On the surface, this may sound like a marketplace change driven solely by the recent lockdowns. It certainly seems feasible that gamblers, facing restrictive online regulations and the closure of land-based venues, would watch gambling streams to enjoy their favourite pastime.
However, if we look back at the history of online gambling there is a precedent for sites that host clips of players winning big jackpots to garner large followings.
Despite the lack of audio-visual quality of these early mobile phone videos they garnered massive views and formed the basis of early gambling groups on social media platforms like Facebook.
The Science Behind Casino Voyeurism
While this is all fine and well, watching a single big win clip is a very different experience from watching someone play Online Slots for several hours. Surely, with the endorphin release which a winning payout cause, gamblers need the excitement of winning themselves in order to stay interested in the experience?
The answer it seems is found in the combination of the following two concepts:
- We The Community: Watching and interacting with live streamers and their chats allows the viewer to become part of a larger community. However, this is still done on their terms as they interact as much or as little as they like, do so from the comfort of their home and engage with complete anonymity.
- Monkey See, Monkey Feel: Secondly, our brains contain “mirror neurons” which help us learn by watching others, seen largely in the development of young children, and creates a real sense of inclusion when we spend time watching others do what we wish we could. By watching something being done - be it playing an online game, going to the gym, or winning at the slots – our brain and body begin to respond to events on screen as though we were personally involved in the outcome.
In practical terms, this is why heavily invested sports fans will feel elation when their team wins but feel dejected when the team loses. Despite the on-field performance of the team being completely out of the viewers control, it is adopted as a personal measure of their success through their identification with the larger community and a deep-seated desire to be a part of the victory.
Monumental Growth Potential
As you can see this desire to be part of a community and the potential to be a party to the adrenaline-inducing excitement of jackpot wins have created the perfect storm for casino streamers to gain fantastic followings, leading to the creation of new content categories on streaming platforms such as Twitch.
The BusinessOfApps released the following 2021 Twitch stats:
- Twitch recorded 2.9 million average monthly concurrent viewers
- The site supports 9.5 million active streamers
- 32% of Twitch users are aged 25-34
- Twitch users are 65% male and 35% female
A recent report by TechJury stated that Twitch, which is purely a platform for live streaming, has generated more than 9 billion hours watched since inception, with part of their growth strategy being the creation of new content categories. This has seen them add gambling specific categories such as ‘slots’, ‘virtual casino’ and ‘poker’.
With a clearly defined offering and a strong market presence the streaming of casino content can only continue to gain ground. We can only hope that its results push online casinos to find new and interesting ways to engage this niche or risk losing out on its incredible potential to drive new signups and introduce new markets to the pastime.