Twitch streamers rake in millions with shady crypto gaming boom

“Morality came into play. It was. I felt shit doing any kind of gambling sponsorship, ”he later said on streaming. “And I know people are like, Mizkif, but you sponsor all day. If you download Dungeons and Dragons, what’s the worst that happens? You are wasting $ 40 and a few hours of your life. The game is different.

Online gambling is regulated by a combination of federal and state laws in the United States. Gambling websites need a license to operate in individual states, regardless of whether they are operated with US dollars or digital currency. Many crypto casinos, like Stake and Duelbits, are based overseas in countries like Curacao and do not have these licenses. Still, they are easy to access from the United States via a VPN. (The most reputable online gambling sites ask users for more data points to confirm their location.) [these sites] block the United States, they do not prevent people from entering the United States, ”said Jeff Ifrah, a lawyer specializing in online gambling law. Ifrah says he has recently answered numerous questions from US-based Twitch streamers and their representatives. While legal experts say it can be difficult to prosecute these websites, their US-based promoters may be open to scrutiny.

Taking sponsorships and encouraging illegal gambling can land streamers in sticky legal territory, Ifrah says. It cautions streamers against advertising these encrypted gaming sites when streaming from the United States. “My advice to them is that basically the underlying activity is illegal.” It still happens. “There’s a lot of money in there,” he says. “The streamers said to me, ‘Hey, I don’t want to just give up on this. It’s a great opportunity for me because these sites pay a lot of money. ‘”

There may be great opportunities, but they can come with great risks. “Much of the gambling promoted on Twitch is illegal or unregulated and poses definite risks to consumers, vulnerable adults and adolescents, or minor children,” said Keith Whyte, executive director of the National Council on Problem Gambling, an organization that promotes global policies. to support healthy and legal gambling. Because these sites are often not as vetted as legal sites in the United States, experts wonder if their odds are fair and what their backends look like, Whyte explains. “It’s a pretty common tactic in the unregulated gaming industry to inflate win rates. “

Gaming experts interviewed by WIRED say that right now, it’s on Twitch to act. “The health of their users is something to be concerned about,” says Whyte. “They have a huge incentive to control content that is either illegal, unregulated or potentially dangerous.”

Twitch Terms of use prohibit illegal activity on its website and require users to adhere to Federal Trade Commission guidelines regarding advertising. That said, it does not specifically prohibit gambling streams. Crypto games are thriving on Twitch, frankly, because it’s allowed. In contrast, live streaming competitors YouTube and Facebook Gaming ban the streaming of online gambling sites that have not been previously reviewed. Twitch also offers categories related to gambling, such as slots, which do not have an age limit to prevent young viewers from watching (some broadcast titles say “18+”).

Twitch told WIRED, “We strictly prohibit illegal content and activity on the service and take action for all verified incidents of illegal gambling that are reported to us. Our community guidelines make it clear that ‘[Streamers] must comply with all applicable local, national and international laws when using our services. Any content or activity featuring, encouraging, offering or soliciting illegal activity is prohibited. The company adds that its goal is to foster “a safe and positive experience for all users of our service” and that it “closely monitors gambling content. . “

Twitch has already faced gaming-related controversies on its platform. Years ago, the best streamers were playing with the cosmetics of the first-person shooter Counter-Strike: Global Offensive. The game of skins was an unregulated frontier that quickly became massively popular and filled with allegations of foul play. The first Twitch streamer to reach one million and then two million subscribers was Tom “Syndicate” Cassell. Cassell has attracted a huge following by playing and winning big on the site, but he also achieved a regulation with the FTC at the end of 2017 for not disclosing his status as Vice President of during his promotion.

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