Is Twitch the next big thing for poker and casino?

It’s been another milestone for the gaming community as Twitch has announced its latest move – to live stream online poker and casino games.

The website, which calls itself “the world’s leading video platform and community for gamers,” regularly broadcasts live streams of some of the world’s most popular video games, from Grand Theft Auto to FIFA 15. Now, it has decided to go down a somewhat different route by broadcasting live online poker games, in a move which is set to revolutionise the poker industry as we know it.

Representatives at Twitch decided to make the move after reviewing reports from trials of online poker streams. The company recently informed the Wall Street Journal that it had already begun negotiations to move into the poker market in November, with some channels already attracting audiences to the tune of seven figures.

A report published by Twitch revealed that the site has streamed 56 million minutes of poker in January 2015 alone, proving just how vast the capacity of the website really is – it amounted to just 1 per cent of the total videos streamed.

Scott Ball, who is spearheading Twitch’s expansion into the poker field, said: “Like video games, poker is a game and we’ve grown that into a huge business.”

All matches are shown with a four-minute delay, as live-streaming players’ cards can be seen to the viewers, which effectively prevents live players from cheating.

The site is now recruiting for professional poker players to broadcast on their own channels, potentially expanding its already enviable profile. But while poker may make for one form of exciting viewing, Twitch is also keen to broadcast other online casino games, from slots to table games. The online casino offering is expanding day by day, with sites such as Mr Smith Casino always increasing their remit from slots to casino classics.

After a $1 billion acquisition by Amazon, things are only looking up for Twitch, which could soon rival other television channels such as ESPN in the near future. According to the Wall Street Journal, the site already has an audience of 100 million monthly viewers, which is a huge leap for a site which already boasted 45 million viewers towards the latter quarter of 2013.

Prior to the acquisition by Amazon, Twitch was rumoured to be in negotiations with search engine giant Google. With 100 million viewers and counting, it’s clearly getting onto many gamers’ radars – and it’s exciting to imagine what the next big move could be for the video streaming site.

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