Over the weekend, Twitch streamer Abraham “Sliker” Mohammed admitted that he had scammed fellow streamers and fans out of more than $200,000 to pay for a gambling addiction. In a confession video, Sliker explained that he had frequently borrowed money from those around him after lying about where the money was going. The streamer started gambling with skins from Counter-Strike: Global Offensive but eventually found he could bet on the game with real money, escalating things further. Sliker expressed remorse for his actions and promised to pay back those he owed.
A 2016 report by Polygon found that betting on Counter-Strike skins had become a massive market valued as high as $7 billion that year. Those interviewed described similar stories of how betting with skins acted as an entry point for real-money gambling, with bigger and bigger buy-ins and increasingly large losses.
In response to Sliker’s confession, many prominent Twitch streamers such as Imane “Pokimane” Anys, Matthew “Mizkif” Rinaudo, and Devin Nash have demanded the platform to ban or regulate gambling streams. In recent years, it has become increasingly popular for content creators to broadcast themselves as they bet large sums on slots, loot boxes, and more. Some streamers even have lucrative sponsorships with casinos. The streamers organizing the boycott believe this content can encourage betting among younger viewers and pull others into potential gambling addictions. They have promised to boycott the platform this December if Twitch doesn’t take a stance on these streams.
While many have rallied behind this cause, and others like Ludwig have promised to help those scammed, some streamers have defended gambling on the platform. Trainwreck, who is sponsored by a casino, tweeted that while the scam was unacceptable, the “individual” is to blame for these kinds of situations, and that sports betting is the major issue as opposed to slots and other forms of gambling. Devin Nash responded to Trainwreck, saying that “this is a platform problem, not a people problem.” As of now, Twitch has not made a statement on the situation.