A thin line divides gaming and gambling, especially in the online world. The question is, why do people continue to cross that border?
Let’s clear the blur between gambling and just plain gaming to understand better what’s happening. In its most basic terms, gambling is; I have this, you have that, let’s play. If you win, you get mine. If I win, I get yours.
However, if you want to be more technical, here’s a better definition: Gambling – the betting or staking of something of value, with the consciousness of risk and hope of gain, on the outcome of a game, a contest, or an uncertain event whose result may be determined by chance or accident or have an unexpected result by reason of the bettor’s miscalculation. – Britannica
When it was launched in June 2011, Twitch aimed to be a platform for American video live streaming, focusing on eSports, creative content, and music broadcast for budding artists. It has undoubtedly hit its milestone. However, just like any successful platform, people find ways to move it in a different direction.
Every gambler knows that the secret to survivin’ is knowin’
Big names in the live streaming service like xQc and AdinRoss have dominated the gambling scene for some time until today. It is important to note that these streamers did not start out as famous individuals in the line of gambling. They all started from either competitive gameplay or just streaming games on the platform.
Currently, the top Twitch streamer, xQc (Félix Lengyel), has been a top-tier gambler in the online community. However, he started on the platform as a League of Legends streamer under the alias: xQcLoL. He gained traction from streaming Overwatch (OW) when it was released by Blizzard Entertainment back in 2016. He was so well-known in the game (he went as far as playing for Team Canada in the competitive scene back in 2017) that he changed his alias to xQcOW.
Another A-lister in Twitch is AdinRoss. Currently, at number 6, he was initially known as a League of Legends streamer. He occasionally dives into other games like Valorant but took a dip in the gambling arena after being one of the most followed Slot streamers.
It’s all about the money
Needless to say, just like any trend, many other streamers started jumping on the bandwagon. There was a noticeable growth in the gambling scene for the online community. At this point, Twitch was not just a budding platform, it was a full-blown branch of the digital world. This newfound spotlight for the gambling streamers grew in millions, not just in followers but also in dollars. Soon enough, though, the people online started seeing how negatively it affected the community.
People started an online petition to ban gambling, in any form, on the platform. The petition was initiated by Erin Jordan and was aimed at the companies known to advertise on the streaming site, like NVIDIA Corporation and PepsiCo, Inc. The petition also took into account multiple statistics of how gambling can be related to mental health problems, alcohol use and disorder, and the tendencies of gamblers to participate in criminal activities.
The latest answer from the platform regarding this controversy was that they would ‘monitor gambling-related content and update our approach as needed.’ Additionally, here is a byline of the platform that was meant to answer more questions regarding gambling on their platform:
The winner takes it all
The next question is, where do they get all this money? The answer is actually pretty simple; sponsors. With strict policies and regulations, the US currently has a stringent process before a company could be a legal entity with rights for online gambling. However, companies such as Roobet, Dulebits, and the final boss in online gambling, Stake.com, found a loophole in the system.
That is where Curaçao eGaming License comes in. The country of Curaçao is home to more than 400 online gambling sites. In fact, this commodity is so popular in the country that if you google “Curaçao online gambling license” right now, you will get a ton of websites offering their services to assist you in getting that license.
These sponsors are known to give millions of dollars to their famed streamers as long as they promise to promote and proliferate their brands. Streamers are known to spend hours on end their online gambling and have, in turn, lost millions of dollars playing. In May of this year, xQc admitted in a podcast interview with Pokimane (another famous streamer) that he lost about $2 million; he then backtracked and mentioned that it was just $1.8 million. He later confirms his addiction to gambling, admitting that he does it even when he is not online. Of course, there are also massive wins, like a recent virtual slot machine game called Joker Troupe, xQc managed a record-breaking $2.5 million from a wager of only $400.
Playing for the high one, dancing with the devil
If you have gone this far on the article, here are the most common questions you may likely still have in mind: 1) If the gaming website is not in the US, how do they play? 2) What are the risks? 3) Why do people continue to do it?
Removing the technical jargon, players restricted from gaming sites use a Virtual Private Network (VPN) to connect to the website by disguising their location. Think of it as a mask, it prevents the system from recognizing the computer’s actual location.
As mentioned earlier, with strict policies and regulations not just in the US but in other countries as well, the challenge in places where they are legalized by simply processing papers online is the actual authority to regulate these gambling websites. Not including the technical side of coding, people have to understand that there is an exact science in every gambling website. The shade that has been thrown in all of this is a question of how well the government that provided that license is able to manage and prevent gambling from being rigged or fixed before it even happens.
READ MORE: IS CRYPTO GAMING THE FUTURE OF VIDEO GAMES?
Is it all the fault of the streamer?
The most important part of this reality is that we should never put all the blame on the streamers for what they do on their platforms. They are not role models for our children and certainly not for the older generation. They did not sign up to be people that we should look up to or idolize. It is, at the end of the day, the responsibility of every individual to be accountable for the consequences of their actions. If you’re a kid who used daddy’s credit card, I suggest you start hitting the books.
Let’s all get off our high horse and stop looking at Twitch as a moral high ground of ethics. In the lens of business, it does not owe anyone an apology for followers’ decisions to do what they want with their money. The glare of addiction to gambling can only be rooted in their streamers’ influence. You decide entirely on your own as to who you prefer to be influenced by.
Lastly, if you believe you are suffering from a gambling addiction, click here to get help.