signature mark, although it is making steady progress, and you can add your name of course. What we know is that this is yet another avenue that Twitch is having pressure applied through, and there may well come a point in the near future where they have to address the elephant in the room, and admit that the company has a gambling problem.