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Twitch finally takes action against gambling (jacobwolf.report)
191 points by marban on Sept 21, 2022 | hide | past | favorite | 218 comments



It's been a interesting past couple of days of drama but the article fails to mention that twitch employees were accepting large amounts of money from gambling streamers live on stream.

https://twitter.com/ostonox/status/1572264800616599552

https://nitter.rawbit.ninja/ostonox/status/15722648006165995...


Is that what triggered this action now? It's odd because any category of streamer could be paying employees large sums of money to recommend them. A lot of gamers say that Pool & Hot Tub streams are being recommended despite only watching game streams. Now that's probably because they have high engagement and sub activity, but they or any category could just as well be influencing employees.


>A lot of gamers say that Pool & Hot Tub streams are being recommended despite only watching game streams.

Some hot tub streamers regularly get 10k+ viewers. If that viewer base overlaps with $your_favorite_streamer, then you will get hot tub streamer recommended. That said, I personally don't see problem with hot tub streamers; it seems like incredibly puritanical moral panic for some reason and I don't know why that gets so much attention in 2022.


Some of us like to use twitch to see people playing games (you know, its original intended purpose) and when half of the front page is glorified camgirls, it undermines that. More and more streamers are abandoning games and going for boring IRL garbage instead because that's what Twitch promotes.


>and when half of the front page is glorified camgirls, it undermines that.

Half of the front page has never been glorified camgirls. This is just more moral panic. Amouranth is practically the only streamer who is pulling enough numbers to be in the top 10 of any section. The featured section of twitch has never featured hot tub streams. Of the top 5 hot tub streamers, as of writing, the top one with 800 viewers are otters (like the animal), 1 is a vtuber and another is a man.

The issue is incredibly overblown. Amouranth is the only one doing numbers regularly.

>More and more streamers are abandoning games and going for boring IRL garbage instead because that's what Twitch promotes.

That has nothing to do with hot tub streamers. Kai Cenat and Adin Ross are some of the largest growing streamers in the past year, and they are primary Just Chatting streamers. This really just feels like you are complaining about Eternal September. It sounds like you just don't like that the world is changing. "Old man yells at cloud".

>Some of us like to use twitch to see people playing games

Some of the largest streamers on Twitch don't play games. Expecting twitch to remain some "insider only country club for video games" is ridiculous. No one is forcing you to watch hot tub streams. Getting recommended a titty streamer won't kill you. It really just comes across that you are mad that there are women on the platform doing stuff you don't like. It's arbitrary censorship; I doubt you would accept this kind of censorship on any other platform. And even then, when you look at the hard numbers for these titty streamers it's incredibly hard to take the moral panic seriously. Amouranth is only one doing numbers (and she is literally an outlier, I believe she is like top 10 on onlyfans as well) and the rest have fewer viewers than a Zoo's livestream.


It's definitely the case that streamers focusing on their bodies are not large in aggregate: Twitch streamers are overwhelmingly male, and even among female streamers they're a minority . However, "hot tub streamers" (by this I more broadly mean streamers whose main content is clearly meant as titillation) are significantly overrepresented among the top female streamers. Amouranth is the top female streamer by a long shot, with an audience twice as large as the next largest female creator on the platform.

There's definitely a moral panic component, but there are nonetheless negative aspects to having this content on Twitch. Women on the platform report feeling pressure and an expectation of producing this kind of content, because so many other popular women on the platform do it. There's also the idea that this juxtaposition spreads the message to viewers that men gain attention by exhibiting their skills and women get attention by exhibiting their bodies.

I do support the ability of people to produce this kind of content - or even explicit streams, for that matter - but I'm sympathetic to the idea that twitch should spin it off into something like lifestyle.tv in the same vein that twitch.tv was once a gaming spinoff of justin.tv.


> Women on the platform report feeling pressure and an expectation of producing this kind of content, because so many other popular women on the platform do it.

That's kind of ridiculous. You don't get to tell people they can't voluntarily do an optional thing just because you don't want to do the same optional thing.


It's not telling them to voluntarily do an optional thing, just that they can't do said optional thing on that specific platform. The fact that people are appearing side by side with creators making this content is what leads to the assumption that this is the kind of content women are going to create. It's the adjacency that's the issue.

Twitch already bans content like pornography, but people are free to do what they want on OnlyFans. These creators should be entirely free to produce "hot-tub streams" and other such content, just relegated to "lifestyle.tv" or something to keep a barrier between softcore-erotic content and typical creators.


Your entire comment is a blatant attempt twist my words into things I never said. Please stop that, thanks.

Twitch was originally 100% games. That's literally why it was created, and why I signed up and started using it. Now that it's no longer focused on gaming content, I am losing interest and finding it harder to watch content I enjoy. It's that simple.

Watching someone playing a game and subsequently being suggested a stream of someone sitting in front of a camera doing literally nothing as thousands in donations come in just feels like twitch telling me "hey, stop watching that entertaining content you like, watch this unrelated garbage instead because it's more profitable for us". And like others have mentioned, these streams being shown off right next to gaming streams pressures the streamers to move over to that type of content to potentially grow their audience and get paid more.

In case you're not aware, Twitch was a spinoff of justin.tv that was created as a place to contain gaming content (which was quickly becoming very popular at the time) while justin.tv continued to host other kinds of streams, but justin.tv was eventually shut down because Twitch completely dwarfed it. Now Twitch is becoming justin.tv again. They should just repeat the process in reverse and revive justin.tv to contain all of this non-gaming content, but they wont because it's easier and cheaper to just shove it all into the same space.


Can we have a link for these otters?


I don't have a horse in this race, but Twitch's "original intended purpose" was not just gaming. It was called justin.tv and over time the gaming category became very active. Later they refocused on gaming.


Twitch's original purpose was splintering off the gaming section of justin.tv (a general streaming site) onto a separate website specifically for gaming content.

They never refocused on gaming as that was the entire focus of the site's creation. During the early days any non-gaming content was strictly prohibited on Twitch.

For a while justin.tv and twitch coexisted, with justin.tv for general content such as "social streams" (equivalent to "Just Chatting" on modern day Twitch) and largely streams of copyrighted content such as tv shows (an obvious liability).

Prior to Amazon purchasing Twitch, justin.tv was shut down and a lot of the general "social" content started becoming allowable on Twitch over time.


I'm out of the loop, what is the difference between a camgirl and a glorified camgirl? is this like a pejorative where you and others don't like camgirls and people are pretending that those streamers are something else?

doesn't twitch let you just go directly to the streamer you want to see?

why are people making excuses about being camgirls or not? and also is this misogyny? or something like people are needing to pretend they aren't paying for some sexually attractive things? I don't really know Twitch's community, I remember teenagers though


Actual camgirls usually get naked.


Hot tub streams are in their own category on the Twitch site that you can avoid entirely if you want to, this is pretty disingenuous.


A lot of kids use Twitch. I can see why Amouranth maybe shouldn't be recommended to 10 year olds watching Fortnite.


Whoa hold on there, Fortnite has an ESRB rating of Teen, which is intended for audiences 13+. Should Twitch be recommending Fortnite content to 10 year olds?


