Skin Betting in eSports

A comprehensive guide to item and skin gambling in eSports. Learn about the best skin gambling sites as well as how does item betting really work.

Betting skins in eSports games has been around quite some time now, and it still holds its reputation. Read on to know more about how skin betting works and why it holds a very important place in the world of eSports betting.

What is Skin Betting?

Skin betting is a type of eSports betting where players use skins as a virtual currency to bet. It is synonymous with item betting or item gambling. People who use skins for gambling mostly bet them on the result of a professional eSport match. Some try their luck on other games of chance.

As defined by Wikipedia, skins are any virtual items in a game that changes the player or their in-game items visually. These items are either unlocked by the player through achievements or special events of the game. They can also be bought in-game at varying prices. However, skins are for aesthetic purposes only. They do not enhance the player's or character's abilities or stats or the game's result.

This kind of eSports betting began in 2013 when Valve, an American video game developer, released skins for CS:GO. The company used the Steam Marketplace, where players can buy, sell, and trade the skins. Currently, there are other third-party websites where players can bet their skins.

Is Skin Betting a Form of Gambling?

Skin betting is a form of gambling. Betting with skins offers monetary incentives comparable to conventional online gambling. However, it is not regulated as the government does not recognize it through any of its agencies.

is skin betting a form of gambling
Arguably, skin and item betting are yet other forms of conventional gambling.

How Does Item Gambling Work?

According to the white paper of Narus in 2016, item betting accounts for 92.57% of the whole eSports gambling. This type of gambling involves the players depositing their skins or items into a website. The site, in turn, produces a dollar amount for the skin or item. If they win, they can get the item or skin they deposited and some other prize.

How to Bet with Skins

Skin and item betting comprise a handful of steps:

  1. Acquire - before using skins or items for gambling, the player needs to get them first. You can get them by buying, trading, receiving them as gifts, or getting them from events.
  2. Deposit - the player then transfers the skin to the betting site. They can either exchange the skin to the currency of the site or use it as it is.
  3. Bet - players will pick a type of game and place their bet. Players can put skins in bulk with different values to have a higher figure to bet on a match.
  4. Outcome - if they win, they can get the items they placed as a bet and an additional prize. The prize usually depends upon the value of the skin or how much money you bet. If you lose, you can't get the skins or items anymore.
  5. Cash-out - there are many options when cashing out a player's winnings. They can use the skins they won in the games or keep them in the skin gambling site's wallet.

How to Get Skins

There are many ways to get skins, and they can vary from game to game:

In-Game Item Drops

Some games have an item drop system where they give skins and items after a match, usually through loot boxes. These items can have varying rarity levels, and they may be affected by a player's game performance. Some of them are tradable, and some are not.

Level Up & Achievements

Some games offer skins after a player crosses a certain level. Items are also earned when a player completes an achievement. However, these skins from leveling and achievements sometimes have the lowest rarity.

In-Game Shop

Most games have a shop inside where they can buy skins and items, but not every skin is available. Like the League of Legends, some games rotate the skins available in their shop and sometimes offer skins for holidays or other occasions.

Games usually have two currencies. The first one is the money you earn from playing matches. The other money is through top-ups by the player, and there is a conversion ratio. For example, when you buy G-coins in PlayerUnknown's Battlegrounds for $0.99, you'll get 100 G-coins.

Special Events

Some games have unique skins made available for special occasions like the game's anniversary and holidays. Most of the skins are unavailable on regular days, making them rare or uncommon.

Trades & Gifts

When players do not like some of the skins or items they got, they can trade or gift them to other players.

Through Steam Market

Some games like CS: GO do not have an in-game shop and rely on video game digital distribution services like Steam. Players will buy the skin through the platform, and the item will be credited to the game.

Secondary Markets

Some sites sell skins or items of games and are called secondary markets. In these markets, players can also trade the skins they bought or won from skin gambling.

how to get skins in eSports
How do you get skins and items?

Games Offering Skin Gambling

Not all eSports games offer skin gambling or item betting. Among the popular eSports games that have this kind of betting are:

CS:GO Skin Betting

Counter-Strike: Global Offensive or CS:GO, developed by Valve and Hidden Path Entertainment, is a multiplayer first-person shooter eSports game. Although it was released in August 2012, it is still a popular game. It was reported that the game reached 24 million monthly active users (MUA) in February 2020.

