German Gaming Regulator Warns Twitch of Gambling Ad Restrictions

  • The German regulator could file criminal charges against Twitch
  • Only nationally-regulated gambling sites are legal in Germany
  • Twitch tried to ban gambling streams, but left loopholes in place
  • If convicted, the regulator could fine Twitch up to €500,000 ($499,298)
Video game streamer
Twitch is facing possible punishment from the German gambling regulator due to its stance on gambling ads. [Image: Shutterstock.com]

Not quite up to snuff

The German gambling regulator said that it is unsatisfied with updated community guidelines provided by Twitch.

considered criminal offenses under the Fourth Interstate Gambling Treaty

Die Glücksspielbehörde (GGL) said that Twitch is making progress, but it is not quite there yet. Gambling advertisements for operators that are not regulated by German authorities are banned and considered criminal offenses under the Fourth Interstate Gambling Treaty.

The GGL was only recently created, but has already begun acting as an executive arm of the German government. The regulator will assume full control of online gambling regulation on January 1, 2023 and has suggested that Twitch revise its policy again before that day hits.

German gambling stance and Twitch policy

Twitch cannot seem to escape controversy in the gambling world. A community update released on September 20 said that as of October 18, all unregulated gambling streams would be banned from the platform.

Gambling on Twitch took off this year thanks to the influence of high rollers like Trainwreck and celebrities like Drake frequenting the platform. Viewers were able to feel a level of secondary excitement as jaw-dropping sums were put on the line with every spin, pull, and click of the mouse.

“unsafe slots, roulette, and dice gambling sites” from unlicensed operators would all be banned

Caught in the wake of Twitch’s anti-gambling weep were gambling advertisements. According to the community update, “unsafe slots, roulette, and dice gambling sites” from unlicensed operators would all be banned once the October deadline hit. However, little clarity on what constitutes “unregulated,” specifically depending on the market, was provided.

The GGL has taken issue with Twitch’s unclear framework and negligence in surveying the existing laws.

“In Germany, every form of advertisement or bringing attention to illegal gambling websites is forbidden,” said the GGL. “Permissions from European or non-European, for example, American, authorities would not be recognized in Germany. The gambling providers permitted in Germany are listed on the official whitelist.”

Plotting the future

Twitch is in a decisive stage in plotting its relationship with the gambling sector.

For example, Twitch’s recent ban targeted unregulated casino sites and prevented streamers from displaying web addresses. However, it did not directly state that streamers could not gamble in any capacity.

several streamers have continued to host gambling streams

As a result, several streamers have continued to host gambling streams with slight modifications—either they avoid the banned sites, or they enlarge their screens to hide the URL.

German streamer Orangemorange, a verified Twitch partner with 544k followers, is one of those people exploiting the loophole. He went so far as to challenge the platform to stop him and plans to continue his gambling streams.

The direction that Twitch chooses to follow could decide a lot for the company. There is a world in which they use their newfound affluence to partner with online sportsbooks and even collaborate with mainstream sports games, similar to what Amazon Prime did with Thursday Night Football.

However, if Twitch chooses to pursue that path, the GGL has promised that it will face criminal prosecution. The 2021 State Treaty on the New Regulation of Gambling in Germany states that violations of advertising requirements are punishable by up to €500,000 ($499,298).