The streaming of gambling and gambling on Twitch has taken its toll

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The streaming of gambling and gambling on Twitch has taken havoc

Instavideographer Felix “xQc” Lengyel, who has a self-confessed gambling addiction, has announced several times that he is stopping gambling broadcasts on Twitch .

Enneric Chabot, who lives in Quebec, had never really played games of chance and money before seeing one of his instavideasts (streamers ) preferred to bet live on Twitch, on an online casino site. Nearly a year and a half later, he is trying to recover from his new addiction which has already caused him to lose some $80,000.

This instavideast is Félix xQc Lengyel, a young Laval resident who divides his time between Quebec and Texas, in the United States. His Twitch channel is followed by over 11 million people, making him one of the most popular personalities on the platform.

I've been watching xQc play video games of all kinds since 2019. I already found him interesting at that time, and I went to see his channel almost every day, says Enneric Chabot, who works in accounting in the health network.

Twitch bans unauthorized games of chance and money from its platform

In May 2021, Félix Lengyel, also a former player Overwatch shooter professional, gave up video games and started live-streaming his sessions of gambling and gambling on Stake.com, a private online casino and sports betting platform using cryptocurrency, on Twitch.

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In his chat, people were chatting and sharing the xQc referral code to open a bonus account on Stake.com. […] It was something like $25 as a gift, mentions Enneric Chabot.

It didn't take much to encourage the twenty-something to open his own account on Stake.com.

“Initially it was small amounts, and I only played when I saw another streamer playing. It gave me the taste. »

— Enneric Chabot

What didn't help me was that I was very lucky at first. The first week, I made a profit of $5,000 or $6,000. It was easy money, and even though I was aware that I had been lucky, I told myself that it was going to happen again and again, he adds.

Enneric Chabot, who has had an account on Twitch since 2013, was thus caught up in gambling addiction, and as he was playing in an online casino using cryptocurrencies, his wallet took a big hit during the drastic fall in the value of bitcoin in recent months.

Wanting to regain his financial health, he continued to bet larger amounts bigger, and also lose bigger sums.

“The highest amount I lost in a month was US$50,000 [C$68,500]. »

— Enneric Chabot

He had to borrow $40,000 from the bank, including a line of credit, to continue playing. In all, he estimates that his gambling addiction cost him $80,000. The man also had to go bankrupt.

I tried to get help, but when you see them all the time streamers that you listen to the most [bet money online], it makes you want to do the same, he underlines.

The instavidéaste xQc – who has already admitted his gambling addiction to his fans – is far from alone in betting money on this kind of live site on Twitch.

At the end of May, Toronto rapper Drake got involved, attracting tens of thousands of Internet users during a broadcast organized in partnership with Stake.com. During the session, Drake wagered tens of millions of dollars live on his Twitch channel, dubbed @StakeDrake for the occasion, which at that time had 84,000 subscribers (the channel had 141,000 at the end of September). . The artist's account has since unpublished the videos in which he was seen playing roulette.

On the site Twitchtracker.com, which analyzes data from the broadcasting platform, we can only see the extent of the phenomenon: broadcasts in the Slots category are recording peaks in popularity. In May, for example, this category was in the eighth position of the most watched on Twitch. In April, it accumulated 38.3 million hours of viewing.

This data does not include broadcasts under another theme. xQc, for example, often chooses the category Just Chatting(discussions) for his live broadcasts, which sometimes last about ten hours. In his online sessions, he plays a handful of different video games, and occasionally pops over to Stake.com to play roulette, for example.

Minors also have easy access to this type of video. While some streams state that the content is intended for an audience of 18 years and older (age is to be confirmed with a simple button), anyone, with or without a Twitch account, can consult these contents. In 2019, 41% of Twitch users were between the ages of 16 and 24, according to analytics site Statista.

The Amazon-owned streaming platform is well aware of this trend for games of chance and money on its site. It even reacted for the first time in August 2021 by prohibiting the sharing of URLs and reference codes for these online casinos.

To prevent harm and scams created by dubious gambling services that sponsor content on Twitch, we will prohibit the sharing of links and/or referral codes to sites that offer slots, roulettes or dice games, Twitch said in a press release.

Voices have been raised for several months for Twitch to completely ban this type of content from its platform. Recently on Twitter, the hashtag #TwitchStopGambling went viral. Enneric Chabot took part by posting a tweet briefly telling his story.

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Victory: the site announced on September 20 that it would ban from October 18 games of chance and money showing slot machines, roulettes or dice games, unless they come from authorized sites in the United States or other jurisdictions offering sufficient protection to consumers.

Games from the sites Stake.com, Rollbit.com, Duelbits.com and Roobet.com are explicitly prohibited, according to these new rules. These spare sports betting, fantasy sports and poker, however.

“I'm super glad the pressure on Twitch worked. […] Although there are still some elements of gamblingwho are not yet banned, this is a step in the right direction and a win for all. ”

— Enneric Chabot

Approached by Radio-Canada, the Twitch platform, the instavideographer xQc and Drake's record label, Republic Records, did not give following interview and comment requests.

The Stake platform, for its part, indicated that it is making great efforts to ensure that campaigns do not do not target minors.

Stake.com collects player information, including date of birth, before users can make deposits. It also conducts additional checks at various times to ensure compliance and protect minors, a spokesperson for the company, based in Curacao, in the Caribbean, replied by email.

For his part, Enneric Chabot is slowly recovering from his bankruptcy. He made payment arrangements with the bank and sought support. He avoids the Twitch platform as best he can, an endeavor he describes as difficult, having been on it for almost 10 years now.

Although we don&#x27 ;I don't know all the details yet, but Twitch's new policy heralds better days for Enneric Chabot, who would like instavideasts to focus more of their energy on raising awareness of gambling issues rather than promoting them.

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