Esports Betting is a much bigger market than many assume. To better understand this market we could start by explaining that the market can basically be divided by product and then by currency. Let’s start by talking a bit about the currencies that underpin gambling on esports.
For esports gamblers, the currency choice comes down to a decision between cash and skins.
Cash requires little explanation. The market for cash gambling on esports works identically to the cash-based market for traditional online wagering, such as sports betting or online casino games skin betting on esports, however, require a bit more explanation. Skins are virtual items that can be used in games like Counter-Strike: Global Offensive (CS:GO). The term “skin” is derived from the typical function of these virtual items: changing the appearance of a player’s in-game avatar, weapons, or equipment.
While a number of games employ some sort of skin system, CS:GO skins are the dominant currency in the skin betting market, accounting for over 80 percent of total wagering activity.
For example: when a stock image is used in CS:GO players can opt to replace that stock image with unique skins or simply change the appearance of the object in the image.
CS:GO skins can be easily transferred between players (the same is not true for all games). That condition allows skins to act as a quasi-currency – something like a casino chip. Given that ability to move skins between players, layering a gambling site on top of that ability is a relatively easy task.
Here’s how it works:
Players “deposit” a skin at a skin betting site by transferring the skin to the skin betting site.
They gamble using their deposited skins (or in some sort of internal currency that the player receives in exchange for their skin).
If they win, they’re paid in additional skins, which they “cash out” by requesting that the skin betting site transfer skins back to the player.
Once players have skins in their Steam account, they can:
- Leave the skins dormant in their inventory.
- Use the skins to change the appearance of their weapons.
- Trade skins with other players.
- Sell skins on the Steam marketplace for Steam credit (not cash) that can be used to buy other skins and games via Steam.
- Exchange skins for cash on third-party sites outside of Steam.
Right now, skin gambling is far more popular than cash betting, but a recent crackdown on skin gambling activity by CS:GO publisher Valve could fundamentally undermine the ability of skin gambling sites to operate.
Esports Gambling: Popular games
A few basic types of gambling dominate the esports gambling market.
Sports betting represents the most popular product among esports fans. Betting on esports is more or less identical to betting on traditional sports, with the caveat that the esports betting product is far less developed than the traditional one. Sign up at Heritagesports