CS:GO was released in 2012, building upon the solid and competitive foundation laid down by its predecessors. And just like the Counter-Strike games released before it, CS: GO has been a staple in the esports scene with prize pools of up to $1 million at stake.
CS:GO and Gambling? Well, the game has these in-game items which can be bought as a in-game purchase or can be obtained from mystery cases. These items are tradable with other Steam users and can also be sold for money. Thing is many sites have exploited that and created a system where users bet with these items on stake.
CS:GO’s tradable items weren’t Valve’s first implementation of in-game items or skins. Both Team Fortress 2 and DOTA 2 had in-game items before Counter-strike, just weren’t popular.
Most of these gambling sites do not require age verification – you only need to link your Steam account. Once in, you deposit your items, pick your team and gamble against other players. Then using your winnings you can withdraw any skin that’s been deposited by players on the site. It really is that easy to win – or lose. While it isn’t technically aren’t cash, they can be liquefied with relative ease, selling them on third party sites like OP Skins or G2A.
Yes, these purely cosmetic items with no impact on performance, but yet they have a value attached to them. Some aren’t worth very much – there are some items going for mere cents. But there are also weapons that sell for hundreds, and thousands, of dollars.
Giving kids access to such kind of things could only make it worse. It doesn’t matter what Valve or these YouTubers have in their defence as gambling addiction is seriously dangerous.
And why wouldn’t anybody be lured into this whole gambling thing. These YouTubers have videos where they win big with just clicks. I am talking about thousands of dollars. Something like a get rich quick scheme. A video from July 3 by Ethan Klein of H3H3 Productions brought the controversy to a wider audience.
There are really two different issues at play here, one is about YouTuber disclosure, and the other the legality of the gambling scene itself. Later is a great matter of concern.
At least one Counter-Strike player has filed suit against Valve itself for being complacent in all this. The suit says that Valve “knowingly allowed … and has been complicit in creating, sustaining and facilitating [a] market” where players use items essentially as stand-ins for casino chips.
It will be interesting to see how everything unfolds.