Streaming megasite Twitch has updated its community guidelines, and now prohibits streamers from promoting or being sponsored by Counter-Strike: Global Offensive skin gambling sites. This new ban could impact many CS:GO streamers who have lucrative deals with these controversial websites.
In CS:GO, trading and gambling of skins and other cosmetics has long been big business, with some rare, sought-after skins selling for hundreds or even thousands of dollars online. This has led to many players spending money on CS:GO skin gambling sites, effectively turning the in-game cosmetics and Steam’s trading system into a slot machine they can pull over and over again for a fee, rewarding players with items that can (sometimes) be very valuable. These skin gambling sites—which some players condemn due to accusations they prey on minors—often pay or sponsor streamers to promote their sites, with some players even streaming themselves spinning for rare cosmetics on Twitch itself. But now, it seems that might be coming to an end.
On August 2, Twitch quietly updated its community guidelines, adding a new section that directly prohibits Twitch users who feature or promote CS:GO skin gambling sites. Here’s the new guideline after today’s update:
Is sponsorship of skins gambling, such as for CS:GO skins, allowed on Twitch?
No, promotion or sponsorship of skins gambling is prohibited under our policy.
This is bad news for streamers who have deals with any of these cosmetic gambling sites. One big-name example that might be impacted by this new ban is G2 Esports, a large-scale organization that employs numerous players and content creators.
In May, the group announced a big partnership with CSGORoll, a site that calls itself a “CS:GO skins trading market” but also lets players win skins and other in-game items by placing bets and making rolls. It’s likely CSGORoll would be considered a skin gambling site by Twitch, which would—if the Amazon-owned service enforces this new rule—likely mean G2 Esports won’t be able to promote CSGORoll during its streams. Awkward, as the site’s logo is on G2 Esports’ jerseys, and its players appear on the CSGORoll homepage.
Beyond G2, many other streamers might be affected by the new ban, as pointed out in a popular video condemning skin gambling published in July 2023 by YouTuber HOUNGOUNGAGNE. In their video they report that an estimated 75 percent of the top 300 CS:GO Twitch streamers have skin-gambling sponsors. If this new guideline is enforced, all of these players would have to quickly cut ties with these sites and the lucrative sponsorship deals they offer or face a possible Twitch ban.
Of course, there are still some questions. Does this new rule ban streamers from streaming themselves using CS:GO skin gambling and trading sites? The wording is a bit vague and only specifies promotions and sponsorship deals. Another question some have is if this new rule takes effect immediately, and what that means for folks who might have signed deals with sites and have certain obligations to uphold.
Kotaku has reached out to Twitch for more information about the ban. But for now, between Valve cracking down on skin traders over the last few years and Twitch’s new rules, it seems the era of CS:GO streamers hawking skin-gambling sites to thousands of viewers is coming to an end.