YouTube Slots Channels Pulled from Video-Sharing Website
YouTube restored the two slots video channels, but days later, still had not restored the feeds’ advertising.
Two of the most popular slot machine channels on YouTube were pulled from the video sharing website for inappropriate content on June 4. Brian Christopher of “The YouTube Team” and Scott ‘The Raja’ Richter of “The Big Jackpot” had their YouTube feeds taken down the site’s administrators due to “repeated or severe violations” of YouTube policies.
The problem was, Brian Christopher and Scott Richter had no idea what their violations were. YouTube’s staff gave only vague reasons in the email explaining the actions. When appeals were made, YouTube gave a flat denial and no additional information.
Brian Christopher said the YouTube Team was accused of depicting “violent or dangerous acts that have an inherent risk of serious physical harm or death” in their videos.
Because his YouTube channel is simply live video of him playing slot machines, neither Christopher nor his team could explain what they showed that was violent or dangerous. Attempts to get clarification went unanswered.
YouTube Team & Big Jackpot Restored
Days later, The YouTube Team and the Big Jackpot were restored to YouTube. The video-sharing site gave no explanation for the restoration — and certainly no more information on why they were singled-out in the first place. No guidance was given for maintaining their good standing.
One problem with both channels was their ability to make money from advertisements was not restored — at least immediately. YouTube told Brian Christopher that his advertising would be restored within 24 to 48 hours, though it had not happened 5 days later.
The episode serves as a cautionary tale for gambling-related YouTube channels — your status as a YouTube star and big moneymaker can be taken away in an instant, inexplicably and with no recourse. YouTube can be lucrative, but it also can be a shaky foundation for a business.
The YouTube Team by Brian Christipher
Brian Christopher’s YouTube channel is a business, no doubt. He spent two years building the YouTube Team channel. Brian Christopher says he spends 8 to 12 hours a day working on the video content. Besides that, Christopher has 3 full-time employees to help him with the YouTube Team.
Working together, they built a website with hundreds of videos of Brian Christopher playing slot machines and (sometimes) winning big jackpots. The YouTube Team now has 82,000 subscribers and 50 million total views overall — with thousands of views a day. Brian Christopher has a fan club, the “Rudies”.
Yet it was all gone and deleted with one mysterious editorial decisions. Two years of work was gone in an instant. Even after the YouTube Team was restored, Christopher and his fans still wonder what happened. Some think rivals might have flagged the channel to get rid of the competition. Others think it was a mere clerical error, or something on the video “Smokin’ Hot Gems, BIG WIN Mammoth Power Slot Machine Pokies w Brian Christopher” tripped something in a YouTube algorithm.
The Big Jackpot by Scott Richter
Scott Richter’s Big Jackpot channel has 115,000 subscribers and 2 million unique monthly views. Due to the trademark #BOOM hashtag on Richter’s Twitter feed, he has a growing fan club named “The Bomb Squad”.
Slots-based YouTube channels like Raja Richter’s are a way for slots players to learn about new game titles, while making friends with others who enjoy slots play. The “group pull” allows slots players to contribute to a common stake in famous slots, then each get their turn at hitting the spin button with a chance for a big prize.
In short, YouTube slot machine channels are a fun way to enjoy a hobby. Nothing about such feeds are dangerous, violent, or likely to cause death — even if Scott Richter’s fan club is called the Bomb Squad.
YouTube Channel Policies: Arbitrary and Mysterious
The two video stars told Forbes in a recent article about the incident that other YouTube channel owners need to be aware of the dangers. Their popular feed could be gone overnight. Original video content on YouTube is a path to fame and fortune, but video-sharing entrepreneurs need to beware that they don’t get over their skis on investments in the business.
Not many precautions can be taken, because YouTube (owned by Google) is unaccountable to its channel owners, who are its business partners. It’s a one-sided relationship. YouTube makes billions off the advertisement from such slots feeds, but they can sever the relationship at any time.
