The online gambling industry has long struggled with a negative reputation, despite continuing efforts to implement stricter regulations to protect vulnerable customers. Unscrupulous business practices threaten to sully the reputation of an industry that is continually on the back foot batting off one scandal after another.
One area that has been highlighted in recent months is the prevalence of online streamers playing slots with fake money accounts in a sponsorship deal worth a small fortune, all aiming to recruit new customers to play a game that cannot be won over the long run.
Corruption Follows Money
Gambling in the past was mostly seen on the big screen or on TV, but the last decade has seen a shift towards influencers targeting the masses on Twitch and YouTube .
In 2015, live streaming slot sessions on Twitch emerged as a trend at a time when the industry was keeping a low profile. Bets were kept relatively low, and streamers were primarily enthusiasts or small affiliates.
However, as with any industry where there is money to be made, corruption soon follows. The concept of live streaming slot sessions on Twitch was initially an innocent one, but over time it has been hijacked by unscrupulous casino owners.
By s 2016, nefarious practices such as viewbotting and fake money streaming were already being employed by a select group of streamers. At that time, it was not Stake.com but rather a casino operator named Multilotto that was violating the community through its underhanded marketing tactics.
Those familiar with the costs and rewards of streaming were aware that Multilotto was systematically providing many of its streamers with fake money accounts, with Roshtein being its primary streamer. This not only undermines the reputation of the iGaming industry, but also deceives viewers into thinking that they too can win large sums of money through online gambling, when in reality it is not possible.
It is not only lesser-known casinos that engage in such unethical behavior, even reputable names such as LeoVegas have been caught. After streamer “Casinorobot” made a mistake and inadvertently displayed his LeoVegas demo account on stream, the company apologised and made changes to its marketing team. However, the same cannot be said for many of the unregulated crypto casinos, which continue to deny their fraudulent conduct.
The rise of fake money streaming is a direct result of the increasing popularity of online gambling and the lucrative opportunities it presents. The iGaming industry is a multi-billion dollar industry and it is no surprise that unscrupulous actors would try to take advantage of this by engaging in fraudulent activities such as fake money streaming.
The problem is that these activities are difficult to detect and even harder to police. Many streamers are able to conceal the fact that they are using fake money and continue to engage in high stakes gambling sessions that are not real.
More Must Be Done
The iGaming industry has a responsibility to ensure that the integrity of the industry is not compromised by a small group of individuals who are looking to make a quick profit at the expense of others. Twitch got the ball rolling last year when it reacted to pressure from its most popular streamers to combat the rise in degenerate gambling on many streams.
Platforms like Twitch must continue to take an active role in policing their content, otherwise when the next scandal breaks online poker streamers might find themselves innocent victims of any harsh changes. In October they were lucky to emerge unscathed.
The iGaming industry is constantly evolving, and it is important that the industry and its regulators keep up with the changes and take action against any companies that threaten its integrity. Even with unlicensed platforms pressure can be applied to limit the visibility of the company in question.
Furthermore, it’s important to educate the audiences and the general public about the reality of online gambling, and how it is not as easy as it seems to win big money, and that not every streamer or influencer is trustworthy.
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