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Twitching and Streaming

I’m riding my gondola so I can twitch with the Slot Squad.

Twitching and Streaming

I see that the Twitch streaming platform has launched “The Slot Squad,” a “Twitch TV” channel that features six hosts culled from Michigan “streamers” who are “well versed in the gaming world and bring their own interest and entertainment to the table,” according to a press release.

The Twitch channel is presented as a way for Michigan residents to familiarize themselves with online slot games available at the state’s recently legalized internet gaming sites. The distinguished streamer-hosts sit in front of a big screen that displays a streaming slot game, and they cheer on their game while consciously trying to be flashy characters.

Dressed in hoodies, cowboy hats and other costumes related to the games being streamed, they go through gyrations to show you how excited they are, pumping fists, dancing, shouting “Let’s go!” or “Are you ready?” and giving a good “Woohoo!” to any win of more than a few credits.

It’s the online version of the “slot influencer” culture that has caused so much excitement as the “influencers” travel around to casinos and live-stream their slot play. In all of these types of streaming shows, the hosts are trying to get me as excited as they are about the streaming slot games.

I’m not. I’m not playing the games. I’m not winning money. I don’t care if the streamer-host is making money.

And I’m sorry, but a lot of the “Slot Squad” members simply try too hard to be clever. When I’m in an actual casino, if someone beside me is dressing up like the game, yelling and screaming, slinging the “F” bomb, burping and making fart jokes (yes, one of the hosts actually thought that was clever), I’m going to be about a mile away from that person before you can say “Who is this nutball?”

Of course, on the internet, you can’t escape the guy. He’s in your face, trying desperately to be clever while a game streams behind him.

Am I a dinosaur because I’m not on board with the Slot Squad? Or because I actually don’t do Twitch? (I do twitch, but that’s a nervous condition. Brought on by people in front of streaming slot games acting like idiots.)

I’m guessing only people like me who predate the internet feel like a foreigner when considering streaming services, influencers, or being even a little bit interested in following someone on Instagram as they make a bologna sandwich at 3 in the morning.

Try to understand. I’m someone who remembers factory-like rows of slot machines, populated by rather grim players who had to crack open rolls of quarters before playing, and maintained stone-faced silence as they worked to beat the big house edge on the slots—which all had physical, spinning reels. I’m still trying to get used to this as it’s translated into an internet experience with a perky host.

When I think of gambling, I think of bellying up to the craps table, throwing down money and chips, cheering a hot roll… you know, actual interaction. Alternatively, I’m concentrating on a video poker game, during which I want absolutely no interaction with anyone. (Well, except the cocktail server.)

So I’m a dinosaur. Let’s move on.

It says here that the Venetian Macao just got slammed with a back-tax bill related to its gondolas.

You know, the gondolas in the Venetian’s Canal Shoppes “canal,” where customers can enjoy a romantic ride reminiscent of the charming canals of Venice, floating along in an authentic Venice gondola captained by a hilariously stereotypical Italian gondola pusher, complete with the referee-striped shirt, wide-brimmed hat and big Mario mustachio.

OK, they don’t all have big Mario mustachios. I made that up. Fact is, few if any of them do. But I’ll bet some of their union brothers back in the Old Country do.

(International Brotherhood of Gondola Pushers, AFL/CIO/OSOLEMIO.)


And before you ask, no, I was never a gondola pusher. I may look the part, but I’ve got a weak back. (Ever since about a week back.) (Sorry again.)

The Macau Daily Post reported that the Venetian will have to pay MOP 18.9 million (US$2.3 million) in back taxes for gondola rides at its hotel, after the Court of Final Appeal determined that the rides are a tourism activity, and therefore, tourism taxes apply.

The Post didn’t say, but if not a tourist attraction, what did the Venetian claim the gondola rides were? Transportation between Hugo Boss and Foot Locker?

You know, I can never seem to flag down a gondola when I need one. Especially in Central Park West during rush hour.

At least I can always find the Slot Squad.

Frank Legato is editor of Global Gaming Business magazine. He has been writing on gaming topics since 1984, when he launched and served as editor of Casino Gaming magazine. Legato, a nationally recognized expert on slot machines, has served as editor and reporter for a variety of gaming publications, including Public Gaming, IGWB, Casino Journal, Casino Player, Strictly Slots and Atlantic City Insider. He has an B.A. in journalism and an M.A. in communications from Duquesne University in Pittsburgh, PA. He is the author of the books, How To Win Millions Playing Slot Machines... Or Lose Trying, and Atlantic City: In Living Color.