Vloggers Beware: YouTube Banning Gambling Channels Without Warning

Posted on June 15, 2018

In early June, YouTube suspended an unknown number of gambling channels and sent an email explaining the suspensions were due to “repeated or severe violations.” The Atlantic broke the story earlier this month after obtaining the email in question.

The email goes on to say:

“YouTube doesn’t allow content that encourages or promotes violent or dangerous acts that have an inherent risk of serious physical harm or death. For example, it’s not okay to post videos showing drug abuse, underage drinking, and smoking, or bomb making.”

YouTube does not explicitly mention gambling as prohibited content and has been somewhat secretive on precisely what its policy is regarding gambling channels.

Online gambling vloggers beware

Some YouTube online gambling channels have hundreds of thousands of active subscribers. A channel’s subscriber count allows the creator to negotiate deals with gambling-related products and services.

The sweeping suspensions of gambling channels came as a shock to many. The good news is some channels are back in business. Even after the reinstatement, there was no explanation for why the suspension occurred in the first place.

Other channels, however, have had features such as livestreaming revoked or their channels remain banned – either temporarily or permanently.

Channel creators are crying foul because of the lack of communication, and there is no clear direction on what the issue is or how to resolve it.

YouTube has a history of changing policy, suspending channels, demonetizing videos without warning, all while leaving creators in the dark.

Knowing many channel creators rely on YouTube’s monetization process for income, should give YouTube pause to consider the effects of such sweeping actions. Unfortunately, it doesn’t. The bottom line is YouTube creators can lose their income overnight with nothing to say about it.

YouTube begins the year with a controversial policy change

At the beginning of 2018, YouTube changed the monetization requirements for channels. The company implemented a minimum subscriber requirement for channels to run ads and earn money from their video content.

The majority of YouTube channel owners did not meet the requirements and lost their income practically overnight. Not only was the policy change controversial but its roll-out was as well. It happened with little warning, and there was no recourse for creators who lost their monetization options.

The appeal process is non-existent for 97 percent of YouTube’s creators. Attempts at contacting the company result in automated responses. Only the top three percent of channel owners have the ability to communicate directly with YouTube regarding issues.

Reactions from poker players

PlayUSA reached out to several poker players reaction to the news. There are many players in Nevada this time of year in the midst of creating World Series of Poker vlogs.

A few players hadn’t heard of the issue and didn’t know what to think. Others asked if they should be worried. A few others didn’t want to comment on the record because they didn’t want their channel to become a target.

In the responses to our inquiry, “concerning” was frequently used.

Andrew Neeme, often credited with changing the face of poker vlogging, had this to say in an email statement:

It’s tough to know what to think about this since there is no clear policy. Based on the email from YouTube which mentions “violence or dangerous acts,” it seems as if some of these channels got caught up in a wider sweep, but were reinstated upon a closer look.

I do think it’s a reminder that you’d prefer to not have all of your eggs in one basket, whether you’re a business or a creator with a personal brand. I think it’s a good idea to utilize all of the bigger social media tools available, both for audience growth reasons and so that you retain more control of your message and content getting out. That way you aren’t relying on something professionally that you don’t have control over and aren’t privy to upcoming changes.

YouTube is an amazing tool, and obviously they need their creators as much as we rely on them, so hopefully, we’ll see some communication that keeps this symbiotic relationship in great standing.

Neeme’s message is an important one for anyone who invests time in building a YouTube channel. Creating content on a platform owned by someone else can come back to haunt you. Creators can literally lose all of their hard work and their income stream overnight. Vlogger beware.

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Kim Yuhl

Kim Yuhl is a freelance writer and blogger who writes about poker culture and the online gambling industry. A part-time member of the poker media since 2013, Kim recently sold her marketing business to write full-time while traveling around the world. You can learn more about her work and travels at kimyuhl.com.

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