Skin Gambling: What Is It?

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Rivers of blood on the poker table, your organs or skin on the stake because you gambled away all your money. A dealer with only one hand, because your creepy opponent cut it out…

Ok… Sounds a pretty terrifying for a horror movie, but that’s not exactly what ‘skin gambling’ implies. Let’s find out what this term really means!

What Are Skins and How Are They Gambled

In video games, skins are virtual goods and cosmetic gaming items used to wager on games of chance: such as Roulette, Coinflip or professional tournaments. These virtual items can be graphic or audio add-ons, which are implemented only for the sake of aesthetics. They don’t impact the outcome of the game, nor do they increase the character’s abilities.

Skin Gambling: Origins

It all started with the introduction of the first-person shooter video game, Counter-Strike. Teams of terrorists were supposed to prepare an act of terror (plant a bomb) and counter-terrorists had to prevent it by defusing the bomb.

Skin from CS:GOTwelve years later, Valve Corporation, the CS developer, introduced Counter-Strike: Global Offensive (CS:GO). The game remained classic, with a simple implementation — now players were able to win or buy costumes for their characters or weapons — ‘skins.’

In order to buy skins, players should make a deposit on their Steam account, where the cash is converted into credits, but cannot be converted back. Thus, players use these credits to buy skins not only for CS:GO, but for other games available on the platform.

The real gambling situation came about when numerous skin gambling sites were created to bypass Valve’s monetary restrictions on the purchase skins, which allowed players to receive real cash instead of skins. Some of them even made an option of withdrawal of a player’s credit balance, to get real money on the bank card or PayPal.

Despite the high levels of revenue, Valve Corporation was harshly criticized in 2016 for evidence of underage gambling and involvement in the controversial online gambling market. This led to two lawsuits, and half of these rogue websites were shut down. Now, skin gambling is more of an underground movement.


Skins are pretty similar to casino chips as they both don’t have any value outside casinos. You can’t buy food or clothes with them; however, they are precious inside casinos.

Skins can be traded between players, as well as ‘the house.’ With that being said, you can spin the reel, play roulette, blackjack, or poker, participate in online lotteries and even coinflip, simply by placing a skin as a deposit.

Once you won a bet, you have several options for managing the prize:

  • Keeping it in the inventory
  • Use it to change your weapon’s/character’s appearance
  • Trade it
  • Sell it
  • Exchange it on real money (non-Steam websites)

Evolution of Skin Gambling

Skin gambling became a trend when popular vloggers on Twitch, YouTube, and even Facebook streamed their play, showing how they can win big amounts of money.

Two vloggers, TmarTn and ProSyndicate, uploaded a video with a title ‘How to win $13,000 in 5 minutes’ (with CS:GO betting), which got millions of views. Apparently, they forgot to mention they actually owned the website.

Loot Boxes / Mystery Chests

The other commonly encountered form of skin gambling is loot boxes or mystery chests. These provide players with the opportunity to pay to open a box and acquire hidden items to use during the game. The odds of success are unknown, as players can get boxes with the objects they already have, or else get one worth less than the price they paid. Well that looks pretty much like slots, right?

Gambling on Dota Skins

How Many People Gamble?

In 2016, it was calculated that almost $7.4 billion worth of in-game items were wagered worldwide. For the sake of comparison, we can say that in the same year, only $500 million in cash was wagered. So, the market is really enormous with the fact that it became a billion-dollar industry in a one-year period.

In March 2016, more than 38 million players visited the website. The gambling research firm predicted their projects would exceed $23 billion by 2020. However, this prediction might be significantly lower than it might otherwise have been, due to some controversies and scandals surrounding this industry.

Other Games

Casino Dices with Game HeroSkin gambling is mostly associated with CS:GO; however, there are other games using virtual goods. For example, popular multiplayer online battle arena game Dota 2 also utilizes cosmetic items for playable characters; such as virtual currency, which can be traded and used for eSports or third-party websites. Team Fortress 2 practices virtual goods as well.

The same gambling websites exist for FIFA games, where players can purchase virtual coins with real cash in order to create a FIFA team and gamble with skins.

The Real Problem

Skin betting is not regulated in most counties, which means there are no rules about security, age limits, or responses to potential problems. There is no legislation of skin betting, which causes millions of under-age players to place bets and gambling.

Thoughts on Skin Gambling

While skin gambling is one of the most exciting features Counter-Strike could ever have introduced, the industry still remains quite shady. As there is no real gambling regulations to ensure compliance with age limits, a whole range of third-party sites open monthly.

We can all argue whether or not skin gambling is a positive thing for the gambling world; however, one thing for sure is that this market is currently having a huge impact. Betting with skins can be a fun game, but always remember to set your limits; and never forget, it’s just a game!

You May Also Find Interesting…

Do CSGO skins wear out?

No, they do not wear out, ever. Whatever skin you have found or purchased, they can’t degrade over time.

What is the rarest CSGO skin?

Top rarest CS:GO knife skins:

  • Karambit Doppler Black Pearl — with an unusual purplish-black look and fantastic spinning animation, this knife remains one of the most unique ones out there. Someone offered $40,000 to the owner of the weapon; however, he refused!
  • StatTrak M9 Bayonet Crimson Web — a knife that looks like it’s covered in blood, a fascinating rare item.
  • Karambit Case Harden Blue Gem — its shiny bluish metal will melt your heart.
  • StatTrak Butterfly Knife Crimson Web — the percentage of getting this one is less than 1%.
  • Karambit Urban Masked — the rarest and the king of all skins ever saw. Can you imagine there’s only one of these is unboxed?

What is the most expensive CS:GO skin ever sold?

There are top three the most expensive CS:GO skins:

  • AK-47 | Case Hardened is a real old-school weapon for every CS lovers. It was sold for an anonymous Chinese buyer for a value of $25,000.
  • StatTrak Bayonet | Crimson Web decorated with spider web pattern became one of the most exclusive and rare items. In 2014, it was sold for $23,850!
  • Souvenir AWP | Dragon Lore is the king of skins. Currently, its worth reaches $1500; however, in 2018 was sold for over $61,000!

What is the most expensive item in Dota 2?

Top 3 most expensive items in Dota 2:

  • High-End Legacy Couriers — they are quite rare in the game and were the most popular in the early days of the game. The highest value offered was $6,000-$12,000.
  • Golden Baby Roshan — sold by the cost of $13,000.
  • Legacy Ethereal Flames Wardog — was bought by a mystery Chinese player for $38,000! This guy event was mentioned in Forbes.
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