Twitch streamers are making millions from crypto gambling sites while their audience goes bankrupt
Some in the audience of Twitch's biggest stars are falling into bankruptcy after watching their favourite streamers play crypto gambling games in multi-million dollar advertising deals, a report from Bloomberg shows (opens in new tab).
Twitch's 'Slots' section, where its gambling content resides, is its seventh most watched category (opens in new tab) at time of writing. That puts it ahead of multiple games that we generally think of as streaming titans, like Fortnite and Dota 2, and it probably has something to do with the mind-bogglingly lucrative marketing deals that some of Twitch's most prominent stars—such as xQc, Trainwreckstv, and others—sign with crypto gambling sites to advertise their product to audiences that number in the millions (opens in new tab).
Bloomberg's reporting details the oceans of cash that flow between streamers and the gambling sites that sponsor them. In one clip, Trainwreckstv declares with a swagger that he makes a lot more than $1 million a month from his deals, while Stake reportedly made $119 million in a single month thanks to their deal with xQc.
Meanwhile, fans of these streamers who find themselves lured into gambling by the fun and camaraderie of the streams have no end of horror stories about empty bank accounts, drained life savings, and loan after loan after loan. It's a marked contrast from the glitz and glamour of the streams that got them into crypto gambling in the first place, and it's what tends to happen when your losses aren't covered by ad deals worth millions of dollars.
It's a pretty sobering read, and worth viewing in its entirety for the grim and gory details about what happens when some of the modern era's biggest stars—including Drake, which I had no idea about—get paid a thought-terminating amount of money to market highly dubious products to highly impressionable audiences. In some cases, kids as young as 16 are losing thousands of bucks a month on gambling sites they first saw via their favourite streamers.
Bloomberg's reporter reached out to a Twitch spokesperson, who confirmed that Twitch was currently in the middle of "a deep-dive look" into gambling on the platform, suggesting they might be gearing up to take action against such streams. For some people, though, it's already too late, and it's hard not to think that Twitch might be inclined to move slowly to curtail a relationship that makes so much money for everyone but the audience.