Slot machines have entertained gamblers for over a century. Players love spinning the reels and waiting in anticipation for a big win.
But while slot machines may be entertaining to play, they don’t typically excite bystanders who aren’t involved in the action. A new wave of YouTubers has changed this perception, though, by creating popular channels that involve playing slot machines.
The idea of watching somebody else play slots wouldn’t have seemed appealing several years ago. But YouTubers like Brian Christopher (“Brian Gambles”), Miran Mirac (“Lucky Lady”), and Scott Richter (“The Big Jackpot”) use high production values and interesting concepts to spice up gaming.
Richter has especially hit paydirt with his slots YouTube channel, accumulating over 115,000 subscribers and 2 million unique monthly views. Christopher isn’t far behind with more than 80,000 subscribers, while Mirac is an up-and-comer with 10,000 subscribers.
The fact that their channels have become popular through slot machine play is impressive. But they’ve also recently taken huge setbacks, with YouTube suspending them and offering little justification for doing so.
What’s behind the video-sharing site’s sudden war against these gambling channels? I’m going to cover the recent events and murky circumstances under which YouTube has attacked slots channels.
YouTube Bans Slot Machine Channels without Warning
Brian Christopher has been running his slots-related YouTube channel for over two years. During this time, he’s taken a fun hobby and turned it into a full-fledged job.
His Brian Gambles (a.k.a. Brian Christopher Slots) channel now features over 1,100 videos and has earned 50 million views. Christopher currently puts 8-12 hours into his portal each day and employs three people to help him.
Unfortunately, Brian recently learned the harsh realities of YouTube: they can take your channel down for virtually any reason, leaving users with no recourse.
Christopher received an email on June 3 stating that Brian Gambles was being suspended for violating guidelines that prohibit “violent or dangerous acts,” which can lead to “serious physical harm or death.” Moments after the original message, he received another stating how YouTube was removing his channel.
He’s not alone in this matter, because Richter also had his slots hub suspended for mysterious reasons. He had just completed an hour-long livestream on June 13, only to have it and the channel was taken down for violating the site’s policy on “nudity and sexual content.”
Swedish YouTuber Kim Hultman didn’t even get to finish his livestream before YouTube shut him down. The LetsGiveItaSpinTV channel was removed mid-stream without warning.
Hultman has been building his channel for two years and was shocked to learn that the site could shut him down so easily. What’s worse is that his appeal was denied with an automated message.
Here’s a tweet from him at the time: “Still no reply about @YouTube from @TeamYouTube, it’s a shame they decide to shut an entire section and keep us in the dark.”
YouTube Lacks Transparency When Dealing with Slots Channels
Big companies don’t always have the best track record for customer service. After all, a company can only offer so much personal touch when they’re dealing with millions of customers across the globe.
YouTube, which is valued somewhere between $26 billion and $40 billion, is no different. Since being purchased by Google in 2006, the video-sharing platform has experienced a rapid rise.
One might cut them some slack regarding isolated incidents. But the fact that some of the biggest slots channels have been suspended around the same time is strange to say the least.
Flagging slot machine channels for “dangerous acts” or “nudity” makes no sense at all. It’s even more insulting to serious YouTubers that these warnings and suspensions are coming via automation.
The company’s guidelines don’t touch on gambling, making it difficult to figure out what their issue is with Richter, Christopher, and Hultman.
In Richter’s case, YouTube’s policy on nudity and sexuality is aimed entirely at preventing pornography. I combed through some of Richter’s videos and have yet to find one where he isn’t playing slots in a casino, fully clothed.
All YouTubers who’ve developed hit slots portals are careful to get approval from casinos before shooting videos. I haven’t seen any that curse or show explicit content in their videos either.
Considering that the slot machine channels aren’t violating any publicly stated policies, it’s unclear why this gambling related content is being targeted.
What’s Behind YouTube’s Rash of Slots Related Bans?
YouTube has over 10,000 employees and volunteers who flag videos that violate the company’s policies. But as large as this group is, they can only do so much by themselves.
The site flags over 3 million videos every month. This volume would leave every person needing to comb through countless videos to flag an average of 300 per month.
YouTube knows that the math doesn’t line up, which is why they use artificial intelligence to help in the process. AI uses an advanced algorithm to decide what videos do and don’t adhere to the site’s guidelines.
But lately, this AI may have gotten off track and banned multiple slot machine channels for unclear reasons.
Slots-related channels began being suspended in June. Therefore, it’s possible that these recent events are the result of an algorithm change gone haywire.
No Ability to Fight Back
One of the hardest pills to swallow regarding the slots YouTube bans is how video producers have no real means to fight back.
This issue popped up after YouTube made the aforementioned algorithm change that qualifies revenue-earning channels. Many smaller users saw their revenue streams taken away after the change.
Part of the community has banded together to figure out what they can do to rectify the situation. But they’ve yet to come up with an effective solution.
YouTubers may generate revenue for themselves and the company. But they’re not actual employees of the company.
This allows YouTube to take bold actions without fear, including deleting/suspending channels and demonetizing videos with no clear explanation.
Making matters worse is the difficulty in contacting YouTube regarding these matters. Emails are met with automated responses that may or may not clear anything up.
Users are encouraged to use the YouTube Twitter page. But tweets sent here often go ignored or, at best, receive generic responses.
Considering YouTube’s practices and the troubles in contacting them, it’s no shock that slots video producers are running into the same struggles.
Slot Machine YouTubers Trying to Pick Up the Pieces
The good news for the slots YouTubers is that their channels have been restored. But the damages haven’t been fully assessed at this point.
Christopher was especially hit hard, because he relies on his channel to make a living.
Brian Christopher Slots generates as much as $20,000 per month in ad revenue and live-streaming contests. He also sells merchandise on the side to supplement his income.
Therefore, having his slots channel removed along with all the videos was a huge deal to Christopher. Things only became scarier when his initial appeal was denied through a generic email.
Brian has since spent time trying to get his operation back in order. But it’s been a struggle, especially since his videos haven’t been remonetized yet (at the time of this post).
He was initially told that his videos would be back up and generating ad revenue within 48 hours. He’s since spent a week waiting on this to happen.
Yet another problem for Christopher is that his East Coast casino tour has been jeopardized. Brian spent hour brokering deals to film at land-based casinos on specific dates.
He was forced to put these deals on hold after Brian Gambles was taken down. Now, he’s scrambling to negotiate the tour once again.
Hultman is in a similar position as far as his livelihood goes. LetsGiveItaSpinTV has accumulated over 16,000 followers and is providing Hultman with a full-time income.
But he’s now left waiting for his videos to be remonetized and hoping that the temporary suspension doesn’t affect his brand.
Slot machine YouTubers have tapped into an unlikely market and found success.
I mentioned earlier how watching others play slots doesn’t seem like a thrilling past time. These channels also seem up against the prevailing idea that millennials don’t play slot machines.
Nevertheless, Christopher, Mirac, and Hultman are all millennial-aged slots players who’ve drawn large followings. It’s unlikely that their tens of thousands of follower are all the stereotypical retirees who play slots.
The casinos that let these YouTubers film in their locations also benefit. Their venues are seen on popular slots YouTube channels, which is essentially free advertising to thousands of viewers.
Unfortunately, the channels and those who benefit from them can quickly become unraveled with a single decision. YouTube has shown time and time again that it has autonomy over its platform.
Somebody like Hultman, who’s dedicated years to LetsGiveItaSpinTV, can see countless hours of work go down the drain in a single moment.
All of the major slot machine YouTubers are back, with their videos fully restored. But they’ll now be treading on thin ice, knowing that their livelihoods can be taken away in an instant.