Online Gambling With Skins Reaches Billions of Dollars

Published Tuesday, January 24, 2017 -
Online Gambling With Skins Reaches Billions of Dollars

The wagering of what are known as ‘skins’ in online gaming has become an issue for law enforcement and regulators of online gambling. A recent report by media outlet ESPN has revealed that as much as five billion dollars worth of ‘skins’ for Counter-Strike Global Offensive were bet on in the last year alone.

The in depth ESPN article claims Counter-Strike has spawned a multibillion-dollar world of online casino gambling that is hardly regulated and open to any young person who wants to play. Counter-Strike is a first-person-shooter game that puts terrorists up against counter terrorists and an average of 342,000 people participated at once in 2016. There are tournaments, such as the E League Major coming to Atlanta Georgia in January 22-29  which offer million-dollar prize pools and attract as many as 27 million online viewers. Around 26 million copies of the game have been downloaded since it was first offered four years ago, The manufacturer, Valve, is now the world's leading distributor of Personal Computer titles.

The research from Eilers & Krejcik Gaming and Narus Advisors exposed in the ESPN article says around 40 percent of the $5 billion worth of skins bet in 2016 were wagered on the results of eSports matches and major tournaments. The other bets, about $3 billion were concentrated on more traditional online gambling web locations that accept wagers on a variety of other betting opportunities. ESPN states that Valve’s open API is largely responsible for the ease at which underage youth are able to participate by substituting betting chips for Counter-Strike skins. The Washington State Gambling Commission has told Valve to stop facilitating the use of skins as an online gambling currency. 

Valve has taken steps in the past to discourage this online gambling action, including disabling Steam accounts known to associate with such websites. The company maintains that it has no relationship with the online gambling sites that profit from unregulated Counter-Strike skin trading. 






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