  1. Finishes - these refer to the weapons used in the game that they put different designs. There are many ways to get finishes. For one, they can get them through random drops by playing in the online community and official servers. The finishes also come in different quality grades, which indicates their market value and rarity. 
  2. Agents - these are full-body custom skins of the characters in the game which players can equip. Agents were introduced in 2019 with Operation Shattered Web. Like finishes, they also have different rarities and have unique effects like cheers and voices.

There are numerous CS:GO item betting websites, but they're more focused on finishes or the weapon skins. With a large player base, betting of skins is very much alive in this game due to its stable skin market. It's effortless to bet skins on betting sites, even though there are some restrictions and consequences.

PUBG Skin Betting

PlayerUnknown's Battlegrounds is a battle-royale-inspired online multiplayer game launched in 2017. PUBG airdrops 100 players on a map, and they'll fight until a player or group of players called squad remains. PUBG betting is only one of the many ways of gambling online with PUBG.

Like CS: GO, this game has skins for the player's character and weapons. These skins can be acquired through buying, rewards, unboxing crates, and events, but some skins are untradeable. Both can be used as currency to bet on sites, but the most popularly used is the weapon skins. However, the company that made the game has since blocked its trading system as they saw players abusing it.

DOTA 2 Skin Betting

This game popularized the multiplayer online battle arena (MOBA) type of video game developed by Valve. DOTA 2 is based on Blizzard Entertainment's Warcraft III: Reign of Chaos expansion pack, The Frozen Throne.

You can get DOTA 2 skins by buying them in-game or acquiring them through the item drop system. Some DOTA 2 events also have free and unique skin giveaways. Like any other game, skins in this game also have levels of rarity. As for the betting, DOTA 2 skin betting is relatively legal and has a considerable number of players betting. The only restriction is the player needs to be over the legal age to gamble.

Other Games

Other games are worthy of mentioning are H1Z1, Team Fortress, and Rust. Another noteworthy game is the League of Legends or LoL. However popular, LoL skin gambling is not applicable as the skins, or other items are not tradeable.

H1Z1 skin betting, on the other hand, is plausible, but there are no sites that use skins for betting. With Team Fortress 2 or TF skin and item gambling, Valve has also put restrictions on accounts that do skin betting. Lastly, Rust skins are very well used in betting sites as there are no restrictions placed in the game.

How to Cash Out Skins and Items for Real Money

Cashing out for real money is one of the many ways players can get their winnings from skin gambling sites. Skin bettors and gamblers can do it through third-party websites that let them sell the item. Most eSports gambling sites can convert them to real money. Players can withdraw through e-wallets or debit, or credit cards.

However, these sites have some conversion rates, and they have withdrawal fees. Moreover, the timeframe for the transferring of funds usually depends on the option you used.

skin betting market size
The size of the skin betting market.

Skin Gambling - FAQ

Here are answers to the most common questions about skin gambling and item betting.

Skin gambling is a type of gambling that falls in the gray area of legality. Players may not get in trouble when they use skin betting sites that obey all local and international gambling regulations.

Do video game maker encourage skin betting?

Video game developers neither encourage nor discourage skin betting. However, they are against those acts that will violate the terms and conditions of the game.

What made skin and item gambling grow sos much?

The growth can be attributed to the growing number of skins and items produced by game developers. It can also be attributed to the availability of avenues to gambling and the ease of item betting.

How to convert skins to real money?

You can trade the skins on trading sites or in eSports betting sites. However, the skins are still subject to conversion rates and withdrawal fees.

Are skins and items like a cryptocurrency?

Skins and items of online games are not like cryptocurrency. Cryptocurrency is a virtual currency that is usually not issued by any central authority.

The most popular ones are CS: GO, PUBG, and DOTA 2. These games have an array of skins and items and have a huge player base.

What is a skin gambling site?

A skin gambling site is a website where people can use the skins or items they got from a game to gamble. The site usually has different games and has various cash-out options.

How much do skins and items cost?

Prices of skins and items depend on the rarity of the skin and item. They can be expensive if it is rare and uncommon.

How old do you need to be to skin bet?

The age limit varies from country to country. However, the general rule is you need to be on or over the legal age for gambling.

Can you still gamble CS: GO skins?

You can still use CS: GO skins for gambling if you do it within the local and international gambling regulations.

How much can you earn with skin gambling?

You can make more than you have placed as a bet, but sometimes you may lose. You're still risking your skin and trying your luck with it.

Skin betting is fun, and you can get real money or new skins or items through it. However, always remember to gamble responsibly, and don't risk more than what you can afford to lose.