Access to casinos and participation in games of chance are not permitted and virtually impossible for minors in Germany. However, the situation is different for online gambling. Easy access to the Internet for children and young people also allows them to access thousands of online gambling games. In addition, popular platforms such as Twitch for such sites.
Online gambling in Germany is only permitted for licensed operations, such as lottery companies. Online casinos, on the other hand, do not receive a license in Germany – and are therefore illegal. However, since there are no real national borders on the Internet and providers refer to EU law, such offers still exist. Youth protectors view this very critically, as it exposes young people to the risk of gaming addiction – also because Internet services that are popular with them, such as Twitch, are part of the system.
At Twitch so-called streamers broadcast live how they play computer games. Some of them have over a million followers. More and more companies are using the gaming platform to advertise, as they reach many young people here. Online casino operators have also recognized this. They work with streamers who play games on their sites and broadcast this live on Twitch. In doing so, they win disproportionately often and give the impression that it is quite easy to win a lot of money on these sites. However, this advertising is not marked – it is therefore surreptitious advertising.
Among the most famous streamers of online gambling is YouTuber Montana Black. He received play money from the casino, which he used to win large sums of real money and the online casino new customers. Such an advertising deal is difficult for viewers, especially minors, to see through.
Even though this is not completely legal, Twitch can practice it this way without any legal restrictions so far. Nevertheless, the streaming platform itself has adjusted its guidelines: Streaming of online gambling is limited to thirty minutes and only allowed after midnight. In this way, Twitch wants to prevent becoming a pure advertising platform for so-called gambling sites. However, since online gambling has a gaming component, the provider does not want to completely ban the transmission of such games.
Gambling is generally prohibited for children and young people under the age of 18. Adolescents are often more willing to take risks than adults, and are unable to properly assess consequences and repercussions. They are particularly at risk of becoming addicted to gambling, partly because they find it difficult to stop gambling.
The live broadcast of quite a few online gambling games on Twitch not only draws attention to the possibility of participating in gambling on the net, but also leads to a trivialization of risk and a distorted portrayal of reality. Twitch is used primarily by young people, who perceive the streamers as authentic. The form of advertising conducted there also poses a risk. Whether labeled or not, it is difficult for children and young people to recognize as such due to their inexperience.
Accessing gambling platforms is easier for teenagers than going to an arcade, as it is possible to register with many online casinos using false information. After all, activation of the account is usually only possible with a deposited credit card and bank account. It becomes problematic, however, when young people have access to a credit card through older friends or siblings, for example.
Talk to your child about the different types of gaming sites and how to recognize them. Make it clear that online gambling is not suitable for children and young people and what the dangers are. If you use such sites yourself, do not do so in the presence of your child. In addition, it is advisable to use filters to prevent your child from visiting online gambling sites. Also, make sure your child does not have access to your credit card information.
If your child uses Twitch, they may also be familiar with online gambling streams. There are no filters or age restrictions on streams on Twitch. So your child has access to all the content. Together, question the videos of the streamers popular with him or her on Twitch. How realistic is winning large sums of money multiple times really? Who ultimately benefits from the streams?