On Saturday, Abraham Mohammed, better known to viewers as Sliker, a Twitch broadcaster, admitted to defrauding fans and other content creators out of at least $200,000 to support his Counter-Strike: Global Offensive gambling addiction. In response, big-name streamers like Imane “Pokimane” Anys, Matthew “Mizkif” Rinaudo, and Devin Nash have been organizing a Twitch boycott throughout the Christmas season to protest the platform’s lenient gambling policy.
Weapon skins in CS:GO have real-money worth on Valve’s marketplace. Because the most valuable skins may fetch thousands of dollars, third-party sites utilize them as “casino chips” to wager on the outcome of CS:GO matches. The skin-betting business was estimated to be worth $7 billion in 2016. Sliker took money from followers and other streamers on the false premise that his bank account had been frozen and that he needed to borrow money to keep his credit score from suffering. Streamer Hasan “HasanAbi” Piker was among those who donated Sliker money when he reached out and requested for assistance, falsely claiming that, among other financial problems and obstacles, his Twitch payments had not arrived for that month.
Sliker informed his audience in an emotional confession video that he began gambling with CS:GO skins but later moved on to betting with real money. He utilized money from his first job and “all” of his Twitch earnings at first, but it wasn’t enough for him. He began borrowing money from other streamers, lying to them about why he needed the money and what he planned to do with it. He pledged in the video that he would eventually repay all of his debtors.
“I deserve to be punished.” “Whatever happens, happens,” he explained. “I’m at a loss for words for the folks I borrowed from…this is the pinnacle of gambling.” I’d like to say, “Don’t touch it.”
Pokimane, Mizkif, and Devin Nash, three popular streamers, have been debating Twitch’s responsibilities to take action against gambling streams, which some believe are deceptive to viewers and may be especially detrimental to young viewers. They said on a simultaneous stream that some streamers made money by pushing gambling, and that gambling was one of Twitch’s most popular categories. Mizkif advised that 10-20 content artists with substantial followings issue an unified statement to Twitch, crediting the idea to his friend, politics streamer Destiny. Either the platform should take a stand against gambling streams and sponsorships, or it will go on strike over the Christmas season. Twitch was contacted by Kotaku, but no response was received in time for publishing.
Of course, not all of the streamers involved in the discussion agree that gambling is a problem on the site. Tyler Faraz “Trainwreck” Niknam, a slots streamer himself, stated that “the true problem” was people blaming slots, blackjack, and roulette instead of the individual. He stated that sports betting is becoming more common, but he admitted that the practice of streamers conducting giveaways by employing codes that force viewers to gamble is “predatory,” as is promoting gambling successes while hiding losses on stream. He does, however, make a lot of money through his own profitable gaming streams and sponsorships. Sliker has already borrowed $100,000 from Trainwreck.