Photo via Martyn Fletcher/Flickr (CC-BY)

The true extent of the skin betting industry is only now coming to light.

As the Counter-Strike skin gambling bubble burst earlier this year one of the most popular sites, CS:GO Lounge, was among those that shut down in their original form. Now a new report has revealed just how profitable that business had been.

According to Will Green of LegalSports report, the site had handled over $1 billion worth of bets in 2016 before shutting down its skin betting operation in August.

This came in the form of roughly 103 million skins bet on around 2,800 matches throughout the year. This rounds out to almost $10 per skin, and 37,000 virtual items per match on average. Of course, some games drew more attention than others. Team Liquid versus SK Gaming at ESL One Cologne this Summer saw the exchange of over 320,000 skins, with matches in that tournament attracting well over $1 million worth of bets per game.

Lounge underwent radical changes earlier this year after game developer Valve released a statement condemning skin gambling, and changing the terms of service to forbid the use of trade bots.

CS:GO Lounge has since changed its business model to ‘coin betting’. New users are offered 100 coins after creating an account, however besides betting those there is no clear method of earning more. The menu currently features a greyed out option to earn coins. It is unknown whether this will require trading skins, or be purchasable with actual money.

Before its demise skin gambling had quickly developed into a big money business, with many sites taking cuts of all bets. It was profitable enough for some individuals to finally grab the attention of Valve, who are notorious for their lack of communication with the fanbase.

Streamers and personalities like Trevor “TmarTn” Martin and James “Phantomlord” Varga became embroiled in scandals about their undeclared ownership of gambling sites. Many of the sites shut down or changed their business model, and multiple lawsuits are currently pending from customers who feel they were allowed to bet unlawfully. 

Promoted Stories Powered by Sharethrough
counter strike
CS:GO Lounge drops Hyphen games amid match-fixing suspicions
Earlier this week, Valve suspended several North American players and their associates after finding they had been involved in a match fixing ring. It seems the specter of global Counter-Strike: Global Offensive match fixing isn’t going to go anywhere soon, however. While the North American scene is still reeling from the events, which saw some of its best players effectively permanently banned from competition, it seems they weren’t the only ones involved in suspicious ma...
From Our VICE Partners

Pure, uncut internet. Straight to your inbox.

Thanks for subscribing to our newsletter!