Gambling is for losers, right? The house always wins. Correct. But what if you could turn your gambling habit into a spectator sport and start making money from your viewers? Well, it turns out you can. Just step into the growing world of the slot streamers on YouTube and Twitch.tv.
Of the £4.9 billion Gross Gaming Revenue generated by the online gaming sector in the UK, as reported by the Gambling Commission, a large chunk comes from wagering on video slot games, the bread and butter of many online casinos.
Slots are some of the most popular games to gamble on. They are simple, fast and fun to play, with whacky themes, branded content, and a mesmerising blend of sound and visions to keep the player entertained. Some offer huge potential payouts in the form of progressive jackpots. And for the habitual gambler, they are the ultimate quick fix, with just seconds between each stake and its outcome.
Slots enjoy a dedicated following of passionate, and surprisingly savvy gamblers. For years, fan sites like The Slot Buzz have serviced the needs of these players, with video and written game reviews that analyse likely win potential and hit frequency for each new game, scoring them out of 10 and pointing readers in the direction of recommended casinos.
So, it’s great fun to play these games – right. But to watch someone else play? Surely not.
Well think again, because in fact these games are the subject of a cult of gambling voyeurism called Slot Streaming, in which players, now celebs in their own right through their Twitch and You Tube channels, invite viewers to watch as they play the most popular slots at their favourite online casinos.
Subscribers to the slots channels get the vicarious thrill of watching the highs and lows of a hardened gamblers’ session without risking their own money. The ultimate kick comes when a streamer scores a massive win, always accompanied by ecstatic screams and fist pumping.
Whilst the action happens, viewers are also able to interact with the streamer, ask questions about the games they are playing, and the strategy they use to maximise their chances of winning *.
How Do Slot Streamers Make Money?
For their part, streamers are building up loyal and trusting audiences who respect their opinions, and respond to recommendations put forward on which games to play, and which casinos to play at.
This is the gambling equivalent of the social media influencer.
The casino operators know this and are now striking deals with the streamers with the biggest following, offering big money to become their exclusive partners.
And the same goes for the slot software studios who build the games. One Australian supplier, Big Time Gaming, even arranged for celebrity streamer, LetsGiveItaSpin, to have the first play on their new game, White Rabbit Slot, live on air when it was released in 2017 at LeoVegas casino.
Slot Streamer Wars with YouTube
Live Casino streaming is a growing niche – top streamer, Rocknrolla, increased his YouTube followers from 12,000 to 32,000 in 2017 and hit 15.6 million views. Ok, so this is dwarved by the popularity of other content marketeers but the speed of growth is still impressive (in comparision YouTuber and video games critic Felix Arvid Ulf Kjellberg, aka PewDiePie, has over 57 million subscribers).
It hasn’t all been plane sailing for the streamers though.
In 2018 there has been something of a backlash against the streaming community as You Tube has intermittently shut down their channels without warning on the grounds that they constitute unspecified violations of the website’s Terms of Service.
There was outcry as streamers who had spent years building up a following and a monetised channel lost their entire revenue stream overnight. Fortunately, the channels were switched back on, though with little or no explanation, and for now the streamers can go back to providing informed gambling entertainment for their avid audiences.
Another potential obstacle to this growing cult has been the increased spotlight on Responsible Gambling in the UK as some have asked how the advertising side of this niche can be properly regulated. Do streamers project an image of safe gambling, and who is monitoring what they say or do to encourage others to gamble too?
It remains to be seen how long live casino streaming will continue to grow unchallenged. For now though, it is very much here to stay and will be another important facet of a booming industry in the UK.
- AUTHOR’S NOTE: the outcome of every spin on an online slot game is entirely random and cannot be influenced by the player. However, some gamblers believe they have strategies that can increase their chances of winning.