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Have you ever thought that you could make a career out of gambling? More specifically: have you ever thought you could make a living playing a slot machine? Brian Christopher didn’t do that. And not only did he make a living, he was a rock star in the gambling world.
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Christopher, 39, grew up in Burlington, Ontario. His YouTube channel has 190 million views as of Nov. 17 with an average of 207,000 views per day. His channel is growing so much that, in Nov. 15, it reached 300,000 subscribers. He’s celebrating by gambling $30,000 in space via live stream on Dec. 10 and 8 p.m. and Live.BCSlots.com at San Manuel Casino in Highland, Calif.
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But Christopher didn’t start a YouTube channel on purpose, even in the beginning. In early 2016, she lives in Los Angeles with her husband, Marco, working as an actor (as well as driving for Uber, Lyft and working for food companies, such as make movies). He would appear regularly on the small screen: Hallmark’s “The Christmas Parade,” a Tim Horton’s commercial, and various TV shows, including CTV’s “The Listener,” and the BBC’s “Copper.” So when he recorded himself playing the slot while on his second vacation in Las Vegas, it was fun.
“I decided to record some of my space games because I’ve seen people doing it on YouTube. But I thought that would be a fun thing to do. But I didn’t think too much about he, there was no plan of ‘I’m going to make this my job,’ it’s just ‘I’m going to do this movie for fun,'” said Christopher.
On April 18, 2016, Christopher posted his first video, which he said he thought would only be seen by his friends and family. Within a month, his followers grew so fast that he was invited to the YouTube affiliate program, allowing him to earn money from his videos. YouTubers in this program make an average of $3 to $5 per 1,000 views, which means a video with one million streams will earn up to $5,000, according to software company Intuit.
“I decided you know what, maybe I should follow this and see where it takes me. And I’m glad I did it,” he said.
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Christopher made YouTube his full-time job. He started writing travel books and going to casinos to make movies. He decided that he wanted to upload a new video every day, because no one else was filming himself playing space and publishing that way.
“I think that’s what helped my channel grow so quickly. I didn’t know where this was going to take me, but I was like, ‘This is fun.’ I like to gamble and I like to have fun and I do everything together,” he said.
After a year, Christopher hired a video editor. He worked hard: on top of posting every day, he took classes on how to make the most of YouTube, attended meetings and often visited casinos across the US to see if they were interested in hosting him. It’s also really nice to be in front of the camera from the get-go, which he supports with his gaming experience.
“I get my audience to be there with me. I am the only one who talks to them all the time. “
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In the first year, Christopher lost a lot of money on the machines, but he said he knew that he would soon be profitable, not from the slot machines themselves.
“I was fine with (not making money) at that time, because it was an investment. I could see, month by month, my viewers growing, my income and – young, and I know that there will be a place where they will pass and I will start making more money.”
“It’s a slot machine to take your money. So I always tell people: ‘If you make a dollar, take the money, take your money and run. Because you’ve already won the process.’ “
As his audience grew, so did their desire for Christopher. They depend on the phrase he will repeat. Christopher’s first catchphrase is “insult,” whenever he doesn’t win a dice. This became the foundation of his club, Rudies, and Christopher’s words would add to his merchandise. Last June, Christopher kept mispronouncing the word “banzai” as “banza” every time he won while playing a Karate Kid-themed slot machine during the game. His team, now a five-person company, had shirts for sale that featured the word before the stream ended.
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Christopher’s most dedicated fans never watch his videos. Many followers on all social media platforms. While subscribing to a YouTube channel is free, many of its supporters pay to join its fan club, bypassing Patreon, where users opt for an additional monthly fee to attract more creators. .
In Christopher’s case, $5 a month gets you a private Facebook group; $10 means it will follow you back on social platforms and allow you to live chat every month. $20 gets you all that, plus the occasional postcard. Christopher has over 2,000 members in his club. He also gives his fans a chance to gamble with him in real life.
Joshua O’Connell, 38, based in West Haven, Ct., runs Know Your Slots, an educational gambling blog.
“I’ve been watching space videos on YouTube for a few years after I found Brian. YouTube occasionally hosts new channels that I haven’t seen before and Brian came early with his channel. When he started, there were only A few people were doing it and now there are hundreds,” O’Connell said.
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O’Connell first attended a meeting sponsored by Christopher in New York City in late 2017 and said he has attended “easily a dozen” meetings since.
O’Connell attended the first “Rudies Weekend” and reunited with Rudie again. They ended up winning the first O’Connell with only a “hands-on,” meaning a win of $1,200 or more. This money will be written to the US federal government and the casino operators will usually bring the money winnings by hand.
“Some of my experiences with other fans are one of the best memories I have from visiting casinos in recent years,” he said.
Even as the COVID-19 pandemic spreads across the United States, Rudies still come to see Christopher’s space. The difference is that they are physically distant and masked, often wearing Brian Christopher’s signature mask. So far, they have sold 15,000 masks.
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The Centers for Disease Control, a United States federal agency, has released detailed guidelines for resuming and reducing the spread of the virus. Christopher said these laws differ from state to state. Although his channel has a small amount in March, he rents half the following year. Christopher said some casinos now see his channel as a way to improve how they open safely using existing security measures.
Christopher said that employees who told him a year ago that they did not want to welcome him now have changed their tune, often seeing it as a way to show customers how to open it safely.
“You can put up a billboard or broadcast on a TV network. Maybe like 10 percent or five percent of the viewers are actually your customers where you know, when I put something , 100 percent of the viewers are gamblers,” he said.
Another major company that Christopher will pioneer with a relaunch is the United States Navy. He will celebrate his 40th birthday aboard Royal Caribbean for the “Rudies Cruise” in February, which is sold entirely online.
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Royal Caribbean is currently running a “test cruise” off the United States to prove to their customers and regulators that they can operate safely, and plans to start sailing again soon they received approval from the CDC. By the end of last month, more than 100,000 people had registered for these tests.
Although he can travel across several states, he can’t go home, canceling a trip to visit his family in September, and can’t miss two weeks of work to be apart. But one of his next goals is to get into his room.
“They seem reluctant to allow cameras in the casino, but I hope that one day we will be able to break (into the market),” he said.
Morgan Bocknek works on the Star’s digital desktop, based in Toronto. He is also a star sponsor. Follow him on Twitter: @mobocks
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