TG Talk - Are more restrictions required on skin betting?

TG Talk - Are more restrictions required on skin betting?

Wednesday, July 6, 2016
Does the esports sector want to see more safeguards on skin betting?

Skin betting, where people bet in-game items on esports events, is a controversial but growing sector of esports. But is it time for more safeguards to be introduced in order to protect the sports and the public? Totally Gaming asked four experts in the field to give their views.

Rahul Sood - Unikrn: "First, Valve needs to come out with an official position on skin betting.  Second, skin betting websites today have zero regard for any type of oversite; they are basically all ages gambling with no rules and no regulation. So, does skin betting need more restrictions?  No, it needs some real companies to step up and build a proper, viable and safe industry."

Ian Smith - Sport Integrity Matters: "As long as it is possible to convert skins to cash, then skins are just another currency and skins betting just another method of gambling.

If loopholes exist that allow skins sites to avoid regulation in some jurisdictions, then those are just legal fictions that serve only to obscure (probably temporarily) the fact that it is gambling. Consequently, a cursory examination of the skins markets makes it obvious that restrictions and/or regulation are vital if skins betting is to be allowed to continue in a moral and legal sense. Currently, the skins betting scene is awash with underage gamblers and is the platform of choice for match—fixers and abusers of inside information as a result of the lack of adequate age verification or “know your customer” procedures. If the skins sites don’t self-regulate a lot better very quickly, regulation will be forced upon them or they will be crippled by legal action.

Alternatively, Valve could block the systems that allow skins to be traded for money. Either way, the way skins betting works now is going to change soon."

Rob Dyche - Esport Gaming: "Skins betting is a relatively unknown but massive billion dollar industry. This is due to several reasons. It's fun, addictive, end users have a difficulty distinguishing between the items and their real world value, and there is a complete lack of regulation. This is an industry which needs regulation badly.

The new next gen skins site csgoshooter.com is a good example of the direction the entire industry needs to take. The 18+ check they have in place for instance is the first step. The problem is that no-one ‘has’ to do this. It's the reason every other site out there targets those aged 13+. Let’s not forget that gambling with skins is still gambling."

Chris Grove - Legal Sports Report: "Without some sort of regulatory presence, it seems inevitable that we'll continue to see a parade of controversies, minor to major, coming from the skin gambling market.

Those controversies will erode player interest in, and game developer support for, skin gambling and could generally undermine what otherwise could be an intriguing product with significant potential."

Are more restrictions required for skin betting?

Skin betting in esports has developed organically, where the fans can bet in-game items (with real world value) on the outcome of a match. It is popular, but not subject to some of the controls that cash betting faces. 

Yes, a regulator has to step in
63% (5 votes)
Yes, but the industry should do it themeslves
38% (3 votes)
No, the whole thing is overblown
0% (0 votes)
Total votes: 8
Poll availability: 
Wednesday, July 6, 2016 to Friday, August 5, 2016
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