After the announcement that Valve would start pulling API keys from known skin gambling sites, reporter Richard Lewis posted a video exposing popular Twitch broadcaster PhantomL0rd for advertising and promoting a gambling site he allegedly had a stake in to his viewers without disclosure. He has since been banned from TwitchTV, no reason has been given to the public yet.
Other large Twitch broadcasters Tmartn and Syndicate were also exposed for promoting a gambling site on Twitch without disclosing the fact that they owned these websites, as reported by Polygon. JoshOG, another partnered Twitch broadcaster admitted owning equity in the site after the other broadcasters were exposed for their involvement.
This is not Syndicates first time being exposed for illegally failing to disclose information as well. He was hit with a $30,000 fine by the FTC for his 2014 involvement of promoting the new Xbox One while working under Machinima without disclosing his ties.
Twitch has a companywide policy to disclose any affiliation with any game or brand they’re currently in contract with by FTC, but that policy is enforced very rarely by admins or staff when it clearly is in their TOS when it comes to individual broadcasters.
It is not clear whether or not broadcasters like JoshOG, Syndicate or Tmartn will receive bans for violating FTC laws and breaching Twitch terms of service by failing to disclose their relationship with the gambling sites in question. If Twitch does not enforce their TOS against these larger broadcasters, will they also turn a blind eye to other broadcasters who also fail to disclose their advertising relationships with game developers?
I’d like to think this is a turning page for Twitch and they’ll stop broadcasters from advertising to users without full disclosure beforehand, we will see in the coming days. If not, feel free to tip off the FTC to any illegal acts.