There always comes that point when simply trading skins around doesn’t cut it anymore. New avenues are always appealing – doubly so when they make favorite esports team’s matches even more exciting. For that end, skin betting sites can go above and beyond Steam’s built-in marketplace.
That said, it’s essential to be mindful of common mistakes an inexperienced user can make while searching for a perfect place to gamble skins. Thankfully, finding a reliable CS:GO betting website isn’t that difficult.
Thanks to being the central part of Valve’s Steam digital distribution service, Counter-Strike: Global Offensive enjoys a massive worldwide community connected by a robust e-marketplace. When it first saw the light in 2009, this community dashboard was cutting edge. Now, more than a decade later, the cracks are starting to show.
Valve was among the first publishers to implement skins – cosmetic appearances for in-game items – bought for real money or obtained in-game. A huge community sprang around the hobby of collecting, trading, and showing off rare appearances.
Skin betting is just another form of that. Thanks to Counter-Strike: Global Offensive accruing thousands of different and rare looks for in-game items, there’s always a market to bet skins or real money on and something new to get.
Its popularity is astonishing: a paper published in the Journal of Gambling Issues reveals that 68% of gamers who purchase loot boxes engaged in videogame-related (skin) gambling in 2018. This number is only projected to rise across all titles.
This scene has undergone countless changes since its introduction. At the dawn of CS:GO, skin betting websites were ubiquitous: their market rapidly grew to meet the ever-increasing demand.
It all seemed perfectly fine until a huge scandal regarding conflict of interest attracted a lot of attention to skin betting bookmakers. In 2016, the infamous CSGO Lotto incident led to the United States’ Washington State Gambling Commission taking action. As a result, Valve was to significantly limit the scope of operations of all such websites.
This resulted in most actors on the market disappearing overnight. The remaining CS:GO betting sites had to adopt different policies to keep things flowing. However, this also means that, due to higher standards and checks, the few remaining legitimate skin gambling bookies offer more protections to users – and operate legally via workarounds.
Furthermore, many countries have created legislations specifically aimed at banning skin gambling. For instance, players from the United States of America cannot legally engage in skin gambling, as the country’s license does not allow it. Therefore, users need to look for alternative ways to bet on CS:GO matches in the US. One must be vigilant, as this practice’s legality greatly depends on the player’s country of residence.
The non-exhaustive list of countries that accept CS:GO gambling license issued by the Isle of Man (which includes skin gambling):
- United Kingdom;
and many others.
Out of the surviving skin betting markets, only the ones with the best customer protection and plenty of useful gizmos could thrive. Here’s a couple of examples of sites that operate within Valve’s Terms of Service, and have legal licenses:
The easy tell is that these sites do not trade skins directly from the inventory and instead use their own virtual currency the players transfer skins into. Some of these websites even have their own cryptocoin users can use to bet on CS:GO matches. This formula is condoned by Valve, and also offers the users the most transparent odds on CS:GO betting.
On the other hand, sites like CSGOLounge still use the old formula, which is against the ToS. Sites of this type are usually completely unlicensed. Betting on them requires utmost vigilance – and may bite the players back as there are little to no user protections. It might even be breaking the law!
Originally, most skin betting bookmakers operated within a single formula. The players add the skins they wish to use into the website’s pot to bet on a CS:GO team. Upon winning, the player will receive their skins back – together with the share of other players’ who have lost their bet, very similar to the classic CS:GO betting formula.
Nowadays, the formula has shifted. Since straight-up skin gambling is not allowed, the players instead pledge their possessed skins in exchange for the skin betting website’s virtual currency. This currency is then used to place bets – and, if the player wishes to withdraw their hard won points, they can transfer them back into skins. Alternatively, there is also an option to exchange the site’s currency into real money via multitudes of payment operators, including PayPal.
The whole process is quick and simple:
- Log in to a trusted skin betting website using Steam account;
- Submit Steam Trade URL and Steam API to the website as requested;
- Exchange the skins with another user for the site’s virtual currency using the platform’s market;
- Place a bet;
- Withdraw using available methods (Steam Wallet, Card, Cryptocurrency).
In addition, there are many other ways players can win skins. While the ability to place bets on CS:GO matches remains the most popular, players can now engage in activities decoupled from esports, like casinos and virtual slot machines.
It’s important to keep an eye out on the ever-changing skin market prices when placing bets. Game updates, new case releases, esports events etc. may change the market’s state dramatically. Not keeping up may cost the player some real money equivalent, so it’s best to keep careful!
Plenty of resources automatically grab a skin’s market value depending on its state (present stickers, wear, stat-track) and display it conveniently. Our personal favorite is csgostash.com – a simple and intuitive design, fast updates, and real-time market price monitoring. The site also offers flexible price displays in tons of different currencies.
It may be daunting for someone just starting out in the game to know which skins to look out for. Additionally, the veterans will have a massive head start over a newer player due to the skins they’ve earned by simply playing this game.
In this case, it makes sense to seek an alternative. Real money betting on CS:GO esports is extremely easy to get into and enjoys full licensing and legal approval without a need to jump through loops and hoops.
With all the things we’ve mentioned before, it’s easy to see why this market is making a resurgence. As the betting operators figured out a way to comply with Valve’s Terms of Service while providing adequate betting platforms, the popular hobby is once again starting to flourish on online forums like CS:GO betting on Reddit with the r/csgobetting subreddit.
It’s pretty easy to tell a suspicious website from a legit one, and we hope our short guide has been of help. Thanks to CS:GO rewarding skins from just playing the game, skin betting can be a safe and exciting way to spice up the esports-watching hobby with no risk at all, at a low budget.