You can, as others have, about any platform that allows salacious content. It's not different than banning trying to ban GTA because 10 year olds have playstations. Why is softcore content the line and not GTA which has a mature (17+) rating? Why is Amouranth a problem and not Grand Theft Auto. Even Fornite has an ESRB rating of 13+. It's straight up moral panic (and IMO, moral panic directed at women who are making money from doing "nothing").

My barometer for this issue is why is this content a problem on Twitch, but not on Instagram which has a much higher penetration amount kids and teens, and is way more brazen about it.


Should Twitch be showing ads for fruit-flavored alcoholic "seltzer" - aka soda with alcohol - to children?


Just wait until we find out they've got beer ads on TV.


A lot of gaming culture is quite misogynistic so whilst bikini streams make up a tiny percentage of the overall viewership bar a couple of bigger names it annoys them no end. See also the constant bringing up of one girl who had sex on stream and the worship of Andrew Tate.

It’s basically convenient whataboutery that fits their politics.


Speaking of whataboutery, he's not even a Twitch streamer. And you can just as well claim gaming culture is misandric.


What? I didn’t say he was a Twitch streamer so your reply is a bit of a non-sequitur.


> for some reason

Misogyny? In my gamer community? It's more likely than you think™


For this particular category I think there's going to be a lot more contributing variables than for gambling. Not only would it have high engagement and sub activity but:

- a lot of the streamers also game

- even if they don't, there are streamer cliques and social groups which are primarily gaming, of which they're a part

- a lot of viewers who only watch gaming will watch some streamer within the aforementioned clique/social group and be exposed to crossovers

- a lot of the viewers of that category also watch gaming streamers, so this will put those streams in the "people who watch this also watch" algorithmic bucket

None of the above are significantly the case for gambling except maybe the last one, and even then much less so.


My understanding is that this is not the catalyst. The catalyst involves a bunch of drama between various streamers, which led to the revelation that a particular Twitch streamer had fraudulently asked to borrow something like $350,000 from various other streamers and viewers, and had gambled it all away.

Once that happened, a bunch of influential streamers started to suggest that they may do a strike if Twitch didn't address the issue, and that was the final straw.

TechCruch's writeup is pretty good https://techcrunch.com/2022/09/20/twitch-sliker-gambling-dra... (though also, the article itself covers this, so, you know...)


You are right about this event being the catalyst. The funniest part is that the person who scammed and alledgedly spent it all on gambling did it on sports betting... which is specifically excluded from the ban on gambling by Twitch.

And the very likely reason for the exception is that Twitch has signed a 13 billion deal with a famous sport betting company tied to the NFL. This is peak hypocrisy from Twitch and it seems to get very little media coverage.


> It's odd because any category of streamer could be paying employees large sums of money to recommend them.

No, they couldn't. That is nonsense. I am a former twitch employee, of 4 years, and the recommendation algorithm is a complicated service, managed by whole teams of people.

A random employee couldn't just take a bribe, and get someone recommended.

The closest that someone could maybe do, is submit someone internally, to be hosted on the front page carousel for one specific day, for a few hours.

But even these manual requests are reviewed by a team of people, who especially make sure the front page people are brand safe. So the idea that they would put a "hot tub" streamer, on that manual hosting list is absurd.


The decision happened literally live while Hasan was talking about how terrible it is that gambling content is still allowed on Twitch in front of an enormous audience so I'm inclined to believe this exposure forced their hand on a decision they were already considering making, probably for a while.


It came out recently that a streamer exchanged lewd photos of herself for a ban on one of her "competitors."

Twitch has some serious, serious problems.


>A lot of gamers say that Pool & Hot Tub streams are being recommended despite only watching game streams

In my experience, Twitch recommendations seem to be based heavily on what you watch, so if that's what they're seeing its probably because they watched it at some point.


Not if you don't use twitch much I think.

I've only ever watched MTG tournaments and a handful of replays of factorio & pokemon streams. I too get the hottub streams recommended from time to time. Stopped after I reported it as porn a few times, but that might be a coincidence.


According to what I've seen on /r/livestreamfail (take everything with the finest grain of salt possible), it was only one twitch employee who took money, and they have since passed away.


> it was only one twitch employee who took money,

Ha. Take that with a global annual production of salt.


Supposedly it was a raffle created by the streamer, which the employee should not have joined. But I wasn't there so again, hearsay.


(We know so far)


I wouldn't be surprised if that's against a "Twitch/Amazon code of conduct", but that fact at face value doesn't mean anything nefarious. These could call center employees, qa testers, developers, etc that have no connection to the internal politics of deciding what is allowed on the platform.

If they are in fact the decision makers or able to influence policy, yes that' doesn't seem right.


This was the give away to random people in chat that happened months ago?


Yes. IIRC there were two low level Twitch employees who won something in the giveaway, but I believe they were entered because they performed chat moderation (yes, using the same mod tools normal channel moderators use) for the streamer in question (Trainwrecks). It's being made out like this was some form of bribe, but that seems disingenuous given they have (had, one died, one left the company) no influence over Twitch policies, and the decision to accept gifts (or not) is their responsibility as an Amazon employee either way. Perhaps they have colleagues who they could sway who are involved in policy setting, but that feels like reaching to me.

However take this with a pinch of salt too, I wouldn't like to bet on being fully correct! ;)


There will be many loopholes and ways to still stream gambling, but the main result of this hopefully is the end of #ad gambling streams which are very dishonest and show a glorified version of gambling (100k bonus buys, 1k per spin) with absolutely no way to know where the money is coming from since it is all crypto. Watching someone spin 1k slots knowing they are making millions from advertising is very different from watching someone spin 5 dollar slots of their own money. The excitement level from a viewer perspective is also way less.

The danger, and likely future however is sites like DraftKings and Fanduel setting up slots and being allowed fully, then sponsoring streamers. Basically, the danger with banning the unregulated stuff yet still being very supportive of gambling (which Twitch and more so Amazon obviously are) is opening a door to further normalization and mainstream acceptance of gambling (see Poker taking a nosedive due to regulation yet paving the way for the massive boom in fantasy sports)... but hey, at least some guy in Curacao won't be getting the millions, some CEO and shareholders in the US will. Still, it is a good step by twitch, and I hope it really does end the #ad gambling streams.

We may see a surge in Fantasy sports betting and e-sports betting though. Having xQC watch NFL games on stream while betting thousands on regulated sites is probably a future Amazon would be very happy with.


> Watching someone spin 1k slots knowing they are making millions from advertising is very different from watching someone spin 5 dollar slots of their own money

It's not just where the money is coming from but whether the odds are different from regular players. The gambling sites who sponsor this can very well adjust the odds per user so that the streamer gets consistent wins where as real players get the real odds which favor the house.

I've seen such gambling "ads" on YouTube, obviously they're not presented as ads nor even as gambling, rather they're presented as a way of making money, a loophole in the game, all the way to saying that there used to be an old version of this game but they closed it down due to many people winning, but this new game also has a loophole (how convenient!). In the "ad", they were consistently winning, in such a way where there's basically no way to lose even if you tried it on purpose. I very much doubt the video was falsified, rather the gambling platform was able to change the odds per-use so that their affiliates can get consistent wins so they can promote the platforms without requiring video trickery.


