Eight out of 10 of Sweden’s top influencers promote illegal online casinos

Top influencers on Twitch have been advertising casinos without proper license to operate in Sweden.

A majority of the top Swedish influencers on the video platform Twitch have been found promoting online casinos that do not have a license to operate in Sweden – a violation of the country’s Gambling Act.

In an investigation by Kulturnyheterna (‘Culture news’ at the Swedish national public television broadcaster SVT), eight out of 10 influencers were found to be advertising illegal casinos during their live streams, playing online casino games on Twitch.

Six were also found doing direct marketing by having links in their profiles, and by publishing links to their viewers in their live streams. And starting bonuses were made out to those followers who created new accounts.

Together, the 10 influencers reached more than half a million subscribers.

Increased support for gamblers

Twitch is a social media platform owned by Amazon, where individuals and businesses can stream live to their followers. The age limit to join is 13, and young boys and men born in the 1990’s and 2000’s dominate the users in Sweden.

During the live streams, many of the influencers make direct calls for games, interact with the viewers in live chats, and let them participate in deciding stakes on online games. According to the gambling addiction researcher Anders Håkansson, this can be problematic for viewers under the age of 18. Håkansson says that online casinos are particularly addictive, and that underage people have a shorter path to gambling problems.

Swedish gambling support organizations have also seen a rise in youngsters and their families asking for help with gambling addictions, and are critical of how casinos are promoted today. The organizations also say that the current gambling law needs to be tightened, and that authorities need to improve their work to protect players.

Under the Gambling Act, unlicensed gambling companies are forbidden to target a Swedish audience. It is also illegal to promote gambling at these casinos, activity which can result in bans or fines.

To date, none of the Swedish influencers have been banned or fined for their illegal casino touting.