I'm sure all of you must have heard about the eSports online betting scandals over the past few months. I am talking about all those skin betting sites that had to shut down earlier this year. Despite some of them are still up and running, this eSports betting scandal was HUGE and it seems as though it pulled up another one from last week. If you haven't heard, HERE is a detailed article about this. It's related to Valve's cease and desist letters towards all CS:GO betting (skins) sites that had to shut down afterwards.
What is this eSports betting scandal all about?
Now, in UK 2 guys are getting sued because of setting up illegal online eSports betting system. FUTGalaxy owner Dylan Rigby and a well-known Youtube caster Craig Douglas are in the focal point of all this. They exploited FIFA's trading ecosystem and developed a method of players betting in-game currency (FIFA Coins and gold) on real life matches. For example, they could bet on Premiership matches, Champions League matches, La Liga matches and so on. This was, apparently, illegal because they are now facing charges due to providing facilities for gambling, advertising unlawful gambling, and inviting children to gamble. This, allegedly, violated the Gambling Act of 2005 and the two of them might end up in big trouble.
What exactly did they do?
In FIFA, the most important game mode is Ultimate Team. There, players aim to gather the best possible team by buying players packs (a pack of “cards” similar to those Panini ones, which contain various players and consumable items) with FIFA coins or gold so they can win more trophies and whatnot. There's also a trading system that allows players to trade players for in-game currency. This is basically the base of those 2 guys' illegal gambling operation. They had a platform on which people could bet that same in-game currency (let's associate this with skins for CS:GO betting as an example) which resulted in both of them in custody. Simple as that.
How will this reflect on the eSports industry?
After the events of around 2 months ago, no one can tell where will this new eSports betting scandal lead us. It could lead to similar cases in many countries with governments taking a firm stance against online gambling. Truth be told, most of their gambling laws are ancient and are bound to change in the upcoming years because they are way too old to be taken into consideration with today standards.
But then again, FIFA betting industry is not so tightly connected to CS:GO and MOBA games. This means that there will be no consequences for anyone who is betting online in this genre of video games. In other words, online betting on games such as League of Legends and DotA II will probably not be affected by this. Which is, of course, a great thing to hear! It means our favorite betting markets are safe and sound!
Any news about the CS:GO skin gambling sites after those 2 waves of cease and desist letters?
Surprisingly. There has been no news about this scandal over the past few weeks. I expected at least drops but not a single thing. Nothing…
Valve's official statement regarding some of those sites still running is still due to come. Perhaps they are in the process of forming new cease and desist letters as we speak? Who knows? One thing is for sure, Valve is surely going to strike back at them. After all this media exposure these eSports betting scandals have enjoyed, Valve is bound to make a move and stop illegal online gambling once and for all. At least when it comes to their own platform – Steam.