If you're new to the world of esports betting, you've probably never heard the term 'skin betting', even though the industry is worth millions of dollars! This is because it's unique to the esports gaming community. Skin betting is gaining more and more traction, so now's the perfect time to find out exactly what it is and how you could potentially make money from it. Read on to do just that…
On this page you'll find out:
In short, skin betting is the use of virtual goods from video games (also known as ‘skins') as a virtual currency to bet on the outcome of pro video games, or on casino-style games of chance. The virtual good or ‘skin' is a usually a cosmetic item such as a weapon or piece of armour that doesn't have an impact on the gameplay or offer any advantage to the player - its appeal is visual.
These skins can be bought and sold at online locations such as the Steam Market for real money. They range in value from a couple of cents all the way up to a couple of thousand dollars, depending on the rarity of the item in question and the game it's used in. So as you can see, there's potential to make a lot of money!
The esports betting industry is one which has been growing exponentially. In 2016 it's estimated that the total esports gambling market was worth $8 billion. Of this, it's believed that an incredible $7.4 billion was made up of skin betting, with the rest being made up of cash bets. With tens of thousands of people regularly engaging in skin betting, particularly with items from CS:GO (Counter-Strike: Global Offensive), it's easy to see how these sorts of numbers are reached.
This engagement might be in the form of players making bets on pro matches and casino games, or it might be from players participating in lottery-style games where different players deposit their skins, and a winner is determined using a random number generator. It's not uncommon for skins worth more than $1,000 to be gambled on pro gaming teams.
To put it bluntly, the esports industry relies on skin betting to a huge degree. Viewing figures of gaming tournaments are considerably swollen by swarms of people watching because they have a bet on the outcome. Were skin betting to be made illegal, the esports industry would suffer as a whole.
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The legal status of skin gambling is quite interesting. Sometimes the online world moves at a rate which the physical world struggles to keep up with, and that seems to have been the case when it comes to skin betting. The vast majority of countries, including the US, don't have any specific legislation to do with skin betting, so this form of gambling is not technically illegal. Canada has no official laws relating to skin betting either, although Loto-Quebec has started offering online cash betting for esports, which opens the door to eventually legislating skin betting.
On the other end of the spectrum, Norway's Gambling Authority made skin betting of any type illegal in March 2017. The primary concern of most gaming authorities is that it can very easily lead to underage gambling, as there aren't the same age restrictions for playing video games as there are for opening sports betting accounts.
The UK is one territory which requires any sites offering esports betting to obtain a licence in order to do so. Generally speaking, we can expect to see further regulations imposed on skin betting in the future, but for now it's perfectly legal for Canadian bettors to participate in skin gambling.