Despite major publishers trying to crack down on gambling around their games, this sector has become one worth billions.
According to a new report by ESPN – citing research from Eilers & Krejcik Gaming and Narus Advisors – in the region of $5bn was made from in-game gambling for Valve’s Counter-Strike: Global Offensive. Alone. One title. Seriously.
The piece says that 40 per cent of these are bet on eSports matches, with another $3bn heading to sites that accept skins as bets on gambling games, such as slots, dice or roulette.
Despite the likes of researcher Chris Grove trying to draw attention to this burgeoning sector in 2015 with his report, title eSports Betting: It’s Real and Bigger than You Think, it wasn’t until 2016 that this sector saw serious attention.
That was due to the revelation that two YouTubers – TmarTn and Syndicate – had been promoting a skins gambling site, CSGO Lotto, that they themselves in fact owned.
The sudden revelation of the largely unregulated skins gambling sector had repercussions around the industry, with Twitch banning the streaming of gambling.
Meanwhile, Valve issued cease and desist orders to Counter-Strike: GO gambling sites. That was before the Washington State Gambling Commission reached out to the games giant, asking them to stop gambling done through its services. Valve refused, saying it simply was doing nothing wrong.
And outside of CSGO, Eve Online developer CCP cracked down on gambling within its own title in October 2016.