Playing games online is a lot of fun and it is even more fun when you can earn some extra cash by doing it. With the advances in software technology and the widespread use of the internet casino operators realised that the online casino gaming market was the next big thing. And it turned out to be so. A lot of people nowadays play casino games online and some of them were fortunate enough to become millionaires. The amount of the prizes that can be won is one of the reasons why online slots are the most popular online casino games. Recently people realised that it would be possible to combine playing gaming on Steam with gambling and the concept of item gambling was introduced.

Item gambling on CS: GO

Counter Strike: Global Offensive is now one of the most popular multiplayer games online and a lot of the players that play the game participate in the so called skin gambling. Thousands of people bet items on websites owned and operated by third parties. The items that are gambled at these sites have real money value as they can be bought and sold to other members of the Steam community.

Most of these sites are neither licenced nor regulated and more often than not, players don’t even know where they are based and who operates them. Some of the eSports teams that participate in CS: GO tournaments and competitions might have relations with these third party websites, mostly because team and player stickers are also included in item gambling and the teams make a profit out of these. In fact, some teams have even been sponsored by some of these gambling websites. There was a scandal at the beginning of the last year when Valve had to ban several players, after it became a clear that they rigged a game in a tournament. Then it was announced that players, managers and other persons affiliated with CS: GO teams will not be allowed to bet on CS: GO betting.

eSports betting is legal and regulated

Just to be clear, for people who are not affiliated with CS: GO or other eSports teams, betting on eSports is completely legal if sports betting is legal in their territory of residence. The so called item gambling kept going on, at least up until now.

Valve didn’t get involved at first

Valve hasn’t up until now said anything about skin gambling and websites that allowed skin gambling. Some of the operators of these websites have even stated that they have received technical support from Valve.

Item gambling sparked a serious controversy when it was found that two video bloggers who published popular videos marketed CS: GO gambling websites that they were affiliated with, i.e. were one of the owners. In their videos they presented themselves winning items worth thousands of dollars, claiming their success was mere luck.

Item gambling was popular among minors as well

Items of various online games have been traded before, but CS: GO really changed the whole thing. The main goal of these trading websites is to turn items and their value into wagers and since gambling with items is completely unregulated, minors often participated in item gambling. In fact, several reports and studies have shown that the people who visited these sites most often were under 18/21.

The popularity of CS: GO enabled the rise of online item gambling. CS: GO now has over 10 million unique players and the number of people who watch CS: GO tournaments is more or less the same with the number of people that watch Dota.

How did it happen?

Trading CS: GO items is quite popular and these websites allow players to gamble their items on CS: GO matches. But it is also possible to bet on so called mystery boxes where you gamble one item hoping that you will be able to win another, more valuable item. There are also gambling websites that enable players to turn their items into currency and wager on online versions on traditional games like Roulette, Dice or Poker. Millions are gambled via various websites on a daily basis.

The end of item gambling?

Due to the fact that item gambling is completely unregulated, players have no way of knowing whether the games they participate in are fair or not, a lot of people have condemned item gambling. Some have even blamed Valve that they are not doing enough or even that they encourage item gambling and take some of the profits. Valve released a public statement in which it was claimed that the company is not associate with third-party websites that organise item gambling and that it doesn’t support item gambling. It was also stated that Valve doesn’t keep any of the profits acquired through online gambling. Valve will now send notices to all these websites and it will struggle hard to stop unregulated item gambling. Item gambling probably won’t stop, but its scope and the amount of gambled money will certainly be decreased.


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Last Updated: Jul 22, 2016

About The Author

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James, a lifelong gamer, is a freelance writer who occasionally contributes to Ten Ton Hammer.

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