Online casino streaming has become a prominent subculture on platforms like Twitch and YouTube. These streams typically feature streamers playing casino games such as slots, roulette, poker, and blackjack; all whilst interacting with viewers through live chat. Due to increased accessibility, these streams attract thousands of viewers, which raises the question: are these streamers playing with real money, or are they misleading viewers by playing with undeclared fake funds?
Real Money vs. Fake Money?
The question, whether streamers are using real or fake money has been raised recently - reference “High stakes – Inside the wild world of crypto casinos” - Sanja burgess - September 19th, 2023. While some streamers openly disclose their wagers and financial activities, others lack transparency, keeping their finances and source of funds hidden from their audience.
If we would enter a discussion on the pros and cons of streaming online casino gameplay with pre-declared real money versus fake, I list below some of the more obvious points for consideration:
• Transparency: Some streamers genuinely play with their own funds and are transparent about their bankroll.
• Sponsorships: Some streamers receive sponsorships from online casinos, inclusive of a budget for real money gameplay.
• Risk and Authenticity: Playing with real money can heighten the excitement and authenticity of the stream, given the consequences are real.
• Entertainment Value: Some streamers opt for fake money or demo mode gameplay to provide entertainment without the financial risk.
• Responsible Gambling: Using fake money can promote responsible gambling and discourage viewers from attempting to replicate high stakes play.
Effects of online casino streaming
Online casino streaming and gambling content can have a profound impact on the general population. It can lead to normalisation of gambling, as a direct result of popular streamers portraying online gambling as exciting and entertaining. This normalisation can lead some individuals to perceive gambling as a harmless form of entertainment, potentially encouraging them to try it themselves.
There is also behavioural influence as viewers may be influenced by the bets and gambling strategies of streamers they admire. They might mimic the behaviour they see and may consider high stake bets to be strong indication of a certain outcome.
This may result in problem gambling, given the risk that some viewers may be more susceptible to developing gambling problems when exposed to frequent gambling content. These are particularly those who are vulnerable to gambling addiction. Said viewers may underestimate the risks, overestimating their chances of winning.
In contrast to the points raised above, some casino streamers do promote responsible gambling. They discuss the importance of setting limits, knowing when to stop, and seeking help if needed.
Why does it even matter whether online casino streamers are using real or fake money?
This argument brings into consideration its importance to individual users, which largely would depend on context and the goal of both the streamers and the viewers. We’d have to take into consideration;
• Transparency and authenticity
• Promotion of responsible gambling
• Whether the stream is for educational purposes versus instruction or financial advice
• Viewer engagement
• Legal and regulatory compliance.
The debate over whether online casino streamers use real or fake money will likely persist as long as this subculture thrives. Ultimately, it comes down to individual streamers' choices and how they choose to engage with their audience. Some prioritise transparency and authenticity, while others focus on providing entertainment without risking their own finances.
Simply put viewers should exercise caution and remember that both online casino gambling and sports betting carry risks and should only be undertaken with a clear understanding of the potential consequences. It is a necessity to do your own research and may be wise to take online casino streams onboard with caution.
Online casino streaming whether with real or fake money provides entertainment and social interaction, often time creating a sense of community. There is a cohort of people who engage with these streams purely for entertainment value and may not necessarily be influenced to gamble.
However due to the accessibility of social platforms such as Twitch and YouTube, there is concern that young and impressionable individuals might be exposed to gambling content through online streams. For this reason, there is a need for strict age restrictions, governance, and regulations around gambling advertising, for the protection of vulnerable population.