iGaming Group Exec: Twitch Gambling Ban Is Result of ‘Internet Pirates’ From Russia

  • Twitch announced a ban on unregulated iGaming content this week, including Stake and Roobet
  • iGaming Group exec Pearson believes this is the result of Russian “internet pirates” using DDoS
  • He said they have attacked crypto gambling sites such as Stake over the past three weeks
  • Twitch-owner Amazon has acted preemptively to avoid an attack on Twitch through affiliation 
Pirate logo
iGaming Group exec Phil Pearson has shared his belief that Twitch’s ban on gambling content has come about as a result of DDoS attacks by Russian hackers on crypto sites. [Image: Shutterstock.com]

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.

When VegasSlotsOnline News reached out to Pearson for his thoughts on Twitch streaming, he made it clear that he thinks the platform needs a regulator of its own. “The only people regulating the twitch and streaming community are Amazon and Google,” he said. “There is no regulator who is stepping up, or even getting close to operating in the 21st century on this kind of topic.”

“Without regulation from people who are forward thinking and openly looking to adapt their country’s regulation for even streaming, never mind web 3.0, the whole industry is just doing whatever people want to do. Regulators need to do their job and provide a safer framework and a safer environment to ensure we do not target at risk groups and children under 18.”

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.