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Twitch will ban some gambling, but sports betting and poker are still fair game

The Twitch logo on a smartphone.

Twitch is updating its gambling policy to ban some gambling websites. The change was announced amidst an ongoing gambling controversy surrounding UK Twitch streamer Sliker, aka Abraham Mohammed.

From Oct. 18, Twitch will no longer allow users to stream gambling websites that feature slots, roulette, or dice games, if the website doesn't hold a license in the U.S. or another jurisdiction that provides "sufficient consumer protection." The announcement even went so far as to name specific websites that users will no longer be permitted to stream. 

Unfortunately, this new policy as currently outlined still leaves a lot of room for gambling websites to play in.

According to Twitch's announcement, not all gambling will be completely banned from the video streaming platform. Twitch has carved out some exemptions, stating that it "will continue to allow websites that focus on sports betting, fantasy sports, and poker." It is these types of sites that were Sliker's downfall.

Further, it's currently unclear exactly what Twitch considers "sufficient consumer protection," or which jurisdictions the video streaming platform believes offer this. It is also unclear where card games such as blackjack will fall, with Twitch having explicitly exempted poker from the new rules. 

Twitch declined to comment further at this time, stating it will share further specifics regarding its new gambling policy soon.

Over the weekend, Sliker admitted on Twitch that he had scammed fans and friends of at least $200,000 in order to fuel a gambling addiction, though other streamers claim the number is as high as $300,000. Sliker had told lenders he needed the cash due to issues with his bank or delays in Twitch processing payments, while in actuality he was gambling it away on Counter-Strike: Global Offensive games. 

Though he had begun with betting in-game skins — cosmetic items that change how your character looks in a game — it soon escalated to real money, draining income from his job, "all" his Twitch earnings, and then eventually other people's funds as well.

"Shit is dangerous," said Sliker during the 20 minute livestream. "This is the epitome of a fucking gambling addict."

Sliker stressed that he was "not a victim," but that he did not intend to scam people. Rather, he described a repeated cycle of borrowing money, losing it through gambling, then borrowing more from someone else and gambling it in the hopes that he could win enough to cover his debts.

In response to Sliker's situation, high-profile Twitch creators such as Pokimane (Imane Anys) and Devin Nash called upon Twitch to take action against gambling, and even began organising a strike. Streamers xQc (Félix Lengyel) and Ludwig Ahgren also committed to helping repay victims.

As such, some creators received Twitch's new policy announcement as a win. However, though Nash considers it "a step in the right direction," he noted it is still not enough.

"There are hopefully some positives that can come from this," said Nash in a Twitter thread. "But what we were fighting for was a ban on luck-based gambling because it is objectively harmful to the website and its users. This is not it. Luck-based gambling will still be alive and well on the website on October 18th… We must hold Twitch accountable as a platform to do the right thing, since they only seem to respond to extraordinary pressure."

If you struggle with compulsive gambling, call the 24/7 National Problem Gambling Helpline at 1-800-522-4700 for free, confidential support. You can also access the National Council on Problem Gambling's website for more help and information, as well as a list of international resources.

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