The online space offers many options when it comes to gambling. Whether you’re a fan of traditional casino games like slots, poker, or roulette, you can easily find an online equivalent. However, the Internet has also given rise to new forms of gambling, such as gambling on cosmetic items from popular video games such as CS:GO. This new type of gambling with skins seems harmless at first, but is skin gambling a good thing?
What is CS:GO Skins Gambling?
In 2012, the US-based video game publishing company Valve launched a first person shooter on the PC called Counter-Strike: Global Offensive (CS:GO), which added cosmetic items or models with which players could change the appearance of their avatar or weapons. While they do not offer the user a competitive edge in the game, CS:GO skins have become popular collectible items, traded by gamers on Steam.
Skins from titles like CS:GO and other Valve releases have unique market values on the Steam market. Prices for skins can range from pennies to thousands! Valve claims a fixed percentage of the revenue from each transaction.
With millions of transactions being made every day, skins have created a kind of digital currency that can be purchased and sold. Needless to say, this endeavor has been very profitable for Valve, as the rise in popularity of skins and skin gambling has made more people spend their money on Valve’s virtual items than ever before.
How to Get CS:GO Skins for Gambling?
Third-party platforms started offering CS:GO players the option to make bets using their skins as currency, either by gambling on esports competitions or casino games like online poker. For example, CSGOLounge was the most popular skins gambling website on the Internet until they discontinued their operations and shifted towards esports gambling.
These third-party gambling websites are linked to Steam’s open API, which allows players to view their skins from someone else, play with them, and then send any earnings back to their Steam profile. With other third-party sites providing immediate cash transfers in return for skins, this framework of intertwined but unassociated websites enables gamers to use skins like poker chips.
None of these platforms, even Steam, implements effective age restriction protocols. This means that children are able to use them by using a parent’s credit card.
Every so often, Valve has served a number of third-party platforms with orders to discontinue operations; however it tends to maintain a free API framework that enables the activity of these gambling websites. Meanwhile, modern skin gambling platforms are also emerging in what is already a global market worth billions.
What Makes Skins Gambling a Problem?
Skins are troublesome to classify legally since they do not have a set currency value, rendering them difficult to control within conventional financial rules and regulations. This has led to major concerns being raised by lawmakers about the safety of allowing these gambling platforms.
The biggest issue is that a large chunk of the CS:GO is under 18. Another problem for lawmakers in any specific country is that these websites are registered in locations that do not have the same regulations. Since the financial transactions are conducted through the Internet, this leaves authorities powerless to regulate the market effectively.
However, the need for a concrete solution was clear. The perception slowly shifted towards skin gambling being classified as illegal or at least unethical after CS:GO skins were at the center of several high-profile scandals.
This eventually led to CSGOLounge shifting away from skin betting and Valve also taking stricter action to clamp down on nefarious gambling websites. The reason behind this shift was mainly that these companies feared that they could suffer severe legal consequences as a result of their involvement in skin gambling.
How to Fix the Skins Gambling Problem?
The first step towards minimizing the negative effects of skin gambling is educating parents and making them aware of the dangers of these platforms. Both parents and their kids need to be aware of the difference between gaming and gambling, and the onus falls on the parents first to ensure their children are not using their cards to make any unauthorized purchases.
However, Valve and the third-party betting sites also need to be held accountable for their role in the proliferation of this practice. They need to ensure that the skin gambling options they offer their consumers are restricted to those over 18, and tight age restrictions need to be put in place.
This will ensure that there is a degree of separation between the actual game and skin gambling, so that kids can still enjoy their favorite online multiplayer shooter.
Skins gambling should only be practiced by individuals over 18 with their own credit cards. Individuals who wish to engage in skin gambling should also be aware of the reliability of the platform they are providing their confidential financial information to. This will ensure they don’t fall prey to any scams and have a positive experience with skin gambling.