This week, chatrooms and forums were ablaze with the news that YouTube had quietly decided to remove videos which depict gambling. Some accounts saw single videos slip into oblivion, while others had their whole account nuked, and the process is ongoing. Among the missing are tutorials and promotional videos of online slots, with entire channels dedicated to showcasing the latest casino game releases seemingly disappearing into thin air. While some people subscribe to the channels to keep up with new games, others have relied on them for news and verification that a particular casino or software developer was reputable. This has left many people pointing a finger at YouTube and Google upset that the company has taken a moral stance on gambling, but have they? Not So Fast… In fact, Google doesn’t have an issue with gambling at all. Although many countries which outlaw gambling for moral reasons refer to it as a “dangerous act” or an issue of “corrupting youth,” Google’s policies say nothing of this in any section. Per their policies, they’re still running ads for casinos and other gambling establishments. Moreover, they’ve made allowances for the UK’s Gambling (Licensing and Advertising) Act 2014. While the corporation does take care to follow laws as to what kind of advertising is permitted, and from whom, they don’t ban gambling material. They also give publishers a choice as to whether they want casino-related ads to run on their website, and block certain videos from playing if they can’t verify a viewer’s age. Again, though, the material is permissible. They simply provide options and don’t allow kids to watch. Where Are the Videos Going? Although YouTube has not made any kind of official statement at this point, they’ve been cracking down on gaming videos since 2013. Initially, video game walk-throughs and tutorials were wiped out. Some channels with millions of viewers were taken out entirely, while others saw a few videos slip away, or had alterations. It became widely-known back then that the clips were removed due to copyright violations. Laws vary by jurisdiction, but fair usage guidelines only allow for small portions of someone else’s work to be reused. Therefore, videos which were uploaded that had long periods of gameplay were pulled. Others were deleted because of music that played as part of the game, or for audio which played in the background. Per YouTube’s own copyright terms, accounts which have three violations are terminated. Naturally, channels which specialize in a niche, like game walk-throughs or how to play online slots, can be caught and immediately deleted, without any prior notice. How Does YouTube Know? First off, users can flag copyrighted material. Although it’s possible some of the missing channels and videos are a result of this, it’s more likely they were caught by specialized software. YouTube utilizes a program called Content ID, which scans videos for copyrighted material. In these cases, the owner of audio and video clips has sent their files to the company for reference. It’s up to the rightful owner what happens next. When stolen or misused material is found, it may automatically be deleted, monetized by the owner, have the audio track removed, or face other consequences. Given the vast number of online slot videos which recently went missing, it’s far more likely they were caught by software, rather than individual flags. Can Online Slot Tutorials Still Be Uploaded to Youtube? Anyone who wishes to upload online slot tutorials can still do so. However, they have to be careful as to how much gameplay is shown. Anything more than a brief clip requires permission from the content’s rightful owner. For instance, if someone wanted to upload a video of Megadeth slot from Leander, there’s a chance it could be caught by the system for either the gameplay itself, or for copyright infringement of Megadeth’s music. Copyrighted content is allowed in longer clips as well, but YouTube requires proof from the publisher that they have permission from the owner to use it. It becomes quite complex if someone wants to upload a tutorial of an entire online casino, because each game depicted might have a different software developer, who may or may not give permission. Again, YouTube has not issued a public statement. However, their policies are fairly clear for anyone who looks. Because they’re keeping up to date on gambling laws in the UK, rather than pulling content across the board, it seems much more likely that they are simply following established guidelines. While this information may not seem particularly helpful to channels which have been nuked, or those who fear being deleted, there is some hope. YouTube does allow users to dispute issues or resolve them by proving they have permission to post the content. In the meantime, many of the most popular slot tutorial channels are in the process of taking their videos elsewhere.