The crackdown against the Counter-Strike skins trading has apparently not spooked gamblers from wagering in the illicit multi-player, first person video game.
Citing a research made by the firms Eilers & Krejcik Gaming and Narus Advisors, ESPN reported that some $5 billion was wagered in skins in 2016, of which 40 percent were wagered on the outcomes of eSports matches and tournaments.
The most intriguing aspect of the data given by the research firms was the fact that roughly $3 billion “flows to a darker corner of the internet — one populated by fly-by-night websites that accept skins for casino-style gaming.”
This means the money went into more traditional online gambling sites that accept wagers on slots, roulette games, dice rolls, or coin flips.
“None of this could happen without Valve, a privately held company run by its charismatic co-founder, Gabe Newell. The billionaire, who according to Forbes owns more than 50 percent of the company, has watched his personal wealth rocket to $4.1 billion, due in part to Counter-Strike’s success,” ESPN’s Shaun Assael wrote.
ESports game developer Valve Corp., which is facing two separate lawsuits in Connecticut and Florida for its alleged relationship with skin betting websites, denied it profited in any manner from the earnings skin gambling.
A similar sentiment has been shared by the Washington State Gambling Commission in the past, which ordered Valve to stop facilitating the use of skins as gambling currency.
To be fair, Valve tried to show its independence and distanced itself from skin gambling websites by launching its own crackdown. Valve’s Erik Johnson repeatedly said that using the eSports marketplace “to run a gambling business is not allowed by our API nor our user agreements.”
He also stressed that Valve had “no business relationship” with these third-party gambling sites and had “never received any revenue from them.” Johnson noted that Steam “does not have a system for turning in-game items into real-world currency.”
CSGO Lounge was one of the 23 most popular and well known Counter-Strike: Global Offensive skin gambling destinations that received a cease and desist order from Valve in the light of the scandal involving YouTube eSports stars Trevor “Tmartn” Martin and Tom “ProSyndicate” Cassel.