Slot streamers are a relatively new phenomenon, first cropping up around 2015 and 2016, but they are an ever-growing breed given how easy it is to become one.
All you need is access to the internet, a camera, and a microphone, and hey presto, you can sign up to a streaming platform and a few minutes later you are technically a streamer.
Of course, not everyone who tries this has any degree of success.
Most streamers give it a go for a few months, never attracting more than a handful of viewers at a time, and then give it up for something else, but for some people, it’s their living.
They can grow to be so popular that they end up effectively becoming their own brand, and their personalities along with the games they play and their abilities within that game are what attract viewers to their channels.
It sounds harmless enough, maybe a bit odd to some people, but slot streaming is just one more area of the gambling industry that sits outside any sort of regulation, so it is the streaming platforms themselves that end up policing matters.
The issue is, a streaming platform’s main priority isn’t policing who watches the content its’ creators provide.
Couple an open streaming platform with a bunch of real-life gambling streamers and you have a problem, because anyone of any age or vulnerability status can watch it.
It’s only meant as entertainment, but it also serves indirectly as an advertisement, especially when casino companies get involved with sponsorship deals and the like.
With some streamers attracting hundreds of thousands of followers and millions of views on their most popular videos, it’s an area of the industry that shouldn’t be ignored.
What is a Slot Streamer?
If you haven’t heard of streamers but love online slots, then prepare for a visit from the green-eyed monster.
Slot streamers are people (usually annoyingly young people) who earn vast amounts of money playing online slots and other casino games, while allowing other players to watch via live stream.
They will usually broadcast two views of themselves: one of their shared screen, and another of them reacting to what is happening, and a chat box is also available so they can communicate with their viewers/fans.
They might talk about the game they are playing, compare other games they like with those of their audience, talk about the industry in general, or just shoot the breeze about anything else.
Their audience can only type comments, but the streamers will be speaking live, often via a headset, so it creates an interesting dynamic where one person is talking to many in a free flow format, but where the streamer is undeniably the dominant person in the group.
Some people hero worship streamers, and there can be a bit of a cultish feel to the whole thing, especially when fans of one streamer start arguing with fans of another on behalf of the streamers themselves when they have ‘beefs’.
This sort of juvenile behaviour is more common with video gamers really, but it has happened in the slot streaming world too.
If you watch an online slot streamer, you can usually expect some very high stakes, a lot of big wins, and quite often an awful lot of very excitable and unnecessarily loud reactions.
I’m showing my age here, aren’t I?
Are Slot Streamers Fake or a Scam?
The thing to remember about a streamer is that their audience is everything to them.
The only reason they are able to make money playing games, is because people want to watch them doing it, so their audience is crucial, they are nothing without their audience.
No company would pay good money to a streamer with a tiny audience because what that company is really paying for is to get eyeballs on their brand, so a streamer needs eyeballs on them in the first place to be worth anything.
Essentially, they are gathering the attention of people like us, and selling that attention to the casino brand.
They might have deals with certain casinos or brands which makes it easier for them to bet so much and/or so often, but that doesn’t make them all disingenuous. More on the topic of money and streamers in the next section.
With that in mind, any streamer who has been around for a long time is highly unlikely to be fake or a scam, because they would not have survived if they were. It’s true that they perhaps aren’t playing by the same conditions as everyone else, and that comes with its’ own problems as you will see, but that isn’t a scam.
People who watch streams aren’t stupid, despite what the media might sometimes like to make out, so if they get a whiff of insincerity or feel the streamer does not have the best intentions for their audience, they will abandon them.
It can be a fickle world in the streaming community.
The point being made here is that it’s in the streamer’s best interests to keep things transparent and legitimate, because that’s the only way they build and retain and audience, and the size of that audience dictates how much they get paid.
That said, there are bad apples out there who will play with fake money and pass it off as real, but they don’t usually last very long and they are mostly playing at more obscure casinos or those that deal in cryptocurrencies. There have also been instances where a previously well thought of streamer has got desperate for views and crossed a line, but again, they have ended up losing their audience because of it.
In the early days of slot streaming it was a lot more dangerous, with streamers playing on unlicensed sites and taking huge sponsorship deals from those sites to promote them, but twitch implemented a ban on streaming from unregulated sites in 2022, which brought a little more order to proceedings.
Many streamers also called for better safeguarding around the issue and self-regulated by not accepting sponsorship from certain casinos etc.
How do Slot Streamers Earn Money?
