The Isle of Man has awarded the first-ever license to an operator that allows for people to bet unique skins from video games. The license was given to ESP.bet, that operates the website eSportsPools. The gaming license that was awarded to ESP.bet covers what is known as skin-betting, which involves gambling with virtual goods
Counter Strike Skin-Betting
Skins are essentially special paint schemes for in-game items. Most of the industry seems to revolve around these paint schemes for various weapons in the game Counter Strike: Global Offensive. Skins range in rarity, between common skins and extremely rare ones. These rare skins can command a very high real-world monetary value.
While these skins were intended to be an in-game currency, players were soon able to transfer them to a third-party website. Here, a value would be assigned based on how rare the skin is. An unregulated gambling industry soon followed, and it is thought to be worth around $5 billion.
Skin-Betting Should Be Safer
The Isle of Man Gambling Supervision Commission updated its regulations in order to keep pace with an ever-changing world. The new update essentially allows gambling operators to accept anything that has a real-world monetary value.
Unfortunately, the industry around betting on eSports and gambling with virtual goods has been unregulated until this point. This could lead to situations where an operator is not doing enough to protect their customers. With the new license, it should make the industry much safer going forward.
Valve, the developers of Counter Strike: Global Offensive, attempted to get rid of the gambling industry that was using its skins. This came after the company was threatened with lawsuits for allowing underage gambling. Valve denied facilitating and making money off of this gambling and sent out cease and desist notifications to the third-party sites
Hopefully, with licenses for gambling of virtual goods being issued, it will make the industry far safer and ensure that underage gambling is not permitted to happen.