The UK Gambling Commission is in talks with Twitch after a Eurogamer investigation discovered unlicensed sites were using the live-streaming platform to stream illegal gambling.
Although it is illegal for casinos without a UK Gambling Commission licence to operate in the UK, the investigation purports advertisements for two unlicensed sites were discovered on Twitch. It further alleges that these sites "have been advertised by multiple casino streamers in the form of images and links in video descriptions" and games from both are "often streamed in the hugely-popular casino game section".
Eurogamer reports there has been a steady rise in Twitch’s casino game category views, with many routinely showing up on Twitch’s "featured games" section. The term "casino" now regularly secures more views than games like Red Dead Redemption 2 and Call of Duty: Black Ops 4.
In a statement to Eurogamer, a UK Gambling Commission spokesperson said: "We do not talk about individual cases but I can explain our approach to unlicensed sites. When illegal gambling websites are brought to our attention we take a number of proportionate steps to protect consumers in Britain. This will initially involve assessment of whether the site is actually used by consumers in Britain, and then may include engagement with the site owners, and ultimately working closely with advertising and payment providers to cut off sources of customers and access to funds. We are currently working with Twitch to prevent unlicensed sites being advertised on their platform."
In order to prevent additional promotion, Eurogamer has agreed to withhold the names of the two sites and will publish the full results of its full investigation "shortly". Twitch has yet to respond to Eurogamer’s request for comment.
In related news, Jen MacLean – executive director of the IGDA – recently issued an industry-wide call-to-action in response to the United States Federal Trade Commission’s announcement it was launching an investigation into loot box monetisation.
"By not taking significant action as an industry and global game developer community to self-regulate how loot boxes are used, we run the very real risk that governments around the world will take that action for us, and perhaps create significantly restrictive laws that could impact any random reward elements in games," MacLean said. "I offer my strongest advice to game developers and interactive entertainment businesses on this matter: addressing how loot boxes are used is both the right thing, and the smart thing, for the global game development industry to do."