A few months ago, the growing presence and influence of gambling sites on Twitch motivated the platform’s top personalities to threaten to strike. Pressure from top streaming celebrities like Pokimane pushed the Amazon-owned site to ban crypto gambling site Stake.com and others that “aren’t licensed in either the U.S. or other jurisdictions that provide sufficient consumer protection.” But it seems Stake isn’t done with its desires to stay active in the streaming space.
Kick is a newer streaming platform promising a better deal for streamers. Offering a higher subscriber revenue split between the platform and streamers, (95 percent of subscriptions are said to go to streamers, compared to Twitch’s rate of 50 percent), and terms of service pledging more transparency around bans, something that Twitch has been notoriously vague about in the past. Kick might seem a tempting alternative, especially given the praise it has received from Trainwreck, one of Twitch’s own top streamers. But first impressions of Kick appear to be deceptive.
Trainwreck has not only had incredible success as a streamer, but also as a gambler on the platform, particularly where it concerns Stake.com. He claims to have been paid $360 million from a sponsorship with the crypto gambling site. Fast forward to Tuesday, when scam exposer Coffeezilla called attention to the connection between Kick and Stake, with the receipts to back their claims. Speculation over the identity of mods on Kick’s official sub reddit and Discord server also established connections to the crypto gambling site. And now with Trainwreck confirming the connection between Stake and Kick in a statement to The Washington Post, the time for speculation is clearly at an end.
Trainwreck described his relationship with Kick as a “non-owner” and “non-exclusive” advisor and broadcasting role in a TwitLonger post earlier this week. In just over a thousand words, Trainwreck described Kick as “the beginning of a completely different approach to livestreaming,” and that he had “constant communication with the ownership and developer team.”
Kotaku has reached out to Kick and Trainwreck and inquired about financial ties between the two.
The constant tug of war between the interests of top streamers and Twitch itself is nothing new. And while Trainwreck’s and Kick’s hopes and promises of non-exclusivity deals, fairer pay distribution and more open collaboration with streaming personalities seem to be a primary focus, gambling has remained central to the new platform, where it is a popular category of content. As Trainwreck told The Washington Post, “I’m a little irritated at [Twitch’s] double standard of banning certain gambling sites they don’t make money from.”
Given the amount of money gambled and earned through sites like Stake, and the role that famous streamers, and celebrities like Drake, have played in this ongoing saga, there’s likely still more to come. For now, if Kick’s official subreddit is anything to go by, they might wish to address issues its users are having with stream keys, absent verification codes, an inability to delete videos, among other problems.