The report, covered by ESPN in their breakdown of the skin gambling scene and last year's controversy, makes for an interesting read. Perhaps the most interesting claim is that only 40% of the gambling in total was taken through gambling on the outcomes of official tournaments. Indeed, 60% - roughly $3 billion - was taken by so-called "fly-by-night" casino-style websites such as CSGO Lotto - the skin gambling website run by prominent YouTubers TmarTn & ProSyndicate.
The scandal erupted in July of last year, when the two YouTubers were discovered to own the website they had previously claimed to have won big on. People obviously suspected unfair play in the initial winnings and went on to accuse the two of fostering an unhealthy fascination with gambling amongst their viewers - many of whom were underage. The controversy increased until Valve were accused of letting the shady gambling sites grow and doing nothing about it - which prompted Valve to pledge action, and eventually send Cease & Desist letters to many of the websites.
The research firms had expected that Valve dropping the hammer would be an end to it, and had theorized that skin gambling would drop by 85% in 2017. Now, they don't seem so sure. ESPN's coverage of the report highlights that half the sites targeted by Valve were still open, with more opening seemingly every day. They comment that Valve appears to be in a bit of a bind, being unwilling to change their API in a way that would shut the websites down for good, since this would affect legitimate uses of the API. Regardless, many - including Chris Grove, the Eilers and Narus researcher and editor of LegalSportsReport.com - still hold Valve responsible for these websites continued existence.
Quick TakeWhatever your take on these websites existence, it's clear that such a huge industry isn't going to go away overnight - not unless Valve is forced to make large changes to the API that keeps these sites running. $3 billion is a lot of money, and it's obviously worth the owners of each "casino" taking their website overseas to dodge any laws. It's also worth noting that Counter-Strike: Global Offensive is currently rated M by the ESRB, and holds a rating of 18+ with the European PEGI. Why so many underage gamers are being allowed to play these games may be a more pertinent question to ask.
What was your take on the whole scandal involving Counter-Strike: Global Offenseive weapon skins? Did you ever use any of these sites? Let us know in the comments below.