The world of online streaming has been buzzing with the news of high-profile streamers signing lucrative contracts with Kick, a rival platform to Twitch.
These contracts have a unique twist: they include clauses that require the streamers to host gambling streams, a move that is currently stirring controversy and debate.
Nick "Nickmercs" Kolcheff recently announced that he would be hosting gambling streams on Kick as part of his contract after signing a massive $10 million deal with the platform. The gambling streams are part of an additional contract with Stake.com, whose co-founders part own Kick.
Similarly, Félix "xQc" Lengyel, another high-profile streamer, signed a two-year contract with Kick, worth approximately $70 million, with incentives that could push the total to about $100 million.
Lengyel has openly admitted that he is paid to gamble high stakes on-stream, but he is also a self-confessed gambling addict.
The contracts signed by Kolcheff and Lengyel have sparked a broader conversation about the relationship between streaming platforms and gambling.
Kick, backed by the co-founders of the Stake gambling platform, has been investing heavily in attracting top streamers to its platform. This is during a year that has seen the Twitch platform clamp down hard on gambling streams as a whole. Poker was lucky to escape unscathed.
PC Gamer reported:
“Nickmercs basically confirmed what many had suspected: that Stake is throwing money at streamers to promote gambling via Kick.
“Kick’s status as one of the few streaming platforms to have built any audience in the face of Twitch is key here, because last year Twitch took action following community concerns about an increasing prevalence of gambling streams on the platform.”
With some streamers making incredible sums of money one day and then suddenly being unable to fulfil contractual obligations the next, Kick was primed to move in and offer an alternative.
Kick has been long-been positioning itself as a major player in the streaming business, offering a 95 / 5 subscription revenue split compared to the 50/50 at Twitch for the first $100,000.
Amazon paid almost $1 billion to acquire Twitch back in 2014. Since that day, the platform has enjoyed close to a monopoly in the American market.
The stranglehold was pretty much cemented during the pandemic months but are we in the midst of a turnaround?
As of yet, poker streamers have remained loyal to Twitch but that could change given even more favourable conditions.