top of page

Twitch Banned In Türkiye–An Issue of Gambling or More?

Amazon-owned live-streaming platform Twitch has been banned in Türkiye after a legal action filing by the National Lottery Administration (Milli Piyango Idaresi). The ban was set in place after the Information Technologies and Communication Institution (BTK) launched an investigation on Twitch and rival live-streaming platform Kick –operated by Kick Streaming Pty Ltd and backed by the co-founders of Stake.com, a popular online casino. On February 22nd, online access to the platforms was blocked on the basis of promoting gambling and a lack of sufficient live-stream gambling regulations upon the judgment 2024/7 by the lottery administration. As of this article, the ban on Kick has been lifted. However, online access to Twitch remains blocked. Update: The ban on Twitch has been lifted as of May 1.


The ban following concerns of the National Lottery Administration and the BTK investigation was reported on February 23rd by Turkish journalist Ibrahim Haskologlu.

This was not Twitch's first time in a controversy surrounding the platform's lax gambling regulations. In August 2023, Twitch proclaimed an expansion on the bans regarding gambling content on live streams. The company prohibited the streams of popular online casinos Blaze and Gamdom, adding to the blacklist of gambling sites that came in motion after the streaming giant revamped its gambling policies the same year. Twitch imposed restrictions on live content after following a dispute on the site last year concerning a streamer presumed to defraud viewers and other content creators out of hundreds of thousands of dollars to feed a gambling addiction.



Subsequently, several well-known Twitch streamers protested the platform's overly loose and permissive regulations around gambling streams. In response to mounting demand, Twitch had to announce that it would block websites that don't have a license to operate slots, roulette, or dice games in the United States or overseas with adequate consumer protection –Blaze and Gamdom being two of which that do not have a US license– in order to “protect our community, address predatory behavior, and make Twitch safer,” as stated by the giant on X. Twitch then doubled down on the clampdown by amending the platform Community Guidelines to prohibit the “promotion or sponsorship of skins gambling,” to the likes of video games like CS: GO which promote skins gambling through sponsorships with their big-name streamers.

However, poker sites, sports betting, and fantasy sports were not indicated with the revamped policy.


Twitch is not the only live streaming platform with an alleged gambling issue. Rival streaming company Kick was also struck by a ban, which has since been lifted. Access to the novel platform was blocked in Türkiye two days before the Twitch ban began. The BTK investigation concluded with the banning of Kick over likewise concerns of illegal betting and gambling broadcasts. It is worth noting that Kick is funded by the co-founders of Stake.com, a prominent online casino on Twitch’s list of prohibited gambling sites.


The issue of gambling seems to have clutched multiple widespread streaming platforms. Whether the concerns are inflated or gambling has truly permeated online platforms,  these companies' prospects are not brightened by their predatory reputation in nations like Türkiye that impose stricter regulations. If the allegations indeed hold a solid base, Twitch and its likes have more serious legal issues to tackle in more than one jurisdiction, which comes hand in hand with bigger losses of investment.

However, if the platform’s new policy does mitigate concerns as proclaimed by Twitch and backed by the statistics they have provided, new concerns about the integrity behind the juristic decision by Türkiye should arise. If that is the case, the decision becomes increasingly alarming considering the sheer number of international —and even national— social platforms that have been banned in Türkiye in recent years, including Wikipedia, OnlyFans, X (formerly Twitter), and Ekşi Sözlük— a collaborative hypertext dictionary. These platforms, minus OnlyFans, are notably incredibly widespread sources of information, especially regarding politics. Twitch and Kick can also be attributed as such with their loose monitoring of free speech. If Türkiye’s demand for restrictions on these platforms is not solely about gambling, the bans are nothing but a condemnable demand for restriction on free speech.



Works cited

HALELUYA HADERO. “Twitch Expands Its Ban on Gambling Livestreams. It Also Says Viewership of the Content Is down 75%.” AP News, AP News, 2 Aug. 2023. Accessed 28 Feb. 2024.

‌Maas, Lea. “Twitch Reportedly Shuts down in Turkey.” Esportsinsider, 27 Feb. 2024. Accessed 28 Feb. 2024.

‌Daniels, Tom. “Twitch Bans CS:GO Skin Gambling Sponsorships and Promotion.” Esportsinsider, 3 Aug. 2023. Accessed 28 Feb. 2024.

X (Formerly Twitter), 2024. Accessed 28 Feb. 2024.

NTV. “Milli Piyango’nun Başvurusuyla Twitch’e Erişim Engeli.” Ntv.com.tr, NTV, 24 Feb. 2024. Accessed 28 Feb. 2024.

Recent Posts

See All

Comments


bottom of page