Streamers can have all sorts of different deals with the companies they partner with, but they will always be making money out of it somehow.
Some are paid a salary of sorts, which they then go and spend on the slots and games, keeping anything they win, but not really caring if they lose because the money came from the casino in the first place.
It’s not their only source of income, and it was given to them specifically to play with, but it is technically real money even if it is free money. It isn’t bonus/fake money, which is the key differentiator.
Other times a streamer might partner with a casino and benefit from affiliate income when anyone signs up to the casino using their link, although this is far less lucrative and not actually allowed on some platforms, like twitch, so is more likely to be seen with lower-level streamers who have fewer followers on more obscure streaming platforms.
The streamer’s viewers might actually pay them voluntarily if they like the channel too. Viewers can buy all sorts of tokens and icons and things and then gift them to the streamer, or subscribe to the channel for a fixed fee.
It’s slightly different on every streaming platform, but essentially the people watching can give the streamers small amounts of money as a thank you for providing the content, and a surprising number of them do. Their handle will pop up on screen briefly in celebration and they usually get a live thank you ‘shout out’ from the streamer as well.
Sponsorship deals are where the big money is though.
During the crypto casino boom, certain casinos like Roobet, Stake and Duelbits were paying fortunes to streamers to use and advertise their wares.
A streamer called Mizkif was paid $35,000 an hour for several marathon 10 hour streaming sessions per month, while another called Adin Ross was apparently offered $1.4-$1.6 million per month by Duelbits to use their site.
What’s more, the money they were playing with at the time was credited by the casino sites – it wasn’t even their own funds.
Streamers and Responsible Gambling
One of the growing concerns around online slot streamers and the way they distribute the content they create, is how attractive it could be to anyone under the legal age for gambling as well as how easy it is for them to see.
For example, twitch is an online streaming platform that is incredibly popular with younger people, where video game streamers and the like love to hang out and set up shop.
Gambling streamers use it too, so it’s not exactly unlikely that a person who is not legally able to gamble could come across their stream and start watching it. In fact, 21% of users in 2021 were between 13 and 17 years old.
Streamers can and should mark their channels as for mature audiences only, but it only takes a few clicks to get past that little barrier, there is no real age-gating, so parental control is required, and many parents either don’t know about this or don’t take any action.
The same goes for Youtube and other platforms, but it’s not just minors that are potentially at risk.
Watching people who regularly gamble for hours at a time with huge amounts of money, and who quite often win a lot too, can send a very tempting and an even more dangerous message to anyone who isn’t thinking clearly.
Streamers can control the content their viewers see in their edited videos, so it can appear as though they win more often than they do.
Even when streaming live and unedited, the fact they bet at max will, with some games, give them a stronger chance of winning – some games reward higher stakes with improved odds – and wins will obviously be bigger too if the stakes are higher.
Plus, if that money is supplied by a casino they aren’t really risking anything of their own, so the life of a gambling streamer often paints an unrealistic picture of the experience to anyone who happens to be watching.
It goes deeper.
Some streamers hold so much influence with their audience that many of their followers will do pretty much anything they say.
Adin Ross is a prime example of this.
He was allegedly paid $200k to promote MILF Token, a short-lived crypto currency that thousands of his followers went and bought on his recommendation, boosting the price to ridiculous levels.
The people who already owned MILF Tokens then sold out while the price was high, making a huge profit, before the price plummeted back down to nothing, and everyone else lost their money. This is known as a pump a dump.
Just one example of how dangerous these streamers can be – the things they say make other people act, and when it comes to gambling, that can get people into financial trouble.
Slot Streamer Scandals
Given what you have already learned, you won’t be surprised to hear that there have been a fair few controversies around slot streamers.
It really was the wild west out there for a while, with little in the way of regulation and the platforms taking zero responsibility for the content they were hosting.
This has improved a lot, but the fact that some streamers don’t seem to have much of a conscience means that many simply find ways to circumvent any rules that are put in place.
For example, one particular streamer who goes by the name Niknam or TrainWrecks, literally moved to Canada because his partner casino, Stake, was not licensed in the USA where he is from. To begin with he just used a VPN and no one cared, but when twitch brought in new rules that banned streaming from casinos that are not licensed where you live, he simply moved to a country where it was licensed and carried on.
To avoid any further issues with the platform’s rules he eventually built his own called Kick, and now streams from there instead, answerable to no one.