This sort of chicanery is precisely why I'm of the mind that, while gambling should not be banned (as that just drives it underground) it should be banned from advertising/twitch/etc.

Let people get into destructive behaviours, but for Pete's sake, don't promote the damn thing.


At least for two of the websites listed by Twitch in the new policy, the websites themselves don’t set the odds. They don’t even make the slot games. A third party creates the games, sets the odds, and provides these websites an API for them to use.

Two of those websites, the ones I’m familiar with, use (at least some of) the same third party websites. For example, Pragmatic Play.

It’s a vastly different conspiracy to say that the websites listed on Twitch’s policy are setting odds in favor of their affiliates when it involves at least two different companies.

That’s not to say this has never happened before, though. There was previously a website called CSGO Shuffle on Twitch that was setting odds in favor of their owners and partners, but those owners and partners also didn’t disclose that they were advertising and didn’t disclose that they were involved in the company.

https://www.theverge.com/2016/7/21/12246138/twitch-bans-phan...


>At least for two of the websites listed by Twitch in the new policy, the websites themselves don’t set the odds. They don’t even make the slot games. A third party creates the games, sets the odds, and provides these websites an API for them to use.

Not strictly true. Casino operators have access to the game provider tools. Some providers allow you to tweak RTP per game or even per player.

Yes, the Casino operator doesn't make the games, but they don't need to when the game creators expose all this configuration through their tooling and APIs.


The only difference on rtp between settings in the new rtp setting for Germany. Even this is not configurable by the operator. No casino can access any rtp settings from game play providers, I work with them every day. Especially on player level sounds absolutely impossible for any reputable provider. I am signing the contracts and implementing the bonus engines etc. It is unheard of in the regulated market.

I would be surprised if this were true, kindly list the providers which do that, I will be happy to eat my words.


NetEnt offers adjustable RTP games. Starburst for example, you can configure it in their back office.


Thank you for the correction. Do you know if this is true for the providers commonly used by the websites listed in the new Twitch policy, e.g. Stake?


I think that Stake make their own games. Or at least a company owned by the same people as Stake makes the games.

From https://www.smh.com.au/business/markets/the-secret-australia...

> In 2016, the pair set up Easygo which focused on developing games for online casinos and helped build Stake.com into an online casino powerhouse.


Stake started out at bitcointalk with the socalled original dice games, this then gree into a new era of games usually and still not provided by the classic game play providers. These games are now also available as a nodeJS package for sale.

However, many of their games are from the classic providers.


The casinos do not set the odds on the games, the game providers do. You can play the same games across many online casinos, much like how you can play the same slots across many Vegas casinos.

They cannot adjust odds of the slots, that's not how that works. The casinos can cover any losses of slot streamers however.


It sounds like you're talking about real casinos in well regulated jurisdictions. But a big part of the problem is "totally-not-a-casino" casinos which pretend to be something else because most of their clients are children.


Online casinos are, in fact, regulated.

Also why does this "children" thing keep coming up? Casinos don't want children to play their games, they don't even have money to spend!


There are casinos aimed at children but instead of playing for money they play for game skins which can be sold for money.


They might steal the credit card one or two time. And even then the gains are less worth than the hassle from charge backs or possible legal action.


This comments is unfairly downvoted.

I am a head of operations in an online casino. I am responsible for gameplay provider integrations, psp integrations and many things more.

The slots rtp is absolutely set by the game play providers, even the aggregators just pass it on. It is not configurable in any way, not on user level, not on casino operator level, it is always global scope.

The game play providers earn by rev share, they are the top of the food chain and it would be economical suicide to provide different APIs, they have some settings depending on some GEOs, but these are things like no auto play, stake limits etc.

Any regulated casino is using these, the audience is not naive, of course, there are some fly by night operators using pirate games, but this gets detected fast and is often the reason for these casinos having bad rep online, amongst affiliates who will not have them listed etc. These are operated by incompetent people.


Any regulated casino is the key. The “ad” I saw was for a gambling site based in Eastern Europe that actually geo-blocked me as I was in the UK, so I wouldn’t be surprised if regulations there are much more lax if not completely absent.

From a technical perspective, even if we assume that the operator indeed can’t adjust the odds, it would take an engineer only a few hours to mock out the API endpoints the front end calls to return consistent wins and then it’s just a matter of using a browser extension or a proxy to redirect all traffic to the fake server to be able to film such a video (still much easier than faking the video itself).


There has been some real loopholes and probably still are. Outside outright bugs the promotional offers with free credit and certain low variance high return slots allowed in certain scenarios for people to make theoretical profit. Though most likely ended up gambling any net wins anyway so...


Yes but that was not it. The game that was demonstrated in this ad was something called “Lucky Jet” or “Aviator” where you bet some money and then there’s a multiplier than goes up starting from 0 - at some point the multiplier will crash and you lose your bet, so your objective is to cash out before that. For the game to be profitable you’d need the multiplier to sometimes crash before 1, but in his video that never happened and he was consistently able to cash out in profit. If these were the real odds the casino would be bankrupt very quickly. Maybe the casino is crooked in a different way and just finds excuses to never let you withdraw your winnings, so they can really give you good odds knowing you’ll never actually be able to withdraw your winnings.


The trickery is not via RTP, it is by other means, which I better not share here, it is a common marketing strategy. Rest assured, there is no tricks with rtp, but the tricks in use are morally not exactly better than that, the industry insiders im high enough positions know. And of course the streamers.


> opening a door to further normalization and mainstream acceptance of gambling

Meh. I don't know that that's resolvable. The fundamental desire for this in the market is real, the job of regulation is just to keep a lid on the worst excesses. Given the choice between a very large regulated market for a good and a somewhat smaller but completely unregulated black market for the same good, most people would prefer the former even if there are sharp edges.


Big-business gambling is no less damaging (or no less "excessive") than small-business gambling. The real difference between big and small is whether the people pocketing the profits tithe a portion of them to political campaigns or not.


Unregulated black markets breed auxiliary crime, they always do.

If you don't have the option to sue people to get back money you're owed, you're forced to resort to less savory options. And on the other side of the incentives calculus, people who defraud and steal from regulated businesses and their customers tend to go to jail. Rip off a fellow criminal and most of the time no one cares.

The solution is legalization and regulation, and to the extent society can't bring itself to do that, it's tantamount to declaring its willingness to tolerate the black market replacement.


Coffeezilla did an entire series[1] around this and specifically Robet. Pretty interesting and crazy how much money the casinos made. After watching his series even I was thinking in the back of my head: "I should start one of these".

[1]: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EbYLxrM5NdU&list=PL4qw3AkxFD...


It can be lucrative and fun, until you're confronted with the trail of human wreckage in its wake.


It's surprisingly easy to make money if you have no soul or ethical qualms about anything.


