Turkey Bans Kick and Twitch Over Fears of Youth Playing Roulette

  • Officials stated “Kick’s entry into Turkey was to attract Turkish youth to roulette”
  • Regulatory investigators blocked Kick, Twitch after detecting gambling content
  • Turkey ban comes as Twitch plans to exit South Korea Tuesday due to cost issues
Turkish flag on laptop
Turkey has blocked both Kick and Twitch after investigators discovered the sites featured gambling content. [Image: Shutterstock.com]

MPI bans rivals

Turkey’s National Lottery Association (MPI) has banned both the Stakeowned streaming platform Kick and its Amazonbacked rival Twitch.

Turkish Twitch creator Arkhaniir posted a screenshot of the blocked Twitch site on X last week, citing concerns over gambling, despite no official announcement:

The website for Turkey’s national telecommunications regulator, the Information and Communication Technologies Authority (BTK), simply listed without reasons the MPI’s decision to ban Kick and Twitch on Tuesday and Thursday, respectively.

Popular freelance journalist Ibrahim Haskoloğlu, however, took to X to reveal gambling fears as the reason for Turkish officials banning the sites. Haskoloğlu, who has over 950,000 followers on X, cited officials as stating: “Kick’s entry into Turkey was to attract Turkish youth to roulette.”

Haskoloğlu added that Twitch was also blocked days later after a decision by the MPI’s General Directorate.  

Gambling content the culprit

According to industry media reports, Haskoloğlu claimed in a now deleted X post that the BTK “first shut down Kick due to its gambling content.”  

detected that gambling content was on Twitch”

“When broadcasters on Kick showed that the same incident was taking place on Twitch, BTK also investigated Twitch,” stated Haskoloğlu. The journalist reportedly cited Kick publishers as stating Turkish authorities then blocked its rival “after it was detected that gambling content was on Twitch.”

While Turkey counts gambling as only a misdemeanor, providing a place and opportunity for gambling is illegal in the country.

According to news site duvarenglish.com, the Turkish government has prolific form in blocking websites. The news source cited the Istanbul-based Freedom of Expression Association as stating Turkish officials issued access bans to 137,717 websites in 2022.

Sitting ducks

The decision by Turkey to ban both sites is underpinned by both platforms regularly drawing fire for streaming gambling content.

In October 2022, Twitch banned some forms of gambling content after heavy criticism from leading streamers, including Hasan Piker and Pokimane. The two led the gambling ban charge against Twitch when one of its creators, Sliker, admitted to scamming his fans and peers out of around $300,000 to feed his gambling habit. That online gambling platform Stake backs Kick has also earned it criticism from Pokimane and her peers.

The Turkey ban also comes as Twitch plans to exit South Korea on Tuesday due to “prohibitively expensive” operating costs.

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