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EMAC 2022 Annual

The role of Twitch betting on gambling behaviours amongst esport spectators

Published: May 24, 2022


Jamie Thompson, Edinburgh Napier University


Online gamers can gamble non-monetary virtual points and tokens in exchange for rewards with monetary value. This paper sets out to test the antecedent factors influencing the consumption of non-monetary gambling features on Twitch (an esport streaming service) and the extent to which this influences gambling behaviours. Through a survey of 312 Twitch spectators, this paper finds esport fans’ competitiveness, impulsivity, sensation-seeking, fate control, and socialisation all influence consumption of Twitch’s betting feature. Further, the results show a positive relationship between non-monetary betting via Twitch and monetary gambling behaviour. Indeed, over 60% of the survey sample perceive that Twitch non-monetary betting had increased their gambling intentions with 53% stating it has increased the amount they gamble. Therefore, there is a blurred line between online gaming and gambling, which has implications for the mental health, well-being, and financial security of esport fans.