30 June, 2022

Objectivity, anonymity

YouTube streamer the Gentleman Gambler speaks exclusively to Trafficology about everything from his long-term ambitions to regulation. Everything, that is, except his identity...

As a gambling YouTube streamer, there is an air of mystery as to who exactly the Gentleman Gambler is. Why this approach and do your followers ever want to know more about the GG’s identity?

Initially there wasn’t really a deliberate plan to make the Gentleman anonymous. But as time has gone on and the personality of the channel has developed, it has seemed quite fitting to retain the air of mystery. There is a live stream planned shortly, during which some of the viewers will no doubt take the opportunity to ask questions. Maybe it’ll be the time that some of the more interesting casino stories are told!

What led you to the path of gambling streaming?

The Gent has always enjoyed the gambling scene. For many years this has been all manner of sports betting, through to enjoying the buzz of the casino in the bricks-and-mortar establishments across the country. As something of a luddite, the leap to online play was slow, but eventually came a few years ago. While talking out loud at the screen the lady of house suggested he should record the gameplay as his commentary was wasted on her! It took a while to make this happen, but now he can talk freely to the computer without fear of being carted away. The aim of the channel is primarily to entertain the audience, and the Gent attempts to do so with a unique commentary style and gallows humour when the losses mount up.

Why YouTube? Are there any other platforms you are considering?

YouTube seemed the obvious home for the content, with a large audience clearly enjoying similar content already. In time, perhaps there will be a move to other platforms, but unfortunately technology seems to move a little faster than the Gent himself.

How do regulations affect you - and are there any incoming/increasing regulations that could affect you soon?

Regulations have certainly had an effect, even in the brief time the channel has been active. The most notable was the removal of the autoplay functionality for UK facing casinos, a decision that appears to have been made without much attention to due process. Rather than conduct the necessary research to find out what the end users wanted, it appeared that the decision was made in advance and would be acted upon regardless. They even subsequently published their own limited research showing that there wasn’t really a case for its removal, yet went ahead anyway.

Whilst the Gentleman supports any regulation that aims to help those affected by gambling issues, he feels they missed the mark with this one, particularly as it could be argued that autoplay was a tool for responsible play in itself.  Being able to define a number of spins with limits such as a stop loss felt like a sensible measure, without which it is easier to lose track of your- total spins. The session counter was brought into solve this, but runs into its own problems (such as clearing the total if the game crashes). Comments on the channel from other keen slot players have agreed with this take on it, whereby people have explained that rather than sit clicking for hours, they now just play for a shorter period at higher stakes, an unintended consequence of the ban that potentially means it does more harm than good. The above is a concerning precedent on a number of levels, particularly ahead of the Gambling Act review. There is certainly concern over what this will bring, but whatever it is there will be an opportunity to educate the audience appropriately.

What’s the business model and how do you ensure objectivity in your videos?

Objectivity for the videos is primarily ensured through genuine play. All the videos use real funds, the costs are shown on screen and the balance generally flows from one video to the next. Losing videos are not shirked, despite proving less popular with the audience. The aim is to give the complete picture of the costs associated with the play, and the likelihood of hitting that huge bonus that everyone chases (spoiler – it’s even less likely than you might think!) Finally there is the occasional profit / loss video that details the overall losses over a given period – this was first done in 2021 and will likely be an annual update.

Regarding the business model, the intention is to generate traffic by educating the audience. Clearly the audience is interested in online slots and casino play, but there is more to it than just filling a webpage with as many offers as you can fit on the screen. There will soon be pages and videos explaining some of the longer term maths behind casino play, as well as some of the things you can do to best manage your money when playing. It will be made very clear that marketing relationships with the operators are not allowed to influence the gameplay in the videos, particularly as it is well known that a lot of the competition play with fake money at ridiculous stakes. That form of irresponsible “play” is exactly what has lead to greater scrutiny on the industry. When you see a young man barely celebrating a six-figure win, you must realise something is amiss, but unfortunately not all of the audience do.

You’re approaching 5k followers; are there any celebrations or marketing messages planned for that landmark?

5k subscribers is a pleasing milestone for sure, there will be something special, stay tuned!

Longer term, what is the strategy and end goal?

Longer term, the aim is to educate the audience. Whilst it is impossible to win in the long term, you can do a few things to ensure your money goes as far as possible. People should understand that they are buying entertainment, why not try to make the money last as long as it can? This will be in addition to explanations of the nuances of the games (there is certainly more to knowing these than meets the eye) and explanations of money management, all of which ties in with the responsible gambling angle.

As with everything in life, there is a balance to be found that allows the majority of people to enjoy a little time at the casino, whilst providing the tools to protect those for whom it can become an issue.  There are already resources on the website about responsible gambling and the tools available for people to control their play. In time there will also be a video looking at these in more detail, with examples of how to use them best.

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