I really do not understand why people are saying twitch is banning gambling when they are banning gambling that is illegal in the country it operates. This was very clearly done as a short-term way to get out of regulatory scrutiny - gambling laws are starting to be repealed across America, so soon this action will just allow for gambling again (once legal entities don't pay attention to it anymore)


>I really do not understand why people are saying twitch is banning gambling when they are banning gambling that is illegal in the country it operates.

As a poker player, this is very good news as far as I'm concerned. There is a lot of quality content on Twitch from poker players, especially during big events like the World Series of Poker.


They specifically call out poker as exempt.


Is poker considered gambling?


Gambling is impossible to win at and involves you slowly losing money to the house. Poker is a game with skill involved where you can make money off other players.


That's an incorrect definition of gambling, although it is an accurate portrayal of most gambling.

Poker is a good reason why your definition is incorrect. Poker is gambling, but it doesn't resemble you slowly losing your money to the house. I mean, that happens too, but it resembles slowly losing your money to the other players.

Unless you're in the small % of winning players, then it looks like gambling where you slowly win money from the other players.


How could it not be? Most players lose money over their lifetimes. It's played in Casinos. There's skill involved, sure, but it's still gambling.


Not only considered, it meets the criteria very well. It's definitely gambling.

If you're a pro (or better than your competitors), it's kinda like being the house in a blackjack game, except a lot less variance, because the edge is greater.

But still a lot of variance. Poker is gambling, and it feels like gambling.


Any time you risk money on the outcome of anything it is gambling, whether the odds are favorable for you or not, or whether it is a game of skill or not.


well a game of skill with betting seems less harsh and way more fun to watch at any rate. havent seen many slots strategy breakdown videos


Slots can be played profitably. Not just any slot, not just anytime, but some slots become +EV when the jackpots get high enough. Some other games have been profitable to play in the past, after careful analysis by players. "Advantage players" seek these games out and monitor them for profitable situations.

In other cases, there are strategies to just lose less money.

Anyway, all that to say, there's definitely slot advice videos and all that out there.


Now I just wish that YouTube would remove all "influencers" trying to sell you crypto/stocks/etc. But then TikTok is still left...


How do you differentiate crypto from any other video game currency. You can buy in game currencies for real money and literally gamble with it inside a game with literally slots or loot boxes or whatever, then trade it to others as well, in exchange for real money. Every game is different though. I’m just struggling to find the difference between crypto and any other digital in a video game in regards to gambling. Both are code driven and if anything in game gambling seems worse because rather than paying a market value where everyone has the same risk, you are paying the game creator for loot boxes or info and currency which they can print infinitely. Of course if they did print too much of an item or currency it would crash their in game market and destroy the rarity of those items. Anyways it seems like if Twitch is going after crypto gambling websites they need to go after in game gambling as well.


My threshold is "is there an intentional/permitted cash out to real money?"

Gatcha games for non-transferable characters: probably shouldn't be marketed to children, and should be legally required to display odds, but not quite capable of triggering the full gambling addiction.

Gambling for in-game items which can be resold for real money: this is just an illegal casino with extra steps.


> Gambling for in-game items which can be resold for real money: this is just an illegal casino with extra steps.

Yup, it's just a pachinko.


How is that better?

If I'm spending my money on a slot, I have the chance to get my money back. Gatcha takes my money forever and when the game is gone, so is everything I spent and won. For that reason, Gatcha games and loot boxes are even more predatory, because they are giving an advantage to people and pumping up their sense of pride.


>If I'm spending my money on a slot, I have the chance to get my money back.

The risk there is of gambling addicts "borrowing" money with the intent of winning back their losses/debts, losing and repeating (as claimed with the Sliker situation that prompted this all). Throwing good money after bad is presumably much less common/excessive when you can't cash out


> Gatcha takes my money forever and when the game is gone, so is everything I spent and won.

Yes - and you (and all the customers) know that upfront. Which means you can't use the "chance to get my money back" delusion as an excuse to throw good money after bad. Hardly anyone ever does that and then stops; inevitably they take the winnings back to the casino and lose them again.

> giving an advantage to people

Gatcha (or any other pay for improvement) + PVP is also a pretty terrible combination, since it encourages people to whale their way up the scoreboard.


If only I had kept more of the loot boxes I had instead of opening them... Not that the ones I have aren't worth hundreds of euros... Valve really did something special there.


> How do you differentiate crypto from any other video game currency. You can buy in game currencies for real money and literally gamble with it inside a game with literally slots or loot boxes or whatever, then trade it to others as well, in exchange for real money.

This has been and is still in danger as being banned as gambling. So the answer is that you don't bother, and you ban that too.


> How do you differentiate crypto from any other video game currency.

Don't. Don't differentiate those, and ban them all. Nothing of value would be lost.


With most in game currency, there does not appear to be a way to convert back to a liquid currency such as USD/EUR/Gold/etc. Thus, it is understood by all that any gambling proceeds are confined to the in game universe. With crypto-based video game currencies, especially those based on liquid cryptos such as ETH, there is an expectation of turning your in-game assets back into real spendable money. So, it actually seems to be a roundabout way of operating a casino.


I have to be honest 100% of the games I play with loot boxes don’t let you trade the rewards. So that is different because to me loot boxes are just a different way to get cosmetics that I can’t buy with real money from other ppl. That means I don’t view them as having value to anyone but myself.


> How do you differentiate crypto from any other video game currency.

Being able to use it literally anywhere but that game springs to mind as an easy check. If crypto is the same as game currency doesn’t that invalidate the vast majority of claims about the benefits of crypto?


You generally can't get your money out of a video game, I think that would be gambling. But if it only goes in and doesn't come out it's just consumption. If it comes out, gambling. Pretty sure that's how it works.


steam and valve games w trading like csgo skirt this no? buy a key for crate, get a say $100 skin, sell on their integrated market place and have steam wallet funds. its not out but can be as currency on the platform. garbage at any rate


Video game "currency" (bought with real money) should be considered as dangerous, if not more, as crypto. So, no need to differentiate.


You wont see crypto influencers on Tiktok if you don't engage with the videos. A couple "not interested"s and I haven't seen one in months.


The crypto people are not on TikTok

You find them on YouTube, Twitter, Instagram, Twitch and Reddit

I don't understand why people want to make the parallel and include TikTok, well, maybe i know why


There are crypto shills on TikTok, what makes you think they would be on all of those other platforms and not the most popular?


They use it to increase their reach, if you close TikTok, they'll still share on their main platforms; wich TikTok isn't

Do your research

Here for example:

https://crypto.com/nft/brands/ufc

When it is this mainstream, you can't say "oh it's because of TikTok", no, it's because of Western companies and celebrities promoting it, and using various mediums of communication; no legislation, no nothing


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They’re actually hilarious. I mostly watch just to keep up to date with new crypto technologies. I’ve already tripled my money (50USD to 150USD) in 15 days because I saw someone do a video on lolcrypto.app XD

/s


The type of gambling Slicker was engaged in was regulated sports betting. So, the ban on unregulated gambling doesn't even cover the Slicker situation.

Twitch has several large contracts with sports gambling on their site as wll.

Makes you really wonder about the true motivations of the selectivity of the ban.


