There is a hidden away world when it comes to e-sports, specifically for Counter Strike,  one of the biggest e-sports titles out there. This world started out as simply gambling on  tournaments but has evolved into gambling on a literal coin flip. Gambling on the games doesnt sound bad right? Happens for every other sporting even in the world, it makes sense it would happen here. However, because of how widely banned online gambling is in the United States a new market opened up. Gambling with skins for CS:GO. It sounds retarded, because it pretty much is. Counter strike has skins for everything, every type of weapon, knife, and gloves. Hundreds and thousands of skins. There just that too, just a customization decal that adds absolutely nothing but the ability to stroke your e-peen. Some offer useless things like a stat tracker for kills while using that skin.

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To start lets just explain the skins. They range from simple ones you see in most games, those random camos in COD to absolutely absurd ones like anime characters. Pretty much everything you can imagine. There are 3 ways to get skins for CS:Go. First is they may simply drop after a match, only 2 weapon skins and 3 weapon crates will drop during a single week. Usually the skins arent very good, they can be but its rare. The second way is to unlock them through these weapon crates. You can buy crates or wait for them to drop, but to open them you need to buy a key from Valve or a 3rd party site and hope for a good drop. The third way is to straight up buy skins off Valve’s steam market place or a third party site. Either way – Valve is taking a piece right off the bat, typically about 15% when sold through Steam. There are 2 tiers to these skins, the overall tier being how rare it is to find and the secondary tier is the quality of the skin itself. They range from factory new to battle scared. Basically how well they look, factory new comes in nice and clean while battle scared are barely noticeable. Some are also limited time release, “souvenir” skins that were released for an event. These skins sell anywhere from a few bucks to a thousand. People actually buy these things, these arent just inflated number you see on ebay.

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To circumvent gambling laws people started using these skins to gamble on e-sports. Put them in a pot, if you win you get skins worth the value of what you won. Here’s an example of the gambling. You put in what is considered $100 worth of skins, say a skin of “legendary” rarity (yellow) and of factory new quality which is deemed to be $100 based on these factors, in the pot. Youre gambling on the outcome of a certain team winning a tournament match. Say if you win you’ll get $200 worth of skins, so you’ll get 2 skins of yellow rarity and factory new, which you then will sell on the market to get your money. So you arent exactly gambling money, but you pretty much are. This evolved into people just gambling skins for the hell of it. Sites popped up offering a game of chance. Put your skins into this box, flip a coin, if you win, you win the box if not, cya. Better value of what you put in helped your chances. This became an incredibly easy way to corrupt kids out of thousands of dollars. Buy skins off steam or other sites, put them in and see what you win. The sites that ran these lotteries take a rip (typically 8%) of the total value of the contest.

Streamers and youtubers put up videos of them winning easy money to promote certain sites. Of course they happened to have it rigged in their favor, or outright owned the gambling sites to drive traffic. This wasnt well known, or in the news, until the latter started to happen. When two huge skin gamblers forgot to disclose to their viewers that the site they were promoting, they owned. They rigged these contests for themselves all while driving kids to this site to earn themselves even more money.

Here’s a video that goes in depth about this particular scandal for those who want more.