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New Twitch policy forbids streamers from promoting gambling sites

Gambling promotions for Counter-Strike: Global Offensive have boomed over on Twitch, and the streaming platform is working to cut it off from growing further.

Justin Carter

August 3, 2023

2 Min Read
Logo for streaming service Twitch.

A new set of community guidelines from Twitch cracks down on websites dedicated to gambling for in-game skins. 

Under the new rules, sponsoring or promoting those websites (which often revolve around games like Counter-Strike: Global Offensive) is now "prohibited under our policy." 

This extends to all streamers regardless of size, similar to the streaming platform's stance on dice and roulette games. 

Speaking to Dexterto, Twitch explained that it made its stance on skin gambling more explicit following "renewed interest in CS: GO gambling broadly." Earlier in the summer, Valve released Counter-Strike 2, which has likely been responsible for some of that interest sparking up again.

Before now, any gambling-related violations haven't really been enforced, but the specific language from these new guidelines indicates that may soon change. 

Why is Twitch focused on gambling right now?

Gambling and the game industry have had a divisive relationship for years, but Twitch's reaffirmed stance isn't entirely out of the blue. 

This past July, a YouTube video from HounGounGagne reported that an alleged 75 percent of the top Counter-Strike streamers (out of 300) on Twitch have sponsorships for such gambling sites. 

When taking that game's popularity into account alongside those 200+streamers, the range of gambling sponsorships is quite wide. According to HounGounGagne, some of those streamers have up to five sponsorships from such sites.

Last November, People Make Games released its own video on third-party gambling sites, which have thrived thanks to both Counter-Strike and Valve's Steam marketplace. Gambling sites draw in young players, and the video showed just how easy it was for kids to sign up and start betting.

PMG's video also highlighted how the gambling scene has evolved into its own industry, largely thanks to Valve's perceived neutrality. 

At time of writing, Twitch hasn't disclosed what penalties offenders will face, if any, for violating its rules. There's yet to be any news of Counter-Strike streamers being suspended or banned for retroactive offenses.

Game Developer has reached out to Twitch and Valve for clarification, and will update this story when a response from either is given. 

About the Author(s)

Justin Carter

Contributing Editor, GameDeveloper.com

A Kansas City, MO native, Justin Carter has written for numerous sites including IGN, Polygon, and SyFy Wire. In addition to Game Developer, his writing can be found at io9 over on Gizmodo. Don't ask him about how much gum he's had, because the answer will be more than he's willing to admit.

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