What if.. the two are entirely unrelated and you only make the connection because your $STREAMER is involved in pointless drama?

Power law, folks.


pretty sure said $STREAMERS are some of the biggest ones in the platform, and said pointless drama was started due to some of them asking twitch to ban said gambling. Occam's razor and all that, especially when you have headlines like these that do a pretty good job of making twitch look good while not actually banning gambling really.


Wherever there is gambling, crypto seems to be behind it these days.


Well, it's obvious why. Crypto is much simpler than interacting with dollars, and it's easier to bypass gambling laws, many of which are quite draconian, when you're not interacting with dollars. Crypto casinos can also be "provably fair" to win trust from people when they have no track record.

There are more cynical benefits too like how it's easier to disappear into the night with people's money, but you don't have to go that far to see why it might be useful.


Draconian laws? Gambling is nearly the definition of market failure. The information imbalance between online casino and players is absolute. Without regulation there would be no way to even know if the odds online casinos are giving you for a given game are true. You could be playing a game you think is 49/51, but actually getting 40/60 or 30/70 odds. You have to trust the casino to perform RNG in a fair and unbiased way.

The same applies to gambling marketing. Do you know if Twitch streamers are using their own money or playing with "house money"? Do you know if the casino is giving Twitch streamers more favourable odds to make the service look better?

Edit:

> Crypto casinos can also be "provably fair" to win trust from people when they have no track record.

Do such casinos currently exist, or is this a hypothetical? AFAIK currently existing crypto casinos are opaque.


Yeah, I posted my comment and realized I had blanked on one of the more unique aspects of digital gambling.

Provably fair is standard in the popular casinos. Any casino that lets you give them a "client seed" is doing this. Example: https://stake.com/provably-fair/overview and https://www.bustabit.com/help/provable-fairness

Doesn't this address part of your main argument?


Gambling is a market failure - classic case of human emotions getting tricked into irrational decisions. However:

- If you keep track of the wins and losses you'd figure it out fairly quickly - a 30/70 game doesn't play like a 49-51.

- Why would the casino lie? Someone who is going to take a 49/51 bet may as well take a 30/70 bet, if they already understand odds they understand that they're paying the casino money for their time.


How is gambling any more irrational than any other form of entertainment? Sure, some people are addicted, and that's irrational, but others are paying less than they would to have an alternate form of entertainment.


Because the main goal isn't entertainment.


I think by "draconian laws," they mean that, for example, attempting to gamble on the internet in my state is a felony. I could potentially be imprisoned for up to ten years, treated the same as if I'd committed residential burglary.


provably fair bitcoin casinos have been a thing for more than a decade now.

"Satoshi Dice" was probably the biggest one, back in the day. Looks like it's still running


>The information imbalance between online casino and players is absolute. Without regulation there would be no way to even know if the odds online casinos are giving you for a given game are true.

Also absolute: you being unable to comprehend OP’s comment about what “provably fair” means.


The original comment I replied to was simply:

> Well, it's obvious why. Crypto is much simpler than interacting with dollars, and it's easier to bypass gambling laws, many of which are quite draconian, when you're not interacting with dollars.

It has since been edited with no notice.


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Pretty classy "whatever". You remind me of my teenage nephew.


So you're the "uncool" uncle. Thanks for clarifying.


Probably fair proofs can be used regardless of the payment method, crypto or fiat.


But hey, there is your legitimate (albeit slightly illegal) use case for crypto :^)


the original implementation of Bitcoin had bits of code for an online poker game: https://cointelegraph.com/magazine/2020/04/08/bitcoin-poker-...


crypto enables free market activities


And scams. Don't forget the scams.


cash & dollars


Most scams occur with government issued money


Thats why the bukaneer islands were such a honest gambler paradise..


a fool and his money are soon parted


It sure is being used a lot as a currency despite supposedly being terrible as a currency (according to HN, at least).


That entire twitch site seems like pure brain rot, from what I understand it's entirely giving people money to watch them play games or for women to say your name. The whole thing seems unhealthy from the get-go.


Twitch is hardly pure brain rot, there are plenty of things worse, but the growth and commercialization of streaming have created a lot of problems for parts of the platform. There is some really amazing content on there and as far as I have seen most watchers have Twitch going on with something else. For the really, really massive communities, it does seem like a crapshoot. Whats the point of chat that streams by at a million miles an hour? Then again...you get to see modern day celebrities interacting in real time...for many that is a cool thing to experience.


You are describing a very small percentage of streamers. If you avoid people with over 100 concurrent viewers, you find thousands of streamers who aren't doing more than trying to build communities around a common hobby. And it was my impression that that's seen as a good thing.


All of the streamer/"community" chatter interaction is god awful, low effort, low quality, waste of time. Every content creator I love who has spent more time on twitch ends up gearing their content for the 12 year olds in chat and that ruins it for those who don't want their content filled with "pogger" and other hyper niche fads in the twitch chat.


Funny, I never see any of that. Maybe you just watch bad streamers.


Honestly, I don't think it is necessarily any worse than let's say sports. You are watching other people playing a game with some people commenting over. Acceptable past time.

Now, as it grows and as certain content becomes more popular it becomes rather less murky and clean. Still I wouldn't call it all bad.


The faux-friendship interactions with chat I think can be pretty unhealthy for sensitive viewers (shut-ins and teens). Like many shitty sites, if you go to the places with fewer people, it isn't so bad. Stick with people with a few hundred viewers, avoid simp-magnets and loudmouths.


Does this mean they're taking action against games with loot boxes? That's gambling minus the possibility of making money.


> That's gambling minus the possibility of making money.

Lootboxes are extremely scummy, but doesn't the fact that you can't make money from it make it not gambling? Otherwise wouldn't places like Chuck-e-Cheese with ticket prize arcades be considered gambling? Or card games like MTG and Pokemon? In those cases you can even sell your prizes to other people for real cash.


Honestly. Baseball cards are a very well known, very popular, very mainstream and socially accepted loot-box/gambling. Is is the picture and statistics that make it okay?

Why do video game loot-boxes get extra scrutiny?

For context, I hate any game that implements them and believe they're the largest reason that mobile gaming continues to suck.


>For context, I hate any game that implements them and believe they're the largest reason that mobile gaming continues to suck.

Can you explain how this contextualizes your above statement and questions?


I'm not trying to defend loot boxes at all. Maybe I should've said 'reference' instead of 'context'.


Both are bad, but one has existed for longer than the other. So, it isn't as normalized for anyone over 16yo.


You absolutely can make money if the games allow transferring assets, or you can transfer an account to someone else.

See: the whole CS:GO lootbox fad. On top of the value of the cosmetics which could be traded, "Creators" were making enough money streaming lootbox opening to be able to afford hypercars.


Some of the more popular games do have significant resale value on skins that can be turned into steam credits. So its op par with gambling. And no gambler makes money trough their spins, unless you count games like poker where better players can edge out somewhat of an advantage.


No. No it doesn't.