Those who own a YouTube channel need to back up their video content — all of it and before it is posted. If your channel is taken down, this allows you to retrieve months or years of work. You’ll still have lost a popular channel, thousands of subscribers, and all the links to your channel, but you at least have something with which to start over.
Brian Christopher of the YouTube Team and Scott Richter of the Big Jackpot told Forbes Online their popular YouTube slot machine channels were pulled by the Google-owned American video-sharing website.
YouTube Slot Controversy Shows The Perils Of Your Side Hustle
It happened without warning.
On June 3 rd at 7:28 in the morning, Brian Christopher got an email from “The YouTube Team” telling him that his video, “Smokin’ Hot Gems, BIG WIN Mammoth Power Slot Machine Pokies w Brian Christopher” had been taken down for violating content restrictions on “violent or dangerous acts that have an inherent risk of serious physical harm or death.” This was his first strike. Seconds later, he got another email telling him that “due to repeated or severe violations” of YouTube’s community guidelines, his account had been suspended. His channel, which he had been building for two years, had vanished. Hundreds of his videos, all of which feature him playing slot machines and winning jackpots, were wiped out.
Brian Christopher surrounded by the Rudies enjoys another big hit.
Just like that, a big piece of Christopher’s life—he spends about eight to 12 hours a day on his channel, and employs three people who help him—was gone. Erased. Deleted.
Around the same time, Scott “The Raja” Richter, whose slot channel, The Big Jackpot, features videos like “Biggest Live Jackpot In History | $600 A Pull | Black Widow @ The Cosmopolitan” logged on and found that his channel, too, was gone.
Christopher and Richter had used YouTube to turn a money-losing pastime, playing slot machines, into a respectable side hustle, even a level of celebrity. Richter’s videos have clocked more than 2 million unique monthly views, and his channel has more than 115,000 subscribers. He even has a dedicated fan club, known as the Bomb Squad (after Richter’s trademark “#BOOM” graphic that accompanies each big win). Christopher has about 50 million total views and 82,000 subscribers, with his videos drawing thousands of views a day, and his own fan club, the Rudies. Bomb Squad and Rudies alike, in addition to commenting on videos and offering advice during live feeds, follow their mentors to casinos around the country and even go on cruises with them. One highlight of these events is the “group pull,” where players pool their cash and take turns pressing play on a high limit slot.
Within seconds of the first takedown notice, Christopher received this notification that his channel . [+] had been suspended.
In addition to revenue generated directly from YouTube (which Richter says, for a popular channel, can reach as high as $20,000 a month) both Richter and Christopher sell a range of merchandise, from bobbleheads to coffee mugs to shot glasses. While this may have started out as a hobby, it has clearly become something bigger. Christopher, for instance, found out about his channel being removed while traveling for a planned multi-state East Coast tour.
Andy Warhol famously said back in 1968 that in the future, everyone would be world famous for fifteen minutes. Fifty years later, we’re in the future, and Warhol was half right. Everyone’s not world famous for fifteen minutes. Instead, they are famous to their fanbases of a few hundred thousand for as long as they can keep cranking out new content. Platforms like YouTube have redefined the nature of celebrity itself. It’s no longer about musical or athletic talent, looks, or even being in the right place at the right time. It’s about being able to market original content that drives clicks.
You have a good idea of what it takes to get fired from your job: punching the boss is out, as is destroying company property, showing up drunk, or doing all three. But in the side hustle economy, where you let people watch you play slots, drive them to the casino, or even write about what they do there, the rules—to the extent that there are rules—are much less transparent. Both channels had been, presumably, making good money for YouTube. As far as the creators knew, they were doing exactly what the platform wanted them to: generate and promote original content that brings clicks.
“It was like a stab in the back.” Christopher says. “I devoted my entire life to YouTube. I gave them 1,100 videos and made them a lot of money. For them to turn around and shut me down with zero explanation hurts.”
