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eSports Skin Betting: Virtual Item Wagering in Gaming Communities

FIFA, gaming

The rise of eSports gaming over recent years has gone hand in hand with an almost meteoritic rise of skin gambling.

While the jury is out on whether this practice deserves a place in the famed sports practice, there’s no denying its popularity, particularly among the youthful population. 

The practice of in-game tradable assets has transcended various games, even showing its hand beyond the confines of eSports. World-acclaimed platforms like ICE Casino offer avenues for gamers to explore virtual item wagering within the broader context of online gaming. That said, before diving into the intricacies of these in-game cosmetics, let’s ensure that we understand what they entail.

What Are Skins?

Skins are in-game collectibles that players can win to enhance their appearance or the look of other important features in the game. In a game such as Counter-Strike: Global Offensive, skins will allow you to change the outlook of your different weapons. Many people mistake this ability for enhancing the powers of these weapons or characters. In essence, skins, for example, will just make your knife look fancier without really adding to its potency. 

Be that as it may, the skins market, especially from an eSports perspective, is a booming industry. Let’s give you some perspective, shall we?

  • The global  Skin market was valued by Yahoo at a whopping $50 billion in 2022. 
  • Counter-Strike: Global Offensive has an active marketplace of over 400000 skin holders in the world
  • In 2016, esports saw roughly $5 billion worth of virtual goods wagered. Of these goods, an estimated 40% were in-game skins.
  • A substantial number of gamers worldwide spend north of $10 billion in skin wagering.

What’s the Big Deal About Skins?

The allure of these specific in-game cosmetics is just off the charts. And novice gamers, especially those in the eSports arena may be wondering what all the fuss is all about when it comes to these items. So, let’s try to spell this out for you. For starters, the designers of in-game skins have a huge influence on what is considered to be hot or not in these games. By controlling this narrative, they ensure they make Skins as scarce as possible. This forms such a clever strategy. The rarity aspect of the items turns the conversation into a status discussion. Owning a rare collectible enhances your bragging rights in the gaming realm. 

Some gaming platforms will not only make these items scarce, but they’ll also “hide” them behind increasingly difficult tasks. So, beyond the value pegged on scarce things, such icons are usually valued because you have to try your best to access them. 

What About Skin Betting? 

Now, at face value, skins may seem like not much, and if you’re new to the digital betting realm, you may not immediately get all the hype around these cosmetic items. However, besides their aesthetic value, skins can have value. Think of them as valuable items that you can use in the gameplay environment. These items can be traded between different players. These items are put forward by different players, and their ownership will consequently be determined by the outcomes of games. 

More often than not, the process of wagering these digital collectibles is usually implemented through third-party gaming sites. These platforms permit players to wager their skins, first, hold them in their accounts, and eventually release the skins to the winners once the esports games end. 

Skin Betting Conversations

While skin betting has risen to prominence over the years, it hasn’t been without its fair share of controversy. There have been rumblings in the industry of important eSports figures being owners of skin gambling sites that they were advertising and promoting. Twitch, the renowned gaming live-streaming platform, has also banned streams that involve wagering these virtual items from its platform. 

From a legal perspective, wagering on skins in eSports has always veered into the gray area territory. In Norway, for instance, the Norwegian Gaming Authority (NGA) permits skin betting as long as it is regulated by a governing body. While this country lacks advanced regulatory systems on the matter, there have been several cases where the NGA has threatened to crack the whip on skin betting that is operating illegally. The NGA is the only body permitted to deliver licenses for interested operators in the Scandinavian country. 

Another consideration involving the specific sites offering these digital collectibles is the fact that they don’t have foolproof methods to verify age. This leaves them susceptible to offering their services to non-adults. As you’re aware, this is one of the most vulnerable groups to problem gambling, so all the vital measures should be taken to protect them. While skin betting may not enjoy the vast popularity it enjoyed at its peak in 2016, it’s still a fairly popular construct in 2024 and is likely to be a vital part of eSports gaming moving forward.