Misleading title, they won't

> to prohibit streaming of gambling sites (..) that AREN'T licensed in the US or other jurisdictions

That mean, it is to promote the gambling sites that are licensed, and to discourage people from promoting sites that are not licensed

Anyone who says "they take action AGAINST gambling" are full of shit and are part of the problem

But you get the society you deserve


The article wasn't very clear about this. Is this people watching streamers gamble or are they somehow gambling through Twitch?


Online gambling sites illegal in the US such as stake.com would pay streamers millions of dollars a month to move to Canada so they could legally wake up, play slots for 20 hours in a row for tens of thousands of viewers, and then go to sleep.


This is an absolutely insane activity on every level. Can't people find excitement of their own?


I used to watch youtube videos of slots for bit kinda interesting. But if I want to see gambling why wouldn't I just go online casino and use the demo version. Set max bet, roll until out of play money. Refresh repeat until you get few nice bonuses.

All for free.


Presumably so that other people, using VPN's, would then visit those same gambling sites.

So the logical fix is not to do anything about the streamers, but to catch the sites offering services to US people via VPN's.


Given how much Twitch is moving to advertisers for income (they've bumped up ads to 3 minutes/hour), I think there's also a risk of losing people willing to advertise on Twitch due to not wanting an association with "illegal in the us" activities.


Streaming services also resent "hashtag sponsored hashtag content" in general. They're advertising-supported platforms, so hosting sponsored content is advertising money that's going directly to the streamer rather than though their system where they get a cut. But they've accidentally ended up in a situation where their own ad rates are so bad that their creators couldn't survive without effectively promoting their own competitors, so there's no way for them to forbid it without destroying their own business model. Thus, they're likely to jump on any excuse to ban particular kinds of sponsored content whenever they arise.


What a world we live in


>After years of silence, Twitch announced on Tuesday that it’s banning the streaming of unregulated gambling on its platform. It’s about damn time.

i don't understand the comments here about censorship. is Twitch above the laws?


Eh, there's not necessarily anything illegal about your streaming platform showing video of illegal activities.


>gambling content on websites that aren’t regulated by U.S. gambling restrictions.

This effectively kills most poker streaming, no? The US only allows a handful of sites in their US-only version so any non-US citizens streaming are unable to even use the platforms that are approved there. I rarely but occasionally watch a bit of them as a cheap way to relive my poker days so I am not too happy about this.

Further, it seems like the problem was that a streamer was soliciting loans which doesn't have that much to do with whether US-approved gambling sites are allowed or not.


Sites like pokerstars are regulated and legal in some US states: New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Colorado, Michigan


Sure, but only Americans are allowed to play on the sites allowed in the US. Some entities like pokerstars have seperate sites for the rest of the world but those are very much unapproved in the US, and thus only Americans can stream poker on Twitch from now on (and they make up a small amount of the streamers given the poor rules in the US for playing it).


Does poker count as gambling in the US?


The UIGEA (Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act) was passed in November of 2006, as part of the SAFE Port Act [0], which placed online poker into a legal grey area for most U.S. citizens. A lot of major poker sites withdrew from the U.S. market as a result.

The legality of both in-person and online poker varies from state to state.

[0]: https://www.beatthefish.com/us-poker-sites/uigea-unlawful-in...


> A lot of major poker sites withdrew from the U.S. market as a result.

That's a nice way to put it.

In reality, they all flaunted the (bullshit) law, and set up all kinds of phony businesses and things to process all the payouts, because banks wouldn't do gambling stuff. I got a check from a golf shop once. Then the feds went after them on fraud and similar charges, and shut down Full Tilt, Poker Stars, and Absolute. Seized domains and funds and stuff.

That's when they "withdrew from the U.S. market."


Time to ban the softcore porn too ("hot tub" streams), and then the platform will be reasonably clean.


And treat the creators equally, be it IRL or avatar users... Or partners or not... I really expect Twitch to be lot more proactive. Like for example they should have instantly shutdown streamers showing copyrighted tv series...


I agree. The redistribution of copyrighted material through "reaction" (but not really) streams is also ridiculous, and they need to get on top of that.


Annoying part of this is really if there is need of USA regulation. As European I should be allowed freely to view content generated in Europe which happens on platform regulated in EU. If Twitch want to limit it they can just ban USA based viewers.


This post accurately mentions the events of the last week but doesn't really capture the full scope of what's going on with Twitch and the gravity of the situation.

On the streaming front, Twitch has made a number of changes in the past few months. Typically Twitch Partners had to exclusively live stream on Twitch. They've relaxed these restrictions to really soften the blow for what's coming. A big change (just announced today) is that subscription splits to 50-50 in almost all cases. A lot of mostly bigger streamers were grandfatheered into better deals (ie 70-30).

If you don't follow Twitch, the $5/month subscription (and Twitch Prime that came later for Amazon Prime members) really did create a way for smaller creators to be able to survive where they otherwise couldn't on ad or sponsorship revenue alone.

But Twitch has been trying to move away from subs because advertising scales so much better for Twitch. The general guideline for ad density now is 3 minutes per hour and you could get 6 ads of pre-roll on joining a livestream. It's kind of crazy how much they're pushing it. This really gives the impression that Twitch is desperate for revenue now they're owned by Amazon. In today's announcement about the sub split changes they basically said 200 hours/month of live streaming costs them $1000/month. That might well be the retail cost on EC2 but it's nowhere near the true cost (which is much less).

Now in the last 2 years or so, gambling has really started to dominate the platform. This is quite literally people playing slots on auto-roll for hours every day, sometimes for $1500/spin where each spin may well be 6 seconds. This has been driven by largely unregulated crypto casinos like stake.com. I say "largely unregulated" because stake.com for example is registered in Curacao.

The likes of xqc and Trainwrecks (2 of the biggest streamers on the platform) were getting paid in excesss of $1 million/month each to play slots on stake.com. That's how big this is.

Twitch announced yesterday that most pure luck gambling (eg slots, dice) that weren't registered and legal in the US (because of greater regulation) would be banned from the platform.

It's hard to say why the timing of this is now. Some speculate this is because of the streamer ItsSliker being exposed for scamming $300k+ from other streamers and even viewers over 1-2 years to fund a sports betting addiction (note: the Twitch ban doesn't apply to sports betting).

Gambling has been controversial on Twitch and this blew up with the Sliker drama, which led to an entirely separate issue being raised: the alleged cover-up of a sexual assault of one streamer by another. This event was allegedly covered up by a big streamer (Mizkif) who is a member of a large organization called OTK. It was announced there'd be an independent investigation of this and he was suspended from the org yesterday.

These are of course serious allegations and should be treated as such and they may well have criminal consequences. It's worth noting that the cover-up accusations came from Trainwrecks after a fresh round of gambling criticism (including by Mizkif) in the wake of the Sliker scamming drama. The victim has since spoken out on the issue and said Train made that public accusation with her blessing and support.

All of this has really rocked the Twitch world and, if anything, should just show you how much money there is in gambling, how damaging it is and how much it corrupts.


I'm not convinced that the changes to Twitch's Partner programs have anything to do with this gambling ban. I think the two events just happened to coincide.

