Tech

Online Game Creators Stream Off-Shore Sites to YouTube, Twitch

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  • Live gaming streams have seen a major increase in popularity in the last two months.
  • Streamers use cryptocurrency gaming sites that are not technically legal in the United States.
  • It’s unclear whether or not these streams violate YouTube or Twitch’s Terms of Service.
  • See more stories on the Insider activity page.

Streaming platform

Twitch
currently seeing an increase in slot machine game content.

Over the past two months, some of Twitch’s most famous content creators have been playing with virtual slot machines for audiences for tens of thousands of viewers, looking to earn them big payouts: most of the time, with cryptocurrency.

Although slot machine streamers have previously had an audience on Twitch – popular streamer Chance Morris, known as Sodapoppin, has played Blackjack since 2015 – the viewer has recently increased.

According to Twitch Tracker, a website that tracks metrics on the platform, under 100 streamers with an average of 18,000 viewers were streaming on Twitch’s “slots” category since August 2019. But in May 2021, more than 175 streamers played slots to an average of 47,000 viewers.

A large collection of these streamers use Stake.com, a gaming crypto site owned by the company Medium Rare, which is based in Curaçao. Users can enter their Bitcoin, Dogecoin, Litecoin, Ethereum, or Ripple values ​​to play on the site, which can be displayed in their US dollar conversion value.

Stake did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Viewers tune in to watch these content creators squirt on brightly colored slot machines, throw money at virtual blackjack tables, or spin the wheel on roulette, all from the comfort of their computer. They press a single button repeatedly or just let it play automatically, winning or losing depending on the site’s algorithm.

But the ethics of these streams is called into question, since these gaming sites are not allowed to operate in the United States, and Twitch viewers distort young people.

Streamers earn thousands in front of their fans

One of the most popular Twitch streamers to use Stake is Tyler “TrainwrecksTV” Niknam, a streamer known for his “Scuffed Podcast” series where he discusses drama online with other popular content creators.

During his streams, Niknam regularly puts hundreds of dollars per slot rotation into attempts to earn big. In a May 30 stream, he won $ 720,000 on a pull and May 24th has sold more than $ 400,000. Niknam did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Niknam’s streams featured the hashtag “#ad,” implying that he had been offered monetary compensation for broadcasting. It also has its own creator code for fans who can use it on the game site.

Beyond Twitch, game streams have also become popular among some creators who broadcast live on YouTube.

Paul Denino, who runs his “Ice Poseidon” channel with 750,000 subscribers, began broadcasting slots four months ago and told Insider that he “earned $ 5,000 in one stream and lost $ 10,000 in another.” Although he has tried other gaming sites, he believes Stake is “the best” because he has the “best games and the best player odds.”

“Viewers like it because it’s exciting when you win and fun when you lose,” Denino said in an interview.

Streamer Felix “XQC” Lengyel has more than 5.8 million followers and regularly broadcasts a variety of content ranging from “Mario Kart” to “Grand Theft Auto V” roleplay. But since the end of April, Lengyel has been streaming to play blackjack, roulette and slots, betting tens of thousands of dollars over the course of several hours.

Its first on-site stream on April 23 had a simultaneous view of about 125,000 people and the archived stream has more than two million views.

Viewers have criticized a creator for his gameplay flows

Lengyel was not “sponsored”, although he appeared to have a promotional creator code for Stake, the crypto-game site, which offers “instant VIP rakeback”, according to automated messages sent to the chat by a bot created for and flow.

Other content creators using Stake have also been given promotional codes to share with their viewers, including a famous slot game called Roshtein, which advertises a code on its website.

But Lengyel received reactions from some members of his community who called him a “sold” to collaborate with a gaming society and encourage it the behavior.

Lengyel responded to the criticism in an April 25 statement on their collaboration, saying it “has more hatred than any of them combined,” referring to other streamers that were sponsored.

On Wednesday, Lengyel said on Twitch that he was “finished” with the game streams because “he gets addicted to things very easily,” and that his “brain is a little crazy.”

Lengyel did not respond to a request for comment.

The ethics of flows has been questioned

U Illegal application of Internet games in 2006 prohibits gaming sites that “involve the use of the Internet” from operating in the United States.

As well as TechRadar said, Although illegal for online gambling companies operating in the United States, American Internet users can make bets with websites operated outside the United States.

Stake, the most popular site among streamers, is not allowed to be used by American users, according to its Terms of service. But it is possible to access sites in prohibited territories through a

VPN
, which hides your situation by encrypting your computer’s information. These programs have become increasingly popular in recent years, with some companies, such as SurfShark and NordVPN, sponsoring creators through their own promotional codes.

Viewers and streamers have questioned the ethics of these streams. Political commentator and Twitch streamer Hasan Piker has criticized the game’s practice in a recent leak.

“I think the game shouldn’t be f — ed, it will destroy your life and the lives of your family,” Piker said. “It’s not just any kind of addictive behavior, there are safeguards behind this stuff, but this kind of online gambling doesn’t really have that kind of safeguard.”

But people also criticize the streams for showing the game, an addictive activity, to a largely young audience. 21% of Twitch users are between 13 and 17 years old, according to data shared publicly by the Amazon company.

“Playing with such big bets and winning big and clicking on the content promotes the game in a dangerous way,” a Twitter user named Ollie Ring said in a May 28 thread.

On YouTube, users can enable “restricted mode” to limit viewers ’access to mature content on the platform. Insider has created a Google account registered as under 18 to confirm that the restricted content is not available to those users.

But on Twitch, where streamers like Niknam use a “mature” tag for these streams, accounts registered as under-18s could also see the stream, Insider found.

Still, Denino, the “Ice Poseidon” YouTube streamer, said the streamer’s job is just for fun – and that it’s “a little” on those who look to protect themselves.

“Streamers are not parents and they shouldn’t have the police do what the kids are watching,” Denino told Insider.

Representatives from Twitch and YouTube did not respond to requests for comment.

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