Australians are building large online followings by broadcasting themselves gambling using real money in online casinos on video streaming platforms like Twitch and YouTube.
And it’s surprisingly popular. According to the unofficial stream tracker Twitch Metrics, the ‘slots’ category on Twitch has been the 19th most popular category on Twitch in August. The site claims that users spent more than 12 million hours watching slots streams over the month.
During the pandemic, more people have turned to online streaming as a form of entertainment.
Primarily associated with video games, creators have carved out careers for themselves by spending hours broadcasting themselves doing an activity and interacting with their audiences.
But outside of streams of games like “Fortnite” and “Fall Guys”, there’s a vast array of streaming categories, including streams of people making music, art, and, increasingly, playing in online casinos.
Jaydan Jamieson is an Australian casino streamer who plays games like slots, roulette and blackjack on his Twitch account, TheOutlaw.
The stream’s layout shows his screen – featuring whatever game he’s playing – overlaid with a camera feed displaying his reactions to the game and his audience. When he wins, he hoots and cheers. When he loses, he gasps and sighs. He runs giveaways and interacts with his audience.
Jamieson has even hosted several charity streams which raised thousands of dollars of donations for cancer research.
He believes it’s the community that he’s built that brings his audience back every stream.
“I focus heavily on acknowledging the viewers whenever I am streaming,” Jamieson said. “I think that people like watching the streams due to my loud, outgoing personality.”
Jamieson said that he gets an average of 250 viewers on each stream and has more than 300 paid subscribers.
Currently, Jamieson is streaming as a side hustle while he edits videos for bigger online content creators full time. But he is making money from it — he gets half of the $8.99 monthly subscription fee and is starting to earn money from sponsorships and endorsements. He hopes to one day make it his full-time job.
Like other streamers, the top few creators with the largest audiences appear to have quite lucrative careers. Adelaide streamer Captain Davo — who once posted a video of himself winning $250,000 on a slot machine — shares images on social media of expensive cars and frequent trips to exotic locations that he says are paid for by his winnings. Captain Davo did not respond to request for comment.
On the other end of the spectrum, there are also online amateur communities built around sharing video clips of their online wins. Facebook groups with more than 100,000 people share their own streams or short videos of their wins.
The administrator of one Facebook page, “Big pokie wins australia”, said that they built their following of more than 28,000 likes by accident.
“A few years ago I would gamble quite a bit and had some massive wins so I thought I would post them. Eventually, my page grew quite large,” they said.
When asked, they say their audience’s motivation for watching varies from person to person — but that many of them may have a gambling addiction.
Jamieson believes that, while some people think casino streaming is damaging, his streams can help people with gambling problems.
“The community that I’ve garnered tell me constantly that the streams actually prevent them from wanting to put money into the casinos,” he said.
Like many other streamers, Jamieson shows the wins and loses — “and we generally don’t come out on top,” he said — and he claims that stops the audience from having to experience those losses themselves.