The real question is "why did it take Twitch so long to ban non-US gambling?" Like you mentioned, the controversy from these gambling streams is not new. Did Twitch decide that the controversy finally outweighed the revenue they generate from these streams? Did Twitch fear that they faced potential liability for hosting these streams? Or did someone at Twitch leadership suddenly develop a conscience?


The change in sub split is entirely unrelated to the gambling. I don't mean to imply otherwise. That's been coming for awhile.

I only bring it up because it's part of larger Twitch changes this year. It's going to hit streamer revenue. The banning of crypto slots is another massive blow to a lot of streamer revenue.

To be clear, I 100% support the crypto slots ban on Twitch.


> Now in the last 2 years or so, gambling has really started to dominate the platform. This is quite literally people playing slots on auto-roll for hours every day, sometimes for $1500/spin where each spin may well be 6 seconds.

What I don't get: who the fuck watches this kind of stream, and why? Are the viewer counts actually real or is all of this just a massive scam where everyone is inflating counts with the endgame of defrauding advertisers?


>What I don't get: who the fuck watches this kind of stream, and why? Are the viewer counts actually real or is all of this just a massive scam where everyone is inflating counts with the endgame of defrauding advertisers?

I was confused too, but I tried watching a stream and discovered I do actually get a strange dopamine hit just watching somebody spend $200,000 on a single slot machine pull over and over. I somehow thought you'd have to be risking your own funds to activate those neurons but it totally works just seeing somebody else do it.

I never thought I would get sucked into gambling. Especially slot machines. In fact I used to make fun of slot machines even being considered 'gaming' when there' literally no human input to the result. But I kind of understand it now even though on a higher level it should be boring.


To be clear, I 100% support the crypto slots ban. Regulation is one issue. Another is the general young age of Twitch viewers. But the biggest reason of all is just how destructive gambling addiction is.

It's also worth noting that not all slots streaming is what's called "cash balance", meaning the streamer is betting real money. A lot are betting fake money where their losses aren't real but neither are the winnings. It's never advertised that this is the case. But this is an even worse level of deception.

That all beiing, I too am fascinated with the psychology of watching someone else play slots. It does seem to be real. Watching someone quite literally lose $100k+ in an hour has a certain fascination. There are big wins too. Trainwrecks for example has spun a $7m+ win.

You could more generally ask why people watch other people play video games. I never understood why (years ago). But it makes sense. You get to exxperience someone else playing something for the first time (which you can never do again). You get to get a lot of the psychological "pay off" for playing a game without the investment.

I imagine slots is similar. If you read about gambling addiction, it's not the wins that are addictive. It's not even the losses. It's that period of not knowing the outcome after you press the spin button. That's what people get addicted to.

So a viewer can get that same pay off from watching someone else hit the spin button.

At least that's my guess. Once you get over the fascination of watching money disappear that fast (which for me didn't take that long), it doesn't appeal to me at all.


Heh, a streamer named Trainwrecks does a lot of gambling. The world certainly does have a sense of irony.


Now if only they took action against porn next... One can dream...


interesting definition of porn


Maybe next some action against the Prostitutes of "Just Chatting"

Especially those in Bathtubs + Bikinis...


Maybe don't visit them if it irks you so much.

Personally everyone on Twitch is a prostitute in some way, whether it's of their personality or looks.

Or is it only girls you're having a problem with?

It's all panhandling imo...


I want fewer avenues of people being exposed to Porn

Porn being """Free Speech""" is a Farce

Yes I have a problem with the Women, because nobody is interested in Men in Bathtubs - That is not the dominating Pornographic Content I have seen on Twitch - It's all Women in Micro Bikinis


That's a fine opinion, but others clearly want it and want to do it. There's a supply and demand.

It's legal and doesn't even meet the definition of pornography so it's up to Twitch's ToS.


only after a huge streamer gets outed forr scamming fans/other big streamers leading to streamers tweeting outrage


Interesting that sports betting is allowed.


Isn't that regulated?

> Twitch said it will bar all gambling content on websites that aren’t regulated by U.S. gambling restrictions


31 states have legal channels for retail/online sports betting. If DraftKings can officially sponsor the NFL, low chance it will be knocked down by Twitch.

I think this line mostly refers to the U.S. because there are large streamers who stream gambling sites from Canada or elsewhere due to lighter local restrictions.


Gambling is a problem regardless of being regulated, if anything else being regulated only makes it easier for the audience to get addicted to it, random viewer #2345 from the US isn't gonna gamble on some dingy underground casino if there's an openly available one to do it in.


Not really. Online sports betting is legal in like 20 states at this point and I think most others have some kind of legislation pending or proposed to make it legal soon.



I don't see how being a "gaming" [1] video streaming service implies that you need to take action against gambling that is implemented via it. They will just move somewhere else. Seems like an ultra tunnel visioned political "issue".

1. One which barely has anything to do with gaming other than having 3 lines of code to store a game identifier with a stream to say which game the stream was mainly streaming. They even have entire streams that do non gaming shit and that's what all the top streamers do most of the time.

In other words, this is outrage porn against streaming services (I think, as like with counter strike go loot boxes[2]. i don't understand your culture though [not that i cant, i just dont care] so I could be entirely wrong). This is no different than when cameras or VHS came out and people complained about piracy and whatever. Whatever political takeaway we're supposed to be getting here is invalid. Twitch is just a streaming site. If I make my own streaming site (which I'll never do, because the web is horse shit), I shouldn't have to hire people to purge gambling on it.

> but you are profiting from them looking at your ads while they gamble

And VHS profited from mass piracy. Get a grip.

2. yeah, loot boxes are fucking cancer, i don't care for making them illegal though as that requires paying more tax and they will just come up with different cancer. you cant fix bad developers


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Twitch is explicitly not a free speech platform: https://dotesports.com/streaming/news/twitch-isnt-a-free-spe...

"Twitch prioritizes minimizing harm to our users over freedom of expression, and we will limit some expression with the goal of preventing, protecting users from, and moderating hateful behavior and harassment."

This may come as a surprise to the average HN viewer, but not every tech company strives for a libertarian ethos


Twitch isn't a necessary prerequisite to being online. (And it isn't being done at a time where people are actively trying to silence speech such as by DDOSing.) Twitch has very strict rules for what is allowed, more so than even YouTube. To answer your question, this is censorship but it isn't total censorship. CF enacted total censorship of KiwiFarms: but only from an online perspective. KiwiFarms can still operate by mail or by in person gatherings. So it's only total censorship online. The acceptable degree of censorship was what sparked so much outrage. The degree seen here is an everyday occurrence. It's just Twitch updating thier censorship rules.


Twitch already censors a lot of other content and also this isn't just people streaming, they're making money off of it.

I don't think this is comparable to other sites like Twitter banning users because Twitch isn't a communication platform, it's an entertainment one and only allowing certain kinds of entertainment is par for the course.


> Twitch isn't a communication platform, it's an entertainment one

I feel like this is hard to argue in general. Twitch really isn't all that different than live streams on TikTok, YouTube, or Facebook which are general communication platforms where creators can get partner status and share ad revenue.

The thing that ties Twitter, Twitch, YouTube, Cloudflare, Wordpress, Facebook all together is that they're broadcasting corporations available to the public at large. The value prop to their users is the megaphone. How it's accomplished from a tech perspective shouldn't really matter.


