Is Streaming the Future of Online Gambling?
Considering how social media has integrated its way into the lives of the majority of people who connect to the internet daily via one or more devices, perhaps it’s not hugely surprising that this flood of social networking has started to overflow into the online gambling realm in the form of live-streamed real money slot games that spectators can place bets on. This has raised the question of whether casino or slots streaming is the future of online gambling?
While it may still be a little early to say, what we do know is that while ‘social media stars’ are nothing new. Famous slot players are a fairly recent addition to the live streaming arena who have built up massive fan bases from all over the world with their slot and other casino game exploits. Known as ‘casino streamers,’ their fans can watch them in real time as they spin the reels of a particular slot game, discuss the game’s pros and cons, trigger the game features and many bonus rounds and (hopefully) rack up some serious winnings.
LeoVegas Takes Bets on Live Streamed Slot Sessions
But purely voyeuristic tendencies aside, one leading online casino LeoVegas has recognised an opportunity to offer spectators a stake in the slots action by allowing them to place real money wagers on live-streamed online slots session comprising a set number of spins, like 500 for instance. Bets are then accepted on how many features a player will trigger in their session, what their biggest pay-out will be and whether their balance will grow or shrink.
No longer is winning on slot games solely reliant on playing slots, because for the first time online slot fans can now bet on the outcome of another player’s virtual slot play in real time. LeoVegas Casino kicked off its slot streaming betting platform in early May 2017 when it partnered with renowned Australian online casino game developer Big Time Gaming (BTG) for the release of its dynamic new online video slot offering, Danger High Voltage slots.
Slots Pro Kim Hultman Took Danger High Voltage for a Spin
To launch this highly-touted 6 reel, 4,096 ways-to-win video slot extravaganza packed with Wilds and Multipliers, not to mention a toe-tapping soundtrack (the 2003 song Danger High Voltage by Electric Six), LeoVegas and BTG engaged the services of predominant casino streamer Kim Hultman a.k.a. LetsGiveItASpin, a well-known professional slots and poker player out of Sweden with a massive international social media following and presence.
Hultman’s fame and reputation as slots and poker ‘guru’ grew internationally thanks to his presence on Twitch.tv. Since launching in 2011, Twitch has grown into one of the world’s largest and most widely accessed social video services with an average of 15 million users daily, and over 2 million unique content creators who post and broadcast content monthly.
With Twitch You Can Even Stream Free Spins
Twitch and other video social services like it have tapped into the mainstream consciousness by providing an easy to access, welcoming and global platform for people with shared online gaming interests. You can even use Twitch to stream your free spins which others can claim when you aren’t being entertained by people with excellent game skills strutting their stuff, ‘slots streaming aficionado’ Kim Hultman being a prime example.
On May 3rd 2017, fans of Hultman and new video slots from all over the globe watched the ‘Swedish slots wizard’ on Twitch become the first (and for that day only, sole) player to put Danger High Voltage slots through its paces. A week later LeoVegas (Sports) launched a special betting market for Hultman’s first 500 spins for that day. After placing their bets, players could tune in to watch the slot fundi spin and win in real time on Twitch to see if their bets paid off on a slot that has subsequently become a hit at many online casinos.
Danger High Voltage Slots has 6 Reels and 4096 Ways-to-Win
Not just another run of the mill slot offering, Danger High Voltage slots stands out from its rivals by having 6 reels as opposed to the typical 5 reels of most video slots. Add to that it has 4096 ways-to-win and a generous bonus round feature where you can choose from a 15 “High Voltage” free spins with a multiplier of up to 66x and an unlimited re-trigger, or 7 “Gates of Hell” free spins with a random sticky wild and the chance to win 19 free spins.
To say the launch of Danger High Voltage video slots was a ground-breaking success is an understatement. Along with introducing a brand new and highly lucrative online and mobile slot game in a novel, dynamic and interactive way to players far and wide, it boosted the profile of both BTG and LeoVegas. For the latter, it also showcased the beginning of a brand new revenue stream in the form of online slots in-play betting on live streamed play.
LeoVentures Ltd Acquired 51% of top Slots Streaming Outfit
In fact, so successful was the Danger High Voltage slots launch that in December of 2017 LeoVentures Ltd (the parent company of LeoVegas Casino) took an enormous leap forward by agreeing to acquire 51% of GameGrounds United AB, the parent company of the highly lauded CasinoGrounds.com, a world-leading slots streaming network.
The move means that LeoVegas will be one of the world’s first remote casino sites to offer members the ability to watch a range of live-streamed video slot games in real time played by experienced slot players for real money, and wager on them. Although streamed live dealer casino games like Blackjack, Roulette, Hold’em and Baccarat have been around for many years in the global online casino industry, live-streamed slots as a ‘spectator sport’ and betting platform are relatively fresh addition to the global internet gaming scene.
YouTube Has Cracked Down on Certain Casino Streamers
However, all may not be rosy in the world of casino streaming after news emerged in early January 2018 that American video-sharing giant YouTube cracked down on another pre-eminent casino streamer known as CasinoDaddy without disclosing why. Visitors attempting to access his YouTube channel are met with the following message: “This account has been terminated due to multiple or severe violations of YouTube’s policy against spam, deceptive practices, and misleading content or other Terms of Service violations.”
This has been the cause of concern amongst fans of casino streaming and stakeholders alike, especially considering the YouTube channels of other well-known casino streamers such as LetsGiveItASpin, Roshtein and Rocknrolla to name a few are still accessible. Whether they will remain accessible will only remain to be seen considering that YouTube is a US company and online gambling is still unregulated in most parts of the United States.
Why Streaming is Not the Future of Online Gambling
As to the question of whether streaming is the future of online gambling, for this writer’s two cents the answer is a short, sharp no. As in life, when it comes to online slots and other casino games there will always be players and spectators, and occasionally a combination of both. What is life, after all, without a healthy mix of players and spectators?
Provided the online casino game designers and developers continue to release entertaining and lucrative virtual casino games, there will always no doubt be a long line of players to play them. Similarly, as long as there are social media personalities that are interesting and entertaining, there will always people willing to follow their exploits online.