On June 17 2006, Brian Christopher launched his slot-themed YouTube channel, Brian Gambles, and he hit the jackpot. His videos were a hit, showcasing the ups and downs of his slot gameplay in land-based and online casinos.
Then suddenly, his world came crashing down. Citing a breach of the terms and conditions in 2018, YouTube shut down his account and removed his channel from its listings.
The reasoning that YouTube’s parent company gave was that one of his videos violated the site’s terms and conditions relating to… “violent or dangerous acts.” Suddenly, Christopher was left battling to save his channel.
So, what happened to Brian Christopher?
Brian Christopher’s rise to fame
Slot machines had a particular reputation when it came to gambling. While sports betting and table games like poker have always piqued the interest of a younger audience, some saw slot machines as gambling for retirees.
Then online gambling exploded, and the top game producers suddenly created captivating titles that featured great graphics, engaging bonus rounds, and unique features. These titles introduced slot games to a new generation of players.
Brian Christopher launched his career by traveling throughout the US, heading to land-based casinos and playing slot machines. He would chronicle his wins and losses in his typical style, making large bets, living on the edge, and trying to win the jackpot. Views poured in, and a fanbase around Christopher emerged.
Christopher would also answer live questions from fans throughout his videos, which connected his subscribers to him. In this sense, he was ahead of his time.
Now, with the rise of game streaming services like Twitch, a regular back-and-forth between subscribers and content creators is common. Then, he was at the forefront of this movement.
Brian Christopher’s YouTube channel seemed to tap into an audience who wanted to see more of the real ups and downs of gambling. In doing so, he became the poster boy for the new world of slot games.
Brian falls foul of YouTube’s regulations
In 2018, Christopher began to receive warnings from YouTube. Alphabet (YouTube’s parent company) had warned the channel for videos containing “violent and dangerous acts,” even though the most violent Christopher ever got was perhaps clicking on a slot game a bit too vigorously.
Later in the year, in June, the channel was sent another message from YouTube. This message said that it had closed Brian Gambles for repeated or severe violations of YouTube’s community guidelines. For someone who had spent over a decade making videos, this must have felt like his world was crashing down.
Content creation was his full-time job, and he employed two full-time staff. When YouTube deactivated his channel, he looked set to lose hundreds of original videos and the product of nearly 12 years of work. Brian Gambles was also a family affair, and his husband since 2008, Marco, regularly appeared in videos.
Other gambling channels were also affected. The Big Jackpot, which has over 461,000 subscribers and nearly 219 million views, was also suspended as part of a general sweep of gambling creators on the platform.
For Brian Christopher, suspension meant that his ad revenue suddenly stopped, summing $20,000 per month.
A sweep that included two of the biggest gambling channels might suggest YouTube was targeting content creators in this field. Despite coming far in the US since the US Supreme Court overturned PASPA, not to mention the popularity of gambling in Europe, US companies were still twitchy when it came to gambling. The irony of the overturning of PASPA coming just one month before Brian Christopher’s channel was suspended won’t be lost on many people.
YouTube’s parent company reasoned that his video “Smokin’ Hot Gems, BIG WIN, Mammoth Power Slot Machine Pokies w Brian Christopher“, violated the site’s terms and conditions relating to… “violent or dangerous acts.”
But the disparity between the accusations against the Brian Gambles channel and the reality was another factor dripping in irony. YouTube’s community guidelines offer explicit definitions of harmful content, and Brian Christopher’s videos came nowhere near them.
So, it seems YouTube’s decision to suspend Brian Gambles may not have been due to its content breaking specified community guidelines, but as part of a more comprehensive policy against gambling channels.
Understanding the hollow nature of the cited breach of community guidelines, Brian Christopher decided to appeal the decision and restore his channel. He explained that he had not breached guidelines and that he followed all of YouTube’s rules.
YouTube rejected his appeal without a proper explanation. Other requests by channels like The Big Jackpot also failed.
Then, without warning, YouTube contacted Christopher to inform him they were reinstating his channel. As he had explained to them in depth, they concluded that he had not broken any rules. The platform also reinstated other gambling channels like The Big Jackpot.
Some have speculated that an error with the platform’s AI systems led to the sweep of gambling channels in 2018. Others have suggested a broader policy to marginalize gambling content on the platform. Whatever the reason, Brian Christopher was back and able to begin producing content with the rest of his team, including Britt Carter.
He soon changed the channel’s name to Brian Christopher Slots (or BC Slots). While the reinstation allowed him to resume monetization, YouTube seriously damaged the channel’s finances with the suspension.
Where is Brian Christopher Slots today?
Despite all these challenges, BC Slots resumed production of the videos we know and love, and ad revenue continued. Christopher would surely be forever weary of the threat of sudden closure, but rebuilt his YouTube empire.
In July 2022, he even created his own slot game with Gaming Arts. Christopher debuted his new slot machine Pop’N Pays More at the Plaza Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas.
As of 2024, he has nearly 650,000 YouTube subscribers and nearly 500 million views. Brian Christopher’s net worth, stemming from ad revenue and merchandise sales, is estimated to be around $3 million.
Brian Christopher Slots (or BC Slots) remains one of the biggest gambling channels on YouTube, despite the setback of his suspension. Further questions remain about the fragility of YouTube channels, and soul-searching across the industry about the nature of Alphabet’s platform governance continues.
As BC Slots shows, arbitrary suspensions can have a real financial impact on YouTubers. But Brian Christopher’s decision to continue on the platform shows that creators have few options but to co-exist with YouTube’s management.
Users love to consume the content that Brian Christopher Slots creates, but if platforms have the ultimate say in what can and can’t be hosted on its sites, that relationship is precarious.
If it happened once, who can say it won’t happen again?
Lead Image: @BCSlots / X