In the second part of a two-part series on streaming, BGaming’s Maksim Krotau – Streamer Relations Lead – delves into the future of the streaming landscape and asks whether this form of engagement could shape the future of slots entertainment.
Krotau was joined by Sebastian Khalighy, CEO & Co-founder of Casinolytics, and Ellina Minkevich, Digital Events Manager at Scatters Club as the trio dive further into their recent partnership and what the future holds.
SlotBeats: In your opinion, why do you think streaming has become such a popular way of engaging with players?
MK: For ordinary folk, watching streamers is the quickest and easiest way to immerse themselves in the excitement and thrill of online slots and other gambling games. All they need to do is simply join live streams with no casino registrations or required deposits – just hop in and enjoy the ride.
Streaming also provides a unique opportunity to experience the emotions from a different perspective. For instance, as many players may not have the financial means to play for hours and hours or access the most expensive bonus games, tuning into a popular influencer’s live stream enables viewers to experience these exhilarating moments vicariously.
It’s also worth mentioning that streams go beyond mere content consumption; each streamer’s audience forms a vibrant community with its own rules and tidbits. According to Casinolytics data, the slot streaming category garnered a staggering 1 billion minutes of viewership in April 2023, with 594 content creators. This number only continues to rise month after month.
SK: The main reason is that streaming is very entertaining to watch – and it’s live. The massive increase of viewership throughout the years shows that the format of on-the-go entertainment is something viewers want to see.
Gambling streams compete with other entertainment on Twitch, binge-watching Netflix, playing PUBG, going to the movies or dinner at a nice restaurant, or having a crack at level 10,000 on Candy Crush Saga. You get the point; in today’s world, we have so many different options to get entertained that ultimately boils down to how we choose to spend our time.
And speaking of time, it’s a significant factor in the growth of casino streaming from a viewer’s perspective. We need to look at the product itself – a slot machine – a form of entertainment that is totally random and based on absolutely no skill.
It’s perhaps the easiest product for any streamer to try out; you have your settings, bet levels and a spin button. That’s basically it, and you don’t need to be an expert or have any training in slots to start spinning.
For the viewers this creates instant entertainment that can deliver unexpected happenings at any time. Compared to the competitive e-sports scene, casino streaming offers more flexibility and convenience to viewers. They can jump in and out of the action at any time and still feel like they haven’t missed anything. This makes it very easy to digest as entertainment content.
SlotBeats: Have you found that there are particular types of slots that appeal to streamer communities? And does this differ depending on the type of tournament being played?
SK: We need to keep in mind that streamers are content creators. They are there to entertain their audience in order to grow their viewership and business. Streamers like challenges, different quests and other elements in a game to make it more entertaining for the viewers. The popularity of high-volatility slots has grown rapidly in the streaming community over the past few years. This is because they create perfect opportunities for memorable moments that viewers want to witness live, which is a big part of streaming culture.
When it comes to slots, it’s also much about the potential for high payouts (above 5,000x in max win) and the achievable max win if we look at some of the most popular slots in the streaming community.
We also see that slots offering a wider range of gameplay options are more popular. While it’s ultimately gambling and relies on RNG, providing streamers with some elements of control over the slot can be beneficial in creating more entertaining content that caters to their audience. Giving streamers the option to control their time, such as adjusting play speed, fast-tracking directly to bonuses, and activating feature buys, is always a good starting point.
We think that the impact of live streaming has injected a behavioural change in what players in general look for in a slot – and we certainly are seeing more ‘streamer friendly’ slots nowadays. The interesting part is that the most visible slots on the live streaming scene are also the best performing slots. We have seen a strong correlation between high brand awareness in the streaming community and actual financial performance.
SlotBeats: There is a big change in the streaming platform landscape happening right now. From your expert point of view, who will win this race?
SK: For the past decade, Twitch has been the undisputed number one platform for live streaming. However, after the Twitch gambling policy update on October 18, 2022, which banned streamers who promoted and played on specific online casinos, streamers have been seeking alternatives. Currently, Kick seems to be the go-to platform since its inception at the end of November 2022. Since it has slowly gained traction and attracted many of the bigger names in the gambling streaming community and has greatly improved their reach. With that said, Twitch is still the home of gambling streams if we are looking at the number of minutes content streamed.
We don’t see this as a race with one ‘winner’ since there are different benefits between the platforms and ultimately it will be up to the viewers to follow their favorite streamers. Twitch and Kick are live-streaming platforms, whereas YouTube is mainly a video-on-demand service with limited discoverability for live content. It will be an interesting race that we will follow very closely.
SlotBeats: What do you believe is the future of gambling streaming in the iGaming industry?
SK: We live in a world of influencers and gambling streaming has become the home of influencer marketing of the iGaming industry. As with any live streaming personality, it gives the viewer the possibility to be part of a community where like-minded people can share their passion and also enjoy the entertainment of watching streamers playing slots.
We assume that everybody has seen a reaction video sometime in their life. That’s exactly what slot streaming brings to the table. With the power of the RNG, it generates a very unexpected outcome, whether positive or negative, and the reaction is something that people love to watch and be part of. At the same time, streaming demonstrates how a game’s RNG works, if somebody has been playing a slot over several thousands of spins you will get an idea of how that slot actually works.
Live streaming is a part of many industries, whether it’s on TikTok or Instagram, live shopping or playing video games, and it’s clearly here to stay also in the iGaming industry. Ever since the inception of the first casino streamers in 2015 on Twitch, the live-streaming scene has grown at a rapid speed. To put this into perspective, in 2022 we tracked almost 17 billion minutes of watched casino content.
SlotBeats: And one final question for you all, what are your hopes for this partnership going forward?
MK: We are committed to supporting initiatives like Scatters Club because we recognize the significant potential and opportunities that investing in B2C marketing can bring to game providers in the iGaming industry.
We prioritize player engagement and feedback, fostering a strong community that enables direct communication and influences our game development, aiming to create a product that continuously captivates and retains players. This enables us to establish a robust product positioning, attract new audiences, and enhance the strength and appeal of our product to players – all by embracing our player-driven approach strategy.
EM: We aim to unlock the potential and value of this partnership for all parties involved. For game providers, it’s an opportunity to showcase the streamers’ contribution to engaging players and promoting specific gambling games. For streamers, it’s a chance to explore all the providers’ games and establish a cozy presence within their community. And for players, it’s a gateway to discovering new idols and delving into the gamification of their beloved hobby – online slots and other gambling games.
SK: Our aim is to help our partners succeed by providing data and insights. We believe that data is key in today’s market landscape, and fully utilise and understand the data will help both BGaming and Scatters Club achieve their goals and to extend their streamer engagement even further.
You can read part one of the series here