CS:GO Skin Betting Is Unlicensed Gambling says UKGC

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Those of you who’ve read our skin betting guide will be aware that the controversial practice may be looking at a short shelf life. With Valve doing everything in their power to curb the practice, governmental organisations are now weighing in with their views. In a March 2017 report on esports gambling in all its forms, the UK Gambling Commission recognized skin betting as a form of unlicensed gambling, warning parents of the dangers involved with unregulated betting sites. So what are the implications for skin betters going forward?

Why Are The UKGC Warning Against Skin Betting?

valve skin betting

Skin betting is a practice whereby CS:GO players use their Steam accounts to gamble on a variety of casino, esports and mystery box games using skins, items which appear randomly during gameplay. The UKGC is concerned with the practice for four primary reasons:

  1. Players must buy a $2.50 key from the Steam Marketplace to unlock their skins for use. This makes any skin betting real money gambling.
  2. Winnings are also paid in skins, some of which are worth hundreds of dollars. These skins can be sold on the Steam Marketplace for real cash, making it a de facto form of real money exchange.
  3. Most importantly, the skin betting websites are unregulated, meaning that children can play and gamble real money undeterred by national laws.
  4. They can’t tax it…ahem.

How Will This Affect CS:GO Skin Betting?

This is just a prelimary warning, and the UK is yet to take any official action on any currently operating sites. We predict that this clear direction will affect the skin betting market in the following ways:

  • A move towards regulation – The UKGC obviously have no moral issues with gambling, they just want services to provide a fair and safe environment for players. As such, licensed skin betting sites may become more prevalent.
  • Fewer sites – We’ve already seen a dramatic reduction in the number of skin betting sites following Valve’s crackdown in mid 2016. Government intervention is only going to add to this trend.
  • More governments addressing the issue – Kids engaging in online gambling with no government intervention is a big no-no in any developed country. The UK and Norway are leading the way in this, but it’s only a matter of time before other leading powers follow suit.


We welcome the UKGC’s stance on this issue – betting is an enjoyable pastime for adults, but must be regulated to keep our money and winnings safe. The Gambling Commission is keeping ahead of the curve, addressing issues affecting the modern gambling world and keeping the tax coffers flowing. Wait…what?

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