Whilst the skin betting world has been somewhat quieter of late, with Valve’s previous Cease and Desist orders seemingly proving a deterrent, it’s safe to say that websites operating in the unregulated space remain rife.
Worse still, awareness is still seemingly lacking as many of these sites still gain prominence through streamers, personalities, teams and even through tournament sponsorship.
We’ve recently seen the emergence of a slightly more subtle gambling product. Whereas previously, wagering on esports teams and playing casino-style games such as Roulette were the most common, the latest incarnation is somewhat less garishly obvious, but the legitimacy is understandably questionable.
Skin case opening sites effectively market themselves as a cheaper way of opening chests in game, with a chance to unpack an extremely rare item, as you would by purchasing a case from Valve. The issue here, is that the people who run these sites, as revealed by esports journalist Richard Lewis fix the odds and can go as far as putting their sites in “rape mode”; a mode where only the two cheapest skins from any case could be discovered. Equally, those promoting the sites would have better odds and win big. It all harks back to previous scandals where famous streamers even went as far as, in Trevor “Tmartn” Martin’s case, owning the site and not disclosing it so to encourage his fan base to use his site and thus make him even more money.
Late last week it seemed as though someone had gently prodded Valve and suggested that their initial C&D had not actually had the impact they desired. Two websites, Lootmarket and CSEsport had all of their bots banned and thus have been forced to cease operations.
Lootcase and Lootmarket
Whilst Lootcase issued a statement following having its Steam bots (used to collect and redistribute items from users) saying that it had never engaged in shady practice, certain terms and conditions on its site suggested otherwise.
One read: “You understand that the odds shown on the site are estimates and not exact”. before also adding “You also understand and agree that the odds may change at any time without notice”. Lootmarket could then be used to sell items, thus allowing users who “win” valuable skins to directly convert into cash.
EDIT: After discussion with the Lootcase/market CEO, clarity on the terms has been provided.
“The bit about odds being exact just references the rounding. Users could click to see odds for any of the cases. We may show 1% instead of 1.1% or 3% instead of 2.893%.”
“The bit about odds changing any time without notice is true. As the prices for items fluctuate, we may need to adjust the odds for item drops within a case to maintain our desired returns to users.”
There’s little doubt that Lootcase are not the worst example of a skin site by ethics, morals or even layout but the point remains. These sites can often be shady by nature and without regulation, be it gambling specific regulation and lax age control, and they effectively encourage youngsters to engage in gambling activity.
The holding page reads “RIP Loot Case…” and explains that the bans from Valve mean the website will be closing operations. It does say “Keep an eye out for new projects from the Loot Team!” — insinuating a potential return could be on the cards at some point in the future.
CSesport is reminiscent of CS:GO Lounge or Dota 2 Lounge. A user can simply place skins on professional games that are taking place. It served as a sportsbook and the site is now still operating, although only with skins which are already contained on the site.
The terms and conditions of CSesport are all too common across skin betting sights and go to highlight the sheer obscenity of the unregulated industry.
Here are some of the most ludicrous:
“2. If you don’t agree with all of these rules… don’t place bets on CSesport”
3. By placing a bet on CSesport you are confirming that you are in abidance with your country’s laws which allow you to participate in skin-betting. This is generally 18 years of age or older, but make sure to check.”
If you have a bet on, and you’re going to win at a certain price, CSesport can change it at any time:
“5. The value system is automatically updated at our discretion and can be updated without warning and may occur during active bets.”
Then there’s arguably the two best of the lot:
“24. You have 21 days to claim your items/winnings from your returns. After which, these items will be claimed by CSesport and used for giveaways, promotions and, in some cases, added to winnings of future bets.”
“25. These are the basic rules to which we operate, however, we reserve the right to change these rules at anytime without warning. If a situation arises for which we have no rules, a decision will be made amongst the CSesport staff – and this is the final decision.”
Just 21 days to claim, otherwise we keep all of your money. And we are able to make up any rules at any point that suit us best. It’s just the wonderful world of skin betting.
Esports Insider says: You just have to look at these websites and laugh. Valve, seemingly out of the blue has been proactive and banned two sites. That leaves just the remaining hundreds. It’s just another reminder that these operators lack proper rules and regulations. They’re a danger to the industry (especially the likes of CSesport) and the more that get shut down the better.