An alternative narrative

The moment that many in the Twitch gambling world feared has finally come; the streaming platform has decided to ban unregulated online casino content from the site. The Amazon-owned firm made the announcement earlier this week, meaning content creators will no longer be able to play on sites such as Stake and Roobet from October 18.

It’s a huge moment for Twitch’s gambling community, and many have blamed the ban on a string of controversies involving the sector over the past few years. However, Phil Pearson, chief operations officer, and head of sales and white label business at the iGaming Group, has another opinion.

hackers using distributed denial-of-service attacks

Pearson shared his view during a panel discussion at the iGaming NEXT conference in Valletta, Malta on Wednesday. He said that the ban is a direct result of “internet pirates” from Russia, more specifically – hackers using distributed denial-of-service attacks, or DDoS. According to the exec, Amazon has introduced the measure to avoid suffering an attack of its own.

Pearson explains more

Pressed for more information by panel moderator and Clear Concise Media director Scott Longley, Pearson added some detail. He said: “Anyone associated with the crypto industry has been hounded by DSoS attacks from Russia over the last three weeks. All the main game providers on Stake have been attacked. Everything’s been down. The site has been down.”

He said that “most people believe” Twitch has decided to ban these sites because Amazon is threatened with an attack of its own through affiliation with the crypto sites. “They don’t want the services to be taken down so they’re actually taking a stand due to the acts of the internet pirates.”

Pearson’s claims are somewhat supported by the fact that Twitch has only decided to ban crypto gambling sites. The number of banned sites currently includes Stake, Rollbit, Duelbits, and Roobet, but Twitch has warned that this list may lengthen “as we move forward.” Notably, the company is continuing to allow websites that focus on sports betting, fantasy sports, and poker.

The internet reacts

There are two sides to the Twitch ban debate. Some, such as Twitch stars Pokimane and Hasan Piker, are fully behind the gambling ban. This week, they were drivers for the #TwitchStopGambling hashtag after fellow streamer Sliker revealed his addiction issues. Jehad “Sliker” Mohammed confessed to taking $300,000 from fellow streamers and fans to feed his gambling.

Trainwreck has deemed the ban “inconsistent”

On the other side of the fence, another popular streamer Trainwreck has deemed the ban “inconsistent” given Amazon’s affiliation with the sports betting industry. In a scathing rant on Twitter this week, he drew attention to Amazon’s $13bn deal with the NFL, giving the firm exclusive rights to broadcast Thursday Night Football. DraftKings inked a multiyear deal with Amazon to provide odds for the show earlier this month.

Trainwreck, real name Tyler Niknam, said that he wants Twitch to focus on getting rid of streamers who “sell a false reality” with their gambling content, rather than removing the community altogether.

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