He hasn’t technically done anything wrong, but it’s hard to believe he cares about anything other than his income. He claims he is gambling so others can watch him do it rather than spending their own money, and has a sign saying “Do Not Gamble. You Will Lose” on his streams – but he surely understands why Stake pay him, right?
Anyway, as for scandals, there have been a few real doozies:
Adin Ross and the Sadistic Stream
Ok so this was not to do with gambling but he is an online slot streamer – and one who has openly said he doesn’t mind advertising gambling to children – and part of the reason his audience is so large is because of his gambling streams.
So after being banned from twitch, Adin moved to TrainWreck’s Kick platform, where streamers can apparently get away with being morally bankrupt, and on one particular stream he started offering his viewers money to do pretty terrible things.
One included paying a man if he urinated on his sleeping family members; another was encouraged to throw dog dirt at his girlfriend; others were told to pepper spray themselves, or eat hot sauce straight from the bottle, or spit on people.
It was akin to the societal elites making the peasants demean themselves for a few coppers and it was an appalling abuse of influence.
This utter tool was widely criticised by other content creators but pretty much ignored them all. You can’t help but feel that his downfall isn’t too far off.
Sliker Gambling Addiction Scam
An online slot streamer falling foul of gambling addiction is a bit meta isn’t it?
It happened to a streamer known as Sliker though, who got so heavily addicted to gambling with CS:GO skins, that he ended up lying to his audience and other streamers to fund his habit.
It all came out in a confession video, in which Sliker responded to allegations that he had been scamming people for money using fake excuses as to why he needed it.
He would message people privately and ask for a loan as his bank account had been frozen, or his twitch payments had been held up, or other similar excuses.
He racked up debts of between $200k – $300k.
In his confession video he vowed to pay it all back, but whether or not this happened is unknown.
One positive came out of the situation though; two other streamers known as Ludwig and xQc said they would pay back anyone who was scammed by Sliker if they could prove they had sent him money.
A nice example of the streaming community backing each other up.
LeoVegas and CasinoRobot Fake Money
Back in the earlier days of streaming, around 2016, it came to light that LeoVegas was giving out fake money to streamers so that they could play at higher stakes than they could actually afford.
While not exactly uncommon, it was quite rightly seen as unethical and many people were surprised that such a well-established name was using these sorts of back-alley tactics.
There was a big outcry and LeoVegas vowed to cease the practice and also sacked a few people for good measure.
What they used to do was send the streamers log in details for test accounts that were loaded up with funds, but neither party ever made this fact clear, instead allowing viewers to believe the money being wagered was real, so it was completely disingenuous.
It only ended because CasinoRobot accidentally showed his log in details during a stream. His username was [email protected]…
Interestingly, LeoVegas went on to restructure the way they worked with streamers, by making them deposit their own money, but then paying them back their losses at the end of each month as well as a fee for streaming in the first place.
Why do People Watch Slot Streamers?
The answers to this will be as varied as the people who watch, but broadly, the reasons probably fall close to the following categories:
- Can’t afford to gamble themselves
- To dream
- To feel part of a community
- To be entertained by a charismatic host
- To actually witness epic wins and see that they do happen
- To explore new games
If you are interested in something then you spend a lot of your time doing it or watching it or learning about it, right?
One thing you can’t take away from streamers is that they build a community around themselves, and it’s not unusual for people to meet on platforms like twitch and form real online friendships because of a shared interest. There are genuine benefits to the existence of streamers.
However, we must never underestimate the power of imagination or our ability to dream.
If they won it, I could win it. It could be me.
This is an extremely powerful feeling, especially for people who are perhaps not in the best place financially and need an escape – just look at all the money that is spent on the lottery each week. For some people, dreaming is all they have, and they need to believe that their lives could be different.
And this brings us back around to the issue with streamers.
For all their warnings about responsible gambling, many streamers are not practicing what they preach.
These people are often just kids themselves in their early 20s, talking rubbish and not being held to account for the things they say or the behaviour they inadvertently promote. Naivety could well be to blame but it doesn’t lessen the dangers.
They are throwing tens of thousands of pounds or dollars into slot machines every stream, and thousands of people are watching them do it, watching them scream in celebration after big wins, sharing their excitement. Idolising them because of it in some cases.
If streamers are not transparent about where their money is coming from, or the terms under which they are playing, they promote a very unrealistic and unhealthy idea of what online slots are and what we can expect from them.
It might be entertaining, but make no mistake, it can be devastating if seen by the wrong person at the wrong time.