Winning huge jackpots is always pleasant, especially if you don’t deposit a single penny. How? This became possible with an advent of skin betting. In the simplest terms, skin betting refers to an activity of betting on the outcomes of various esports matches by using the in-game content. As an alternative to real money betting heavily promoted by different online betting sites, skin betting has gone another path. The idea behind placing esports skin bets is to use the items from such games like Dota 2 and Counter Strike: Global Offensive.
Although the concept of skin gambling looks appealing to the majority of gaming communities, the reputation of sites that offer it has been severely undermined in the middle of the year 2016. The issue with skin betting is the questionable safety of deposits. The thing is that the skin gambling sites have experienced a series of shutdowns, so many deposits have not been refunded. Moreover, Valve also took severe measures against the Steam accounts of skin betting sites and actually forfeited all the items present there.
Therefore, we are more in favor of esports betting at esportsbooks rather than risking items via skin betting websites. The player may take a glance at Betway, Pinnacle, Bet365, Unikrn or William Hill.
Nonetheless, we would like to investigate all ins and outs of skin betting and explain the reasons for its current controversial status.
Why did Valve interfere in skin betting?
When the question about skin betting credibility appeared on the agenda, Valve immediately responded with tremendous intolerance to the sites that offer this type of betting. Eventually, this has led to many sites either shutting down or switching to new products.
Just to give an example, the popular site like CSGOWild ceased to deliver esports skin bets because of the letter about skin betting posted by Valve. Overall, the desist letter included about 23 sites which were forced to change the type of services or just stop operating. In addition, CSGOLounge was also temporarily inactive, but on September 26, 2016 the site was marked with a flashy comeback.
Considering all this, we may certainly say that cash wagering represents a better way to go for esports betting, because using in-game content for placing stakes right now is somewhat risky.
Skin Betting eSports Sites vs Cash betting
It is not a secret that the overall turnover on the skin betting esports sites has reached several billions of dollars in just some years. Taking into account that skin betting launched in 2013, we may say that the industry has expanded significantly since then. Now let’s take a look at all the factors which fostered the success of skin betting.
First of all, signing up at skin betting websites was not a hustle and bustle, but rather an easy process. The thing is that each site requested the player only to provide access for the Steam URL, nothing beyond that. Therefore, players could enjoy a high degree of privateness, as were not obliged to supply any personal information.
We should also outline that skin betting used to be a worldwide market. When comparing to traditional esports gambling sites, skin betting esports was not forbidden even in the strict regulatory environments like the US.
Furthermore, every site user could enjoy a great variety of betting products. Thus, the players could choose multiple esports betting options or focus on item gambling. Talking about esports bets in particular, the bettors were able to place the bet on the specific to win the match or predict the final outcome of the whole tournament. Such diversification of services was praised by the site users and gamers in general.
Last but not the least important, skin betting in its nature does not imply making any cash deposits. Therefore, in order to place a flutter on esports, the player could just put in the necessary number of skins. We should remind that every skin, whether it is CSGO or Dota 2, has real money value.
Despite all the benefits that skin betting delivered to the customer, the major concern was the absence of any body that could control the skin betting industry to ensure full safety and legality of the services. Therefore, it might be difficult to find a fair skin betting site. This is why cash betting is the clear winner in this aspect.
Cash betting websites utilize special safeguards tailored for protecting all financial and personal information of the client. Additionally, real money betting ensures that minors will not be provided an access to the site, whilst skin bets esports sites usually do not take any measures for verifying the age.
On top of that, all skin betting websites operated via Steam and this meant that Valve had preserved a high degree of control. In the end, the company was able to freeze all the Steam accounts whenever. On the flip side, this will never happen with well-established online esportsbooks. Online bookmakers do not subject to any third party, they only have to comply with the rules imposed by regulatory institutions.
We should also mention that the player can be sure about the security of payouts when it comes to cash betting. Furthermore, each such site provides the constant access to the earnings. If the client has any problems, the support agents are always in place to assist. Unlike skin betting websites, esportsbooks have additional servers to hedge against the shutdown risk.
Lastly, people that work for the particular betting operator are prohibited from conducting any kind of betting activity. Therefore, sportsbook employees will never use the advanced information on their behalf, which something no one can guarantee at skin betting websites. Similarly, skin betting websites were even playing with odds by changing them in different ways. For example, there was an unpleasant incident with a Twitch stream partner of CSGODiamonds skin betting site. The problem was that this person was provided with the match results before regular bettors had been able to make the decision.
Overall, we advise you to check honest skin betting site reviews to study the quality of services and reputation of each website. This will definitely prevent from being scammed like in the example given above.
Valve sanctions towards Skin Betting Sites: The reasons
Initially, skin betting was not perceived as something serious. However, with the increasing popularity of in-game item transfers, the popularity of skin betting grew significantly too. This became the beginning of the end, when Valve took a notice of such sites.
The multiple scandals associated with skin betting forced Valve to crack down on it, as we have mentioned above. This was the necessary step, otherwise everyone would be suspicious of Valve being illegally involved in the sites’ operations. There was even an accident, when the CSGO player filed a suit against Valve saying that the company supports the activity of skin betting websites.
What to expect from Skin Betting in the future?
It is difficult to accurately predict what will happen to esports skins betting in many years to come. We believe that the destiny of this industry is completely in the hands of Valve. Right now it is too early to say whether Valve will become more aggressive or not towards skin betting.
No doubt, Valve letter has forced some of the prominent skin betting websites to stop offering their services, though these shutdowns were mainly of the short-term character. Moreover, most of them were actually preparing for such an event to occur.
As for the uncompromising ban of skin betting, we tend to think that this is unlikely to take place. To put this decision into an effect, Valve will be forced to cancel any item trading for CS:GO and Dota 2. Such a move would certainly angry the gaming community.
Therefore, skin betting will continue to exist as long as this is accepted by Valve. Right now the position of the company regarding skin betting can be described as moderate. As the result, many skin betting websites will keep on running their businesses until this type of betting remains in demand. Our personal prediction is that the gap or distinction in the business model between skin betting and cash betting will decrease in the future.
The best solution for esports skin betting to persist is to become regulated. In the long run, this might occur with many governments imposing a certain degree of control over the skin betting industry, e.g. in Europe and Asia. Perhaps, the most difficult will be to regulate skin betting in the United States, because of the strict local policy regarding online sports wagering.