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He refused and opposed it

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In CS:GO and now Counter-Strike 2, there is a brisk trade in skins on Steam. The ugly brother of the legal skin trade are gambling sites that openly advertise and book influencers for advertising. A YouTuber didn't want to take part and is feeling the consequences.

What is “Skin Gambling?”

  • The skins are a huge business in Counter-Strike 2 for Valve: The Steam operator sells loot boxes from which cosmetic items pop out, which are then traded. These items can also be sold and purchased via the Steam marketplace.
  • “Skin Gambling” involves online casinos where you can bet, lose and win skins. The skins in CS:GO are used in these casinos like chips or money in a regular casino.
  • Valve took action against this skin gambling for a long time; the notorious Faze clan operated from Antigua at the time – but that has now changed and “skin gambling” has become more and more mainstream. The pages look more and more professional and achieve high numbers of visits.

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Difficult casino sites buy advertising from many large streamers

What is “skin gambling” like today?? As the British Guardian knows, the providers of such casinos are now much more open than before. The companies are formally based in countries such as Cyprus, Singapore or Belize, but are active in Great Britain without having a valid license from the regulatory authorities.

It is therefore not certain that reliable gambling mechanisms are in force here or that the protection of minors is guaranteed.

To promote their business, they often book with streamers. As the Guardian reports, more than 200 of the 300 biggest CS:GO streamers are sponsored by the gambling industry.

YouTuber rejects immoral offer of €260,000 for little work

Who fought back? The Guardian features the story of Jeff, a YouTuber with around 750,000 subscriptions who focuses on CS:GO.

He says he was offered $280,000, or around €260,000, by the company KeyDrop to advertise for the company for two months. Showing a few 30-second clips during his videos would have been enough.

But when it came to Jeff, the company got the wrong person. He decided against the money and wanted to make a statement:

“I wanted to show how unregulated gambling is rotting young people’s brains.”

Instead of taking the money, he released a multi-part documentary on his YouTube channel called “The Dark Reality Behind CS:GO (Illegal Gambling, Lies and Addiction), which has been on the first in the 6 months since it came out Part has now received 356,000 views.

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“I know where you live”

This is what happened to him: As the Guardian writes, Jeff was seen as a kind of polluter and whistle blower. Although the reactions from normal users were positive, he also received threats and attempts were made to intimidate him.

An anonymous person wrote to him: “I know where you live.”

What do those involved say? The Guardian has written to various companies. Three casinos officially commented on this. It was said, for example, that they pursued a strict “only from 18” business policy or explained that there were requirements from Steam such as a 7-day lock on skins. One company even said they didn't gamble at all.

The casino that offered Jeff the deal did not respond to the journalists' request – nor did Steam itself.

Part of the responsibility is sought from the governments, but also from Valve. The operators of the powerful PC platform Steam earn so much money from the skins in CS:GO that there seems to be little motivation to intervene.

Microtransactions are usually frowned upon by gamers, but since Valve (Half Life 2, CS:GO, DOTA 2) has such a good reputation and the microtransactions are purely cosmetic, the loot boxes in CS:GO seem to be okay for many while they considered unheard of in other games like Star Wars Battlefront 2.

The topic of “skin gambling” has now reached such a light part of the gray area that even large e-sports organizations openly promote gambling, but then people resist it.

Steam: E-sports team promotes gambling in CS:GO with a professional who just turned 18 – is sharply criticized

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