> and only allowing certain kinds of entertainment is par for the course

It's the legal issue, though. I personally think that laws against gambling are none of the government's damn business, and if Twitch is doing this only because of laws, then I don't like it, but blame the government, not Twitch. If gambling were legal, and Twitch decided to ban it anyway, I would hold it as equivalent to them banning porn on their platform, and totally legit, at least as long as Twitch was not a monopoly.


is it censorship if its illegal in the country where your company is based?

do you not follow the laws of the country where your company is located?


Can you be more specific about this expected outrage?

I think for something like this, most folks don't generally care, because it's a pretty specific niche of people who watch Twitch streams for gambling content (relatively speaking anyway, those people are probably not here).


The KF story is more contentious because it's rooted in a culture war battle.


Gambling isn't a form of speech. If they were also banning people from playing no-stakes social poker or even talking about gambling, you might have a point.


Preventing a company from choosing what to publish would also be censorship, would it not?


Unless you can make a compelling case that gambling is speech I'm not really sure you could call it censorship unless you really stretch it. I think the best you can say is that it's a private company enforcing gambling rules in their little fifedom that are more strict the laws of their enclosing regulatory environment.


Simple: Gambling is illegal by law in many countries outside of very strict regulations. Running a forum like Kiwifarms (sadly) is not.


Censorship of video streams is the wrong place for this, even if you think gambling is bad.

Twitch isn’t taking action against gambling. It’s censoring streamers.

Publishing video of oneself gambling is very very different than accepting wagers. They are taking action against the publishing of videos of performative gamblers, not against gambling.

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/First_they_came_...


A platform whose audience is mostly teenagers is the wrong place to ban streamers actively promoting gambling?

How is that even remotely censorship?


It is censorship. It's just entirely reasonable censorship as Twitch is a private company and can choose not to host whatever it pleases.


It's only censorship in the sense that all rules are "censorship" which IMO removes the value of having a distinct word.

A meaningful definition would highlight the desire to suppress a point of view, and you're going to have a hard time justifying "gambling as a point of view", because it's not really a position on an issue.


It's only censorship in the sense that all rules are "censorship" which IMO removes the value of having a distinct word.

It's censorship in the sense that things are censored, i.e., prevented from being shown or communicated, which is the definition of the word "censorship". Putting a black bar over someone's genitals or bleeping profanity is also censorship. It's just not government censorship, and therefore has no relation to freedom of speech.


...I'm trying to explain how that definition is kind of useless, as literally every rule is censorship if we use it.

The text box here being limited to 5000 chars (or w/e size it actually is) would be censorship under that definition. The fact that I can't also upload audio to HN would be censorship. Does acoustic physics censor me because I can't yell loudly enough for everyone to hear my views on how to cook pasta correctly (salt, the secret is salt)?

I just don't find those things to be in the same category as a government arresting protestors, for example, and I don't find Twitch banning otherwise illegal gambling content to be in that same category, either.


Fair enough, I amend my statement. It's censorship in the sense that things are censored, i.e., *deliberately* prevented from being shown or communicated based on their informational content.

I just don't find those things to be in the same category as a government arresting protestors, for example,

Correct; that is government censorship. There is not, however, a qualitative difference between Twitch deciding to ban one behavior from being depicted over another, whether it be gambling, nudity, racism, or people doing that trick with their spit where they let it stretch down several inches and suck it back into their mouths.

I'm not seeing a real "point of view" being expressed here, which IMO is also an important part of censorship.

Well your opinion disagrees with the dictionary. I don't know what to tell you.


But that's still part of the problem; I'm not seeing a real "point of view" being expressed here, which IMO is also an important part of censorship.

Because I'm having a hard time believing "watch me gamble on sites that I'm not legally allowed to gamble on" really qualifies as "a point of view" or "expression" in a meaningful sense (though yes, I bet if we pulled out our Webster's Dictionaries we could squeeze the definition into this conversation somehow).


But it's not. You can still show or communicate the same things as before, as long as the underlying activity isn't actual gambling. Financial transactions aren't speech.


In my eyes, the only thing justifiable to censor in all of life is "think of the children" arguments. They are always baseless calls to emotion.

A kid watches gambling, what's the harm? They're gambling in school, it's a tail as old as time. Magic cards, pokémon cards, pogs, marbles. They all have aspects of gambling.


Do you have data suggesting twitch auidences are mostly teenagers?

According to GlobalWebIndex in Q2 2019, this is an approximation of the age demographic on Twitch, ranging in age from 16-64 years in age:

16 to 24 year olds: 41% 25 to 34 year olds: 32% 35 to 44 year olds: 17% 45 to 54 year olds: 7% 55 to 64 year olds: 3%


No offense to GlobalWebIndex, but garbage data in garbage data out. There's no possible way that 0% of Twitch viewership is under 16 (go to literally any school or place with children under 16 and casually observe their screens).

Children have been lying about their age on the internet since the beginning of the internet. Any service that says no children are using it without very sold proof is ignorant or lying.


The stats I found seem to suggest nearly zero under-18 use Twitch, which I think we all know is a lie...

From https://www.streamscheme.com/twitch-statistics/:

> In 2022 the age demographic on Twitch is as follows:

> 18 to 24-year-olds: 35.85%

> 25 to 34 year-olds: 32.14%

> 35 to 44-year-olds: 15.33%

> 45 to 54-year-olds: 8.62%

> 55 to 64-year-olds: 4.97%


It technically is, it’s just that we normally use censorship to describe government actions.

Their platform, their rules.


Well no, they're banning gambling on stream in some regions to meet government regulations.


It's an easy exploitable market you hear a lot arguing to open up markets like that under the almighty umbrella of "free speech™".


To be more precise it is censoring unregulated gambling.


No! It's censoring streaming videos of other people engaging in unregulated gambling.

Censoring unregulated gambling is something else entirely.


Frankly I'm thankful for every tiny action Twitch takes against any content that isn't related to videogames. Twitch is watered-down enough as it is. If you want to thirst-trap or stream gambling or do mukbangs there are plenty of other platforms.


Why, you want all non-toxic communities off twitch?

Jokes aside, I have no idea what your issue is with people singing songs or cooking on twitch. Did they hurt you somehow?


And here I am watching art streams on Twitch ... I didn't realize they were watering down the purity of what should be a gaming stream only platform.


> Censorship of video streams is the wrong place for this, even if you think gambling is bad.

what do you mean by "the wrong place for this"? As in on the platform is the wrong avenue to address gambling?


They are coming out against advertising gambling from countries with lax consumer protection laws. If you play slots on a US-based slot machine, you're free to stream. They previously banned posting links to these sites with affiliate codes, but they can't police the streamer's Discord or other channels where these are shared. Since they don't want viewers using affiliate links and codes for these non-US-based gambling sites, they are low on options here.


> they can't police the streamer's Discord or other channels where these are shared.

Didn't realize it was Twitch's job to patrol what is posted on Discord.


Moral Clauses are common for entertainers.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Morals_clause




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