Twitch streamer Abraham Mohammed, also known as Sliker, scammed at least $200,000 from his fans and other content creators. This was to fuel his Counter-Strike: Global Offensive gambling habit. Several popular Twitch streamers have chosen to boycott the platform during the week of Christmas. This is due to their frustration with Twitch’s failure to regulate gambling streams despite the widespread issues in the community.
CS:GO has real-money value weapon skins that can be used as casino chips on third-party betting sites. In 2016, the estimated worth of the skin-betting market was $7 billion. Some streamers and fans use these skins for gambling, although they were falsely told that their bank accounts were locked and they needed to borrow money to prevent credit score issues. Sliker received money under these conditions. Streamer Hasan Piker claimed Sliker asked for financial help. However, Sliker had told Piker that he was having problems with his payments from Twitch that month. After hearing this, Piker believed Sliker genuinely needed money and gave him some. Later, Piker realized Sliker had lied about his financial situation when Sliker admitted to making up the story in a Saturday video.
Sliker cried while filming a confession video where he admitted to borrowing money from other streamers. He initially used income from his first job and every cent he earned on Twitch to gamble with CS:GO skins. However, he soon transitioned to betting with actual money; he lied to other streamers about why he needed loans and what the funds would be used for. Sliker promised to repay all his lenders with interest once he finished paying back all the people he borrowed from.
He stated, “Whatever happens, happens,” before adding, “I don’t know what to tell the people I borrowed from. This is the height of gambling. I want to tell people to not touch it.”
Some Twitch streamers feel that the platform should take action against streams involving gambling. These streamers feel that these activities are manipulative and potentially harmful to younger viewers. Pokimane, Mizkif and Devin Nash all agree that some Twitch streamers make money by promoting gambling. They also state that gambling is one of the most popular categories on the platform. Mizkif mentioned a joint statement in which several popular content producers would demand Twitch to take a stance against gambling or sponsorships. He suggested this idea after being inspired by his friend Destiny, a politics streamer. This would involve roughly 10 to 20 streamers who would withhold uploading during Christmas week if their demand wasn’t met. Kotaku contacted Twitch for a comment, but did not receive a response in time for publication. Some Twitch streamers have already started to take action; xQc and Ludwig said they would pay back people that were scammed as long as they provided proof of the scam. xQc tweeted that some streamers’ stories were “terrible,” and that many would be out of money until Twitch refunded them. He continued to write about the optics of the event he was attending. Next, he stated that he wasn’t going to sit and watch or listen to anything. He went on to say he didn’t care what anyone else thought about his tweets.
Many streamers believe gambling on Twitch is a non-issue. One of these streamers is Tyler Faraz “Trainwreck” Niknam, who runs a slot machine channel. He claims the real problem is people blaming Twitch slots, blackjack and roulette. However, he did agree that promoting giveaways by using codes on stream that required viewers to gamble was predatory. Additionally, he believed hiding losses while highlighting wins on stream was also problematic. Meanwhile, sports betting is considered normal; however, Trainreck did concede that highlighting wins and hiding losses was problematic. Trainwreck gave Sliker $100,000 prior to obtaining his own sponsors and lucrative gambling streams.