Twitch’s Latest Content-Control Features Block Casino Streams For Logged-Out Users

The streaming platform Twitch has a suite of new content-filtering features, including blocking gambling-related streams for site visitors unless they’re logged in. Aside from gambling, the only content category that received such drastic treatment was sexual themes. This new policy may significantly impact exposure for the affected streams and the regulated gambling products they promote.

The new features, announced on May 21, are part of a series of steps Twitch has taken to protect users and avoid potential legal action. The latest changes build on the earlier rollout of Content Classification Labels (CCLs). Streamers are required to apply the correct CCLs to their streams if they include any of the following:

  • Mature-Rated Games
  • Gambling
  • Violent and Graphic Depictions
  • Drugs, Intoxication, or Excessive Tobacco Use
  • Sexual Themes
  • Significant Profanity or Vulgarity

CCLs first appeared in December but have only played an informational role until now.

The latest changes allow signed-in users to manage their preferences to filter out specific categories like gambling. All the categories except Mature-Rated Games are off by default for users under 18. However, only Gambling and Sexual Themes are filtered out for site visitors who aren’t signed in.

When filtered out, a stream won’t appear among the site’s recommendations, while browsing, or in searches. Another change is that the previews for streams with the Sexual Themes CCL are blurred by default even when not filtered out, though users can turn off that feature manually.

Twitch Has Moved Away From Illegal Gambling Streams

The May 21 update is only the latest example of Twitch’s efforts to rein in gambling content. In 2022, the platform banned streams featuring gambling on unregulated sites. That move came during a period when Twitch’s slots category was gaining in popularity and had become the seventh-most-viewed category, ahead of Fortnite. Many of the sites featured on those streams were illegal in the US, yet easy to access with a VPN. The initial list of sites banned from Twitch streams included Stake, Roobet, and Rollbit. It later added Blaze and Gamdom to the list.

The ban may have been the impetus for the launch of Kick, a rival streaming service that turned out to be owned by the founders of Stake. Twitch’s sanitization of its streams has also led a few high-powered streamers like Adin Ross and Tyler “Trainwreck” Niknam to jump ship to Kick. However, Twitch CEO Dan Clancy stood by the ban, saying it targeted streams from offshore sites, which are unregulated and illegal in the US.

While Twitch has banned many gambling streams, legal streams are still available. However, they’re not as popular and profitable for the platform as the now-prohibited channels had been. For example, PlayStar Casino and SGG Media debuted the Casino Stream broadcast in New Jersey in February. It offers prizes such as $100 PlayStar credits and streams a few times weekly. However, the channel still has only 2,700 subscribers, with broadcasts receiving around 500 views on average. The top-performing streams on Twitch have millions of subscribers and average viewership in the tens of thousands.

Kick Is Taking The Opposite Approach To Illegal Streams

With relaxed policies and a more lucrative profit-sharing plan, Kick has attracted several top streamers from Twitch. Notably, in the summer of 2023, the platform signed multimillion-dollar contracts with top streaming celebrities xQc and Amouranth.

However, Kick has faced criticism for its lenient approach and failure to intervene when streams venture into illegality. Examples include Adin Ross illegally streaming the 2023 Super Bowl to his 100,000 viewers. Ross has also streamed pornography and used hate speech.

Even so, some Kick streams go too far for Ross’s liking. He recently criticized the site—perhaps hypocritically—for handing out only the mildest of punishments for streamers featuring reckless driving.

Other top Kick streamers, such as Trainwreck and xQc, have likewise found themselves mired in controversy for sexist and anti-LQBTQ remarks. While such actions have led to suspensions and bans from Twitch in the past, the streamers haven’t faced the same consequences at Kick.

This anything-goes strategy doesn’t seem to have paid off for Kick. Growth for its streams has been slow, perhaps even hindered by its lack of control over its streamers and association with illegal offshore gambling. Google Trends shows that search interest for Kick peaked shortly after xQc and Amouranth switched over from Twitch but quickly waned. Since then, the relative search interest for “kick stream” has been one-quarter to one-third of that for “twitch stream.”

About the Author

Chav Vasilev

Chav Vasilev

After years of managing fast-casual restaurants, Chav turned his passion for sports and occasional slot wins into a career as an iGaming writer. Sharing his time between Europe and the US, he has been exposed to betting and gambling for years and has closely followed the growth in the US. Chav is a proponent of playing responsibly and playing only at legal online sites. When not writing, you will find him watching and betting on sports, especially soccer, or trying to land the next big bonus on a slot.
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