Christopher immediately filed an appeal. “I didn’t know what I was appealing,” he explains, “since I didn’t know what I did wrong.” He just told the anonymous authority that his channel was clean and promoted responsible gambling. Hours later, he got a curt email informing him his appeal was denied—again, with no explanation of what policies he had violated.
Then, without an apology or any other acknowledgement, both channels were reinstated. Christopher simply got a brief email that said that, after a re-review, it was determined that his videos did not, in fact, violate any guidelines. That’s good news for Richter, Christopher, the Bomb Squad, and the Rudies, but the entire situation shines a light on the very real dangers of the side hustle economy.
The side hustle economy is a natural reaction to the collapse of the old work economy. It’s increasingly rare to score a solid 9 to 5 job right out of school, clock a few decades, and retire with a secure pension and gold watch, all the while enjoying financial security. More and more people are turning to a variety of side hustles—freelance work, MLMs, YouTube videos, even writing—in an effort to stay ahead of the game.
The side hustles I’m thinking about are different from simply working a second job hostessing or parking cars because they usually involve a significant outlay of resources—sometimes financial but always time. This species of hustle is also dependent on what we can loosely call “tech” but is more accurately a form of digitally-assisted connectivity. YouTubers like Christopher and Richter, documenting their thousands of dollars in slot jackpots for tens of thousands of fans are at one end, with Lyft and Uber drivers and designers selling custom drawn logos on fiverr at the other.
In theory, side hustling gives creative, ambitious, or just broke and bored people a chance to turn their time and effort into money. In practice, it’s not always that easy, and with so much of the hustle dependent on impersonal, impenetrable tech, it is an incredibly unstable base on which to build a brand, let alone a future. You might cultivate a great presence as a Lyft driver, but when self-driving cars are ready to roll, it’s over, no matter how hard you’ve worked. Or an inoffensive piece of your content trips a digital wire somewhere, and you’re flagged, then suspended, with no clear path to appeal.
We still don’t have any idea why the channels came down: was it really part of an orchestrated harassment campaign by a rival, as some fans alleged, or was it just both channels running afoul of an algorithm? After all, with 300 hours of video uploaded to the channel every minute, no human can sit and watch them all for violations. And, remember, computers can do operations quickly and efficiently but don’t have common sense or empathy. So your passion project that you’ve been pouring your life into for the past few years with decent results and no controversy might get flagged or your channel removed, just because a machine read something into it that you never intended. There are humans involved in the policy violation process (10,000 of them at YouTube’s last count), but, with about 3 million videos flagged for review each month, that’s still about 1,000 videos a day per human—if humans never took days off.
Perhaps appropriately for Richter and Christopher, the side hustle economy that we all participate in might have something in common with playing slot machines. Because even when we fear it might be a negative expectation game, when we see other people hitting the jackpot, we have no choice but to get back to the grind.
For his part, Christopher’s return to YouTube is not without issues. While his videos were restored, they were not remonetized, meaning that he can’t make any money from them. He was assured that they would be remonetized in 24 to 48 hours but, five days later, it had not happened. So, like the rest of us, it’s back to posting content, but with no guarantee that it will pay off.
Worse, the phantom violation makes brings a nagging uncertainty to his life. “It just leaves it open for them to do it again,” Christopher says. “I have zero way of getting any answers from anybody.”
There is one silver lining in all this. The night that his channel returned, Christopher was back playing slots live on YouTube. Alongside his Rudies, both in person and on livestream, Christopher hit the biggest jackpot of his life, $10,000.
The look on his face when those reels line up…that’s what we’re all chasing, and that tells us why, even if it’s a lot of work with an uncertain pay off, we’re going to keep chasing our side hustles.
A YouTube controversy in which two prominent YouTubers had their channels suspended without warning underscores how perilous the side hustle economy can be even for successful content creators.